CRAS Grad Spotlight: Ian Shedd works Post Production

CRAS Grad Spotlight: Ian Shedd works Post Production

November 18, 2014

Post production is a hot career field! Recently I had a chance to talk with our grad Ian Shedd and congratulate him on his 50th credit as a sound editor. You can check out all of his credits on his personal IMDB page here! While a lot of our grads go out to work at recording studios and live sound venues, we do have a considerable amount of grads work in the film, TV and post production industry, and that is where Ian spends most of his time.

When did you attend the Conservatory?

Ian Shedd: May – Dec 2010

What is your current job title?

IS: Supervising Dialogue Editor

What industry do you work in?

IS: Post Production/Broadcasting

Where did you complete your internship?

IS: Monkeyland Audio (and I still work there!)

During your internship, what was your most memorable horror story?

IS: I had backed up the mix of a TV pilot we worked on but didn’t double-check that the transfer was successful. A year later when we needed to restore the backup, we discovered that the files were corrupt and could not be restored. Since I didn’t double check the backup, we lost nearly all the of the mix work we put in to the pilot.

How did you end up in your current position?

IS: As an intern, I was expecting to learn sound design and effects editing. However when I learned that Monkeyland was looking for dialog editors, I made it my mission to prioritize learning that. I had little idea of what dialogue editing was at first — let alone if I’d like it — but since I was more likely to get hired for an open position than a closed one, I gunned for it.

The owner then gave me a couple reels from already-completed projects to work on. Dialogue editing proved to be way over my head so after a few tries I gave up on it to edit foley instead. After a few months of experience doing that I felt ready to try dialogue editing again. I think the first big film I worked on as a dialogue editor was Piranha 3DD. By then I had been in LA for just under a year.

Have you ever found yourself in star struck or in an unreal moment?

IS: While I was an intern I met George Takei. He just walked right up to me, shook my hand, and said “Hi, I’m George Takei”. The next time I saw him I was still nervous and accidentally called him “George” instead of “Mr. Takei”. I kind of remember him sort of scowling at me after I called him by his first name. That was my last interaction with him. Oops!

Do you have any words of wisdom for new or current students?

IS: Love what you do. Remember that every achievement and every failure is a learning opportunity. And you’re solely responsible for your own success.

Are there any tips or workflows that made your internship or job easier?

IS: Back when I was 19, the manager from the first job I ever had gave me simple but effective advice that I use to this day: ‘get good, then fast’.

There’s a lot of pressure as an intern to get menial tasks (making / getting coffee, taking out the trash, etc) done quickly, which is fine for those things. However when it comes to editing or recording, essentially the continuation of the CRAS education, it’s important to learn and practice thoroughly with less value placed on how long it takes. Speed comes naturally in time and with experience.

Learning quick-keys and keyboard shortcuts is a great example. Not all of them are entirely intuitive, and doing things like looking them up on the internet or hitting the wrong key by accident all the time can waste a lot of time. But over time they become second nature and when mastered will more than make up for time ‘wasted’ during the learning process.

A specific example I use is recalling memory locations to change which tracks show in the edit window of Pro Tools. Setting memory locations with specific tracks shown and the rest hidden, then recalling them with “period – memory location_number – period” (all on the numpad) makes switching the view between banks of tracks a breeze. I have a memory location to look at dialogue tracks, another to look at ADR tracks, and a third to look at all tracks.

Another similar example is recalling window configurations. Using “period – asterisk – period” (also on the numpad), I can quickly call up multiple AudioSuite plugins at once. Plugin parameters are saved to each configuration, so an EQ can be set up to be all narrow notch filters on one configuration, and the default on another other. No more diving into the plugin’s menu looking for those favorite presets!

What is the one thing that sticks with you the most from your time at CRAS?

IS: Playing with the SSL and other consoles I think was the most fun. As an editor in post, I don’t do a whole lot of fader-work, and if I do it’s with a Command-8. Getting to spend time with the big beasts at school is something I’ll always remember.

Were there any instructors who you felt stood out or imparted some wisdom that stuck with you?

IS: I don’t think I could pick one. I think just the general enthusiasm and constant interest in the work rubbed off on me. Also the attitude of being flexible and always ready to work taught to me by the intern coordinators went a long way towards helping me succeed.

What can you tell us about the body of work you are currently working on?

IS: I recently began work on my 50th Film / TV show. It’s been a busy 3 years since I moved to LA after graduating!

At Monkeyland, we typically work on feature-length films and documentaries. We work on a few TV shows and student thesis films a year as well.

A majority of what I do is dialogue editing, which is cleaning, cutting, and smoothing the audio captured on set. Many of the feature-length projects also require what we call a “dialog assembly”, which involves conforming the raw .wav files from the entire shoot to the picture cut.

During the process you were involved in, what did you find to be interesting or revealing that you wanted to share?

