The CRAS Graduate Also Owns and Operates His Own Production Company and Studio in Mesa, Ariz.
Gilbert, Ariz., Feb. 17, 2021 – If students want to get a head start and a feel for what life as a professional audio engineer will be like, they will want to be inspired and learn from the best in their field. It makes it that much better when one of the best is a graduate of their own institution and a GRAMMY-nominated engineer and studio owner.
Recently, students from The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS; www.cras.edu), the premier institution for audio engineering education, were able to participate in a grad panel Zoom session featuring CRAS graduate Zachary Rippy. “Rippy”, as he is known, engineered, mixed, and mastered Power Trip’s “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe) – LIVE”, nominated for Best Metal Performance for this year’s 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards, which is scheduled for Sunday, March 14 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Having Rippy join us on Zoom so he could host an online event and talk to CRAS students about his experiences in the industry was a perfect example of what makes an education from CRAS so unique,” said David Kohr, CRAS AES Faculty Advisor. “Having Rippy hang with CRAS students and share his insight and stories about the touring industry was extremely beneficial and inspirational for the students and staff in attendance, and we can’t thank him enough for taking the time to hang with us and share some of his experiences.”
Mackenzie Blair, CRAS AES co-chair, said that it was “truly insightful hearing about Zach’s story and how he thought he might want to do something only to be thrust into a different discipline…[it] opens doors in one’s mind about their own path.”
Besides being a GRAMMY-nominated recording and mix engineer, Rippy also tours mixing front of house. Specializing in metal and rock music, he has worked with Power Trip, Full of Hell, Gatecreeper, Vein, Code Orange, Wristmeetrazor, Defeater and many more. Rippy also owns his own production company (Sound Signal Audio) and recording studio, based in Mesa, Ariz.
“It was an absolute pleasure and I am humbled having been asked to do a CRAS grad panel,” said Rippy, who graduated CRAS in 2013. “What I tried to get across to CRAS’ current students is that there isn’t really a point in which one achieves ‘success”, but that hard work, persistence and intention are everything. Talent can get you in the door but attitude and work ethic can easily separate the adults from the babies in this world.”
Rippy explained that he first attended CRAS with the intention of making records like the ones he grew up listening to. “Fresh out of CRAS, I interviewed at Capitol Studios but did not get the job,” he said. “I then drove cross country to New York and interviewed at Cove City Sound Studios. I got the job and started that same week as an intern. My time at CRAS got me ready for the actual schedule and pace of the studio and music industry. There are no days off and there’s always work on the weekends. I was ready to jump into my internship and learn lots of lessons.”
The following year, Rippy returned to Arizona to start his own production company.
“As an independent engineer, I feel like CRAS gave me a wide tool set that I was able to implement in the past and still use today,” Rippy concluded. “I also made priceless connections and friendships while I was there. What I really got out of it was accountability and work ethic. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for getting on that type of schedule early in my career.”
Added CRAS student Andy Bergendorf, “It was great to hear (Rippy’s) story of how he made a name for himself by being professional and doing what he felt was right. He mentioned how he wanted to work with bands that played the music that he is passionate about, and I feel the same way. When you are passionate about it, you work harder and can definitely succeed.”
Kohr concluded, “We look forward to having Rippy come to host an event at the school once we’re allowing onsite guests again and possibly even setting up a tour to check out his studio since he’s local here in Arizona.”
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences is composed of two nearby campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz. A CRAS education includes broadcast audio, live sound, film and TV audio, music, and video game audio, all taught by award-winning instructors who have all excelled in their individual fields, including sound reinforcement, audio recording and production, digital recording, troubleshooting/maintenance, and music business.
CRAS structured programs and highly qualified teaching staff provide a professional and supportive atmosphere, which is complemented by its small class sizes allowing for individual instruction and assistance for students in engineering audio recordings. CRAS has been providing quality vocational training in audio recording for more than three decades. The curriculum and equipment are constantly being updated to keep pace with the rapid advancements in the music and sound recording industries. CRAS’ course offerings and subject matter have always centered around the skills and knowledge necessary for students’ success in the audio recording industries.
The 11-month program is designed to allow every student access to learn and train in all of the Conservatory’s studios which are comprised with state-of-the-art audio recording and mixing gear, the same equipment used in today’s finest studios and remote broadcast facilities, including Pro Tools 12, API Legacy consoles, SSL AWS consoles, Studer Vista consoles, and much more. All students must complete a 280-hour industry internship to graduate from the Master Recording Program II that may ultimately lead to industry employment.