5 Things That Rocked Sweetwater’s Gearfest This Year

This is the 4th visit to Fort Wayne, Indiana to attend Sweetwater’s Gearfest by our Internship Director Greg Stefus.  So we figured we share with you the 5 things that rocked Sweetwater’s Gearfest this year.

Gearfest has become a much-anticipated event for many engineers, musicians and audio enthusiasts alike.  The annual event is a great way for CRAS to continue our relationship with Sweetwater, which we have several graduates working for, a great way to further our relationships with many of the manufacturers in attendance of the event, and also for CRAS to maintain a presence in the midwest for those potential future audio engineers.

CRAS Display at Sweetwater Gearfest

CRAS Display at Sweetwater Gearfest 2016

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Mic Selection: What mic is right for me?

Mic Selection: What mic is right for me?

mic selection what mic is right

Mic selection is one mystery of creating a masterpiece of a recording. The first microphone was developed in the 1870s. Over the past century and a half, many more have followed in its path. There are thousands of different mics on the market today. Whether they are new, used, vintage, one-off, wired, wireless, proximity or designed for stage use. There are dynamic mics, condenser mics, ribbon mics, lapel mics, so many different mics. How do you know which one is the right one to use?

The beautiful thing about our audio engineering education is that, while it’s a science, it also allows a lot of room for creativity. Since sound quality is often subjective, it is important to understand how to mic selection can benefit your project’s sound. Every audio engineer will have a favorite microphone, whether it’s an SM57, Blue Bottle, RE-20, or SF-24. Some audio engineers may even have a custom mic they made themselves. CRAS has a huge mic locker! Students get to experiment with countless microphones during their time at the Conservatory.

What makes these mics so different from each other? Why would one be better to use versus another? To understand this, we must understand some microphone basics.

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How to Seek to Become a Music Producer by Going to School

music producerDo you “know” how to produce music? And, at what “level” is your knowledge in music production? Does your produced music sonically/ artistically compete with top selling albums? “Knowing” how to produce music is not enough to make it in the highly competitive music production industry.  Like there’s a difference between “wanting” a career in Professional Audio, and “needing” a career in Professional Audio, there’s a difference between “knowing” and “understanding” how to produce music. Regardless of what you feel you “know” about producing, you also need the experience and education necessary to gain the trust of industry professionals and artists to excel in the workforce. The path of learning how to be a music producer will require you to invest in YOUR EDUCATION, and, maybe, technologies that will enhance your workflow. Music production schools, like CRAS, around the country all strive to provide students with the resources and instruction necessary to become highly effective and sought-after music producers.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Music Producer

Learning how to be a music producer involves much more than simply knowing how to edit a song in the studio to bring out its best qualities. You also need to maintain several less interesting, but necessary skills. Consider that a bonafide produce is very capable of balancing budgets, meeting deadlines, pulling the best performances from artists handling composers and arrangers, booking studios, and have impeccable communication skills, alongside having a tight grasp on the technologies that will allow the “producing” to be fruitful.

Music producers must perform many functions that go beyond engineering, mixing, mastering, editing and mastering audio recordings. The benefits obtained from an established brick-and-mortar  (more on this, later) course in music production can help you to get a step ahead of your competition and gain the skills necessary to work in the highly competitive world of music.

So, the question still exists: Do you “know” how to produce music?

Learning from Music Professionals

No matter how good you are at producing music, there are always going to be professionals who can help you learn new tricks and get more out of your recordings. When you study at one of the competent music production schools around the country, you’ll be able to gain from the experience of professionals who are working in the field. At CRAS, for example, students learn from instructors that are “in” the industry for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, affording the student an education that simply cant be had “online.” For example, trying to hear the difference between microphone techniques is almost impossible when you’re not in the environment in which it’s being used, much less out of a set of laptop speakers. Engineering/ Producing is an artform that needs to be felt, broken, fixed, and heard in order to truly grasp its’ depth, and, although there are online courses that can expound on the topic of producing, there is NOTHING like touching your education.

Studying Music Production

One of the most valuable tools at your disposal as a music producer is the ability to work with musicians and speak a common language. The intent of music production school is not to help you to become a better musician, but instead the best producer you can be. Granted, having a musical proficiency can hugely expand your production abilities. For example, although you’re not a concert pianist, using a MIDI keyboard to create tracks in your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is of great benefit to you and your craft.

