Grad Spotlight: Carlos Sanches

Grad Spotlight: Carlos Sanches

July 25, 2013

Graduating in 2003 with a 4.0 GPA and perfect attendance, Carlos Sanches has really taken his career to a new level, and has also won an Emmy! Currently he is working as a re-recording mixer in the post production industry, and took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us!

Did your internship go as expect?

My internship at Signet Sound was a bit disappointing, but not unexpected. I did however learn to make a very nice fruit basket and bread tray! I found that in order to actually get somewhere in my career, I had to take the initiative myself and find a better job. I finished my internship hours at a small local music studio, Sanctuary Studios where I was able to actually do the work i was trained to do at the Conservatory. A big studio internship sure sounds great and is appealing, but rarely leads to jobs at that studio. Interns are simply too inexperienced to get on right away. Working in a smaller studio, where you can gain real world experience is much more valuable when you are seeking that BIG studio job.

Did you have any memorable internship horror or success stories?

Nothing too interesting during my internship, all went well. But soon thereafter, I got a job editing at a studio that specialized in reality television. I started by doing “pre-lay”, basically editing dialogue and sound effects for the mixers to come in and work. When a mixer wasn’t available, I was called up to mix. I had no idea what I was doing, though at the time I thought I did. Mixing music, and mixing for broadcast television are two very different beasts. I was fired halfway through the day, and the mixer who called in sick had to come in and fix the train wreck that I had created. The studio was kind though and let me try again a few months later. In that time, I talked with and learned from the mixers at the studio what I had to do, and I practiced as much as I could on my free time. The next time I mixed, I was hired for an entire season of a show on the Speed Network.

How did you end up in your current position?

I ended up at Warner Bros. Sound through networking, hard work and through the support of my fellow coworkers. After I left Sanctuary Studios, I worked for $300 a week at TriCoast Studios. There, I learned how to properly cut sound effects, mix trailers and worked on my first feature film. From there I met a sound supervisor who introduced me to the manager of Mercury Sound, a big step up from my current position. I sent in a resume and talked with them, and six months later, they hired me. There I learned even more about Pro Tools, mixing on a large format console (the Euphonix System 5), foreign dubs, making stems and deliverables, M&E’s, and many new pieces of gear. After I began steadily mixing for Mercury Sound, the studio next door that had been using our mix stage for their shows, built their own mix stage and made me an offer to be their staff mixer. I’ve been working for Audio Circus ever since. In 2011, Audio Circus was purchased and integrated in Warner Bros. Sound Studios. We are now their premiere department for Sound for Animation. I’ve also branched out and am mixing for DreamWorks Animation as well in their new state of the art mixing stage.

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

Definitely a few times! The first was getting a hug from Salma Hayek after recording a director’s commentary track for her directorial debut. At Warner Bros., it’s very fun to walk around with, share elevators with stars like George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Conan O’Brien, and Olivia Wilde. I’ll never get used to it. Recently I had a great moment meeting Dane Davis, Oscar winning sound designer of The Matrix. I finally was able to tell him that he was the reason I started this career, after seeing that film, I knew I wanted to be in the movie making sound business. But by far the most unreal moment I’ve had was walking up to the podium and receiving an Emmy, I’d never been that thrilled or excited in my entire life.

Do you have any words of wisdom for new students?

My words to new students would be this: The best and most successful people in our industry, are also the kindest, most humble, giving and personable people around. If you want to be make it in post production sound, you have to not only have the necessary skills, you have to be the kind of person who can be in a dark room with a bunch of clients for 10-12 hours a day, and come out laughing.

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

Organization, both in file management and in how your Pro Tools session is set up for mixing. Have a file structure that separates each element from each other. Dialogue, Music, Effects, Foley, Backgrounds. And then in your mix session, have each of these groups saved as a window configuration. Mix each element one at a time, adding in one element after the other has been completed, making each new layer shine. When that is complete, take another listen as a whole, preferably on a different set of speakers, and tweak till it’s perfect.

If you could go through the Conservatory curriculum again, would you change anything? Either on a personal level or a change to the curriculum?

