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Audio Ins and Outs

Introduction to Audio Ins And Outs

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Welcome, and thanks for your interest in the CAVI Audio Ins and Outs course! If you are enrolled in any of the modules, you can find the links to your wiki content below. If you aren't but would like to take it, read on.

If you wish to listen to a quick overview of our courses, why not press enter on our Audio promo

If you would like to hear how we teach and grab some free stuff please check out
Free stuff from the Audio Crew
A direct link to the podcast feed for a podcatcher is:
Direct Podcast Link

We now have some advanced audio courses you can find them here:

Audio resources for current students

Shared Resources

Audio Essentials


Reaping Audio With OSARA

About the audio Courses

What is This Course about?

  This course will teach all the fundamental aspects of audio in a manner easily understood by those who are blind or vision impaired. By the end of the course, regardless of initial skill level and your particular area of interest, , you will be able to get the best possible audio quality out of what is available to you in the most efficient way, without extravagant spending on equipment or software.   The aim of the course is to ensure that, whether completely new to the world of audio or an old hand, you will take away valuable new skills and knowledge you can start implementing in projects right away.   Like all of our courses, it is offered entirely via the internet so you can reap the benefits from the comfort of your own home.  

What is Covered?

  The course is divided into three modules so you can tailor it to suit your particular needs. Each module will have its own wiki page with written notes and there will be assignments so that you can practice what you've learned and track your progress.   The emphasis for all three modules can be changed to coincide as closely as possible with prevailing student interests.  

Module 1: Audio Essentials

  This module is vital for anyone starting out in audio, but may also appeal to those wishing to expand their knowledge of audio theory and available hardware. It's aim is to improve your knowledge and practices so that you see the most professional sounding results in the shortest possible time.   On completing this module, you will have learned:  

  • How to record and handle audio safely, i.e. at levels that will not damage your hearing.
  • The properties of sound, such as how its frequency relates to pitch etc.
  • How digital audio works and the parameters that dictate its quality.
  • How to make informed decisions regarding what audio quality to work at in given situations, considering factors such as hard-drive space and the end user's needs.
  • the pros and cons of lossy compression formats such as MP3.
  • How to get the most out of your current audio set-up and what else is out there that would suit your budget. This will include a discussion of:
    • different microphone types, their possible pick-up patterns and their ideal applications.
    • Mixers, audio interfaces and sound cards.
  • How to place your microphone to reduce noise from your environment, you yourself and electrical interference.
  • How to identify different types of interference, as well as other audio defects so that you can neutralize them.

  In order to proceed to either or both of the two remaining modules, you must either take this module or demonstrate an understanding of most of the concepts described above via a short placement test that will be administered on sign-up.


  Students will then have the opportunity to attend a class on the different types of effects that can be applied to audio, regardless of the modules they choose. This class will briefly describe and demonstrate the most popular types of effects audio producers use e.g. compression, equalization, delay, reverb etc.   the final two modules will be run concurrently.  

Module 2: Single-track Editing

  Single-track editors are vital to sound designers, podcasters, journalists and field recordists. They can even be used to produce simple mixes.   This module will plum the depths of what can be achieved with a single-track editor as never before in a CAVI course.   We will be using Goldwave, though, since many of the concepts to be taught are transferable, you are welcome to use your editor of choice if you prefer, though bear in mind that instructors will not be able to provide the same degree of support for software not explicitly covered in the course.   On completing this module, you will have learned:  

  • How to record audio.
  • How to monitor, set and adjust levels correctly to prevent distortion, an inaudible signal or too much background noise.
  • how to make invisible edits.
  • When and when not to edit.
  • inserting markers to bookmark your project.
  • How to apply effects.
  • How to mix different layers of a project in order to produce a more elaborate result, (podcasts, short dramas, etc.)
  • How to apply the same process or processes to a large number of files at the same time.

  All this work will culminate in a final project, in which each student will have the chance to present a piece of work produced using a single-track editor.


Module 3: Reaping with Osara

  Reaper is an extremely powerful and versatile multi-track digital audio workstation, which, thanks to an accessibility extension called osara, is ideal for blind and vision impaired audio producers in all fields.   Recent developments in Osara mean that even more features have become accessible as this module will demonstrate.   On completing this module you will have learned  

  • how to configure Reaper to taste.
  • How to record audio.
  • How to monitor, set and adjust levels correctly to prevent distortion, an inaudible signal or too much background noise.
  • How to manage, organise and save large projects.
  • How to render different parts of a project to different file formats and qualities.
  • How to make invisible edits in a multitrack environment as opposed to a single one.
  • When and when not to edit.
  • How to work with items and tracks.
  • How to make and compare multiple takes of a performance.
  • How non-destructive editing works so that, even if something goes badly wrong, you will be able to salvage your project.
  • How to apply effects.
  • What an effects chain is and how it should be set out to achieve certain results.
  • How to reduce CPU load and improve workflow efficiency by grouping tracks into folders or using effects sends.
  • How to use sends for complex effects and signal path routing for side-chain compression, gating, vocoding etc, as well as parallel effects processing to give your projects more character.
  • How to enliven your projects and give them that extra sparkle by automating effects.

  All this work will culminate in a final project, in which each student will have the chance to present a piece of work produced using a multi-track editor.


What will not be covered?

