Spring 2023 - IAT 340 E100

Sound Design (3)

Class Number: 4097

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Thu, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of 24 units. Recommended: IAT 202 New Media Images.



Introduction to theory and practice of sound design. Explores sound's relationship to moving images, installation, performance, video games, user interfaces and Web sites. Includes audio production, post-production, mixing and mastering, beginning programming for digital signal processing, sound synthesis and sound interaction.


Course Description: This course introduces the theory and practice of sound design. Beyond sound as a medium (music and audio art), we will explore the plasticity of sound and its relationship to other media, including moving images (video, cinema), art installation, video games, user interfaces and Web sites.  Students will develop their skills and aesthetic sensibilities through course projects, while gaining a conceptual and historical understanding of the role of sound as a media.

Course Objectives: The overall goal of the course is to give students the tools and skills to develop their own sound design projects; whether it is a pure sonic project, a sound track for video or sound design for an interactive media. Through experiential learning, students will gain proficiency in audio production, post-production, mixing and mastering and will be introduced to programming for digital signal processing, sound synthesis and sound interaction. They will gain substantial knowledge of the historical and theoretical underpinnings of contemporary sound design practice.


Learning Outcomes:
Students will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to develop their own sound design projects. In particular, students will learn basic but operational knowledge in:
• Sound recording using solid-state recorders and a variety of microphones 
• Sound editing using Reaper
• Sound project sequencing and mixing using Reaper 
• Sound project mastering using Reaper
• Interactive sound programming using the MAX visual programming language
• Sound synthesis and digital audio signal processing using VCV Rack
• Interface design and prototyping for interactive sound project using MAX


  • Quiz 1 20%
  • Quiz 2 20%
  • Project 1: Video Soundtrack 25%
  • Project 2: Interactive Sound Synthesis 25%
  • Exercises 10%



SIAT/SFU provides the following resources for this class (subject to accessibility, i.e. COVID): Computer Lab (Mac Os), ProTools, M-audio interfaces, Reaper, Max, solid-state recorders, microphones, mini discs.

The students have to acquire their own headphones - Each student should acquire, bring to the laboratory, and work with a pair of monitoring headphones. By monitoring, we mean with as neutral a frequency response as possible. Ask the retailer for monitoring headphones. These are not more expensive than other types of headphones and can be used beside the class. These headphones should be circumaural headphones, that is having circular or ellipsoid earpads that fit around the ears (preferably closed rather than semi-open to minimize the interference of background noise). Earplugs are not acceptable are they have been shown to be more likely to damage hearing (so, no in-ear technology).


Online Readings (Canvas)


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html