If I could go through the Conservatory again, I think I would have taken the time to collaborate more with my fellow students on their projects. We didn’t have our own laptops at that time, and the only time we had to be on Pro Tools or on a console was at the school. I would have liked more time doing more on both. I would like to see a bigger emphasis on Post Production sound, there are many more jobs available in Post than in music nowadays, and it would be great to have new students with more knowledge of what we do on a a daily basis. Classes on dialogue editing, sound design, sound effects editing, foley, and intensive classes for mixing for television and film would be great to have at CRAS.

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

I always remember how impressed I was with the technical knowledge that Robert Brock has. He always had the answer to all of our Pro Tools and other questions. I wanted to be like that, he inspired me to know my gear in and out, and it has proven essential in my career. John Berry’s music business class was also fantastic. I loved his enthusiasm, kindness and wit. And I’ll never forget when a train horn went off in the distance and he said, “That’s a B Flat, a quarter step sharp.”

Congratulations Carlos! That you so much for your time and continue doing great things!

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Grad Spotlight: Daniel Hilsenbeck

Grad Spotlight: Daniel Hilsenbeck

July 4, 2013

People ask all the time if going to school is “worth it”. Especially in the field of music and audio recording, there seems to be a divide between pro-school and self-schooled learning. At the Conservatory, we take pride in our strong curriculum that focuses not only on how to run studios and gear, but even takes it to the fundamental aspects of what sound really “is”. I believe that is why we can have countless success stories like the one I’m going to share you with now!

Starting the CRAS adventure in late 2010 and graduating in mid-2011, Daniel Hilsenbeck has just recently made a monumental achievement. As you can see at the top of this page, we like to collect gold and platinum records that our alumni have worked on, and now we have one more to add to the wall! At this rate we’re going to need to build another campus just to house these things. The other day he was notified that he is eligible for a gold record, and we had the opportunity to go ahead and let him know that it is actually going to be a platinum one instead.

So with pride I write this and I’m looking forward to seeing the platinum version of an album I own and love, The Black Keys “El Camino”. He contributed to engineering this album that has sold over 1 million copies in the US alone, and near a million in other countries world wide, as well as winning the 2013 Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album.

He was nice enough to take the time to sit down and answer some of my questions, so here it is, from his mouth to your ears!

Did your internship go as you expected?

Well I would have to say it went beyond expectations. Of course I started out doing the cleaning and food runs. Then I went to Nashville to gain more experience in the field and basically landed the gig with The Black Keys as an Assistant Engineer. I was at the right place at the right time and my knowledge of microphone placements and patching played a big role.

What was your most memorable internship success story?

The success was going in to Easy Eye Sound Studio, which recently opened up for the band by Auerbach. Already almost done with the album, the manager asked if I had experience with microphone placements and patch work. So after the band set up the equipment I went in and placed all the microphones as they asked. I made the needed patches into the board and recording started.

How did you end up in your current position?

Well after the album was released I moved back to Arizona. With all the new knowledge I obtained from working at The Saltmine and at Easy Eye, a very close friend of mine wanted to open his own studio. Having all the needed equipment he still needed someone to engineer, so I took the part.

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

Star struck, no, because I know they are people like us. The unreal moment was when I was asked to work on The Black Keys album as an assistant engineer. It was a dream come true. That moment will live with me forever. Also finding out that I would at the least receive a gold record from it.

Do you have any words of wisdom for new students?

Never give up on your dreams. Always strive for excellence. Hard work and dedication will pay off in the long run. Of course you have to start at the bottom of the pole, but as long as you put your heart in to it and show that you are passionate they will notice. During your internship try to go above and beyond. Do the small things before the staff even has to ask you to do them.

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

Yeah i used my own advice about always trying to do things before I was asked to them. Had a little routine I would do every time I came to work. It made the day that much easier. Also the manager and other engineers noticed and earned me a few spots helping out on major projects.

If you could go through the Conservatory program again, would you change anything? Either on a personal level or a change to the curriculum?

To be honest I wouldn’t change a thing. I spent most of the time at the school even as a 1st cycle student sitting in on sessions. The higher cycles giving advice and I would take that in to consideration and use that to my advantage.

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

All the instructors at CRAS are unbelievable. Each one shared some light and knowledge that helped me get to where I am at today. The entire staff at CRAS are down to earth wonderful people. Im really honored to have had the opportunity to attend the school, and now I’m doing what I love to do. I couldn’t ask for a more amazing experience and would like to say thank you to each of you.

