Studio Recording – Short Course

Monday 17 June – Friday 12 July 2024 | Level: Beginner


This 4-week short course is the perfect starting place for budding sound engineers eager to learn the practical fundamentals of recording. Discover the art of recording bands, soloists or electronic artists in a professional vintage recording studio environment. As a progressive education institute one of our core beliefs is that you need to spend lots of time with your own hands firmly on the gear. We call it learning by doing... and doing... and doing again.

You may be a total beginner wanting to start from scratch or an aspiring sound engineer, early in your journey of understanding your craft and wanting to build knowledge and confidence.

Discover, define and refine your understanding of the core tools, skills and techniques needed to kick start your life as a sound engineer.

From understanding the basic principles of sound engineering to getting to grips with the pre-production and planning of a recording session. From working with microphones and mixing desks to applying core audio production techniques and software operations. You will come out of the four weeks with a broad foundational understanding of studio recording – and, most importantly, the fuel to forward your creative journey.

Course structure

Subjects studied

Your course will cover the following subject areas:

  • Pre-production planning.
  • Microphone types, placement and experimentation.
  • Acoustic and psychoacoustic principles.
  • Instrument types and recording techniques.
  • Analog mixing desks, signal flow, routing, patching and monitoring.
  • Software operations – tracking, conforming, editing & exporting in Pro Tools 12.
  • Session management and communication skills.
  • Reamping, sound manipulation and experimentation with sound sources.
  • Dynamic (compression), spectral (EQ) and spatial (panning) processing.
  • Mixing and mastering principles.
Weekly breakdown

Week 1 – Preparation

  • Project: understand the basic principles of sound engineering and running a successful session.
  • Introduction to sound engineering, studios, audio electronics and cable management.
  • Introduction to Pro tools.
  • Introduction to signal flow, metering & signal quality.
  • Basic acoustic and psychoacoustic principles.

Week 2 – Recording & DAW Editing

  • Project: Learn the basics of pre-production planning, Session management and communication skills in a recording session.
  • Basic pre-production planning and demo recording.
  • Introduction to session planning in Pro tools.
  • Basic drum recording techniques.
  • DAW drum Editing techniques.

Week 3 – Recording & daw Editing

  • Project: Hands-on recording instruments in a professional studio environment and DAW editing in Pro Tools.
  • Basic instrument (guitar, bass and piano).
  • conforming, editing & exporting in Pro Tools.
  • Vocal recording.
  • DAW vocal editing processes .

Week 4 - Mixing &  Mastering

  • Project: Learn to use basic contemporary tonal, dynamic and panoramic mixing and mastering techniques in your workflow.
  • Basic mixing skills.
  • Balance, position & EQ dynamics, space and depth in a DAW.
  • Basic mastering skills.
  • Listening and feedback session.
Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand the basic principles of sound engineering.
  • Apply basic pre-production planning, session management and communication skills in a recording session.
  • Understand basic microphone types and placement.
  • Understand basic acoustic and psychoacoustic principles.
  • Understand the basics of analog mixing desks, signal flow, routing, patching and monitoring.
  • Understand basic software operations – tracking, conforming, editing & exporting in Pro Tools.
  • Understand and apply principles of sound manipulation and experimentation with sound sources.
  • Understand the basic principles of dynamic (compression), spectral (EQ) and spatial (panning) processing.
  • Apply basic mixing and mastering techniques.

This course is designed for two audiences.

The first audience are those looking for a productive way to spend 4 weeks developing their sound engineering skills to support their own projects and meet like minded people to work with. For this audience the likely progression routes are:

  1. Returning to their own project with a new set of skills.
  2. Returning to Catalyst to take one of our other short courses.

The second audience are those students wishing to progress onto one of our longer courses whom require some practical experience to help prepare them for the longer course. Our Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering programme follows on logically from what you learn in this short course.

More courses

"The summer course gave me a chance to prepare for an application to the Bachelor's degree and was a great preview to what the main course would have to offer. If you haven't decided if this school is for you yet, the summer course is a great way to find out!"

