Why choose this course?
- 2nd in the East of England (after Cambridge) for Music (2023 Complete University Guide)
- Student satisfaction above 93% for the last five years (NSS)
- Professional grade recording studios hosting AMS Neve consoles
It’s what you know
You’re a budding recording engineer. Now’s the time to take your passion and turn it into expertise. Experiment with music, sound, and audio. Let us show you all the areas of the music and sound industries that your degree in Audio Recording and Production can take you.
"Coming to this course has really given my brain the kick-start it needed, and I'm beginning to see near endless possibilities with where I can go." Glenn Osborn, second year student.
It’s who you know
You’ll learn about studio and location recording, mixing, and mastering. Together we’ll explore specialist techniques in recording and audio engineering. You’ll gain a detailed knowledge of studio design and installation. You’ll practise in professional-grade studios, edit and listening rooms. Our equipment is used by the world’s most successful engineers and producers, and brands include AMS Neve, Avid, Focusrite and Lexicon. What’s more, you’ll have access to all resources used by Music and Sound Technology students. This includes our live sound and lighting rig which is full of equipment from d&b, Audiotechnik, Midas and Sennheiser, to name just a few. You’ll learn business skills so you can slot into the music industry as an employee, freelancer or even set up your own business. When you graduate, you’ll be ready for work, because your technical knowledge will be sought after by the industry you dream of breaking into.
You’ll be part of our School of Creative Arts, so you’ll spend 3 years collaborating with exceptional creative talent: students just like you who show amazing potential. From filmmakers and animators, to musicians and composers, you’ll leave with a network of media contacts who you can work with on future projects throughout your entire career. This is just the beginning.
Have you got any experience?
This is the most common question you’ll be asked in job interviews. We make sure that by the time you graduate, you’ve got lots of examples to talk about. We host monthly live music ‘Herts Jam’ events where you can perform your music or ‘engineer’ the events for others. You can gain work placement years with recording studios or companies like Focusrite, The Famous Company and Sound Technology, which is a leading distributer of recognised brands, or take a self-employed placement year. This will give you a valuable insight into the commercial reality of the industry. The experiences you gain with us will help you feel confident in interviews and beyond. Our graduates have an excellent reputation for their technical skills, creative flare, and ambition. We know this because every year, companies ask us to recommend our graduates. You can be on that list.
Do you want a Professional Accreditation?
This degree is Industry Accredited by the Music Producers Guild (MPG), JAMES, who represent the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS) and Associate Industry Bodies. This means the course has been developed with industry input, it’s relevant to your career and it’s of a high standard. It has a stamp of approval which will increase the recognition of your degree.
What's the course about?
In the first year you’ll learn the measurements of sound and basic acoustics to understand how they affect sound production, transmission, and capture. You’ll spot potential problems and overcome them, as you become familiar with recording, navigating innovative technology and environmental challenges. We’ll give you a strong understanding of all major Digital Audio Workstation packages. You’ll use these to mix, process effects and create your own virtual instruments. Your technical knowledge will quickly reach a professional standard. You’ll explore the scientific study of how humans perceive different sounds. This knowledge will inspire you further as you build your own synthesizer. You’ll record projects in our dedicated studios and out on location, developing a range of essential skills.
In the second year you’ll develop a critical ear. You’ll gain a deep understanding of microphones and sound signal routing using our Rednet enabled network. We’ll teach you about the music industry, including the legal and logistical requirements of digital distribution. You’ll spend hours in the studio as you mix and master your own tracks. Your creativity will be unleashed when you record a song in a day, producing a raw recording and then mixing it in a style of your choice. We’ll challenge you because we know you can do it. Your skills as an audio engineer will begin to secure you a reputation among your peers, as you prove yourself on event management projects. You’ll grow confident in liaising with artists and providing technical support as you live mix events. We’ll give your potential the platform to excel.