Thank you, and congratulations! It is always wonderful to hear success stories, especially when it hits close to home like this album has for me. Keep up the great work!

Lonely Boy

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CRAS Grad Panel Part 6 – The Finale

CRAS Grad Panel Part 6 – The Finale

June 3, 2013

Following up on our Grad Panel post from yesterday, here is the continuation:

From left to right –

Jeremy Hinskton – A2 Engineer at Music Mix Mobile
Callie Thurman – Sound Dialogue Editor at Wildfire Post
Andrew Wuepper – Mix Engineer, Freelance
Maggie O’Brien – Production and Operations Manager at Blue Microphones
Eric Rennaker – Studio Manager at Bedrock LA

When we left off, we were going over what these grads look for in an intern. We will continue with tips and suggestions on how to be the best you can be, perhaps without even being seen.

Crowd Question: I just had a question about interning and being a new hire. I know the basics of it, like you guys are going through the whole better to be invisible kind of stuff. But from experience, do you know of any interns who had a wow factor? Like, I knew you were going to be good because of this, or I saw this in you that I didn’t see in someone else.

Maggie: That kid that pulled out a notebook was a stud in his interview. Then he knew our entire product line. He did stuff before I had even thought to ask for it. You have to make yourself a commodity. So many people are willing to intern, look at how many people are in this room. You’re all going to be an intern. But what’s going to make you stand out from everybody else? You need to find your niche and capitalize on it. And you need to find out who you are working for and what they are into. That’s the best advice. You have to people watch. Even to play on the invisibility factor, you’ll get curveballs. I worked at a private studio and when the engineer interviewed me, he was like listen, the artist is really artsy. He doesn’t like a lot of people, so when you meet him don’t talk to him. Just be invisible, be a fly on the wall. I pulled up into the driveway, and dude was sitting outside. They guy gives me a huge hug and I’m like I’m not supposed to talk to you! He invites me in for tea in his study and he’s showing me all his artwork and stuff. You just have to be ready for those things. Be quiet, but also pay attention and know when it’s OK to talk to those people. But I’d really say find your niche. If you can find out something that your boss loves and you can do that without them realizing it, or find out what they hate and never do that.

Andrew: That’s what I was going to say. Anticipating people’s needs. I had an assistant one time, and when I came in I asked for some coffee from Starbucks. I dunno, some iced Americano or something. And every day after that when I came in, that coffee was sitting by my Pro Tools rig. I mean, some of the days I didn’t want it, but the fact that he remembered that and it was just there…Just being able to see what people want, what they like, without having to ask them. Just knowing. That’s definitely a wow factor, those are the types of things that get you noticed. When I showed up and I saw the coffee, I was like oh shit! I didn’t ask for this but the fact that someone went out of their way to get it for me. That is the type of thing that makes me go and ask the receptionist who got this for me? Because they are the shit. Especially when you work with engineers who were interns, because they see interns doing things like that, and they think that was something that I would have done as an intern. That makes me notice that intern for sure. Then once you’re on the radar, then I start watching them all the time. So anticipating people’s needs is a good way to get people’s attention as an intern, without being all up in their face. You don’t have to get their attention all flashy like. You get to be behind the scenes and get their attention by anticipating their needs.

Callie: I know a good thing that I’ve noticed with people…If you treat whatever you’re given…Say you have to get someone a bagel. Treat that bagel, and I know this is going to sound silly but, treat that like it was something that you had to edit in Pro Tools. The kind of work that you had to put in to mixing some music, put into that bagel. Because people are going to start noticing. And if you get that bagel, that coffee, that lunch perfectly every time, people are going to start realizing that oh, they pay attention to detail. They check their work. They’re going to start giving you little bitty things that you can do and it’s just going to get bigger and bigger. If I can trust him getting my coffee right, maybe I can give him this little piece of film to edit. If he does good on that, maybe I’ll give him a little bit more audio to edit. So everything you do, treat it as if it was important. It is your job for that moment. It has to be important, whether it’s making photocopies or cleaning toilets. Do it the best that you can. Listen to every detail that is given to you. Check your work. Recheck your work. Even if you’re just making a couple copies of these ADR cue sheets. It’s just whatever little task. If you’re like, man this is just a donut…But make sure you give them the right donut. Maybe some extra napkins, make it cute. Something. Treat it as important as if you were behind a Pro Tools rig. Even though you might just be behind a counter just being client service. Because client services are just so important when you are an intern or a runner. That’s what I would look at, if I could see someone has some client services on their resume, that was always a big trigger for me to be like, OK they worked at Starbucks, they know how to handle people. Sometimes I would look at that before I looked at their audio. You need that and you just need a good vibe. We’ve had actors come in constantly to do ADR…we’ve had some interns that have just been really creepy and creep everyone out and will follow the actor. We’re like “what are you doing?!” But he’s in my favorite movie! I know, but you can’ cling and be creepy. You want people to want to be around you. You can’t stare at them or follow them or linger. So you really have to know your environment and know the vibe and just treat everything as if it was the biggest thing that you could be doing at that time.