IS: I think how fragile the movie-making process is pretty eye-opening. Most of the movies we work on are hoping to just get in to the festival circuits like Sundance and SXSW. Even in the final stages of the sound process nearly all of these projects don’t have distribution deals in place. It can take months or years after the final mix before movies see the light of day.

Thanks for sharing all of your insights on post production, sound engineering, dialogue editing and everything else you do! It’s great to hear a student of ours have as much success as you have! Keep making us proud!

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Audio is Fun & Games for CRAS Grad Eliot Connors

Audio is Fun & Games for CRAS Grad Eliot Connors

October 27, 2014

Game Audio Sound Designer, Voice Over Editor, and Implementer

CRAS is excited to share an update on our grad Eliot Connors and his adventures in game audio engineering!


Eliot was nominated and won a Golden Reel Award in 2013 for:

  • Best Sound Editing – Computer Interactive Entertainment for the game Baiohazâdo 6 (Resident Evil 6)

He is also nominated for another Golden Reel Award in 2014 for:

  • Best Sound Editing – Computer Interactive Entertainment for the game The Last of Us

Soundelux Design Music Group (DMG), headquartered in the heart of Hollywood, is a leading post-production sound company that specializes in sound design, music composition and voiceover recording for video games.  Companies like Microsoft, Sony, Capcom, Konami, Activision and Electronic Arts hire Soundelux DMG to create original or signature sound effects, record and edit voice over, as well as creating sounds and mixes for cinematic cut-scenes within games.

Over the years Soundelux DMG, has been nominated for, and has won, many industry honors including Golden Reel Awards, British Academy Video Games Awards and G.A.N.G. Awards. And Eliot Connors, a CRAS graduate, works there as a Sound Designer.

Eliot’s journey started to take shape while he was attending the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point (UWSP), where he graduated with a degree in web and digital media development. While at UWSP, Eliot created sound effects for a radio drama as part of a communications course and quickly became interested in how to create and manipulate sound.


“Once I graduated UWSP, I knew exactly what I wanted to get out of school… I had a very specific agenda at that point.” Says Eliot. “I looked at all of the possible school choices… The length of the course was a huge factor because I wanted a fast paced program. When I saw the CRAS Master Recording Program II curriculum, I was shocked to see how short and to the point the coursework was.  The hands-on focus was also a major plus when compared to other schools. Keep in mind; I was coming from a traditional university and had my fill of giant, impersonal lectures. I couldn’t have been happier with my CRAS experience.”

The Hunt

Before moving to LA, Eliot took on any work that came his way. This included a number of live sound mixing gigs. “I did live sound to make money. I enjoyed it, it was great, but my main motivation for coming to CRAS was post production. However, the related skills I acquired at CRAS allowed me to make money while pursuing my primary goal.”Upon moving to LA, Eliot was hired at Soundelux DMG where his first responsible role was “asset coordination,” with a huge emphasis on file management. After hours he continued to build his sound design skills by creating demo after demo. “Each demo I created I learned something new, and that still happens with each project I work on.  Every day I learn something new that helps me be a better sound designer”

The Job

Working beyond the game audio sound industry, Soundelux DMG also creates audio for commercials; location based entertainment, and more.  Eliot says, “Clients want to use our services because they know we work hard to create exactly what they are looking for, and beyond. We strive to make new and exciting sounds!  It’s typically a Monday to Friday gig starting the day at 8am, and then we work a 9 to 10-hour day.  But if the project needs to get done, we don’t go home.”

The CRAS Effect

When asked what part of his CRAS education stands out as his “job maker,” Eliot quickly responds, “It’s simple. Every single course I had, I use! DMG does audio integration into video games. Learning Audiokinetic’s Wwise helped facilitate my understanding of this process. And of course, for what I do on a daily basis the biggest thing is Pro Tools!  A simple EQ adjustment or pitch change goes a long way when creating a sound for a sword swipe or monster’s vocal.  It’s hard to comprehend now, but before CRAS I never sat behind a console, I never realized they put that many mics around a drum set (laughs).”

Words of Advice

Eliot knew what he wanted, worked hard and focused on “the prize.” His advice to others who may be thinking about following in his footsteps is – no surprise – clear and direct, “Have a direction in mind and then go with it. Get your skills sharp… not just the technical stuff, but also the ‘soft skills.’ The understanding of how things work in the industry, the people, and the egos, how it all fits together. This last part was huge at CRAS. Also understand that nothing is going to fall in your lap. The more you do gigs you don’t like, the more likely you’ll get a gig you do like. You have to go out and meet people, circulate. And yes, sometimes you even have to fetch some coffee (laughs).”

