M-Audio Rocks The CRAS

Hear a Podcast with Ken Johnson and Scott Wilkie of M-Audio

Students got an insider’s look at a range of products from M-Audio recently when Ken Johnson from M-Audios Educational division and clinician Scott Wilkie brought their road show to the desert. Johnson talked to the students about audio career paths and the importance on being trained on the right gear. Later, Wilkie demonstrated his considerable skill as a piano player on the ProKeys controller. He also did an impressive demo of Ableton Live, the software production tool that lets the user to manipulate audio and build a great-sounding track from samples and live components. After the demo was over, two lucky students had their names picked in a lottery and left with either a new Trigger Finger 16-pad MIDI controller or an Axiom 25 USB Keyboard.

“It’s great that Ken and Scott could bring their experience and expertise to the students at the Conservatory,” said instructor/director of education Kevin Becka. “The more students get a taste of the latest products and how pros use them in the production environment, the better they’re prepared to go out and get a job in audio.” The Conservatory’s guest lecture program has brought in such luminaries as Rupert Neve, Michael Laskow of Taxi, Norma Perez of Ascent Media, Robert Corti from Warner Bros. Pictures and Grammy winner Jeff Bova among others.

Photo caption: left to right, Ken Johnson and Scott Wilkie lecturing and demonstrating products for students

Students Go Wireless

Wireless transmission of audio is just one of the topics that students dive into while they’re on their 30-week stay at the Conservatory’s campus. Recently, Tom Salisbury of Sennheiser brought some of their latest wireless gear to a clinic held in the Conservatory’s cavernous 6,000 sq. ft. live sound classroom.

“Wireless audio is going crazy right now because of the changeover from terrestrial television broadcast to other methods, meaning the bandwidth used so many years for TV is now up for grabs for other uses,” says live sound instructor Jim Bender. This means that wireless transmission of audio, one of the mainstays of the live sound industry, is changing rapidly. “Tom’s clinic showed students that staying at least one step ahead of the changes in our industry, can make someone very employable.” Bender continued. “It is a very deep topic that is often overlooked.”

Salisbury’s clinic is part of a range of clinics offered students on various topics including speaker and DI construction, music theory, studio management and more.

Photo caption: left to right: Sennheiser's Tom Salisbury and CRAS director of education Kevin Becka

Grad Goes Green

Recent CRAS grad Alex Jones has always taken the road less traveled. President of the Ecology Club in college, Jones is an outdoor enthusiast and is planning to build his budding career around his new company titled Renew Audio. “I wanted to develop some way to be creative with music and give something back to our planet at the same time,” says Jones. His vision is to combine solar and wind energy with a recording studio environment. “It would fundamentally be harmonious with the planet and insert a positive vibration of change into the music industry,” adds Jones.

To turn his dream into reality, Alex entered the Environmental Business Plan Challenge, a contest for innovative “green” companies. The sponsors of the competition are looking for a company that demonstrates an innovative approach that benefits the environment, improves environmental performance, contributes to environmental sustainability, or improves operational efficiency.


Alex enrolled at CRAS after seeing an ad in Mix magazine and looking at the CRAS website. “I had been trying to find a school that would allow me to refine and improve my mixing and engineering skills on a professional level,” he says. “I wanted to get a firm understanding of the basics, and I knew this would be a place where I could make that happen.”

“We all wish Alex the best of luck in his endeavor,” says Administrator Kirt Hamm. “His dedication coupled with the education he received here should carry him far.” The Conservatory’s 900 clock hour program stresses basic and advanced techniques that allow students to thrive and find work in many audio environments.

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