Advanced Audio Ear Training for Mix Engineers

Author: Dan Thompson   •   Course Code: OMPRD-262

Critical Listening 1, developed the ability to hear and identify the key features of a well balanced, artful, and professional-sounding mix. Advanced Audio Ear Training for Mix Engineers continues this process of opening your ears to gain a heightened level of music listening and awareness, while expanding your production palette and vocabulary.

In this course, you'll learn how to identify various instruments across different genres—such as classical, big band, world music, and electronica— as well as instruments from around the world, including Latin America, the Caribbean, Brazil, India, and the Middle East. The course will examine the ranges of these instruments and their key mix frequencies, in addition to panning and mix concepts and sound stages.

Advanced Audio Ear Training for Mix Engineers also provides an in-depth exploration of natural and artificial reverb, delay, and compression settings, and their effect on mixes and what we hear. You will study advanced sonic stamp, with in-depth comparisons of microphones, mic pre-amps, and amplifiers, as well as stereo mic configurations. Throughout the course, you will analyze professional recordings and strengthen your listening skills through advanced audio ear training drills.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify a wide range of instruments from around the world and across genres
  • Identify instrument ranges and key mix frequencies
  • Recognize various instruments' use within both traditional and current popular music tracks, as well as how they might fit into your own productions and mixes
  • Understand specific effects settings for reverb, delay, and compression, including decay, delay, and pre-delay times, threshold, ratio, attack, release, and stereo compression
  • Hear the effect of sonic stamp: the impact that microphone and even mic-preamp choices have on the music and instruments you record

Lesson 1: The Orchestra

  • The Orchestra: Position and Setup
  • Strings
  • Harmonic Range
  • Woodwinds
  • Brass

Lesson 2: The Big Band

  • The Big Band
  • Brass
  • Reed Winds
  • Rhythm Section
  • The Mix

Lesson 3: Orchestral Percussion

  • Percussion
  • Definite Pitched Percussion
  • Indefinite Pitched Percussion

Lesson 4: World Percussion

  • World Music
  • Latin America/Carribbean
  • Jamaica/Trinidad-Steel Drum (Steel Pan)
  • Brazil/Africa
  • India/Middle East

Lesson 5: World Music Instruments: Part 1

  • World Music Instruments
  • Latin America/Caribbean
  • Brazil/Africa

Lesson 6: World Music Instruments: Part 2

  • World Music Instruments
  • India/Middle East
  • Other Regions

Lesson 7: Electronic Music

  • Electronic Music
  • Analog vs. Digital
  • Digital Timbres
  • Listening into the Mix

Lesson 8: Delay Revisited

  • Delay
  • Delay as Panner: Inter-Aural Cues
  • Phase
  • Delay-Based Effects
  • Flanging
  • Chorusing

Lesson 9: Reverb Revisited

  • Room Acoustics
  • Pre-Delay
  • Other Parameters

Lesson 10: Compression Revisited

  • Compression
  • Attack
  • Release
  • Peak Limiting versus Dynamic Compression Copy
  • Dynamic Limiting
  • Mis-settings and Artifacts
  • Stereo Compression

Lesson 11: Microphones

  • Microphones
  • Transducer Types
  • Advanced Sonic Stamp Properties
  • More Microphone Properties
  • Harmonic Distortion-Tube vs. Solid State
  • Stereo Miking Techniques

Lesson 12: Final Listening Evaluation/Advanced Sonic Stamp

  • Listening Review
  • Listening Examples
  • Advanced Sonic Stamp
  • Where Do I Go from Here?
  • Additional Resources
  • Growing Your Current Setup

Dan Thompson

Author & Instructor

Daniel M. Thompson is Assistant Chair of Music Production and Engineering (MP&E) at Berklee College of Music, where he has taught advanced production, recording and mix techniques, and audio technology for over fifteen years. An independent writer/producer and recording engineer, his credits include work on records, feature films, and television series and movies, including ER, The Sopranos, Swimfan, The Sweetest Thing, Melrose Place, Malibu Shores, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Touched By An Angel, Soul Food and NCIS, to name just a few. Dan has authored articles on music technology for EQ and Electronic Musician, has been a presenter and clinician on music production topics in the U.S. and abroad, including at the Panama Jazz Festival, and his book Understanding Audio (Berklee Press, 2005) is a required textbook for Berklee College of Music's own Music Production and Engineering classes, as well as for numerous other music production and engineering programs throughout the country and abroad. He is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the Audio Engineering Society (AES), and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

David Lefkowitz


David Lefkowitz has been teaching in higher education for fifteen years. He has taught courses such as physics, acoustics, electronics, sound design, music theory, audio technology, digital audio, advanced recording, and advanced mixing at several colleges. David served as the Assistant Department Chair for the Audio Production Department at The New England Institute of Art. David moderated / coordinated for the Boston area Pro Tools User Group (PTUG) and has presented at the Parson’s Expo and other events. He is a Pro Tools certified expert instructor.

Under his independent business name, Lefko Productions, David worked on records with international and regional artists including Johnny A, Stuart Kimball, the Beloved Few, Entrain, Kol B’Seder, Dany Silva, Bana, and the Mendes Brothers. Bana and the Mendes Brothers were featured in Putumayo World Disk Series. Dave was a principal business partner of Renaissance Recording Company, a commercial recording facility in Boston’s Back Bay where he worked as the chief recording engineer. David’s passion is composition and he is additionally skilled as a playwright, a show producer, a show director and as a musical artist. Unyfi, David’s audience-centered comical rock arts show featuring his compositions first performed at the Regent Theatre and then at A.R.T. Oberon in Feb 2015. Lately, David has been venturing into sound design and so far has worked on various films including Archie’s Betty and Celling Your Soul. David is a member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI).


Completion of Critical Listening 1 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.

Required Textbook

Understanding Audio by Daniel Thompson, Berklee Press/Hal Leonard

Required Listening

  • The Nutcracker, Op. 71, Tchaikovsky (Full Ballet or excerpt must include: Act 1. No. 4 Scène dansante. (Dance scene) Act 2. No. 12 Divertissement (Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, and Russian dances, Reed-pipes [or Toy Trumpets, or Mirlitons], Mother Gigogne)
  • Diana Krall, From This Moment On
  • Juan Luis Guerra 440, Ni es lo mismo ni es igual
  • Radiohead, Kid A
  • Madonna, Music
  • Fountains of Wayne, Traffic and Weather
  • Coldplay, Viva La Vida

Software Requirements

  • Sampling library, such as Kontakt, any Vienna Symphonic Library, East West Gold, or Garritan collection
  • Sequencing program. Viable sequencing programs include Digital Performer, Logic Pro, Cubase, SONAR, and Pro Tools

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • Full-range loudspeakers
  • CD player (recommended)
  • High quality headphones (Sony 7506 or equivalent)
  • Hardware or software EQ of your choice (preferred), or Audacity software
  • RTA (real-time analyzer) (Room EQ Wizard, Blue Cat's FrequAnalyst)
  • Note: If you have an iPhone, we recommend Studio Six AudioTools for the iPhone, which contains both SPL meter and RTA
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)


Got a question? Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.

  • Level
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    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
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