Eliot’s Partial List of Work Credits in Game Audio Sound

  • Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure. Game Website
  • Sound design, mixing and implementation for the game
  • Alan Wake
  • Crackdown 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Lost Planet 2
  • Sound design, mixing and implementation for the game

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George Kemper Speeds to Success with NASCAR as a Broadcast Audio Engineer

George Kemper Speeds to Success with NASCAR as a Broadcast Audio Engineer

October 20, 2014

Graduate Update:

After having much success at the Conservatory, George and his team have recently won a TV Emmy for Outstanding Live Event Audio/Video for their work on this NASCAR on Fox event! George’s job was to record all of the driver radio communications, listen for something worthy of air time, do a fast edit and then broadcast it for the millions of fans watching on TV!

Great job George and keep up the good work!

NASCAR rookie driver Trevor Bayne wasn’t the only one to come out a winner at the Daytona 500. George Kemper, a recent graduate of the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) also made his mark. Like so many CRAS students before him, George Kemper studied hard and practiced so that when the time came he could jump in and make an impression, save the day, and land his dream job.

After graduating Oregon State University with a degree in psychology, George decided that the psychology field wasn’t where he wanted to be. About a year ago he started a new journey and enrolled at the Tempe-based vocational school, CRAS (The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences). A standout student, George excelled in CRAS’s 11-month program, becoming expert in and certified on the many tools and technologies of the audio trade, among them, Pro Tools and Logic.

George Gets His Shot

In need of an audio editor for its NASCAR broadcasts, Fox Sports Sr. Audio Mixer and consultant, Fred Aldous, reached out to CRAS instructor Robert Brock. “We had a need for an editor. We wanted to record all 43 car radios, we wanted to grab them as quickly as possible, edit down some quick pieces and play them back. My first call was to Robert Brock at CRAS.”

Brock adds, “I told Fred about George (who was just finishing up his internship at a post production facility in the LA area) and while he had put other feelers out, he hadn’t heard anything back worth pursuing. I was able to sell him on George primarily because of his drive, ability to think outside the box and his personality.” Fred said to give George his cell phone number, and that he should leave a message because he might not be available since he was prepping to mix the 2011 Super Bowl later that week. The next call I received was from George who was in Daytona, Florida. He’s hired!

George continues, “I can’t imagine any other place I’d want to be. Before the race at Daytona, we were having some problems with the Soundtrack Pro (digital audio program) setup handling the 43 inputs from the individual driver radio feeds. Fox was willing to purchase a costly Pro Tools HD system, but in the end I was able to use Logic Pro, a program I received as part of my CRAS student laptop recording package which I had right there with me. I called Brock to double check a few things and we were quickly up and running!

Within a few days George had his driver’s car radio edits broadcast live on Fox Sports™ Daytona 500 telecast. It’s a pressure cooker situation where George would line up the edited piece he’s just created and when the director cues him, he hits the play button and it goes directly to air. George says,  “The rush of knowing what you’re doing is going out live is amazing.”

George is very much at home in his new world, especially when you consider that he has been on the job only a few months, and knew next to nothing about NASCAR before he started. This week George travelled to Talladega, Alabama for the Aaron’s 499 where he has very quickly become part of the Fox Sports family.

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It’s just the beginning for CRAS Graduate Jeremy Parker

It’s just the beginning for CRAS Graduate Jeremy Parker

October 7, 2014

CRAS Graduate Jeremy Parker has just recently started audio engineering in his own studio, Parker Place Studios in Tempe, AZ.  He wanted to make a place where he can take his time and allow artists to be cultivated organically.

I got a chance to visit Jeremy and tour his new studio this past September. Jeremy graduated the audio engineering program at CRAS in 1999, and has been in Arizona engineering for a few years. He recently started audio engineering at his own place, called Parker Place Studios in Tempe.

Jeremy embarked on his internship in Los Angeles where he interned at Grandmaster Studios, which still takes interns from CRAS today! After his internship, he got hired at NRG Studios as a runner and moved into an assistant audio engineering position in no time. While at NRG, he got a great lucky break and starting engineering for Dave Fortman, a mix engineer/producer. Along with Dave, Jeremy got a few records under his belt and ended up working on “Fallen” by Evanescence.

This record is the band’s most successful album to date. It debuted at #7 on Billboard and was certified platinum 7 times over by the RIAA.

After that Jeremy was able to work on a handful of big albums. Artists and bands like: 12 Stones, Melissa Etheridge, Mudvayne, Seether, Slipnot, Disturbed, Trivium, Device, Cold, Hellyeah, Nonpoint, Art of Dying and even worked on a couple more Evanescence albums.  He also received a couple Grammy nominations!

After a few years, he left LA and headed back to the Phoenix metro area. There he was raised and still has family. He began to freelance and has since traveled all over to work on a variety of albums. He continued freelance engineering for quite a few years, and then had a desire to have his very own place to work with artists.

He found a place that he felt was a very comfortable environment, and very conducive for making music. A place were he could help an artist become expressive and not sound like other artists, while continuing to master his audio engineering chops.

