Cloud Microphones @ CRAS

Cloud Microphones @ CRAS

2015-11-18 23.00.30

CRAS AES was honored to have Rodger Cloud, CEO of Cloud Microphones, come to CRAS to have a discussion about his incredible passive and active ribbon mics, and Cloudlifter technology.

Cloud Mics and Cloudlifter

Cloud Mics and Cloudlifter

Cloud Microphones is based out of Tucson, Arizona. Rodger opened with the history of Cloud, which he and Stephen Sank began in 2006. He then outlined details of one of their microphones, the Cloud 44-A, which is an active ribbon microphone with a selectable switch for music or voice equalization curves. Rodger played a video with great comparisons on the capabilities and sounds the mic can provide.

Cloud Mic In Session

Cloud Mic In Session

Following the video Rodger continued to discuss their microphones, and the technology that goes into them. He demonstrated the voice and music switch in real time, which acts as a frequency response. With music position selected, the 44-A captures much more low end, and exhibits very obvious proximity effect. Unlike many ribbon microphones, Rodger revealed to us how their microphones contain a unique metal fabrication surrounding the ribbon. After that he played another video showing how the microphones are built by hand from start to finish in high speed, which he said takes about six hours per microphone.

cloud tuba 

Rodger continued on by showing us one of their other products, the Cloudlifter. The Cloudlifter is an inline gain stage for a microphone, providing up to 25dB in clean gain. With integrated active circuitry, the Cloudlifter adds a heightened sensitivity to any mic that gets plugged into it. The Cloudlifter-Z also provides selectable, continuously variable impedance, as well as a low-cut filter to custom tailor your mic’s sound.

Cloudlifter Z

Cloudlifter Z

Rodger outlined how all of Cloud’s product parts are locally manufactured, including all metals, circuit boards, and transformers, to help communities and small businesses within the States. One of the main workhorses of Cloud products is Tooh Dineh and the Navajo Nation, working out of their manufacturing facility in Leupp, Arizona. Rodger feels that it is very important to bring jobs to local communities and keep America’s proud manufacturing heritage alive. Now, Cloud gear is being sold in over 40 countries around the globe, and the impact that has both globally, and locally to our economies is incredible. Cloud’s care for customer’s satisfaction has also helped greatly to give positive reviews for nearly all of their products. Cloud feels that the customer is always right, and the pride Rodger displays in his products is very admirable. You can be sure that when you open your brand new piece of Cloud gear, it’s not going to have a flaw.

Rodger demonstrates the Cloudlifter-Z

Rodger demonstrates the Cloudlifter-Z

At the end of the seminar, Rodger presented the winner of CRAS AES Cloud Mix Contest, Malcolm H., a new Cloudlifter Z! Malcolm was ecstatic to get his hands on the Cloudlifter, and is hoping to add one of the 44-A active ribbon mic to his collection soon!

CRAS is very grateful to have Rodger come down and speak and we hope to see him back soon! You can watch the entire presentation on the CRAS YouTube channel here, and feel free to look around the rest of the gear students can get their hands on at CRAS!

Text by Matthew P.

Broadcast Internship Leads to CRAS Grad’s Full-Time Job

Broadcast Internship Leads to CRAS Grad’s  Full-Time Job with Famed Mobile TV Group

Billy Reardon’s Two-Month Internship with Mobile TV Group

Upon Graduating from the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences

Leads to Full-Time Position with the Sports Production Company

CRAS - Billy Reardon with MTVG - HR

CRAS Grad Billy R.

Tempe, AZ – Nov. 17, 2015 – A unique education program developed by a broadcast Hall of Famer and The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS;, coupled with an internship at Englewood, Colorado-based Mobile TV Group (MTVG; has lead to Billy Reardon’s full-time broadcast career with MTVG.

“I always knew that I wanted to do something with A/V, and so I moved from Denver to Tempe (to attend CRAS) when I was 22, after I graduated from CU Boulder,” explained Reardon, who added that CRAS personnel contacted Mobile TV Group on his behalf about a possible broadcast internship. After the internship, Reardon was hired full-time by MTVG on Oct. 1.

“The goal of the internship was to see how I adapted to a new environment and to see if I was a good fit for the training program for the engineer position on truck 21HDX based out of Detroit,” Reardon added. “I am now the second engineer on that truck. Without the internship I would not have had the basic foundation of knowledge to complete the training program.”

Established in 1994, Mobile TV Group (MTVG) provides mobile unit services to the networks that telecast the games of approximately 50 percent of all NBA, NHL, and MLB sports teams. In recent years, MTVG has added an increasing number of national events, college sports and entertainment events, totaling more than 4,000 events annually. With 30 mobile units (plus “B” units, audio trailers, etc.), MTVG is able to base its facilities, engineers, and drivers all over the U.S. effectively providing local service to the regional networks and to visiting national networks.

“There was a void in the industry for that next generation of broadcast engineers, and something needed to be done,” explained Fred Aldous, FOX Sports senior mixer and consultant, who is being inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in December. “I reached out to the Conservatory three years ago and together we developed a curriculum that properly instructs, trains, and prepares students so that the industry will have an ongoing stream of new interns and entry-level professionals to fit their needs immediately.”

