The chance of a lifetime was recently presented to Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS; www.cras.edu) students when iconic music recording engineer/producer Sylvia Massy participated in recording technique sessions in the school’s Studio A. That was followed by a Q&A session that was open to the public for hundreds of participants in the CRAS Live Sound Venue. Solid State Logic was also on board, providing a 48-channel Duality Console for Massy to present her work to the students in a real world setting.
“During a discussion on potential upcoming events, the entire student [AES] chapter agreed that Sylvia Massy was at the top of our list,” explained CRAS AES Student President Marjorie Smitherman. “I reached out to her manager…they were very approachable and eager to help supplement our student’s education with Ms. Massy’s real world experience in the audio industry.”
Massy (www.sylviamassy.com) is known for her unconventional recording techniques and is the author of the book “Recording Unhinged”.
“I’ve known of CRAS for years, and it’s impressive to have a school willing to open its doors to the public for these fun and informative lectures and demonstrations,” explained Massy, whose visit to CRAS was her first. “I was excited to see the two facilities and learn how the school has grown. The equipment is top notch, with knowledgeable instructors who give the students what they need to excel. I’ve had many interns from the Conservatory who have become my favorite engineers…several have gone on to make history in their own right, receiving Grammys and top album sales. I’m always happy to share my personal experiences with the next generation of audio warriors.”
With a reputation for excelling at the unorthodox, Massy demonstrated some interesting techniques for filtering and manipulating sound during her time at CRAS, using household objects such as potatoes, cheese, light bulbs, pencil sharpeners, etc. “It was surprising and loads of fun,” she said. “The second event was held in [the live sound venue], with a Solid State Logic Duality desk on stage and a large screen duplicating what I would see while I was mixing. I brought a recent session I recorded with The Melvins and isolated tracks for the students to listen and understand the process. Then the floor was opened up for questions. There I shared many stories about my work with Prince, Johnny Cash, Tool, and System of a Down.”
CRAS Instructor Tony Nunes said Massy was a hit with students. “Sylvia has great charisma and a great way to connect with people, especially young ones. Our students had nothing but great feelings towards it. They loved the experimental side of her and they also loved her honest, non-sugarcoated responses. Her album credits are impressive, to say the least, and her YouTube videos are legend because of her experiments and demeanor during sessions.”
With a strong relationship already in place with four Solid State Logic consoles already being utilized at CRAS and multiple co-sponsored events having already taken place on campus, CRAS once again partnered with Solid State Logic for this event. CRAS and SSL agreed that the 48-channel Duality console was the ideal choice to utilize during Massy’s Q&A since it is already set up in a standard configuration, and because it is also especially configured to be set up and taken apart in approximately 30 minutes by Solid state Logic staff.
“We were delighted to once again be partnering with CRAS,” said Marc DeGeorge, Solid State Logic U.S. Sales & Marketing Manager – Retail Products. “The Conservatory is one of the few educational facilities that I know of that has the expertise to pull off an event of this size and complexity. We look forward to the next event.
“We were also extremely honored to work with Ms. Massy this time,” DeGeorge continued. “Her reputation for quality work and experimentation really made an impact with the students at CRAS. I was very much impressed by how much the students connected with her, and how she was willing to answer so many of their questions. We hope to work with Ms. Massy again.”
CRAS administrator Kirt Hamm said gaining real-world knowledge working alongside and asking questions of someone with the stature of Sylvia Massy is invaluable.
“To have Sylvia on campus was an incredible experience for our students,” Hamm said. “You could see them hanging on her every word…they didn’t want to miss a thing she had to say. We can’t thank her enough for her time and her desire to share her knowledge and wisdom with all of us. Our students will take this experience with them throughout their entire careers. We also want to acknowledge Solid State Logic for once again partnering with us in helping train our students for what the real world of professional engineering has in store for them. We are very thankful to Marc (DeGeorge) and the entire Solid State Logic team, and we look forward to more trainings with them in the future.”
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, audio post for film and TV, music production, commercial production and video game audio, all taught by award-winning instructors who have excelled in their individual fields. 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. A CRAS graduate was nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award. In addition, 32 CRAS graduates worked on 35 2017 Grammy-nominated albums and songs across 35 categories, of which 11 graduates received multiple credits on nominations.
For more information on the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences and on Solid State Logic, please visit the links below.