He calls his studio Parker Place Studios. It’s a very simple and unpretentious set up, where he can focus on developing artists and bands.

The studio was previously known as Lucky Studios and has also been rehearsal space for a number of local bands. It’s in Tempe and is right down the way from another graduate’s studio, Josh and his band The Black Moods.

This is just the beginning according to Jeremy. He engineers for the love of the music, not the glitz or big budgets. Even though is is focusing on development and local artists, he still engineers for some famous bands. This past year he worked on the last Godsmack album.

While we were at his studio, one of our current students had arrived to assist Jeremy for a session. It was great to see a graduate giving a student some hands-on internship experience!

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Graduate Spotlight: Miles Deiaco

Graduate Spotlight: Miles Deiaco

September 9, 2014

We’ve been corresponding with our graduate Miles Deiaco and wanted to share his success with you. Here’s a bit of his story!

After completing classes on campus, Miles headed to San Francisco for his internship. He interned at Different Fur Studios and graduated CRAS in 2008.  He is currently an engineer/producer in the San Fran area.

During your internship, what was your most memorable horror or success story?
Well I ended up interning for about a year at Different Fur Studios, and my most memorable success was when I was made a head engineer and given keys to the studio. Also it was very exciting when I got asked to go on a national tour that was super kushy.

That being said, it was a road of many up’s and down’s. I don’t think I had horror stories, but there were times while interning that I felt like quitting. Interning is not easy, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. But I say hold on the best you can and success will come.

How did you end up in your current position?
Upon my graduation I immediately moved to SF,  a city I thought would be a good cultural fit for me, because in the end if you’re not happy where you live, why start a career there? Through the help of the CRAS internship department, I got an in at Different Fur Studios as an intern. I was working 10 hour days for free, doing all the typical phone answering and coffee making to put my work in. I quickly started pulling in my own sessions with local bands. At a point I was pulling in the most clients, not including generic cold calls to the studio, and within a year I became an assistant engineer. In another 6 months I was promoted to head engineer and continued tracking and mixing bands on Different Fur’s awesome SSL 4K. During this time I was also juggling in general 3 or 4 local sound club gigs which supplemented my studio income.

After working at Different Fur for about 3 1/2 years I got a call from the production manager of Boz Scaggs (an international touring musician who won Grammy’s in the 70’s and is still riding a successful and long lasting career). Funny enough, I met this gentleman at a Different Fur industry party about a year earlier. He said that he liked my vibe and credentials and decided to call me when a touring position opened up. It was two grand a week salary, plus $50/day per diem, not bad.

So I decided to leave Different Fur, hop on a plane and begin touring the country with the Boz camp. I was hired on as a Pro Tools operator, stage tech, and drum tech. It was very exciting going from city to city, and staying in awesome hotels (Boz takes care of his crew!), and having the great salary. Plus the tour bus experience is very fun as well!Miles at the console

During this time, when I was home, I got contracted to record and mix the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival (one of – if not the biggest – bluegrass festival in the world, held in beautiful Golden gate park and boasting 6 stages). Artists like Emmy Lou Harris, Robert Plant, Connor Oberst, Mike Patton, just to name a few, played this festival. I was contracted to multi-track record one of the stages to a Pro Tools rig for the 3 day duration of the festival (there were engineers on each stage recording). This was really great money for the amount of time it required. Then after everything was recorded, 1 to 2 songs from each act were chosen, and I was contracted to mix all the songs. It was really satisfying being able to mix such huge artists! I’ve done that 2 years in a row thus far, and will be working it again next year.

After a year and a half touring with the Boz camp I started re-thinking my priorities. Although I loved that gig and the money was spectacular, I realized my true passion was working on albums, as well as continuing my growth as a musician. I felt strongly my path towards being a strong producer/engineer consists of being a strong musician and having an extensive knowledge of music application. I’m not the hands-off Rick Rubin type, haha. I really like producers like Nigel Godrich, who also work as musicians and are sometimes considered another member of the band. That being said, about a year a ago I decided to leave the Boz tour to come home and work on albums. Also, during my touring period, while off, I started a band that became what is currently “Strange Hotel”, a band I love and believe in. A project that helps me strengthen both my studio and musician chops. We released our debut full length album a few months ago, and recently released an official music video for our single song “All the World is a Strange Hotel”

Have you ever found yourself star struck, or in an unreal moment?
No. I’ve met and been backstage or in the studio with various stars but it’s not really my thing to be star struck. The more you act like a fan, the more you’ll be treated like a fan. The more you behave like you belong around stars, the more you will work around them.

Do you have any words of wisdom for new students?
Don’t let ANYONE tell you what you can and can’t do. Of course respect who you work for, and I’m not saying don’t do your duties. Go above and beyond.

I’m saying studio management, owners, other engineers, ect have in the past told me I wouldn’t achieve this or that, or it’s not worth it to do this or that, or I couldn’t do something this way. And I generally proved them wrong. There are always lessons to learn, but follow your heart, and do your best the best way you know how, and you’ll be successful.

