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Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences - February 6, 2014

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Today the CRAS AES Student Chapter took a road trip to The Saltmine Studios in Mesa, AZ. The owner/manager/producer Don Salter was nice enough to show us around his facilities. As soon as you enter the front gate of The Saltmine you know you're in a cool place. There is a basketball hoop, fountain, wall mural, patio furniture, plenty of greenery and just an all around good vibe. When you walk through the doors you notice a multitude of awesome items decorating the entire place. One thing I took a particular interest in was all of their very nice tapestries. They also have an outdoor venue in their courtyard. The tour began in Studio A, the tracking studio. The tracking studio is equipped with a 70's Vintage Custom Neve console, Pro-Tools, 5 iso-rooms, a cathedral drum room and tons of instruments to fill the place with sound. We then made our way to Studio B, the mixing studio. In the mixing studio sits a fully restored SSL 6064 E G+ TR formerly owned by Ben Grosse. Studio C is the production studio which has an iso booth, Pro-Tools and many keyboards including Triton, Fantom, Nord etc. We were shown Studio D which is the residential villa. The villa includes an SSL console formerly owned by David Foster, Pro-Tools, Neve mic pres, a drum room with an Ayotte drum kit, vocal booth, and a rehearsal lounge. Also included is a master bedroom, shower, kitchen, pool table, laundry room and overnight accommodations to make whoever books this studio feel right at home. In addition to showing us around, Don Salter also explained the construction of his buildings and the significance the structure plays in the sounds they capture in the studios. Some of the features include floating floors, walls filled with sand and non-parallel surfaces. It was a great experience, and the students learned a lot about how a real working studio is run by having the opportunity to tour The Saltmine Studios.

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