Posts Tagged ‘Digital Audio Technology’

Cogswell’s Project-Based Learning Receives Praise from Visiting Students

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

On Thursday, April 10th; 20 students from Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), an Entrepreneurial School in Austria, came to visit Cogswell.  Most of the visiting students are studying Art & Entrepreneurship, and were fascinated with Cogswell’s Project-Based Learning classes and studios.

The MCI students were amazed with the work they were able to see, and that it was all “made from scratch”.  From character sketches & 3D models made from clay, to digitally rendered creations brought to life; the MCI students were completely in awe. They also got the opportunity to learn about the process that a piece of art will go through to become part of an animated film or game. Cogswell’s own Digital Audio Technology students then add music to the digital projects to create a completed work of art done entirely by students.

Cogswell’s Project-Based Learning classes are the foundation of the education provided here; they help to create strong, T-shaped individuals that are prepared for careers in a variety of industries.

iPhone Apps for Professional Audio Engineers

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

From games to networking to organization tools, the number of apps available for the iPhone are almost endless and grow exponentially every year. The majority of apps have been fitted for enthusiasts, however, recently there’s been a rise in iPhone apps for professional audio engineers. These apps vary in price, from the free with advertising, to the eye-opening expensive. These apps make the everyday jobs of recording, editing, and exporting easier for audio engineers.

The three most abundant types of Pro-Audio iPhone apps are field recorders, portable digital audio workstations and remote controls.

Field Recorders

Many audio recorders apps lack the features found in traditional field recorders. However some have recently become available on the market that allow the engineer to conveniently capture a professional quality recording without having to purchase a separate device. Here are just a few:

  • Hindenburg Field Recorder
  • RODE Rec
  • iSLR Field Recorder

Portable Workstations

Utilizing the iPhone’s built-in audio interface, these apps are in essence simplified digital audio workstations used to record or program multi-track song ideas. The tracks can then be exported to a computer for later editing. They include:

  • Cleartune Chromatic Tuner
  • ioMetrics GigBaby!
  • Novation Automap 3
  • Sonoma Wire Works FourTrack
  • Thezi Studio Metronome TS

Remote Control Apps

These apps allow Pro-Audio engineers to control digital audio workstations (DAWs) or other hardware devices from the iPhone. They are specific to the DAWs in use, and have the ability to control the various virtual knobs, fader and buttons. Some of the more popular are:

  • Far Out Labs ProRemote
  • Hexler TouchOSC
  • Steinberg Cubase iC

Tell us what you think!

Which Pro-Audio iPhone apps have you used and which can you not live without?

Interested in becoming an audio engineer? Learn more about Cogswell’s Digital Audio Technology bachelor degree programs at

Sound Design Student Brings Animated Clip to Life

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Sound Design student, Maya Rybold, left her culinary arts dreams for Cogswell’s Digital Audio Technology degree program. We asked Maya to talk about her creative process while adding sound to an animated clip for a class project. Watch the video below for a peek into what it takes to bring an animated clip from the movie ‘Ratatouille’ to life with the implementation of music and sound effects.

Have a comment or question for Maya? Submit responses below.

Programming the Video Game “Wizard’s Prison”

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Video game creation has a lot of moving parts and the need for people with specialized skill sets – producers, game designers, artists, animators, programmers and sound designers. At Cogswell College we offer specialized degree programs in each of these areas and bring teams of students together to work on projects.

Our Game Studio project-based class spent a semester building a video game. The result was Wizard’s Prison – a retro shoot-em-up PC game where you play as the evil wizard and escape the dreadful prison.

Recent grad, Kaleb Grace who was a Digital Audio Technology major, was the programmer on the team. In this short video he talks about how sound impacts the player’s experience and the types of programming challenges he faced to achieve the results the team wanted.

Kaleb also just released an album, “Monocle Man Original & Arranged Soundtrack” from other projects he worked on while at Cogswell. Click here to learn more about our Digital Audio Technology Program.

Circuit-Bend Electronic Toys into Sonic Monsters

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Cogswell students with a laser harp they built

Tinkering with electronic audio gadgets seems to be in the DNA of most audio engineers or sound designers. The mindset seems to be – this is good, but I’ll bet I can make it better. Experimentation is a key characteristic of this group. This article in eMusician, examines the process of circuit bending.