Are there any tips or workflows that made your internship or job easier?
Stay inspired, have a great attitude, find what you do well, and work from the center of that space! Other skills will develop around that.

What is the one thing that sticks with you the most from your time @ CRAS?
So many!! It was such a transformative period in my life. The overall experience is imprinted in me and a center point of my success in the industry.

I really liked running the late night sessions, and having access to the live sound room. I like being in charge, haha.

But it was all so important!

Were there any instructors who you felt stood out or imparted some wisdom that stuck with you?
Again so many! I feel the CRAS has a wide spectrum of personalities, teaching approaches, and knowledge bases. Which is how it works in the real world so it’s a good preparation. That being said I really liked Brock’s strait forward passion. I liked Mike Jones laid back, yet wisdom filled approach. I loved how Nancy had so much patience in her classes and made students feel comfortable. I liked Brian Burill’s teaching style and analogies. John Berry, Allen Leggett, Dave LaBounty, Paul Richards, Jeff Thomas, Jason Losett, Sean Conkling, just to name a few who come to my memory at the moment, I’m sure I’m leaving out some great ones!

Now that you aren’t touring anymore, what are you doing?
Since I’ve been back I’ve been recording and mixing bands as an independent contractor at various studios depending on my clients needs and budgets. I also work out of my home studio in which we have a Pro Tools HD system, Apogee and 192 interfaces, outboard gear  (LA-2A, Twincom stereo compressor, LA-4, to name a few), API and GML mic pres, the API master section with the 2700 stereo compressor… We have a pair of Genelec speakers and a pair of NS-10s. Not a bad place to supplement my studio work and offer clients a much lower rate.

All in all I want to thank CRAS for giving me the jumpstart I needed to get into this amazing career, and for a great price (the main local audio engineering school here in the bay, Expression, is roughly $80,000 to attend!)

I also recorded, mixed, and co-produced my band “Strange Hotel’s” new album and music video.

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Grad Spotlight and Nashville’s Studio A

Grad Spotlight and Nashville’s Studio A

June 27, 2014

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Nashville’s Studio A, owned and operated by RCA, being sold! Here’s a quick info update from Ben Folds:

Here’s an update on the status of the possible sale of historic RCA Studio A:

My office just received a phone call from a Brentwood TN-based development firm. Bravo Development is the firm that was planning to purchase the land and the building that houses the studio. Mr. Reynolds informed us that his firm will only buy the property if his engineering and architectural team can figure out a way to feasibly re-develop the property while protecting and preserving the studio for future generations to enjoy. He went on to say that if it’s not feasible for him and his team to do so, he would not move forward on the purchase.

All I can say is that this speaks volumes about the character of Mr. Reynolds and demonstrates an appreciation and respect for our city’s great music heritage.

Thank you Mr. Reynolds..

I look forward to learning more about the studio’s ultimate fate, and will pass along any further information I receive.”

One of our grads, Sorrel Brigman, had the opportunity to work with Ben Folds since she’s graduated from CRAS!

Graduating from the Conservatory in 2009, Sorrel Brigman has gone on to do great things! After leaving CRAS, she moved out to Nashville, TN, and did a ton of internship work, including working at the famous Blackbird Studios. She got to work along side all sorts of incredible talent, including Steve Marcantonio, who has credits working with artists from Jewel to Vince Gill, Taylor Swift to Carrie Underwood and so many more.

Recently, Sorrel made it in the cover story piece for Mix Magazine this month. She has been working at RCA Studio A, also known as Ben’s Studio. Ben of Ben Folds Five now owns the place and has put it to good use. The studio has quite a bit of history, originally being known as RCA Victor Nashville Sound Studios. Built by Chet Atkins, the facility had a ton of major names swing through over the years. Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, and even Dolly Parton, who recorded “Jolene” there.

In 2011, they upgraded the studio console to a classic API 3232. When Ben Folds first moved into the studio, he primarily used it on his own, but in the past 5 years they have been bringing in other clients – Kellie Pickler, Willie Nelson, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood and Alejandro Sans.

I caught up with Sorrel a little bit, and this is what she had to say:

“I’ve been at Ben’s Studio for three years this month. I started as an intern but have been an assistant here for almost 2.5 years. In addition to assistant engineering, I’ve lately also been doing some assistant managing for the studio as well. The room is amazing and the studio manager, Sharon Corbitt-House, brings in some amazing clients. I have had the privilege of working with Ben Folds Five (naturally), Alan Parsons, Kelly Pickler, Willie Nelson, Jerrod Neimann and Elizabeth Cook, just to name a few. It has been quite an amazing ride.