In the third year you’ll refine your studio mixing techniques, as well as your skills in manipulating and restoring audio. You’ll become confident in audio system and studio design. You’ll work with your developing client base and have the opportunity to work within our annual music festival. We’ll teach you about the evolution of music and audio technologies, from their historical origins to the present day. Your final major project empowers you to specialise and immerse yourself in your passion. You can focus on your theoretical knowledge and critical thinking by writing a dissertation, or you can develop software or hardware and even record an album. Using our accreditation links, you’ll also work on a live music production drawing on the expertise of our staff and industry partners. This is a chance to test your skills to an industry brief. Can you deliver to specification, deadline, and budget? When you graduate, you’ll know what area you want to work in. Plus, you’ll have the technical expertise, management skills and professional contacts to pave your path on the journey ahead.
Your time at Herts will be an enriching experience. Industry professionals visit us throughout the year to share their experiences with our students. Recent guest speakers include:
- Dan Lancaster (Music Producer)
- Olga Fitzroy (Recording Engineer)
- Isabel Gracefield Grundy (Sound writer, mixing engineer and producer)
- Marta Salogni (Producer, Mixer, Engineer)
- Steph Marziano (Writer, Producer, Mixer)
- George Shilling (Mixing & Mastering Engineer, Cellist and Studio Owner)
- Matt Ingram (Drummer, Producer and Engineer from London, and Co-Founder of Urchin Studios)
- Alan Branch (Grammy Award winning Engineer, Producer, Writer and Musician)
- Gareth Jones (Huge modular analogue synth enthusiast, who has worked with a wide selection of artists, including making 5 LPs with Depeche Mode, and another 5 with Erasure)
- Mike Warriner (Commercial Director at Focusrite)
- Dan Cox (Award winning sound engineer, mixer and producer, and an executive Director of the Music Producer’s Guild)
- Bernard O’Reilly (Sound designer, sound effects editor and FX recordist)
- Neil Coomber (mixer, producer, and engineer)
- Nick Watson (Mastering Engineer - Fluid Mastering)
- Richard Pryke (sound engineer / re-recording engineer - best known for his Academy Award for Best Sound for the film Slumdog Millionaire)
- Tony Platt (Audio Engineer)
- Phill Brown (Sound Engineer, Producer - worked with Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Dido, to name but a few)
- Alistair Meachin (Acoustics, Audio & AV Consultant – Harmonia Consulting Ltd).
This course is part of the music department in the School of Creative Arts, and a wide range of undergraduate music degrees are on offer.
Check out our facilities
Music students at the University of Hertfordshire have access to a stunning array of well-maintained resources and facilities aligned to industry standards, including recording studios, performance spaces, critical listening spaces, high-spec computing labs and a loan store offering a range of free-to-use equipment.
Your main campus is College Lane
This is where the creative arts, science and health-related subjects are based. This means you’ll share the campus with future nurses, scientists, artists and more. You can use the common rooms to relax with friends, work out in the 24-hour gym or have a drink in our on-campus pub or cafes. We also have restaurants for you to eat in or grab something on the go. Our Learning Resources Centres are open 24/7, which means you can study whenever suits you best. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.
What will I study?
Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6. These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study. Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.
Jake F - My week at a Glance
My Week at a glance
Week at a glance – Hi! I’m Jake, I recently completed the final projects of my degree in Music and Sound Design Technology and in this blog, I will give you an overview of a typical week in my third and final year at Herts. My average third-year week would usually include two days of lectures, one or two shifts at work and the rest of the week spent working on assignments and socialising with friends.
I only had two days a week of lectures in my final year which meant I could be very flexible with how I spent my time. I would always attend all my lectures and typically spend another two to three hours working on assignments on these days during the evenings. The rest of the week I would usually aim to work six hours, but this varied as I had other commitments. It is not necessary to work six hours per day but as I am aiming for a first-class grade, this was enough for me to learn and practise everything I needed too without overworking myself.