Kirt and Fred

Kirt Hamm and Fred Aldous in front of the CRAS MBU

According to Kirt Hamm, CRAS administrator, “With Fred’s continued help, we’ve now offered the broadcast curriculum for the past two years. We apply the same standards that we’ve offered in our audio recording curriculum for the past 30 years to our broadcast curriculum. Interns, such as Billy Reardon, are now making their way into the industry, properly prepared to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of any broadcast company.”

The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences is composed of two nearby campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Arizona. 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 taught me how to communicate with others effectively, how to react under pressure, what to expect from a client, as well as applicable technical engineering skills,” Reardon continued. “I was an intern at MTVG’s main HQ for three months, where I made cables, labeled gear, organized gear, and helped with basic construction of the truck being built at the time. Both my education and internship were great experiences, and both were revealing of the A/V industry.”

Added Nick Garvin, MTVG director of business development, “Billy’s performance and hard work as an intern made it an easy decision to give him a shot at the training program, which is very competitive. Not everyone makes it through the training program to full employment, but Billy did. He showed up every day with determination and he worked hard. It was these traits, along with his experience at CRAS, that got him to full employment at MTVG.”

CRAS’ structured programs and highly qualified teaching staff provide a professional and supportive atmosphere, which is complemented by small class sizes allowing for individual instruction and assistance for students in both engineering audio recordings and broadcast environments. The curriculum and equipment are constantly being updated to keep pace with the rapid advancements in the music and sound recording industries, including a new 42-foot mobile broadcast unit.

CRAS Mobile Broadcast Unit

CRAS Mobile Broadcast Unit

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 11, API Legacy consoles, SSL 4000 Series and AWS Series 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. In 2015, in total, 47 CRAS graduates hold credits for their work with 50 artists or bands that are up for awards in 42 out of 83 categories at the 57th Grammy Awards.

For more information on the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences, please visit, contact Kirt Hamm, administrator, at 1-800-562-6383, or email to

CRAS Broadcast

CRAS Broadcast

About The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences

Based in the heart of The Valley of the Sun with two campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz., The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) is one of the country’s premier institutions for audio education. The Conservatory has developed a unique and highly effective way to help the future audio professional launch their careers in the recording industry and other related professional audio categories.

How a NASCAR Race at Phoenix International Raceway is Broadcast to the World

Phoenix International RacewayThis weekend, over 100,000 people are going to be at Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona to watch the Quicken Loans Race, and one of the cool parts that many of local and national auto fans don’t know is that it takes audio engineering experts – those who have learned their skills at a local audio engineering school here in Gilbert, AZ – as part of the puzzle to broadcast this event, which will be watched by millions of people.

In this video, watch as CRAS instructor Brock tours the PIR broadcast compound and outlines the signal flow required to get sound from the track to the speaker’s of your home television set!


If you haven’t been to a major auto race to experience the sounds you are missing out! The Quicken Loans Race at Phoenix International Raceway is amazing opportunity to have a great time and experience the sights, signs, and passion of auto fans. Nothing compares to the sound of these cars with hundreds of horsepower rocketing around the track within inches of each other. And sound is a critical component in providing a truly entertaining and full immersive race experience!

Check out this behind-the-scenes video where CRAS students spend a day at Phoenix International Raceway in the broadcast compound, learning how an entire NASCAR event is broadcast to the world.

Students were able to mix a live mix during the race to get hands-on experience of a live race with audio provided by NASCAR. They also were able to see A1’s and A2’s (professional audio mix engineers and assistants) in action mixing audio for Fox Sports 1 and ESPN.

Whether you are a local resident, or if you are visiting Phoenix for the race and perhaps you are looking for a new career skill, consider attending an audio recording school like CRAS, where you can learn all the facets of sound recording to provide the highest quality product for events like these!

Here is a recent article about 10 reasons why we are helping more students searching for a trade school for unique career opportunities – whether you want to improve the sound of your favorite band or provide a great audio soundtrack for races. Our fully comprehensive curriculum might even expose you to a field of study you weren’t aware of!

Blue Microphones Visits CRAS!

Blue Microphones Visits CRAS!

Blue Mics and the CRAS Crew

Blue Mics and the CRAS Crew

CRAS was honored to have two sales members, Ben Thompkins and CRAS Grad Bailey Beechler, from Blue Microphones, to come speak to us at this week’s free AES meeting. They also spent most of the day at CRAS, lending their new gear to our student’s band clinic for the day!

CRAS Band Clinic

CRAS Band Clinic

Bailey and Ben critically listen

Bailey and Ben critically listen

At the AES meeting that evening, Bailey opened with her story of how she attended CRAS, and then explored her opportunities at Blue after a couple internships, and has been working there ever since. Ben was a touring musician, and then went back home to finish college at USC. He has worked for Blue for seven years and is the second longest working employee at the company.

