Recording and Producing in the Home Studio

Author: David Franz   •   Course Code: OMPRD-227

Beginning with an existing demo or new song idea, this course will teach you the art of music production, engineering and recording, regardless of the recording devices and software programs you are using. You'll start by learning the basics of recording and producing, and how to configure your home studio for optimal results. You'll study the roles of the producer and engineer in the recording process, and learn mixing, mastering and editing techniques that will enable you to polish your demos into professional sounding finished recordings. You'll examine and evaluate songwriting concepts critical to the production process, and by receiving constructive feedback from your fellow songwriters, engineers, mixers, and producers, you'll create an exceptional professional sounding master recording.

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

  • Know the basics of producing and recording and how to set up your studio
  • Understand the producer's and engineer's specific roles in the studio
  • Identify and use specific recording techniques
  • Understand and use MIDI production techniques
  • Complete your project using specific editing, mixing and mastering techniques in post-production

Lesson 1: Preproduction 1—The Basics of Producing and Recording

  • Three Stages of Music Production
  • Studio Setup
  • The Digital Recording Process
  • Assignment: Your Demo Song

Lesson 2: Preproduction 2—The Producer's Role in Preproduction

  • Defining an Artist's Identity, Purpose, and Image
  • Determining the Genre and Sound
  • Identify the Potential Audience
  • Music That You Would Like to Influence Your Project
  • Writing, Rewriting, and Arranging
  • Hiring Help
  • Assignment: Analysis of Your Demo Song

Lesson 3: Preproduction 3—The Engineer's Role in Preproduction and Recording Techniques (Part I)

  • Feedback on your classmate's songs
  • Engineering Techniques in Preproduction
  • Acoustical Phase Cancellation
  • Recording Techniques: Drums
  • Recording Techniques: Electric Guitars
  • Recording Techniques: Acoustic Guitars
  • Recording Techniques: Electric Bass Guitars
  • Assignment: Progress on Your Demo Song

Lesson 4: Production—Recording Techniques (Part II)

  • Recording Techniques: Piano
  • Recording Techniques: Vocals
  • Recording Techniques: Synthesizers and Turntables
  • Recording Techniques: Percussion Instruments
  • Recording Techniques: Strings
  • Recording Techniques: Horns - Woodwind Instruments
  • Recording Techniques: Horns - Brass Instruments
  • The All-Important Headphone Mix
  • Click Tracks
  • Assignment: Your Demo Song

Lesson 5: Production—Effects Loops and the Producer's Role in a Recording Session

  • Using Effects While Recording—Inserts
  • Using Effects While Recording—Effects Loops
  • Using Effects While Recording—Pre-Fader and Post-Fader Effects Loops
  • Using Effects While Recording—Effects Loops and Inserts Together
  • The Producer's Job—Studio Ambience
  • The Producer's Job—Artist/Producer Interaction
  • The Producer's Job—Self-Production
  • The Producer's Job—Take Sheet for Vocal Recordings

Lesson 6: Production—MIDI Production Techniques

  • MIDI Production Steps
  • MIDI Production Techniques: Editing
  • Standard MIDI Files
  • Assignment: Your Demo Song

Lesson 7: Postproduction 1—Editing Techniques

  • Editing Techniques—Macro level: Song Section Arrangement
  • Editing Techniques—Macro level: Comping
  • Editing Techniques—Micro Level
  • Advanced Editing Techniques—Repairing Waveforms
  • Advanced Editing Techniques—Tuning Vocals
  • Creative Editing
  • Post Editing Cleanup
  • Assignment: Progress on Your Song

Lesson 8: Postproduction 2—Mixing (Part I)

  • The Steps of Mixing
  • Equalization
  • Applying EQ
  • Formant
  • Assignment: Your Rough Mix Vs. Your Reference Mixes

Lesson 9: Postproduction 3—Mixing (Part II)

  • Compression
  • Applying Compression
  • Limiters
  • De-essers
  • Expanders and Gates
  • Sidechains
  • Assignment: Dynamic Processing in Your Mix

Lesson 10: Postproduction 4—Mixing (Part III)

  • Introduction to Depth Processing
  • Types of Delay Effects
  • Delay Effect Parameters
  • Quiz on Delay Effects Parameters
  • Review of Effects Loops
  • Types of Reverb Effects
  • Reverb Effect Parameters
  • The Final Steps of Mixing
  • Assignment: Your Mix