During my final year, I worked at the Forum at UH (University of Hertfordshire) as a live sound and lighting technician, something I really enjoyed doing as it was the first time working in a job related to my sound engineering course. Usually, I would work two shifts a week, Wednesday night and Friday evening which worked out at around 12 – 15 hours a week, sometimes it was more and sometimes less. The fact the shifts were in the evening and at night was good as it allowed me to focus on my assignments during the day, but club nights would see me often working till 04:00 or later which did leave me tired the next day but this was part of the job and it was a great experience overall.
It was especially important that I put aside time for myself to relax and socialize with friends and to take time out of all the work I was doing. I and a friend from my course got into a routine of playing table tennis each night to get some light exercise and to take a break from the assignments. In the final year can be stressful sometimes, so it is particularly important to look after yourself by exercising, eating healthily (and enough!) and spending time with friends or relaxing by yourself
I think being at Uni is about finding the right balance of work and fun that works for you, it is a wonderful way to practise self-discipline and time management and you will learn a lot about yourself.
Thanks for reading!
Jake F - Guide to the facilities
As a sound engineering student, you have access to everything you need to prepare you for working in the industry. It is a very practical subject so having the right equipment, software, and hardware, is vital for getting the hands-on experience you need. Most of my work was done in the FMM, Film Music & Media building which has computer labs with all the latest programs, surround sound ‘satellite’ rooms, an acoustically treated room for film sound, and many other musical spaces and practise rooms. You also have access to the Art and Design buildings where you will find fully kitted out music studios with performing and recording rooms with the latest mixing desks and computers, a Foley studio which I used a lot for films, and the loan store. The loan store allows you to borrow equipment such as microphones, musical instruments and other equipment like video cameras and accessories.
Having access to these spaces was vital as part of my learning experience as there is no substitute for hands-on learning but Herts gave me everything, I needed to ensure I am prepared to start work or go onto further education.
I also had some lectures in the Forum where I learned about live sound and acoustics. I had the privilege to work at the Forum which gave me an even more extensive knowledge of live sound setups. The facilities at the Forum are incredible and working with such a high standard of equipment was always exciting. There are two music rooms in the Forum, the main auditorium which is a large capacity club room with a full lighting rig and a custom sound setup. There is also the attic which is a smaller venue which hosts Herts Jam which is a student-run music event held three times a year. The Forum has seen some big artists and bands play there, such as Enter Shikari and even the music video for Ed Sheeran’s Lego House was filmed there.
As well as the specialist spaces, you have everything you would expect as a student like lecture halls and access to the library on campus where you can borrow books and magazines and use computers and printers. You also have access to the online library to check if they have a book and if it is available.
UH (University of Hertfordshire) exceeded my expectations of professional equipment and facilities and I would highly recommend anyone looking to study music technology or sound engineering to consider Herts. Despite graduating during the Covid-19 outbreak and it being a strange time, I feel prepared for my future, whenever and wherever that may be!
Jake F- Why I chose Herts
Why I chose Herts
When I attended the open day and had the subject talk, Herts was able to relay confidence in their teaching abilities and the course itself, that other universities I visited were not able to do. They really sounded like they knew their stuff, and this was backed up by statistics in student satisfaction and almost 100% of students being in further education or work within six months of graduating. The course itself also sounded more suited to me as it was a mix of creative and technical teaching compared to some universities being much more technical and less practical and creative.
The facilities were impressive, and I could picture myself working in the labs and studios as we were shown around. I had never accessed any sound equipment before I had gone to university so seeing these facilities up close was a very motivating experience.
The course lived up to my expectations and I really enjoyed being taught there. The staff were very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable in their respective fields of work and I can’t see how it could have been improved.
I also felt that I could imagine myself at Herts much more than the other universities I visited. This may have been due to it being a campus university where most of the University is based on one campus. This made it seem like a true community and a busy, bustling place full of young people like me. The campus itself was very appealing due to the modern accommodation facilities and other stylish buildings and spaces. The College Lane Campus has a very homely and connected feel due to the Oval building which sits surrounded by accommodation blocks. It, therefore, gave the impression of being very social which was appealing as I was overly excited about meeting many friends during my time there.