– Ian Manning Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering student

A safe space to dream big

Doing what you love

Our team

Our courses are taught by a team of permanent tutors & visiting international music industry professionals with a genuine passion for passing on their specialist knowledge to others.

Ciarán O'Shea

Record producer, composer, mixer and owner of WhiteWell Studios. Ciarán O'Shea is a self-described musical Swiss Army Knife. He’s worked with some of the biggest industry hitters in such prestigious studios as Sound City L.A., Sunset Sound L.A., & Park Gates Studios, England. He has also diversified into TV, movies and video game soundtracks over the course of his lengthy career. Stellar technique is one major success factor, but it’s his shoot-for-the-moon attitude which you’ll be well placed to fuel up on. 

Ciaran has worked with industry big hitters such as Sylvia Massy (Tool, Prince), Colin Richardson (Slipknot, Rodrigo y Gabriela) and Sean Beavan (N.I.N., No Doubt). As a music producer he has worked in a variety of styles from electronica to pop to rock with artists such as Bush, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), The Frank and Walters, Sacha Puttnam, and Chris Coco.

Valerio Massucci

With over 10 years' experience in the industry, as a recording, mixing and mastering engineer, Valerio Massucci has made a name for himself working throughout Europe and the UK. His numerous productions range from classical and baroque orchestras, to electronic driven post-rock. His credits include Benjamin Power (Fuck Buttons/Blanck Mass), Jorja Smith and the Orchestra Magnifica Parte De Sotto.

Whether he’s in the studio or the underground, Valerio is passionate about empowering artists with the finest quality audio. Recently, that culminated in the co-creation of his audio haven, professional audio service and performance platform Hypertone Studio.

An international creative community

Catalyst is a thriving creative learning community of tutors and students from more than 75 countries. 

Studying here is a golden opportunity to meet up and collaborate with like-minded peers from around the world. A key part of our approach to learning involves working with others whether as peers, mentors, collaborators, audience or fellow travellers. Passion is always better shared!

Listen up

Listen to studio albums produced by our students as well as radio sets broadcast from our student run radio channel.

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Essential information

Entry requirements

The most important prerequisite for attending any course at Catalyst is that you must be passionate about building and developing your skills as a sound engineer.

Our short courses are designed to be accessible to anyone so we do not require any level of academic certification to apply. To qualify you should usually be aged 18 or over. If you're coming from outside the EU a holiday/travel visa will usually suffice.

For more information, please contact a member of the team. We love to chat! Please reach out to us at or call us at +49 30 2900 9052.

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Course dates and application deadline

Course dates: Monday 17 June – Friday 12 July 2024

Course length: 4 weeks

Application deadline: Friday 17 May 2024

Although our final deadline for Summer Short Courses is Friday 17 May 2024, we strongly recommend that you apply by our priority deadline (5 April 2024) for your best chances of securing a spot on your chosen course. If the course is full, you will be added to a waiting list. 

Tuition fees

Enrolment fee*: €495

Course fee: €1,755

Total: €2,250

If you decide to enrol in both a Summer Short Course and an undergraduate course (HE Certificate or BA) with us, you will receive a discount of 500€ on the total tuition.

* Note- Enrolment fee is non-refundable.

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Open days, Q&As & taster workshops

Get a feel for Catalyst and our courses at a range of both online and in-person events. Join us at a Virtual Open Day or an Open Day at our campus in Berlin, chat to our programme leads at Meet The Tutor, or try a taster workshop.

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Primer Workshop - Access to Higher Education

Designed for those wishing to join our main programmes, but lacking the formal education requirements to apply through standard entry.

These free workshops run at the same time as your short course programme and cover writing skills, reading, structuring arguments, debate and understanding context.

They utilise task and project-based learning methodology to ensure that you’re prepared and ready for our longer HE Certificate or BA (Hons) programmes.

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More courses

Mixing and Mastering Electronic Music – Short Course

Our 4-week mixing and mastering course is designed for audio engineers and producers who are seeking to advance their creative and technical skills.

Find out more

Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering courses

Develop industry standard tools, technical and creative techniques, industry knowledge, critical analysis and the qualities required to pursue a rewarding and successful career in sound engineering, music production and related areas.

Find out more