Digital Audio Basics

Course: ESE1500

Units: 1.0 CU
Terms: Spring 2023
When: Lecture MW 12:00pm--1:00pm, Lab M3:30--5:30pm (Masks Required for both)
LectureMondays and WednesdaysMoore 212
LabMondaysDetkin Lab

Instructor: DeHon (office hours W 4:30pm-5:30pm, Levine 270) )
TAOffice Hours
Peter ProencaSunday 8--9pmDetkin
Wednesday 6--7pmDetkin

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

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

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).


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.)



Masks required in lecture.


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 1500 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 and time to receive full credit. Assignments turned in within 24 hours of the publishd due date and time will requires 90% credit. Assignments turned in within 48 hours will receive 80% credit. After 48 hours, no credit will be awarded.

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 absence reporting form in Path@Penn to report absences.

Preclass Worksheets

Preclass worksheets will only be available as hardcopy in 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 in Path@Penn as described above).

Class Engagement

There are points for every lecture that contribute to class participation. Complete lecture quiz before next lecture.

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 Feb 1 21:16:28 EST 2023