Another reason I chose Herts is its proximity to London. I love cities, especially London, and being so close was massively appealing to me. It was only 20 minutes on the train, and I took opportunities to travel there when I could, meeting family and friends and working in the city centre on some occasions. It also meant travelling home was easy as I could get a direct train to Manchester from London.
Going to a university far from my home was not an issue for me, if anything, it was more appealing as I like to experience living in different areas. It can be daunting moving far from your family, but you will meet so many people very quickly and soon, the university will feel like your home.
Meet Michael Leaning who has had a series of successful roles at TT Games and Lionhead Studios since graduating. He currently works as a Freelance Designer in the computer games industry.Read more stories Find out more about this course
|Current job role||Freelance Sound Designer at ShotgunMike Audio Ltd|
|Year of graduation||2008|
|Course of study||BSc (Hons) Music and Sound Design Technology|
|MSc Music and Sound Technology (Audio Programming)|
Michael developed many skills during his studies at the University of Hertfordshire that he believes truly helped him into his career as a sound designer. He says, 'My undergraduate degree in Music Technology introduced me to sound design for the moving image, something I hadn't thought about when applying for the course. I had initially been focused on music. There was something about putting sound to visuals that excited me and I've been doing it ever since.'
Michael took full advantage of all the opportunities offered to him during his studies and explains how it really helped him to progress in his career. 'Having the opportunity to work with animation students was one of the best experiences. I also enjoyed having the opportunity to work in a professional studio setting, and take my first steps into sound design on high end equipment and surround sound. Having the opportunity to learn about so many different aspects of sound and collaborating with different creative disciplines definitely led me on the path I’m walking today.'
Aspirations for the future
Michael is looking forward to what the future has in store for him and says, 'I’ve been lucky enough to work on some of the biggest gaming franchises during my career, and even more so since going freelance. I’m looking forward to continuing to work on amazing games and honing my skills over a long and varied career.'
Meet Matthew Mainprize who has worked on exciting projects like Jurassic World: Evolution since graduating. He is currently working as an Audio Designer at Frontier Developments.Read more stories Find out more about this course
|Current job role||Audio Designer|
|Year of graduation||2018|
|Course of study||BSc (Hons) Music Composition and Technology for Films and Games|
University experience and opportunities
Matthew thoroughly enjoyed his course at the University of Hertfordshire, as it guided him towards his current career path, which he really loves. He says, 'My studies allowed me to develop my interests and skills and provided an environment to learn and apply myself to a specific task over extended periods of time. The teacher support and engagement were very helpful.'
Matthew currently works as an Audio Designer on Jurassic World Evolution and talks about how his studies were extremely useful in helping him decide his profession and subsequently securing his current role.
'I took a while to decide what I wanted to do with my life prior to university, and when I worked out what that was, Hertfordshire was the one place that offered a course that was exactly what I was looking for. It provided me with the option to do a placement year, and this enabled me to get an internship at a Microsoft Games Studio. Without going to university, I would not have had this opportunity, nor the skill-set to get the position.'
Matthew encourages prospective students to make the most of their time at Herts. He suggests, 'Have the best portfolio you can and keep it refreshed where possible. Make best use of your connections from university and collaborate on projects with them. I like to keep up to date with what my other friends are doing with their own personal projects and careers.'
Matthew took advantage of all the opportunities at Herts, both inside and outside of his studies. He advises other students to do the same and adds, 'Always keep an eye out for any opportunities that may appear, and keep your options and goals open at the start. I remember having a number of projects I worked on, featured in the Animation feature film day!'
Aspirations for the future
Still looking to improve himself and progress in his career, Matthew wishes to develop his skills as a sound designer. 'My plans are to continue to learn and improve, whilst working at Frontier. I want to increase my output, value and contribution to the games we work on so that they can be the best that they can be.'