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Apr 16, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

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The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences (CRAS) Master Recording Program

The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences (CRAS) is the premier school for audio recording, engineering, and production education with campuses in Tempe and Gilbert, Ariz. The Conservatory's 900 hour Master Recording Program II is a 42-week program in which students spend 30 intensive weeks on campus learning about sound reinforcement, troubleshooting/maintenance, music business, digital recording, and analog recording.

“Our program is only about audio. At any one time, there are about 480 students onsite and another 150 students out on internships,” says Kevin Becka, director of education for the Gilbert campus and an audio recording and production instructor, musician and studio engineer who has worked with Kenny G, George Benson, Michael Bolton, and Quincy Jones, among others. He is also the technical editor for Mix Magazine, an ASCAP member, and a voting member of NARAS.

Each year, CRAS graduates nearly 800 students after each has passed the coursework and completed a mandatory 280-hour internship. The students go through 10 three-week cycles, and every cycle has three recording classes and a mix of other audio-centric classes—with no more than 12 students in each. The first cycle is classroom work where instructors teach basics such as the physics of sound and introduction to the various technologies. The proceeding cycles are more hands-on such as in the mix lab where students can work on one of six Allen & Heath consoles in groups of two. “They will be asked to do certain tasks like patch audio, create a mix, add reverb to vocals, and the instructors will check their work,” Becka says.

The sound-reinforcement classes include work in the inhouse 6,000-square-foot venue with full staging and lighting where students learn on five different consoles including the Yamaha PM3500 and the Roland RSS M-400 V-Mixer. The real-world setting also includes an L-Acoustics Kudo line array, Lab.gruppen amplifiers, EAW Smaart Live software for system tuning, and in-ear monitoring systems from Sennheiser and Shure. “They can also do remote recording from that room onto Digidesign Pro Tools rigs, which is quickly becoming an industry-standard procedure in sound reinforcement,” Becka says.

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