Ben Thompkins and Bailey Beechler

Ben Thompkins and Bailey Beechler

Going on, Ben continued to speak about the history of Blue and how it was started up in Los Angeles in 1995. That means of course Blue is now celebrating their 20th anniversary this year! Before Blue made it big, they got the opportunity to have a display booth at the AES Convention, which was in Los Angeles that year. During that convention they were greeted by a company named Guitar Center, and the rest was history.

Blue Mics at CRAS

Blue Mics at CRAS

Blue Mics continue to attend conventions and seminars regularly, and has attended CES, E3, and Musikmesse this year in addition to coming to CRAS.


After the introduction and history of the company, the talks then turned our focus onto their products. Ben broke down their studio microphones into four sections: essentials, specialties, multi-patterns, and interchangeable capsules.

2015-11-12 22.04.39-2

For their interchangeable capsules, they have nine different microphones, including the Blue Bottle, Bottle Rocket Stage Two, and Bottle Rocket Stage One. Following that, Ben explained consumer products like USB plug-in microphones. Bailey went on to demonstrate their new headphones, including a recently released set called Mo-Fi, which have many attractive features – such as being active headphones and containing a power amplifier.

Blue MoFi Headphones

Blue MoFi Headphones

As a matter of fact, CRAS is also holding a raffle to give away one of these brand new Mo-Fi headphones to one lucky student! The meeting ended with all the students in attendance getting a raffle ticket for a chance to win a set of Blue Mo Fi Headphones, as well as a couple Blue T-Shirts! 

2015-11-12 22.04.22

It was a pleasure to have Ben and Bailey at CRAS to talk about all things Blue. CRAS AES is very grateful for their time and knowledge and we hope to see them back soon. CRAS is proud to have an ongoing relationship with Blue, and we love having their mics in our mic locker!

Special thanks to Matt P. for the write up, and to Sandi Miller for the pics!

Grad Jared Stansill Visits CRAS!

CRAS Grad Jared Stansill Visits CRAS

pro audio la

CRAS Grad and owner of stopped by CRAS last week and had an after hours presentation with our student body chapter of AES. Our AES student body is the most active AES chapter in the US, and we are proud to have another one of our grads stop by and share their success story with us.

Jared Stansill

Since graduation in 2006 from the Conservatory, Jared went on to work a number of jobs throughout the audio engineering field, and is currently the owner and operator of, a pro audio shop that specializes in custom cables, snakes, gear sales, acoustic design for studios, consulting, and much more!

full acoustic installation

Custom full acoustic installation by

“I really took advantage of my time here,” Jared begins his presentation. “If you’re here attending these sorts of events after hours, booking rooms as much as possible, spending as much time as you can here [at CRAS], talking with and bouncing ideas off of other people, pushing buttons and turning knobs, then you’re the kind of student that I was. You need that hands on experience. You get out what you put in.” Jared goes on to talk about his journey through the program, and to what he does now on the daily.

studio dmi

10 years after graduating, the comprehensive training that our audio recording school offers exposed Jared to a wide spectrum of skills, many of which were invaluable in his journey to creating the type of career he has always wanted to make for himself.

Beginning his career Jared was recording secondary audio, or the Spanish-language dubs for TV shows. “I worked on a bunch of ABC shows like Desperate Housewives, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy…Basically, I was operating Pro Tools. There was a Spanish director behind me, who was looking at a Spanish script. Out of one speaker was the English audio, and out of the other speaker was the voice actor speaking in Spanish from the booth behind me. Basically I would just navigate around the tapes, recording little bits of dialogue replacement in Spanish, and then later mixing it and laying it back.”

installation 3

This is just one of the many duties that audio engineers can stay busy with on a regular basis. Our Post Production curriculum focuses on all the aspects of getting audio recorded and synced up with video, from television commercials, to shows, to movies. Students even get some experience operating HD video cameras during in-class sessions recreating documentary-style videos.

When asked about what his job at ProAudioLA consists of – “We just decided as we grew. People would come to us with questions, and that’s what led from us just selling cables to selling equipment too. People would be asking us questions about gear. I want to hook this up, what do I need? I’m looking at this new converter and I want to integrate it with this new patch bay, and I’m confused about the cabling, help!” Jared’s company understands studio engineer’s needs because of his experience and knowledge gained through CRAS.


Basic cable repair is one of the myriad skills we teach at CRAS. Understanding how cables work, how to repair them or make your own, is an incredibly useful skill that not every audio engineer possesses, and not every school teaches this. With this understanding of how cables and audio gear work together, understanding how signal flow works, Jared was able to build an entire company, which employs himself and 15 other people. But they do much more than just custom cables – the provide solutions. If you have a question, they are the ones who can not only answer that question, but give you the best options, design a plan, and execute that plan for you. Now that is the power of true knowledge!

acoustic treatment

Jared also provided a great insight into the wide variety of jobs found in the audio industry. Building custom cables, custom studio installations, understanding acoustic insulation, studio design, gear research and sales, signal flow, conversions and compatibility between different gear old and new – Jared’s done it all! Plus, being the one who was called upon to build EDM artist Steve Aoki’s custom new digs is quite a compliment!

Check out the full presentation here!

Learn more about our school for audio recording here!