Recording and Producing in the Home Studio


Authored by David Franz


Course Code: OMPRD-227

Next Semester Starts
June 26, 2023

Level 2

Level 2

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


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.

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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
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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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


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Students should be comfortable using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) of their own choice. Completion of Music Production Fundamentals or equivalent knowledge and experience is highly recommended.

The students are required to propose an original rough song idea by the end of the first week. This song must be in its very early stages.

Required Textbook(s)

Software Requirements

  • Full-featured DAW such as Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase Pro, Ableton Live (Suite or Standard), Studio One, Reason, or FL Studio (Producer or Signature Edition)

Hardware Requirements

  • Audio interface with 1 input (2 inputs recommended)
  • Microphone (2 recommended)
  • Studio monitors or headphones
  • Recommended: MIDI keyboard controller

After enrolling, please check the Getting Started section of your course for potential deals on required materials. Our Student Deals page also features several discounts you can take advantage of as a current student. Please contact for any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


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.

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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. Read Less

Bora Uslusoy


Bora Uslusoy is a producer, engineer, songwriter, recording artist, and the founder of bUMA RecordZ. Originally from Istanbul, he is currently based in the greater Boston area, Massachusetts. He has worked with Lawrence “Larry” Watson, Lucas Bun, Kalelio, Tom Appleman, Pete Langman, Mick Morena, Phil Hilborne, Bryan McLellan, Mel Gabbitas, ARTIDOKSAN, and Aqua Talk, among others. Bora has also released two solo albums, Umutsuz Aşk and Muska (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).

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Bora studied guitar at the Musicians’ Institute London and completed Berklee Online’s “Studio Production Specialist” certificate program. He attended Avid’s “Train The Trainer” program, leading to his becoming certified as an Avid Pro Tools Instructor. He is also certified as a Steinberg Trainer for Cubase. Bora has published five instructional books on guitar and bass in Turkish, created online courses, and has written magazine articles, product reviews, and how-to guides.

He is currently an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in the Music Production and Engineering Department and is a member of the Audio Engineering Society. Read Less


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