Jeremy: Remember names!

Andrew: And Al Pacino may look like the homeless man sitting outside, so don’t be mean to the homeless man sitting outside.

Becky Fimbres [internship coordinator]: I have one question for all of you. Well, it’s not even a question. I want you guys to give them one piece of advice that they should take away from their education here. Do this. Don’t do this. Remember to always do this, based on their time here.

Andrew: Don’t let this be the end of your education. This is just the beginning. This is the infancy stage. You learn so many amazing things in this school and I know it’s so much knowledge crammed into just a couple of months, but it’s so much that you are learning, so much terminology, so much signal flow, Pro Tools, all these different things, but when you get out there you will realize that this is just the starting point. When you get out there in the real world, that is when you’re real learning begins. And that’s when the real homework and the real studying has to begin. Right now you’re getting knowledge so you can walk into a control room and know what’s up. OK, this is a patch bay. Channel line inputs. Multi-track returns. Cool, I understand this. But you don’t know how to interact with clients yet, you don’t know how to manage producer egos yet. You don’t know how to give a sound that a client is asking for, make this sound like this. You don’t know how to do that yet. You may know how to make a patch, or route signal through an SSL, but when you leave here that’s when the real education begins. Never ever stop learning, never stop studying. Take what you learn here and keep building on it. Keep studying as hard as you are now when you get out there. Even more so.

Callie: Take advantage of everything that you guys have here. All the studio time, all the equipment. Soak it all in.

Andrew: Book those late night sessions at the Tempe SSL, all that stuff.

Callie: You may not be touching a console for a while. It could be years before you get to touch any kind of equipment. So take advantage and learn Pro Tools. Learn Pro Tools.

Jeremy: I think I would say I know that everybody hates wrapping cables and getting their cables back and rewrap them, cuz we all hated it. Man, I am so happy when I unwrap a cable and there is no loops, no knots, because sometimes I’m dealing with 100 footers, 200 footers, and if somebody can’t wrap a cable right it’s so frustrating. So don’t get frustrated at these guys because you’re not doing what they’re telling you. Just do what they tell you. And if you can’t get help. Just do it. Don’t worry about it. The other thing is, be open to things. When I came here I was thinking OK, like I said I’m not a big techie person. I want to make my stuff sound good and that’s it. I didn’t care about music business, I didn’t care about the live sound and satellite recording. And what did I end up doing? Satellite recording. We had one class on it and I didn’t pay attention whatsoever, I didn’t care, I was like whatever. And that’s all I’m doing now. So be open. I wish I would have been more open to live sound. There are a lot of live sound gigs. I could have been working at the Whisky for a long time doing sound. They were like, “Do you know how to do this?” I said “well yeah, I do. It’s a console I know how to do it, but I didn’t pay attention to that.” Tuning the room and stuff like that. Be open to things like that. Also, just being quiet. People teach you here that when you get out, you’re nothing. You really aren’t anything. So don’t get out thinking that just because you’re certified you know things, because you don’t. You don’t know anything. You have a piece of paper. So remember that, and be humble. That’s the biggest thing you can do, be humble and have people like you. The rest of the stuff you can learn.

Callie: Or they’ll teach you.

