SAE Lecturer Launches Audio Training App

  • 12 Dec 16
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  • Jemima Dunlop
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Image: SAE Parametric Equaliser Training app

At the beginning of this year Mark Bassett was seconded from SAE Byron to take on the role of Project Manager of Curriculum Development at SAE San Francisco campus in the US and serve as Chair of the SAE USA Audio Curriculum Committee.

His temporary relocation to the US also provided the impetus for Mark to start work on a technical ear training software app that would help SAE audio students identify the centre frequency of a parametric equaliser (a device that enables the relative balance of frequencies of a signal to be altered).

In layman’s terms, the app helps students to learn to identify the ‘sound’ of various frequencies in the spectrum, which allows them be more efficient and accurate when sculpting sounds with an equaliser in the studio.

Launched in June this year, the SAE Parametric Equaliser Training app was downloaded more than 1,000 times in 63 countries in its first seven weeks – and hit 2,000 downloads in December following the release of Version 2.0 in October. It’s a significant achievement given most new apps on the market reach less than 1,000 downloads in their first year.

The app provides students with feedback on their performance, including the number of correct responses, the number of attempted questions, and the total percentage of correct responses for each stage of training.

“The app features three selectable difficulty levels and three progressive stages of training to help students develop their ability to discriminate between the various frequencies in the spectrum”, Mark said.

Francis Comerford and Phil Sobrepena - Bachelor Applied Science Interactive Audio at SAE Expression Emeryville campus

Photo: Francis Comerford (standing) and Phil Sobrepena (seated) at SAE Expression Emeryville campus using the SAE Parametric Equaliser Training app

The selected difficulty level dictates the threshold of performance required for both promotion and demotion between the training stages, and the number of available hints per stage. Students can import multiple mono or stereo audio files in .wav, .aiff, .mp3, .flac, .au and .m4a formats.

If the student chooses the correct answer, the selected frequency turns green, and the word ‘correct’ is displayed. If an incorrect frequency is chosen, the selected frequency turns red, the word ‘incorrect’ is displayed and the correct frequency is highlighted in green.

Using Max software, the app was created specifically for SAE audio students undertaking degree and diploma studies at any campus around the world.

“I taught myself to program in Max while researching the Honours component of my Master’s Degree in Audio Design,” he said.

“In 2011, while I was working as the Academic Coordinator at SAE Sydney, I started using the software to develop small interactive Max programs that could demonstrate fundamental audio engineering concepts – and this work became an integral part of my teaching.”

Mark Bassett2

Photo: Mark Bassett

Mark is internationally recognised for his research on technical ear training and was invited to demonstrate his SAE Parametric Equaliser Training app as a member of a panel of critical listening experts at the 141st Audio Engineering Society Convention in Los Angeles, California in September this year. He presented several papers at the convention on the design of the app and the use of Max in audio engineering education. Mark has also mastered tracks for many of Australia’s biggest artists including The Whitlams, Grinspoon and You Am I – and worked on albums by John Butler Trio, Josh Pyke and other renowned artists.

Kudos to Mark for this continued commitment to developing innovative teaching and learning solutions for SAE audio students. After a very successful time in the US, we’re happy to welcome him back home to SAE’s regional head office in Byron Bay where he’ll continue his new role as Academic Manager of Licensed Territories for SAE Global.

To download the free SAE Parametric Equaliser Training app, click here, and you can read more about Mark’s research projects at

  • 12 Dec 16
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  • Jemima Dunlop
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This app is great! Way better than any other TET app I\'ve seen.

  • Brian
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  • 16 Dec 16

Cheers Brian!

  • Mark Bassett
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  • 18 May 17