CRAS Gear Expo 2015

On August 1st, 2015, the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) hosted Gear Expo at our Gilbert, Arizona location. This event was an opportunity for Phoenix-area industry professionals to have a chance to see the latest and greatest gear being presented by manufacturers, without having to travel long distances for a convention or expo. Local studios and companies, as well as CRAS students and graduates, attended Saturday’s event.

We invited many gear manufacturers that we have cultivated relationships with throughout our 20+ year history at CRAS, and it was a great success!

CRAS Gear Expo

The list of manufacturers includes:

  • Solid State Logic | SSL
  • AEA Microphones
  • Rode Microphones
  • Telefunken Microphones
  • Amplified Parts
  • BAE Audio
  • Mojave Audio
  • Cloud Microphones
  • Native Instruments
  • Pure Wave Audio
  • Auralex
  • Focusrite

Having this event on our campus allowed the manufacturers to showcase their gear in the environment they are made for – the studio.

AEA Microphones

Four of our studios at our Gilbert campus held sessions in which many of the manufacturers contributed gear to. These sessions were on going throughout the day, and our guests were invited to hear and see the gear being used.

Rodger Cloud showing off some gear

Studio B, where our Neotek Elite console lives, was a light acoustic session with our studio musician Leo Santiago. He played acoustic guitar, bongos and also sang. Rode supplied their Studio Series microphones for this session, and also showcased their Rode NTR ribbon microphone. The session was engineered by CRAS Instructor David LaBounty.

Rode Mics

In our Studio C, built around our API console, CRAS Instructor Jeff Thomas tracked the band The Barstool Prophets. Mojave Audio lent a huge amount of their microphones to the session, including their MA-300 tube microphone. BAE also had a few racks of their outboard gear which included a 1073D and an 815.

BAE Outboard Gear

Grammy award winning CRAS Graduate Darrell Thorp, in conjunction with CRAS Instructor Tony Nunes, engineered in our flagship studio, Studio A which houses our SSL console. This session was a large session, with no less than 7 musicians in the live room.

Studio A Setup with Darrell Thorp

AEA had a few mics in the room, including a R84 which they used on the saxophone and trumpet. AEA R88s were used on the drum set. Telefunken supplied the vocal mics: a U47 and an Elam 250. BAE had more outboard gear in the A studio, including a 2CR. Cloud Microphones had a few Cloud Lifters being used, which are very clean mic signal boosters. Joe Morris and friends were the house band for the day.

AES and Telefunken Mics in Studio A

Studio D was a busy studio all day! Native Instruments hosted their Komplete audio interface, which students use a version of as part of our Laptop Recording Package. CRAS Instructor Mark Brisbane assisted Native Instruments demonstrating the myriad uses of their Maschine and Kontrol hardware components throughout the day.

Native Instruments Maschine

In our broadcast studio, Studio E, Focusrite was showing their RedNet Ethernet-networked audio interfaces with CRAS Instructor, Brock. RedNet is a unique digital audio interface, using the DANTE digital audio network protocol to distribute signal via ethernet cables. By connecting an array of RedNet interfaces to our in-house network, we were able to push audio from the session in Studio B to the three other active studios in real time, allowing multi-track capabilities in multiple studios simultaneously!

Our Mobile Broadcast Unit (MBU) was also on site for our guests to see. The Mobile Broadcast Unit is an identical setup to our Studio E, just designed on wheels to show up wherever there are audio things going on. Modeled after real-world broadcast trucks, our MBU is a centerpiece for our new Broadcast Audio coursework, with a Studer console. DANTE and fiber-channel hookups allowing seamless audio and video integration with not only our Gilbert and Tempe campuses, but has also been integrated recently at the Arizona Diamondbacks Stadium and NASCAR events.

Inside our Mobile Broadcast Unit at McDowell Mountain Music Festival

SSL also was a huge part of our Gear Expo. They hosted an event the day prior with Darrel Thorp, entitled the Anatomy of a Mix. In this presentation, Darrel showed our student body all the steps that he takes to move a freshly recorded session through the mixing process, to end up with a final, highly polished mix ready for radio. On Saturday during the Gear Expo, SSL was in our Live Sound Venue showing off their AWS-948 console, as well as their Nucleus console. They also had their Duende plug-ins as part of their demos.

SSL Nucleus Console

Our halls were filled with exhibits by our manufacturers, and Auralex acoustic treatments were giving presentations in one of the many classrooms on campus. It’s interesting to see all the different types of engineering that went into designing all these audio products.

Many of the manufacturers donated really great prizes for a raffle that was conducted at the end of the day! Some of the day’s guests walked away with plug-ins, t-shirt swag and even a few microphones!

Studer Vista Console

Thanks to for additional photography!