Some of my common intern tasks at both my internships (Ben’s and Blackbird) included session setup and tear down, being a runner (to go get supplies for the studio and meals for clients and staff) and lots of cleaning. It’s not to say that my supervisors were behind me forcing me to clean stuff, but taking care of the studio is a labor of love.

And there are plenty of uncommon tasks as an intern. At my first internship, the owner of the studio loved Dr. Pepper and the ice from Sonic (I mean, who doesn’t, really?) We had a Sonic ice maker at the studio, but the owner did not have one at his house. It was not entirely unusual to take two cups full of Sonic Ice and a cold 6-pack of DP to the owner’s house at night, leave them outside the gate. Only certain interns were trusted with this task because the owner was insistent that the buzzer not be buzzed (and thus disturb his family that was sleeping). I did that run a few times.

Another time as an assistant, I was covering for an assistant friend at a different studio. After the session as we (the intern and I) were tearing down, the client used the bathroom. He flushed the urinal and walked off. We walked by the lobby and heard a gushing sound. The urinal was stuck in flush mode and water was pouring out everywhere. We managed to get the water to stop, but clean up was a challenge. The intern was new and didn’t know where things were stored. I didn’t normally work there, so I didn’t know where things were stored either. The only mop we could find was rusted together (yes, rusted). We ended up cleaning up a small lake of pee water with paper towels and no gloves. It happens.

I have gotten a few album credits. That’s pretty exciting. You can check out my allmusic pages (one under Sorrel LaVigne, one under Sorrel Brigman).”

Sorrel LaVigne’s Credits at

Sorrel Brigman’s Credits at

Congratulations on doing an amazing job! I remember having you as a student and I knew you were destined for great things!

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CRAS Grads Make It!

CRAS Grads Make It!

June 3, 2014

The most important testament to any education is that it can actually be applied. Our focus here at the Conservatory is to train our students to be the best audio engineers they can be. Our grads get internships into the field of the audio industry of their choice, and there are many to choose from! Whether it’s working in a studio, going on tour with bands as their live sound or Front of House engineer, or even expanding into the field of television and radio broadcasting. We were able to get some input from some of our success stories, and here is what a few of them are up to right now!

James Alire

Just wrapped on my 6th feature film doing production audio, working both production and post on a handful of projects over the summer. I’m in negotiations for three more features towards the end of the year, and premiering a few films at both Phoenix Comicon and the Jerome Film Festival.

Dakota McBride

I work as the Monitor Engineer for pop rock artist Neon Trees, as well as working monitors for Nightmare and the Cat and Small Pools. I started pre-production in February, went straight into tour and get my first break in mid July -then it’s off to Europe! Hoping to start doing some more touring after this run.

John Kay

Currently, I’m on tour playing guitar with Koffin Kats. Finishing up an April 18 to June 8 run at Ink N Iron festival in Long Beach, CA. Then I’ll be home for just under a week before heading to Europe to tour for two months. In between tours I’m producing albums and mixing at my studio near Detroit, MI. LIVING THE DREAM!!!

Cesar Marenco

I’m working on getting my Bachelor’s degree at Berklee College of Music in Electronic Production, with a minor in Audio Design for Video Games. I’ve also been working on video games and music on the side.

Skyla Rose Wild Eagle

I’ve officially been a graduate of C RAS for a month and I have 3 TV credits on Arizona Nights, work at 3 local bars, 2 performing arts centers and am a full time audio tech for AV Concepts where I get to repair gear, build gear, fill orders for big name clients, and A2 on show site! All thanks to CRAS, CRAS AES, and all the amazing teachers and staff at CRAS!

It’s absolutely wonderful to hear these things, and we are proud of all of our students! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store!

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In only 11 months, you’ll learn all 5 focuses of the recording arts at CRAS

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Audio Technica Mic Contest Winner

Audio Technica Mic Contest Winner

April 25, 2014

Here at the Conservatory, we have an ongoing Audio Technica contest. Students are encouraged to book sessions and record a project exclusively using Audio Technica mics. Students can use any of our studios, and even use our wide selection of AT mics that include the ATM23HE, AT4047, AT4050, AT 4060 and more!

One of our students who just recently went out to their internship has just been announced as the winner in the latest run of our Audio Technica contest! DeCarlos has been working hard at Media City Sound in California, where several of our grads are also currently employed. DeCarlos used an array of mics to record vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, as well as an upright bass.

Here’s a brief rundown on his experience with this session:

With the mics I used to track this session, I found myself not having to do too much EQing. The transient response was pretty good on the AT4050 and AT4051 (spaced pair configuration) for the guitar parts because it gave a crispier sound to the plucking parts, and also brought out the small details of each instrument.

I chose the AT4040 for the vocals because I’ve had some experience with it. I like how the vocals sit in the mix when recording with it, it allows you to make the vocals sound in your face but not intrusive.

Overall this was really a good experience! If i didn’t win then I was going to buy one. Now I’m gonna have to buy another AT model. I am officially a fan!