Lesson 11: Postproduction 5—Mastering

  • Introduction to Mastering
  • The Mastering Process
  • Mastering Techniques: EQ
  • Mastering Technique: Compression
  • Mastering Techniques: Limiting
  • Mastering Techniques: Dither, Noise Shaping, and Other Mastering Effects
  • Mastering References
  • Assignment: Your Recording… Mastered

Lesson 12: Final Evaluation of Projects

  • Production Process Overview
  • Burning to CD
  • The Next Steps—Legal Issues
  • Assignment: Your Recording…The Final Version

David Franz


David Franz wrote the book on Pro Tools—literally. Professional producer, engineer, musician, and expert Pro Tools user, Franz collaborated with Digidesign and Berklee College of Music to write the first-ever book about using Pro Tools, Producing in the Home Studio with Pro Tools, a bestseller for Berklee Press and in its third edition. Franz uses Pro Tools everyday in his studio, on stage with his band, and in the classroom.

Working mainly from his own commercial studio, Underground Sun Studio in Boston, MA, Franz has worked with many musical artists from all over the globe in almost every genre of music. Some of his most recent clients include Dave Weiner (touring guitarist with Berklee alum Steve Vai), Grey Star Morning, Andy Moore, and his own band—the bleedin bleedins.

Recording, producing, mixing, and mastering music in home and professional studios for more than fifteen years, Franz is also a studio musician and tours with his band, most recently in Ireland and on the east coast of the US, playing at such venues as Tower Records and Temple Bar Music Centre in Dublin, Roisin Dubh in Galway, T.T. the Bear's in Boston, the Continental in NYC, and many more.

Translating his real-world studio, composition and touring experience into transferable knowledge, Franz has contributed to Electronic Musician, Keyboard Magazine, and DigiZine, Digidesign's online and print magazine. He has also written another book for Berklee Press called Recording and Producing in the Home Studio.

Franz wraps all these things together when teaching online courses for Berklee Online. He has written two courses, Producing with Pro Tools and Recording and Producing in the Home Studio, teaching those along with the Pro Tools 101 courses.

Franz holds bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech, where he wrote his master's thesis on mathematically modeling jazz improvisation. After Virginia Tech, Franz studied music production and engineering at Berklee College of Music.

Will Robertson


Will Robertson is an accomplished producer, engineer, and performer. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Will has worked or performed with Grammy-winning and -nominated hit makers such as John Mayer, Clay Cook (Zac Brown Band), Shawn Mullins ("Lullaby"), and Pat Sansone (Wilco). Will has also performed with, arranged for, and recorded artists such as Rebecca Loebe (featured on NBC's "The Voice"), David Berkeley, Nathan Beaver, Arlington Priest, The Brilliant Inventions and Evan McHugh. Will's work has been featured on TV and radio worldwide.

Will holds a bachelor of arts in music from Rice University, where he studied double bass performance, as well as conducting and composition. He graduated from Berklee College of Music's music production and engineering program, where he was the recipient of the National Academy of Recording Artists and Sciences (NARAS) scholarship. He is a multi-instrumentalist, playing upright/electric bass, guitar, and piano, and he has played in, sung in, directed or conducted a variety of ensembles in styles such as singer-songwriter, bluegrass, rock, blues, musical theater, and classical.


None required

Required Textbook

Recording and Producing in the Home Studio: A Complete Guide by David Franz, Berklee Press/Hal Leonard

Software Requirements

  • Music production software and MIDI Sequencer: owning and using some type of music production software (e.g., Pro Tools, Logic, Digital Performer, Nuendo, Cubase, Cakewalk, GarageBand, Reason, SONAR, Acid, Vegas, etc.) and MIDI sequencer is strongly encouraged
  • MP3 converter: a software program (or hardware device) that enables the conversion of recordings into MP3s
  • Digital audio editing program: for the editing lessons

Note: Although not necessary for the course, MIDI gear such as a sequencer, keyboard controller, sampler, and/or sound module is highly recommended. All of this gear can be either hardware or software based.

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

  • Recording device (e.g., 4-track analog tape recorder, digital 8-track recorder, and/or any music production/recording software system)
  • Microphones
  • Microphone preamps
  • Instruments
  • Mixing and mastering gear (such as compressors, EQs, reverb units, etc.)
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • 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
    Level 2
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition

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