    This course is designed to give those new to the world of audio a firm grounding in concepts. As a result, methods of audio editing specific to various products will not be taught by staff. Our focus will primarily be targeted toward working with Goldwave and Reaper.     For example, concerning compression: We will discuss its meaning, show examples of it in popular media, explain and demonstrate the hazzards of overcompression, break down compressor settings like attack/release, threshhold, makeup gain and so forth, and show how to apply a compressor in Reaper and Gold Wave for demonstrative purposes. We will not show how to add compression to a track in ProTools/Sonar/Sound Forge, or tell you what specific compressor or compressor settings you should use for your track in class.   If you wish to follow along with our instructors, use the software our instructors use. This includes Gold Wave and Reaper. If not, the documentation provided by the program you choose should be sufficient.    

Are students allowed to collaborate?

  You may collaborate on projects using dropbox or similar cloud services to allow concurrent work on projects. You may not collaborate with others outside of class (unless the extent of that collaboration is the outside indevidual providing them material for you to work on and collaborators are still expected to complete their own assignments.    

All of this stuff is so confusing! Help!

    There are several current and former students who have experience with multiple editing packages and situations. These gracious volunteers often host workshops after lectures, and are also available to answer questions on our audio discuss mailing list.   As time goes on and more students add to the information contained in the CUCAT wiki, it will become an invaluable resource for instructions on these topics.

  Searching the internet and reading forum posts is another way to obtain specific information you may need;   keep in mind that our community's specific expertise is in accessibility issues. If you are struggling with a general audio issue, no doubt many before you have done so as well and have documented their experiences on the web.   Finally, you can of course contact your instructors at any time durring the course to discuss any issues you may have.    

When is it?

  Semesters begin in February and August of the current year.   Exact times are to be confirmed and may be influenced by a sufficient number of students living in a particular time zone.  

What if I can't make class times?

  It is of course strongly preferred that students attend classes so that they can ask questions as topics come up. However, lectures are downloadable so that you can access the material at a convenient time and instructors will be available to help you catch up.  

What do I need to know?

  No previous audio editing experience is required to excel in this course. You do need access to a computer running Windows, broadband internet connection, a headset, and a sound card or sound interface you can use for projects  

What do I need to have?

  Students undertaking the course should have the following available to them:  

  • A computer. At least 1GB system ram is recommended. Windows is strongly recommended.
  • A screen reader (Narrator is insufficient). You will also need basic understanding of how to
    navigate your chosen OS and screen access solution. If you
    do not have this, please consider taking our computing 101 course first.
  • Teamtalk 5.0 or later (free download, provided.)
  • Headset, microphone, or similar loopback-free audio configuration. Speakers are not allowed to be
    used during class.
  • A method to easily sync multiple files between collaborators online, such as
    dropbox, a web or FTP server, Bit Torrent Sync,
  • A web browser
  • A program to record, play, edit, mix, and effect audio.


What digital audio workstation (DAW) should I use?

  In order to edit audio, you will need an audio editor. There are several available at several price-points, Pick one corresponding with the single and multitrack branch of the course , but feel free to experiment with any number of solutions. The programs explicitly taught and supported by the course are below:

that comes in 32 or 64-bit. An evaluation copy is available and the standard non-commercial user license is $65. If you get Reaper at week 7 the 60-day trial will allow you to finish the course without making a purchase. We however highly recommend getting a reaper license though we leave it up to you to discover how cool reaper is yourself whilst taking the course. We prefer that you use the 32-bit version for maximum plug-in compatibility with 32-bit dx plugins and the like.   In this course we will be using Reaper 5.2 or later with Osara.

  • Goldwave, the single track editor we use in class, either the infinite license for $50 or so or 1 year trial for $20.

You will need Goldwave 5.70 as 6.x does not have the accessability support of older versions yet. A lot of it works under NVDA if you are Simon or patient and willing to experiment.    

I don't use Windows :(


  • First, you will need a DESKTOP OS. The concepts taught in the course cannot be demonstrated on
    mobile OSes. In other words, you cannot take this course
    from your iPhone.


  • The OSX and Linux TeamTalk clients are significantly less accessible than the Windows
    counterpart. If you wish to join our course and do not have access

to a windows PC, you will either need to use a windows virtual machine/Parallels, or accept that your experience will be more difficult. This is especially true given that all of the software our instructors use is on windows. Thus mac users will be responsible for their own documentation and troubleshooting.

  • as users of Linux to varying extents, we unanimously advise against using it for audio production.


  The price of the course depends on the modules you take.  

  • Audio Essentials costs $50.
  • Single-track Editing costs $100.
  • Reaping with Osara costs $100.
  • or, for complete proficiency in all these audio ins and outs, take all three modules and receive a 20% discount, paying just $200.

  These prices include:  

  • Access to the relevant lectures including downloadable podcasts so that you can review the material at your leisure.
  • access to the relevant wiki pages, which boast ever-expanding archives of written and audio material.
  • Study groups on topics of your choice.
  • Access to three instructors and other helpers at mutually convenient times for one on one support.
  • Access to a mailing list full of past and present students eager to help and exchange ideas and articles.

  These prices do not include the price of associated audio hardware and software you may wish to purchase such as a microphone or audio editor.   No refunds will be provided except in special circumstances such as medical or other emergency situations.   the fee must be paid up front, i.e. before a module commences. If, however, your particular circumstances make this difficult, contact us and we'll see what we can work out.  

Reserving Your Place!

    Head on over to the application form, at Complete it, and email it to caviinfo at ciscovision dot org.    

My question isn't answered here!

    Please send any further questions to caviinfo at ciscovision dot org. Thank you again for your interest!

For the old audio fundamentals course, please go to the Student area to access your exclusive notes and audio.

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Page last modified on August 07, 2017, at 02:23 PM