The term “circuit bending” was coined in 1992 when Reed Ghazala began publishing a series of articles in the Experimental Musical Instruments Quarterly Journal titled “Circuit Bending and Living Instruments.” Circuit bending describes the modification of an electronic sound device beyond the designer’s intentions, adding new sonic and functional possibilities.

At Cogswell College our Digital Audio Technology students are encouraged to experiment as they participate in a full-range of hands on projects.

Inside Moogs New Sub Phatty Synth

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Moog’s new Sub Phatty looks cleaner, sounds dirtier. CDM-exclusive photo, courtesy Moog Music.

If you’re in to audio and you’ve never been to the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show, then you’re in for real treat someday. The show is basically all-things-audio overload.

At the recent show in Anaheim, California, Moog showcased its new Sub Phatty Synth. To you non-audio folks that probably sounds like some creature from Star Wars needs to go on a diet but to those in the know, Moog promises a new range of bass possibilities through this compact synthesizer.

Check out this review and let us know what you think.

New Digital Audio Studio Enhances Learning Experience

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Cogswell College recently unveiled the latest upgrade to its arsenal of quality teaching/production resources – audio recording Studio C. This is the latest in a series of recent upgrades to our recording studios and we are sure it will not be the last as our Digital Audio Technology (DAT) degree program continues to grow. Since the fall term of 2010, enrollment in the program has grown 81 percent.

The DAT program strives to give students the opportunity to master a variety of different hardware and software systems widely used in the audio recording industry as well as support the broad set of passions our diverse students bring. The new studio features a 24 channel digital mixing console, 18 channels of computer IO and a brand new Mac Pro. Studio C’s location next to the campus event center, known as the Dragon’s Den, provides our DAT students the chance to record both live performances by orchestras or bands in the large Dragon’s Den as well as capture “dry” vocals, SFX or voiceovers through the adjacent voiceover booth.

The studio is highly configurable giving the students the capacity to run events, edit, mix, record and/or listen to recorded material using all or part of the installed digital audio workstation or by patching in the student’s personal system. Access, practice and the ability to collaborate with other talented and innovative students are big differentiators in gaining the necessary skills to follow this career path.

“We expect this upgraded studio to facilitate the creation of many new student audio projects,” said Timothy Duncan, Director of the DAT program. “Its strategic balance of access and privacy should be a boon to student creativity.”

If you are on campus, we encourage you to learn more about what our audio studios offer.

A Little Razzle Dazzle for Independence High School

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Cogswell College at Independence High SchoolOn Friday, November 16, 2012, a small contingent from Cogswell College visited the campus of Independence High School in San Jose to offer interactive presentations that highlighted our Audio Production and 3D Modeling majors.

Tony Dias, a faculty member in our Digital Audio Technology degree program and Matt Bard, a student in our Digital Art and Animation degree program, lead the demonstrations. Paula Cruz, Community Outreach Specialist for Cogswell, facilitated the event.

Throughout the day the group provided 7 demonstrations for more than 1,000 students. The audio side of the presentation featured the magic of sound synthesis and the flexibility it gives sound designers. Tony provided samples of digitally created sound and then let the students experiment. Matt demonstrated the power of Zbrush and Maya, software programs widely used in the digital arts industry to bring characters and environments to life through color and texture and to animate characters.

Tony, as an alumnus of Independence High, also offered advice to the students including:

  • Attend college or other professional training
  • Learn how to learn and develop good problem-solving skills
  • Be persistent and learn from failure
  • Network with both your peers and other groups
  • Plan your career and follow your passion

Thanks Tony and Matt for spreading the word about Cogswell’s amazing learning environment!

Cogswell College Presence at AES 2012 San Francisco Goes Beyond the Booth

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

This year’s Audio Engineering Society (AES) Conference, held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, was graced by a lively Cogswell DAT booth and behind-the-scenes activity that began long before this year’s event. The AES conferences are the largest gathering of audio professionals in the world, held each year in the US and Europe.

The Cogswell booth demonstrated how sound effects and scoring enhanced the animated student film, “Worlds Apart,”  featured our Genre Electronica class tracks on  an iTunes playlist and an electric guitar in the busy show aisle with a student-built guitar amplifier. Students and conference attendees were happy to sit for a few moments and show their chops on the amplified instrument.

Beyond the booth, Cogswell DAT professor, Timothy Duncan; Systems Administrator, Evan Peebles and alumnus, Michael McConnell have all served as Volunteer Co-Chairs. Professor Duncan and Peebles in 2008, Peebles and McConnell in 2010 and this year’s 2012 event. Additionally, McConnell was the 2012 Facilities Chair for AES. What does a Volunteer Co-Chair do?