We are proud to be able to provide our students with this kind of opportunity, and to have this incredible relationship with such a great mic manufacturer! This will be an ongoing contest and I can wait to see the submissions from our current and future students! Congratulations, DeCarlos!

Start your audio engineering career in under 11 months!
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In only 11 months, you’ll learn all 5 focuses of the recording arts at CRAS

Laptop Recording Package Included In the Cost of Tuition

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Graduate Chris Mullings Engineers The Neighborhoods Debut Album

Graduate Chris Mullings Engineers The Neighborhoods Debut Album

March 6, 2014

I got really excited to see the headlining act at tomorrow’s VIVA Phoenix festival was a band that our grad, Chris Mullings had recorded at 4th Street Recording in LA. I got in touch with Chris to do a quick interview of his success and ask a little about his work on The Neighbourhood’s debut album “I Love You”.

Chris graduated from CRAS in 2005. Chris relocated to LA and interned at Rocket Carousel with Grammy nominated engineer/producer Greg Wells. After his time there, he started interning at 4th St. Recording, where currently he engineers and produces today! Check out his interview with CRAS below:

CRAS: During your internship, what was your most memorable horror or success story?

CM: Ping Pong Balls…no joke. I was asked to get 24 ping pong balls for the band who loved to play all day. Gaps in the fence wreaked havoc on lost balls!

So I left the studio, drove all over LA looking for ping pong balls, most of which came in packs of 6 and half were already pushed in or broken…upon my return from a 3-hour journey I was informed that the person who told me to find the balls had just ordered them off the internet! ….Details!

Engineering is all about finding solutions not just doing what you know….always think about the task at hand!

CRAS: How did you end up in your current position?

CM: After 8 months of an internship at 4th St. Recording, I started as a freelance engineer and made my way up to Chief Engineer within just a few years. I have worked on hundreds of records! Drive and tenacity play huge roles in this industry. I’ve been at this 9 years now…feels good to be pro!

CRAS: Have you ever found yourself star struck or in an unreal moment?

CM: I have worked with so many amazing musicians & talent over my career so far, including Pink, Bryan Ferry, Steve Martin, One Republic, Flea, “Weird Al” Yankovic…But I gotta say being invited to watch Bruno Mars at the Staples Center with Jim Carrey was definitely a highlight! Also, Lindsey Lohan showed up at the studio on the wrong night & left us with massive amounts of amazing sushi that was probably meant for someone else. That was pretty cool too!

CRAS: Do you have any words of wisdom for new students?

CM: Pay attention! Every song is it’s own creation, don’t just phone it in. You have to love this gig, and love helping people create their art. That’s what you are here for. Let the rockstars be rockstars. You are here to provide them with the means to do what they do and if you do it well they love you for it! I couldn’t dig this gig more…so go out there and make some records! Come steal my job!

CRAS: Are there any tips or workflows that made your internship or job easier?

CM: Listen & absorb. If you are truly aware of your surroundings and paying attention, in 6 months time you will have seen the majority of what goes on in sessions…the relationship of artist & engineer, producer & artist, etc. Watch and listen to what the engineer is doing, even if you cant figure it out just yet…find what it is you are good at & exploit that!

CRAS: What is the one thing that sticks with you the most from your time at CRAS?

CM: I think the camaraderie of everyone there…everyone wants to be there for the music , whatever the goal may be! I had an amazing time at CRAS! They teach you respect for the technical and musical job that we provide! What they can’t teach is pure experience but they set you up to be able to walk in the room ready to learn the real deal…it’s up to you from there.

CRAS: Were there any instructors who you felt stood out or imparted some wisdom that stuck with you?

CM:  All the teachers were great and completely different which shows that there is room in this industry for anyone who cares to fight for it! Shouts to Phil Nichols!

CRAS: What can you tell us about recording The Neighbourhood?

CM: The Neighbourhood rolled into 4th St. Recording back in the fall of 2011 to track their first EP “I’m Sorry” which is when we recorded the now “Platinum” song “Sweater Weather”. We all just seemed to click and in 5 days we were done with an EP that would lead them to getting signed by Sony/Columbia and touring the world. Within a year, I was asked to record the their 1st full length album “I Love You”, which was tracked almost completely at 4th St. Within a month or so of overdubs in New York, where I lived with the band, we were all completely immersed in the project…it was unreal and I will never forget it! I look forward to this band’s career and am honored to be a part of their history.

The Neighbourhood’s Sweater Weather video

CRAS: During the process, what did you find to be interesting or revealing that you would want to share?

CM: The Neighbourhood’s songwriting is phenomenal. That was easily handled by them. The challenge on these records technically was creating the right tones and soundscapes…they wanted to push the edge, which they did.

We used tons of distortions & mediums. I ended up recording drum loops through VHS tapes for the most insane saturation. We also used cassettes and crazy distortions that I can’t even remember how we did it!