Eric: I agree with everything you guys have been saying. One thing that I would say is don’t become jaded. Remember why you got into this. Remember why you wanted to get into the music industry, or why you wanted to get into the post industry. It’s tough, it’s a tough life. Don’t let it wear you down, you’ll get there. It’s important to just persevere and keep remembering why you’re doing it. For the love of music. For the love of movies. For the love of live sound. For the love of post production. For the love of video games, whatever. Why did you choose this lifestyle? That’s one of the biggest things to remember. Why did you do this? Why did you work so hard towards this? That’s one thing that I notice, that a lot of people lose sight of that spark. It’s tough when you’ve been running for three years and you don’t feel like you’re going to make it. Don’t let that jade you and don’t let that make you get complacent. Don’t let that ruin your drive to do something. If you’re tired of running at a studio for three years, it might be time to look at another studio, or another gig, or something else. I’ve seen some people stay in the same job and not go anywhere. Not because they weren’t any good, but because they allowed themselves to get complacent and jaded, and too comfortable.

Jeremy: I want to add something real quick to what he was saying about not giving up and stuff like that. I was about to give up. I lived in Switzerland, and I left Switzerland to come to this school. I went and did my internship for a while and it was hard and I didn’t have any money and it was freelance and it sucked. I was like, you know what, screw this, I’m going to go back to Switzerland and do my stuff back there. I stayed in contact with one of the instructors here and he would hit me up every now and then and how things were going. And I said it’s not going and I’m about to leave cuz I’m done. He was like, alright, give me a minute. I’ll call you back in five minutes. And he called Greg Stefus who was my intern coordinator at the time, and they had the gig with Mark Linett. And they said call him in 5 minutes because no one had taken the gig. And luckily because the people here cared…I was already done with the internship, I was already out of the school, but because they people here still cared about it, I got hooked up in the gig that I’m doing now. And I was this close to leaving. So don’t give up.

Maggie: I think it’s important to remember what you are doing and that it’s going to be OK. When you get out of here, it’s just like they said, you’re not going to be anybody. You’re just going to be that intern, or the person trying to be an intern. And it gets tough, and it gets overwhelming and it gets expensive. But don’t sweat it. You just got to keep your head down and you gotta keep going because it will be fine. You did well here, there is a reason you got through this. Yes, the real learning begins, but also the real fun begins. And you can’t ever forget that. You just need to always remember that you’re going to be fine and you know what you need to know. Listen, the technical stuff, you have got to keep your chops up. But as long as you have the right attitude and you keep going, you’re going to be OK.

Andrew: That’s right, your attitude is what’s going to get you in the door, not your chops. Your chops is what’s going to keep you in the room that the door opened to. Also remember to, what you are getting into is not a job. It’s a lifestyle. 120%. It’s a lifestyle. A job is something you go to during the day and you go home and that’s where you live your life. But this, you’re always at the studio. You live there essentially. The people you associate with are living the same lifestyle. You talk about gear, you talk about music, you talk about engineers and producers. You talk about how you’re sick of eating Top Ramen. You talk about all the same things because you are all in the same boat. It’s a lifestyle. And these are the people you are going to rise in the ranks with, and these are the people that are going to become your best friends, because they feel what you are going through. I lost all my friends when I went into the industry. All of my friends from high school, my girlfriend, I’m sorry. They just didn’t get it. And I made new friends with the people who were doing what I was trying to do because you are all in it together. You all become hooked on the lifestyle. And that’s when it really becomes fun and you realize you’re really part of something special. When you work on that special record, or that special film, or whatever you do, that’s when it becomes worth it. Because that’s there forever. Your name is printed on that record, or that movie forever, and no matter what happens…People can doubt you, people back home or wherever can say “oh he didn’t do anything”. Oh really? Well here’s my name in this. It’s proof and it’s there forever.

Callie: And keep up good hygiene!

Eric: Don’t smell.

Andrew: You gotta keep a bag with you. A gig bag.

Eric: Yeah, keep an overnight bag with you in your trunk. I swear. Toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo, t-shirt, change of clothes, the whole deal…

Jeremy: I’m not teaching you how to wash yourself for $45 an hour though! A ninja, OK.

And that concludes our incredibly informative discussion. There is so much valuable information that our grads were able to provide us with. While the panel had a decent turn-out, there are certainly more people that should have been there. Keep that in mind…by not making yourself available, or putting yourself out there, or being part of extra activities, you could be missing out on some great opportunities or knowledge. Take advantage of everything that you possibly can!