Music production schools will excite your senses, when it comes to the science behind sound, and the sounds behind the art.  To engage with musicians, and other industry professionals, you should find the means necessary to learn the “language” of music: Chord structure, key signatures, rhythms, dynamics, scales reading music. Nothing says PRODUCER louder than a craftsman than speaks both “art” and “science.”

Learning how to produce music is a lifelong task, but it all starts with a solid education that you can obtain from a competent music production school.

Our faculty at CRAS is ready to help you learn to be the best music producer you can be, and we work hard to make sure every student excels. Contact CRAS.edu NOW, at (800)562-6383, to start you on your path to success!

AES Presents Hector Moreno | Audio Business Lecture

In our recent AES (Audio Engineering Society) event, Hector Moreno of Copper Sun Sound in Tucson, Arizona, talked to us about his experiences both as an employee and a business owner in the audio industry.

We have to do something that is community driven. ~Hector Moreno

CRAS has an incredibly focused curriculum, targeting five of the main disciplines in the audio industry – Music, Live Sound, Post Production, Broadcast and Video Game Audio. One of the lesser thought of, but often most important aspects of the music business is the “business” part of it. CRAS trains students in everything they need to know about the business part of the audio industry, including how to properly fill out copyright registration forms, write contracts, conduct interviews, understand trademark law, and much more.

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Center Stage - Graduate Spotlight Blog Title

Center Stage – Graduate Spotlight Chris Robbins

Chris Robbins

Center Stage – Graduate Spotlight is our blog series “spotlighting” on CRAS Graduates who have shared their success stories with CRAS.  These stories will show you how unique and different every student’s experience is during their internships and the beginnings of their careers in audio.  This spotlight post is on Chris Robbins. 

Center Stage - Graduate Spotlight Chris Robbins

Chris Robbins – Chez Boom Audio

Chris Robbins started at CRAS in November 2014.   And now he has been hired as Assistant Engineer at Chez Boom Studios in Austin. Hit the Continue button to read his story!

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Why are Audio Engineers and Music Production Professionals in High Demand?

audio engineers and music production specialistsThe last few decades have been a landmark era for music and audio production industry. From Thomas Edison’s phonograph during the 1800s to the modern digital revolution, music has come a long way, and so has music’s technological innovations! There are those who have been fortunate enough to have made important contributions, combining their passions of sound and science. The music industry has grown tremendously in the last few decades, and every generation has had a hand in leading us to the place we are right now. Welcome to age of global audio, where a quick Google search grants unlimited access to unheard-of musical genres anywhere in the world. A deeper search will unearth production techniques that will make you want to reach for the possibility of being involved in the next generation’s audio productions! If there was ever a time to enroll in audio engineering, that time would be now! And we, at CRAS, mean right now!

There is a good reason audio recording schools are popping up everywhere. The music industry generates nearly 50 billion dollars in revenue and 15 billion of those dollars is made right here at home in the United States. The US is at the forefront of the audio/ music industry, and part of the credit goes to some of the best music schools in the world. Their ability of being able to teach the intricacies of ages-old techniques and future-reaching technologies allows the focused student to pursue an exciting, and rewarding, career in Pro Audio. Having studied performing arts at a post-secondary institute, artists like Lady Gaga and David Bowie understood that a profound education (although not focused on music engineering) would enhance their successes. The misconception is that all artists, producers, musicians, engineers and other industry professionals walk in “off the streets,” and land wild successes. Though there are some cited cases that would support that misconception, the truth is that the music industry is an INDUSTRY that demands knowledgeable captains to steer through art and commerce with sound and science!  This “knowledge” can only be had by immense education in the craft of audio engineering, and continuous application of the newfound immersion. Although a few success stories exist without a “proper” education, more and more people are finding their path to music engineering by way of colleges and trade schools, like CRAS.

With the emergence of social media, SEO, Youtube and Digital Media and the role it has played in pushing artist to the global stage, it would be hard to appreciate good music without paying homage to the multimedia explosion of the 21st century. Sure, we understand the importance of raw talent, but in this day and age, where would Adele and Taylor Swift be without the marketing tools that emphasize sites like Amazon and YouTube. And for that matter, how could we expect anyone under 30-years old to know anything about Chuck D, U2, and other pioneers if not for digital music? “What does any of this have to do with audio engineering?” you’re probably wondering. Seemingly nothing, but, to become a music engineer, one must have learned the entirety of how the Professional Audio Industry works, and have a knowledge-base that extends beyond the sound and science of music. A “complete” knowledge is the most powerful tool you will have obtained upon leaving audio recording school, leaving you prepared for the music world, beyond the limits of a recording studio control room.

