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Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences - September 8, 2013

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Today CRAS students were given the opportunity to tour The Saltmine Studio Oasis, Arizona's largest facility consisting of a classic and modern recording atmosphere in one! The tour was led by Don Salter (Owner/Manager & Producer) of the Saltmine, who has been in the audio business for over 25 years, accompanied by two CRAS graduates Daniel Micheletti (Engineer, Producer & Intern Cord.), as well as Tyler Nervig (Engineer/Producer). In the tour students got to see 3 of the 4 studios at Saltmine and the outdoor venue too! Studio A (The Tracking Studio) was the first studio students got to see. This studio consisted of a 48 channel 70's vintage custom Neve console. Outside of the control room were 5 ISO rooms, one being a cathedral drum room containing a Yamaha C7 Grand Piano, Fender Rhodes piano, DW 6 piece drum set, 200+ microphones and so much more! Don Salter explained to the students some of the constructions of the live rooms. Some of the features included non-parallel surfaces, floating floors and walls filled with sand, then topped with concrete in order to ensure a classic vintage sound. Next students got to see Studio B (The Mixing Studio) which contained a restored SSL 6064 E G+ TR. This room included Pro Tools HD X, ATR Master Recorder (1 inch), a vocal booth, and Westlake Monitors. A specifically intriguing feature of the room was the Hemholt Resonators paneling. They were placed at different heights and spacing on the walls to trap some sound and break the reflected sound up so it does not return in the same wave it originally hit the wall. Unfortunately due to space we were not able to view Studio C (The Production Studio) but we did learn that it contained a Mackie D8-B/ Pro-tools LE 003 Expanded as well as an ISO booth. Our final stop on our journey was Studio D (The Residential Villa) which featured an SSL 4056 G G+ TR console, a drum room with an Ayotte Drum Kit, Vocal booth, and a Rehearsal lounge (w/ master bedroom, dual shower, kitchen, pool table, laundry room, and overnight accommodations at your disposal). After the tour of Studio D students got to talk and get advice from CRAS grad's Daniel and Tyler. Some of the advice given was to have confidence but not to have an ego, because confidence helps the musician to feel confident and comfortable so they will want to come back to you. Another thing they told us is to always have multiple mics set up or at the ready when working with a musician because you never know what microphone is going to work best with their voice and you want to be efficient. Also always make sure your first take is a great take because you never know if the musicians going to call it quits after one go, so get your levels and get them fast. Students then got to ask for advice while they are on campus, Daniel and Tyler said to spend your time in the school after hours learning, always be ready to troubleshoot, don't be afraid to try new things (like a different microphone), and lastly to know how your gear sounds, and how it sounds in different environments.

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