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The Great Gatsby Soundtrack: Special Edition

The Great Gatsby Soundtrack: Special Edition

June 13, 2013

Based upon the 1925 literary work by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby is an interesting commentary on the lavish lifestyle of the rich and famous. The tale followed Nick Carraway in his travels seeking a true purpose in existence, and his interactions with Jay Gatsby prove that there is more to life than being rich and decadent. Relaunched in 2013, The Great Gatsby was reworked into a modern film, and lived up to its name by grossing over $100M in its first month at the box offices.

The soundtrack, as can any soundtrack to a film, provided an important and interesting perspective on the classic tale. Produced by Jay-Z, of the coincidentally ironic Roc-A-Fella Records (a cheeky tie-in to the Rockefeller dynasty) the album spared no expense, including many famous modern artists from Jack White of the White Stripes, to Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Ray, Gotye and of course, Beyonce.

To add to the ostentatiousness of the entire production, Third Man Records, which is Jack White’s record label, decided to release what can only be considered the most avante garde, flamboyant display of aural production in modern history. They decided to do a small run of 100 gold and platinum metallic discs, which you would of course only want to play on your diamond encrusted turntables. Supposedly this is the first time ever that vinyl records have been given this treatment, and at $250 for the set, I’d hope that they sound as good as they look!

The double disc special edition contains 17 total tracks, and will be housed in a custom laser-cut wooden jacket with riveted aluminum spines. Monday saw the release of the standard, 180 gram version that us peasants can afford, and is only merely gold foil stamped. Looking at the special edition version, you can tell a lot of time was spent in the design and planning of the package – they even decided to include cotton gloves to preserve the luster and quality of the discs while being handled, although a note included in the package states “While these records are absolutely playable on most turntables, if you are concerned about the life of your set, we do not recommend heavy rotation”!

These discs are already burning up eBay, with the first set I found at a current price of $550!

I have also come across information that one of our CRAS Grads, Warren Babson, actually contributed some work to this album too! After graduating from the Conservatory in 2008 with a 4.0 GPA, Warren has done quite a bit of work, getting Assistant Engineer and Engineering credits on albums by Estelle, Justin Bieber, Gucci Mane, and Musiq Soulchild. He was also present in some of the engineering for the soundtrack of Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. For The Great Gatsby, Warren mixed “Where The Wind Blows”, by Coco O. of Quadron! Congratulations Warren!

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Grad Spotlight: Follow Up with Eric Nichols

Grad Spotlight: Follow Up with Eric Nichols

June 10, 2013

In a previous post, we mentioned CRAS Grad Eric Nichols. Eric started his audio career training at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in October of 2010. Since then he has been constantly working in various fields, and has recently landed a pretty sweet gig! While he spent a lot of his time doing radio and live sound, he recently got accepted as Associate Producer with Learfield Sports in Missouri. We recently caught up with him, and here is his report from his first week on the job!

“Aside from a very nice welcome package waiting for me on my studio chair (flash drive, new bag, receptionist greeting card and more), I was put to work almost right away learning the ropes after reintroducing myself to people I met during my interview.

“I was in charge of getting all radio stations hooked up with radio station personalized liners for football season. YES! Football season starts the day after the national championship game. So I will get scripts and send them to all the play-by-play guys to read for the local stations. I am also writing and producing some of the football promos for all Universities, 2 generic and one custom…so we have to research new coaches, players up for the Heisman award and things like that to see what is going on with each football program!

“The only sports going on right now is NCAA Baseball Tournament action. Compared to Football and Basketball, its very slow going and long hours with rain delays, double headers and the loser’s bracket. But it’s a great time to learn how to get your feet wet. For the most part I setup the computers and the ISDN satellite lines for that days games. A software called Sky View runs the commercials when cued up with a mouse click. Then there is a great program called “highlight capture”. When the board operator hears a big play they can hit record and it starts recording 2 minutes BEFORE the point where you hit record, so nothing is cut off. Then the producer edits it down with fades in and out, and a vocal compressor. Sometimes (especially during basketball) you gotta be a super quick editor to get the highlights on in time if requested!

“We also record every broadcast for archiving purposes in Adobe Audition. A few play by play people request highlights for the next day’s game or for morning show sportscast.

“Like almost every other profession, bad stuff happens. We have stations who on their side lose the broadcast, so we have phone lines for each university ready to go so they can run the game off the phone line. It’s not as good as a satellite signal but its gets everyone’s commercials cleared and ran on the air!

