The Big MAT Book: Courseware for Audio & Multimedia Engineering

Stephen Travis Pope
(faculty 1995-2010) Graduate Program in Media Arts and Technology, and Dept. of Music, and Dept. of Computer Science
University of California. Santa Barbara

TheBigMATBook is a set of course materials (presentation slides, readers and code examples) for twelve ten-week courses on topics related to multimedia engineering. This material was developed for delivery in the Graduate Program in Media Arts and Technology (MAT) at the University of California, Santa Barbara ( It is published here for the free use of anyone at all. See the longer introduction below.

Volume 1: Multimedia Engineering (4 courses, 350 pages, 2088 slides)

Volume 2: Audio Software (6 courses, 251 pages, 1518 slides)

Volume 3: Audio Hardware (2 courses, 147 pages, 882 slides)


Covers of the 3 volumes
(click on them to see the PDF versions)


Table of Contents   

Volume 1: Multimedia Engineering (Core courses)

A. Survey of Media Engineering & Technology
        EE/CS topics, data/signal/symbol, models and representations, media I/O devices
B. Media Signal Processing
        Multimedia data representation; signal synthesis, analysis and processing
C. Computing with Media Data
        Multimedia programming techniques and APIs, software development topics and tools
D. Sensors and Interfaces for Media Art
        Space and gestural interaction, transducers and sensors, Arduino-like microcontrollers

Volume 2: Audio Software (Digital Audio Programming 6-part Series)

A. Sound IO and Streaming APIs
        Sound I/O libraries for modern computing platforms, audio plug-in APIs
B. The Spectral Domain: Filter and the FFT
        Digital filters and frequency transforms, FFT implementations, vocoders, applications
C. Spatial/Surround Sound and Reverb
        Formats for spatial- and surround-sound, synthesis of spatial queues, reverberation techniques
D. Sound Synthesis Techniques
        Additive, subtractive and non-linear synthesis, physical modeling, granular synthesis, applications
E. Control and Distributed Programming
        MIDI and OSC libraries and applications, USB HID programming
F. Databases and Music Information Retrieval
        Audio signal analysis and feature extraction, music segmentation, classification, applications

Volume 3: Audio Hardware

 A. Audiophile Engineering
        Principles of Hi-Fi, critical listening, room acoustics, components of the audio signal chain
 B. Recording Studio Design
        Studios and control rooms, the recording signal processing chain, mixing and mastering, new media systems

Introduction to the Series “Courseware for Audio & Multimedia Engineering”

Multimedia engineering is a broad and complex topic. It is also one of the fastest-growing and most valuable fields of research and development within electronic technology. The book before you is an anthology of curriculum materials developed over the space of 12 years at the University of California, Santa Barbara for students in UCSB’s Graduate Program in Media Arts and Technology.

TheBigMATBook consists of the presentation slides for twelve ten-week courses, amounting to over 600 hours of presentation time. For each of the twelve courses, the presentation slides are accompanied by the tables of contents of the course readers, and an overview of the example code archives. These resources are available for down-load from the HeavenEverywhere web site (see

The multimedia engineering courses included here cover theory and practice, hardware and software, visual and audio media, and arts as well as entertainment applications. Some of the courses (the first two chapters) are required of all MAT graduate students, and thus must target less-technical and also non-audio-centric students. The bulk of this material, though, consists of elective courses that have somewhat higher-level prerequisites and assume basic knowledge of acoustics and some (minimal) programming experience in mainstream programming languages.

TheBigMATBook courses borrow liberally from R&D publications by my friends and colleagues, especially Roger Dannenberg, Julius O. Smith, D. Gareth Loy, F. R. Moore, Perry Cook, Adrian Freed, George Tzanetakis, Ross Bencina and Dan Overholt. I want also to express my deepest thanks to my MAT and Music Dept. colleagues JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, Curtis Roads, Clarence Barlow, Matthew Wright and Matthew Turk, and to the many students who helped these courses evolve, either as course participants or teaching assistants.

    Stephen Travis Pope
    Santa Barbara, California
    Updated January, 2014