Success in the music business comes from understanding the technology that powers the industry. Even so, music engineering is an art form. One must have a grasp on the technologies of our industry, but, more importantly, one must have the ability of being to be artistic with these technologies. The best audio recording schools, like CRAS,  will teach both. Having a solid foundation is crucial to growth in any endeavor, especially music, because it prepares you for the industry’s perpetually changing environment. Like any other business, the key is getting your foot in the door. A number of graduates have gone on to be successful sound engineering professionals, while others have used their training as a way to transition into music producing. There is no overstating the competitive nature of the music industry, and one of the best ways to achieve your vision is by enrolling in sound engineering classes today! Contact CRAS NOW to take the first step towards the dream of a career in Professional Audio!

Preparing for a Trade School After High School Graduation

what to do after high schoolDuring Senior year of high school, you watch many of your friends fill out college applications for the prospect of moving away to study at a traditional four-year institution.  While the “university” life can be fulfilling, a students’ passion may not be rewarded by studying courses outside of their prime interests. You, however, have always known that “traditional education” wasn’t the path you would follow. Instead, you’re preparing for study at an audio engineering school that allows you to focus on your passions in Professional Audio. If you find that this is your educational route, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before you take the first, bold step towards your dreams.

Maintain Your Grades

As you’re pondering the benefits of trade schools, you might think that you can slack with your grades and achievements, but when you are applying to an audio engineering or music production program, you must understand that the acceptance qualifications of the trade school you seek can be highly demanding, based on its reputation, pedigree and industry recognition. By keeping high grades, you increase your odds of obtaining acceptance into the desired program. Also, you are telling the acceptance committee at the music production schools or sound engineering schools that you care about high marks and achievements. It is imperative that you understand that the acceptance commit will treat you as a future ambassador for their educational facility, and would rather take a candidate that has proven great academic success, even in courses that do not pertain to the candidates’ interests.

Research Required Entrance Exams

While your friends are taking the SATs and ACTs, believing that a trade school doesn’t care about standardized exams is haphazard and can diminish your candidacy. Do not assume that you can forget about such tests just because you are going to a trade school. Audio production schools and audio recording schools, like ours, will have their own requirements that may demand proof of “general study” proficiency. Truth be told, the best audio production educational facilities will have stringent requirements, so put your best foot forward. The philosophy of most acceptance committees is “although unrefined, the best gold is pure gold,” so be as “pure” as you can be when applying for acceptance. As well, take the application process seriously. If the trade school of your choice is in high demand, accredited, and highly regarded, rest assured that there are MANY prospective students, like YOU, applying and trying to get in.

Take Relevant Courses

Of course, you want to pay attention to all of your courses. Schools and teachers strive for interdisciplinary connections in modern classrooms, and you never know how those “connections” might help you in your educational passion-pursuit. However, you should also look for classes that are related to your intended pursuits at sound engineering or audio recording schools. Doing so helps you to get a sense of what the field is like. When you apply to the schools, you can include the fact that you took those courses on your application materials. As well, take the application process seriously. If the trade school of your choice is in high demand, accredited, and highly regarded, rest assured that there are MANY prospective students, like YOU, applying and trying to get in. Find out what types of electives your high school offers.

Visit the School

Getting a feel for the school environment and for the students who attend the institution is important, if not critical. A guided tour of the facility should make you feel comfortable about wanting to pursue an acceptance at that educational facility. When visiting, inquire about the students’ daily study requirements, facility access, extra-curricular groups, and networking. Make sure to get the answers you’re looking for, and find comfort in wanting to continue the enrollment process. You’ll know very quickly if you can see yourself “there.”

Even though you are still in high school, you can begin to make some important decisions about the future and begin to prepare for the first day that you enter the trade school. In plain English: Your last day of high school is your first day of life, and what a life it is getting an education in your dream field! Stay focused, stay true to your passions, and reach for your dreams in Professional Audio. CRAS is ready to connect you to those dreams, so start by visiting http://www.cras.edu/ and start your application process at http://www.cras.edu/admissions/apply-now/.