“Usually if we “lose the satellite signal” for a game, it’s a quick redial of the ISDN line. It’s as quick as calling anyone on a cell phone, but it sounds like the old 56k dial up!

“I will say I am amazed how much the stuff I learned at CRAS makes me friends with the Chief Engineers since I speak their language. I think I am going to help with the installation of the new broadcast booths if allowed to!

“The company in general has blown me away with the hospitality of its employees. It’s a company everyone would enjoy. I met the CEO today and he said “let’s do lunch, I wanna get to know you.” I WAS FLOORED! But then again, he’s the guy who participated in the Learfield Harlem Shake video!

“Every signal also runs thru a DBX 160 with a 6:1 ratio…[Here at the Conservatory we have a DBX 160 in nearly every studio]

“As we prepare for Football season, I hear the work will be ungodly. There is hell week in August and I have been told to prepare my wife for not seeing me for that month. So many commercials to prepare and produce!”

It’s awesome to hear that things are working out so well for you, Eric! It takes a lot of work to get somewhere in the audio industry, a lot of patience and a lot of dedication. We can also see here that there is a lot more to the audio industry than just music, movies and television. The entire broadcast spectrum of the audio field is something a lot of people don’t think about! There are so many radio stations, live shows, sports games, car races and other live events that require all sorts of audio technicians – from the mics on stage, on the floor, to the producer’s desk, to the broadcast room and beyond!

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

CRAS Student Selected for the Sennheiser Mentor Program

CRAS Student Selected for the Sennheiser Mentor Program

May 17, 2013

Congratulations to CRAS student Brad Bacon for being selected for the Sennheiser Mentor Program.

Sennheiser will fly Brad to Charlotte, NC where he’ll spend the weekend observing the audio production process involved in broadcasting NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600. Brad will be shadowing Fox Sports Sr. Audio Mixer Fred Aldous, who just won his 20th Sports Emmy award.

Fred, who happens to live in the Phoenix area where CRAS is located, dropped by the school and was able to meet Brad before his trip. He spent time going over the track and production compound layouts to give Brad some sense of what he’ll see during his trip later this May.

This marks the second student from CRAS to be accepted into the mentorship program. Last year Shawn Brewer was also selected to shadow Fred.

“He asked if things ever go wrong, and I said, no, nothing that you can’t handle as long as you’ve done all of your prep work correctly and anticipated where problems can arise,” Fred says. “He understands that broadcast is a situation where you get one chance to get it right the first time, and he appreciated that.”

Aldous, an Emmy Award winner for his mixing work, toured Brewer through Game Creek’s four-truck compound, including the FX A unit, the main production truck where Aldous operated from a Calrec Alpha with Bluefin; FX D and its Calrec Sigma used for the track-effects submix; and FX D, where a Yamaha M7CL console handled audio for the wireless in-car and other race comms.

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

Grad Spotlight: David Davis

Grad Spotlight: David Davis

May 14, 2013

After finishing the Conservatory program in 2010, David Davis went off to LA to follow his dreams of recording. And if you want to get into the audio industry, LA is one of the best places you could possibly go. He interned and then has been assisting at EastWest Studios in Hollywood. EastWest has recorded all kinds of people, from Johnny Cash to Bing Crosby, Fiona Apple to Audioslave.

As soon as Western opened, it was producing some of the biggest records of the pop era. The first session recorded here in Studio 1 was Petula Clark’s number one hit “My Love”. Elvis Presley revived his career here with his 1968 Comeback Special. Frank Sinatra recorded such hits as “My Way”, “That’s Life”, “Strangers In The Night” and “The Lady Is a Tramp”, along with “Somethin’ Stupid” – the famed duet with his daughter Nancy.

By the mid-60s, the studios had become the musical epicenter of the pop and hippie movement. In Studio 3, The Mamas and The Papas recorded “California Dreaming” and “Monday, Monday”. Scott McKenzie laid down his classic track “San Francisco”, while The Beach Boys ushered in a new era of sound with their masterpiece album Pet Sounds.

The studios weren’t just known for turning out rock and pop hits. Famous themes for film and television were recorded here including the themes from M*A*S*H, Mission Impossible, The Monkees, Hawaii Five-O, The Partridge Family, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Godfather.

