Prof. Robert C. Maher

610 Cobleigh Hall (northeast corner of 6th floor inside main ECE office)


Office:  994-7759
Mobile:  599-5830


[email protected]

Class Page: (also linked from D2L)

Office hours:

Tuesday and Wednesday 11AM-noon, or by appointment.
Drop-in questions at other times are always OK if my office door is open.


For EE students:  EELE 317
For Music Tech students:  consent of Music Technology coordinator 

Textbooks and Materials:

  • Lab kit (contents to be determined)
  • Class notes and handouts
  • Lab notebook

Class Objective:

The students learn the principles of audio electronics through a series of small projects, culminating in a cross-disciplinary design project involving students from the Electrical Engineering program and the Music Technology program. Course Outcomes:At the conclusion of EELE 491 / MUST 382, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a practical understanding of the circuit-level design of analog audio amplifiers, filters, and signal processing devices.
  2. Express and knowledgeable discuss the electronic design principles of common audio components, such as mixing consoles, microphones, loudspeakers, and recording devices.
  3. Exhibit laboratory measurement, documentation, and communication skills appropriate for a senior-level electrical and computer engineering student.
  4. Explain and appreciate the advantages and challenges of cross-disciplinary projects, including both opportunities for synergy and for potential misunderstandings.

Class Outline (subject to change):

  1. Introduction and review of basic electronics principles (2 weeks)
  2. Workshop part 1:  pre-amps (2 weeks)
    1. Op-amp types and principles.
    2. Basic op-amp circuits.
    3. Single-ended and differential amplifiers.
  3. Workshop part 2:  filters and equalizers (2 weeks)
    1. Fixed analog filters: LP, HP, BP
    2. Adjustable filters
    3. Equalizing filters
  4. Workshop part 3:  signal processing and effects (2 weeks)
    1. Envelope-based circuits
    2. Summing/mixing circuits
    3. Clipping/fuzz and distortion circuits
    4. Modulation
  5. Workshop part 4:  transducers (microphones and speakers) (2 weeks)
    1. Transducer specifications
    2. Measurement and calibration
    3. Loudspeaker design principles
    4. Microphone circuits and phantom power
  6. Project:  group work on a custom design (5 weeks)
    1. Select projects and design teams
    2. Prepare preliminary specifications and design blocks
    3. Implement breadboard design (or another appropriate deliverable)
    4. Produce documentation of design and performance measurements
    5. Demonstration

Course Grading:

Weekly lab write-ups:


→ Lab notebook, lab attendance, and short assessment reports.

Homework and papers:


→ Homework and essay papers will be required periodically.

Group design project:


→ Presentation and demonstration of a group design project and prototype.




Grade guarantee:  course letter grades may be higher (but will not be lower) than indicated by the following scale:

A- = 90%
B- = 80%
C- = 70%
D = 60%
F = 59%


  • All students must have an electronic mail address listed with the MSU My Info system.  Announcements and reminders for EE 480 will be sent occasionally via email.
  • You are responsible for all material covered in class and in the assigned readings.
  • Among other details, Section 310.00 in the MSU Conduct Guidelines states that students must be prompt and regular in attending classes, be well prepared for classes, take exams when scheduled, and act in a respectful manner toward other students and the instructor.
  • There may be events or field trips scheduled during the semester.  Although it is not reasonable for me to make these out-of-class events mandatory, I do expect the students to take advantage of all learning opportunities provided in the course.
  • Late submissions of assignments (homework and papers) will not be accepted. Plan ahead and notify the instructor prior to justifiable absences, or if a bona fide emergency prevented you from attending class.
  • Academic Misconduct:  Unless group work is explicitly assigned, homework and papers must be prepared individually. Submitting the work of others is dishonest, constitutes academic misconduct, and is grounds for dismissal from the course. Paraphrasing or quoting another's work without citing the source is also academic misconduct.  Even inadvertent or unintentional misuse or appropriation of another's work (such as relying heavily on source material that is not expressly acknowledged) is plagiarism. If you have any questions about using and citing sources, you are expected to ask for clarification.
  • If you have a documented disability for which you are or may be requesting accommodations, you are welcome and encouraged to participate fully in this class.  Please contact the instructor and the MSU Office of Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services  as soon as possible.
  • All records related to this course are confidential and will not be shared with anyone, including parents, without a signed, written release from the MSU Dean of Students.  For more information contact the Dean of Students office at 994-2826.