Digital Audio Basics

Course: ESE150

Units: 1.0 CU
Terms: Spring 2021
When: Lecture WF 9:00--10:am, Lab M4:00-6:00pm
Instructor: DeHon (office hours T4:15pm-5:30pm, Zoom Link)
TAOffice HoursZoom
Aaron ShurbergT 7-8pmZoom Link
Nathan BakerW 2-3pmZoom Link
Esther AmaoR 8-9pm

Prerequisite: Some prior programming experience (CIS110 or AP sufficient)
URL: <>

Quick Links: [Course Content] [Course Objectives] [Grading] [Syllabus] [Course Policies] [Texts] [piazza]

Catalog Level Description:

Primer on digital audio. Overview of signal processing, sampling, compression, human psychoacoustics, MP3, intellectual property, hardware and software platform components, and networking (i.e., the basic technical underpinnings of modern MP3 players and cell phones).

Covid-19 Spring 2021

Spring 2021 offering will plan to accommodate the ongoing Covid-19 challenge which includes, students that cannot be physically present on campus at Penn (due to travel restrictions, housing restrictions, and personal safety concerns) and the need for social distancing even for those that are on campus. Our plan will evolve with restrictions and guidance from the University. Our current plan includes: See the Provosts Covid-19 Academic Information and Resources and Penn COVID-19 Response for further University-wide information and guidance.


Projected topics by week:
  1. Overview
  2. Sampling / PCM / Digital Audio
  3. Lossless compression
  4. Time-Frequency Conversion
  5. Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem
  6. Human Perception
  7. Psychoacoustical Compression
  8. Hardware Organization
  9. Operating System (sharing hardware)
  10. Networking
  11. Actuation
  12. User Interface
  13. Intellectual Property

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, you will be able to:


Grading is based on:

GradePercent Point Range

(If you score in the specified range, you will at least receive the stated grade. We reserve the right to be more generous.)



Writeups must be done in electronic form and submitted through Canvas (below).

Each individual should turn in a lab writeup. Labs will be performed in pairs and joint data collection and in-lab work is expected. Prelab and final writeups should be done individually. Formal lab report writeup should be done individually. Turning in identical or substantially copied lab reports is an academic integrity violation.

Homework Turnin

All assignments will be turned in electronically through the Penn Canvas website. Log in to canvas with your PennKey and password, then select ESE 150 from the Courses and Groups dropdown menu. Select Assignments from the links on the left and select the assignment you wish to submit for. Submission should be as a single file (preferably .pdf).

Late Assignments

Lab reports must be turned in by the published due date to receive credit. Late assignments will not be accepted.

Academic Integrity

In general, you are expected to abide by Penn's Code of Academic Integrity. If there is any uncertainty, please ask.


Use the Penn Course Absence Report (CAR) in Penn-in-Touch to report absences.

Preclass Worksheets

Preclass worksheets will only be available at the time of the lecture with which they are associated. You are responsible for collecting them and keeping them to use for review. If you will miss a lecture, have a friend in the class pickup a copy for you (and report your absence with the CAR described above).

Class Engagement

There are points for every lecture that contribute to class participation. You will have two ways to earn these points:
  1. Attend synchronous lecture recording and answer questions (recommended)
  2. Complete lecture quiz before next lecture or lab
Either way, you should keep up with the course lectures.

Credit Adjustment

Make sure you call any problems with grading to our attention immediately and not later than the next class meeting after they are returned or posted on canvas. To submit a request for a review of a credit assignment on a lab assignment send an email to the instructor stating the nature of the problem and the remedy you desire. We will not consider any requests for grade adjustments that are submitted later than the one week grace period after the grades are posted on canvas. You are responsible for checking your posted grades in a timely manner.



Previous Offerings

Last modified: Wed Jan 27 11:14:53 EST 2021