One of the perks of working at a recording studio is that you can get killer deals on working on your own projects. Here is what he has been working on in conjunction with a few other CRAS grads. It was released on iTunes today.

The I Know Rights – “Sometimes” 

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

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Grad Spotlight: Eddie Mapp

Grad Spotlight: Eddie Mapp

May 2, 2013

Conservatory graduate Eddie Mapp has done a ton of work in the past 15 years since he finished the program. Spending a lot of time both in the studio as well as doing live sound, his credit list continues to expand. From being a studio engineer and co-producer for Black Label Society, to running live sound as the FOH mixer for Evanescence, he has fully immersed himself in the audio industry.

In 2011, he wrote a premier article for Mix Magazine, outlining his techniques on how to be mic and mix vocal performances. Clearly his training, as well as his massive experience in the industry, has led him to becoming one of the most sought after engineers, especially in the live sound arena.

Reproducing the human voice in a concert situation can range from extremely easy (throw up the fader and go) to quite complex, depending on a number of situations surrounding the vocal. Are you mixing a soft-spoken singer, an aggressive rock group with multiple lead vocalists, or a pop artist whose crowd comprises 20,000 young teenage girls screaming at SPL levels higher than anything you’d ever want to compete with mixing-wise? In all of these environments, getting the vocal out there and on top is key to your mix.

In addition to bleed between other onstage instruments, fighting feedback can be a challenge depending on your singer and his/her position onstage. During the 2008 Stone Temple Pilots reunion tour, lead singer Scott Weiland was very energetic—many times climbing up the P.A. or stage trussing, as well as standing in front of the main P.A. for entire songs. This made it extremely difficult to keep his vocal on top of the mix while battling feedback from the main system, and I took many different directions before finding a solution. Using a combination of channel EQ, dynamic EQ, graphic EQ and even a Sabine feedback suppressor, I was able to maintain a reasonably consistent vocal with minimal feedback.

As a mixing engineer, it is your job to be attentive and deliver the best and most consistent show night after night, and this means paying close attention to the artist. Your knowledge of the artist and your ability to make split-second decisions cannot be replicated.

Recently Director of Education Mike Jones and educational assistant Matt Luckett had a chance to catch Eddie doing his thing live for Paramore when they hit up Comerica Theater here in Phoenix.

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: Eric Nichols

Grad Spotlight: Eric Nichols

April 24, 2013

Eric Nichols started his audio career training at the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in October of 2010. Since then he has been constantly working in various fields, and has recently landed a pretty sweet gig! While he spent a lot of his time doing radio and live sound, he recently got accepted as Associate Producer with Learfield Sports in Missouri.

I have accepted an Associate Producer position with Learfield Sports, in Jefferson City Missouri.  My job will consist of radio imaging/commercial production and floor director during major broadcast events.

Learfield provides 1000s of radio and television stations with college sports, mainly football, basketball, hockey and baseball. Using an ISDN line with satellite linkup we provide the mothership signal for all major university partners.

Here is a link to our partners. LearfieldSports.com

My job is to insure that the product of each broadcast gets delivered properly to all our board operators and engineers through the ISDN lines. The production studios use SM7B’s with Adobe Audition, professional grade radio control boards and Tannoy monitors.

They are in the process of bringing up the audio quality to a much higher level due to the inexpensive access to hard drive space! This is a family company that really invests in people and my wife and I are very excited for this opportunity.

I asked Eric about the path he took once he finished his classes at CRAS in 2011.

After I left CRAS, due to financial reasons I finished my internship and went back to Illinois. I continued to do radio production from home, just like I did while I was at CRAS. In Bloomington, where I lived, there weren’t a lot of opportunities, so my wife and I really put our energy into trying to find opportunity in bigger markets.

We were close to moving to Cleveland and Memphis, but both of those opportunities did not come through. The one thing that is been the hardest is staying positive when no doors are opening.

It really took its toll on my confidence. What I can say is when the right opportunity comes it is worth it, although it might not be the thing you thought you wanted. When I went to CRAS, EVERY instructor  knew “Eric wants to to Post Production,”  which would be awesome if that eventually happened!  You never know what will come your way.  The thrill of live broadcasting is something I have been a part of for a while, and to do it on a much higher level for almost every state in the country on “Saturday Gameday” in a fun environment will be very gratifying!

Everyone here at CRAS says congrats, Eric! Keep up the good 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