As Volunteers Co-Chairs, Peebles and McConnell worked with the Convention Committee to help plan for the convention. This involved finding, organizing, overseeing and deploying volunteers with the goal of making a convention with tens of thousands of attendees going to hundreds of events run smoothly.  This year they sought out and received nominations from nearly 30 college advisors from around the world in order to find 160 of the best volunteers.

Volunteers give up a day to help the convention in trade for a full program badge. Recognizable in bright orange tee-shirts, Cogswell College had over 18 students volunteering at this year’s convention.

By offering this chance to students, AES helps introduce those starting out in the industry to the benefits of professional organizations. This opportunity allows them to play an important role, giving them the chance to not only meet, but work with some of the heads of the audio industry. This also gives students who couldn’t otherwise afford the full program pass, the option of accessing the educational sessions.

Come Rock with Cogswell’s Rock Band

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Auditions for this new class were held in mid-September and the house was rocked. Now, nine amazing talents are busy rehearsing for their debut gig at Cogswell College’s October 27 Open House. The band will perform in the Dragon’s Den around noon.

Faculty member, Bob Megantz, teaches the class. Megantz plays electric and acoustic guitar in a variety of styles, including jazz, latin, funk, rock and blues. He developed a unique style of finger-picked jazz guitar that allows him to play bass lines, harmony and chord-style solos simultaneously. This style evolved from his studies of Brazilian samba and bossa nova music. He currently performs in the Bay Area with Grooveline (latin rock), the Ron Gariffo Orchestra (jazz) and with his two sons, the Family Band (funk, rock, bossa nova, and jazz).

“We’re still working on the Rock Band’s repertoire; in fact, this is an important part of the learning experience,” said Megantz. “During the class we’re listening to a wide variety of music and studying theory and transcription so we can learn the songs together. We did this at our first rehearsal with “Sunday Morning,” by Maroon 5. Other songs currently in the repertoire are: “Watermelon Man” (jazz/funk), “Messin’ with the Kid” (blues), “The Thrill is Gone” (blues), “Rockin’ in the Free World” (rock), “Ma Cherie Amour” (Stevie Wonder), “At Last” (ballad), and “Give Me One Reason” (blues/pop). New songs are auditioned and added each week.”

Meet the Band:

Richard Lucas Ash has been playing guitar for 13 years, added harmonica about 3 years ago and started singing a year ago. The audition gave him the chance to display his rhythm guitar and solo guitar chops as well as sing two original songs – one that he made up on the spot. “In addition to being active in Cogswell activities, I’m motivated to be part of a ‘great’ musical group and to learn new performance techniques.”

Dylan Bruce plays the drums. While he hasn’t had any formal training, 11 years of practicing seems to have paid off. During auditions he was asked to jam along with a guitar and bass to varying styles of rock. “I want the chance to play the drums and not disturb the people who live in my apartment building.”

Jason Bursese has been playing drums and percussion for the past 17 years. During the audition he was asked to keep simple beats and jam with a bass player. His audition didn’t showcase all of his talents but he looks forward to doing more. “I love to play and I love playing with other musicians and performing.”

Kyle Johnson has been playing bass for 8 years. His audition gave him the chance to just play music. “I am looking forward to playing music while representing the school.”

Davain Martinez wants to focus on vocals which he has been working on for the past 7 years. The audition process gave him the chance to sing any song he wanted but was also asked to sing new material to show his ability to stay on key. “I want to see how a team of musicians of different backgrounds can come together.”

Sirena Mesa is a vocalist who has been singing since she was three. With no formal training, she hopes to develop skills in various genres of musical expression. “I think it will be a lot of fun and will give me a lot of practice time. I also like to meet new people and gain, with them, experience.”

Joslyn Morris is a vocalist but has also played violin, guitar, cello, viola, piano and xylophone. During the audition she sang a number of songs the judges asked for and part of the goal was to show she could follow by ear. “I love music and while I haven’t played the instruments since high school, I haven’t ever stopped singing, dancing and writing lyrics.”

Kiefer Stolte has been playing bass for 10 years. For his audition he performed “Messin’,” “Thrill is Gone,” “At Last” and “Billie Jean.” “I want to play shows.”

Jalajhn Wheeler has been playing trombone for 8 years. Her audition consisted of a prepared piece and then an improvisation. “I wanted a reason to be behind the horn again.”