But whatever crazy ideas we would come up with, my assistant Chase McElhaney (also a CRAS Graduate) would have to actually pull it off! Engineering is never saying, “No, we cant do that!” Find a way. That’s your job.

Photo credit:The Neighbourhood

CRAS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

CM: It’s really hot in Arizona…

Thank you Chris for taking the time out to talk with us!  We are excited to see what you are working on next!

CRAS will be at VIVA Phoenix tomorrow!  We are excited to be a supporter of this great event!  You can find more information here:

Start your audio engineering career in under 11 months!
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In only 11 months, you’ll learn all 5 focuses of the recording arts at CRAS

Laptop Recording Package Included In the Cost of Tuition

One-of-a-kind Internship

Grad Spotlight: Gavin Crane

Grad Spotlight: Gavin Crane

October 28, 2013

Starting his CRAS journey in July of 2011, Gavin Crane worked hard through our program, earning great grades and not missing a single day of class. That is what it takes to make it in our industry, and make it he certainly has! While our program can be challenging, it can also be very rewarding to those willing to put in the effort. We recently were able to get in touch with Gavin and ask him about his recent success being tour manager for Josh Gracin, who has made a big name for himself after appearing on the hit television show American Idol. Josh has also released three albums and has had numerous songs do great on the Billboard charts.

CRAS: What is your current job title?

Gavin: I’m the Front of House engineer and Tour Manager for Josh Gracin.

CRAS: What particular field of this industry do you work in?

Gavin: Primarily I work in the Live Sound / Touring aspect of the audio industry.

CRAS: Where did you complete your internship after attending the Conservatory?

Gavin: My internship went perfect. I interned for a month, and then got hired on at Sound Image in Nashville. A month after that Rat Sound, out of California, called me and asked me to be the Front Of House Tech on the Country Throwdown Tour! Since then, all those connections have all taken me up hill.

CRAS: During your internship, did you have a memorable horror or success story?

Gavin: I was only at Sound Image a few weeks and the boss asked me to go do my first gig for Vince Gill! The gig went great! I was thrilled, but then we went to load out and the truck broke down on us… I was out there trying to fix the truck in the pouring rain! Haha, Good times!

CRAS: How did you end up in your current position?

Gavin: During the Country Throwdown Tour, I met a ton of people and made great connections. From that gig I landed several other gigs, including Florida Georgia Line. The Monitor Engineer for Gary Allen, at the time of the Country Throwdown Tour, saw me running FOH for Florida Georgia Line and was impressed. He called me a few months later and asked if I wanted to fill in a run of FOH for Josh Gracin. Well, Josh loved my work and hired me on full time! A few weeks later the tour manager resigned and I filled in. He loved my work as tour manager as well, and offered me both positions full time! I had to accept the job! Tour Managing and FOH Engineer, the best of both worlds. Still learning a lot and having a blast while doing so!

CRAS: Wow, that’s great! Have you ever found yourself in an unreal or “starstruck” moment?

Gavin: I get so caught up in my work that I don’t notice, since I usually stay pretty busy, but sometimes on tour, all the things I get to go do and see is amazing. The views are breath taking and the little things in life can do so much in small ways. Every night during the show, once I get everything dialed in, I sit back and think to myself… Wow I made that sound that way? Makes me realize how far I have come. Before CRAS I would have never been able to do that.

CRAS: Do you have any words of wisdom for new students?

Gavin: Take advantage of all opportunities that CRAS gives you as a student. Get in the studios, learn everything you can. Try new things, new ideas that could be great! Don’t be scared to make mistakes, mistakes are a part of it – so you learn not to make them again. Never be afraid to ask questions. Always keep a level head and be easy to work with… And be a hard worker.

CRAS: Great advice. Along those lines, are there any tips or workflows that made your internship or job easier?

Gavin: Be easy to get along with and work hard. Make sure you are ready to go and pre-plan.

CRAS: What is the one thing that sticks with you the most from your time at CRAS?

Gavin: If I could go back I definitely would. I would get in the studios a lot more. I would also add as much Live Sound as possible. Live Sound is a huge part of the industry and there are jobs opening everywhere in Live Sound.

CRAS: Were there any instructors who you felt stood out or imparted some wisdom that stuck with you?

Gavin: Keith Morris, one of your Live Sound instructors, definitely helped me out a lot and taught me a lot. I wouldn’t be where I am without him being one of my instructors and mentors. Along with Pete Bish, Uncle B (Jim Bender), Brian Burrill, I could keep going, but I would probably list everyone at CRAS! Everyone was so helpful!

Thank you so much for your time, Gavin. Congratulations on your success and keep up the great work!

Start your audio engineering career in under 11 months!
Request more info today.

In only 11 months, you’ll learn all 5 focuses of the recording arts at CRAS

Laptop Recording Package Included In the Cost of Tuition

One-of-a-kind Internship