Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences instructor Tony Nunes (standing) in Studio G in Tempe, Arizona.
Photo: Sandi Miller
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) in Tempe, Ariz., states that its goal is to prepare students for careers in audio recording and engineering. In doing so, students are educated in real world studios at two nearby state-of-the-art campuses, and then move on to a required internship before graduating. All the while, the students train on top shelf industry gear and software, just as they would in acclaimed studios in New York City, Los Angeles, and everywhere in between.
Enter Slate Digital. All CRAS labs, studios, and instructors have recently been provided with licenses for Slate’s “Everything Bundle,” including the Virtual Mastering Console, Virtual Mix Rack, and Virtual Tape Machines. Slate also offers all CRAS students the opportunity to access Slate’s entire inventory for a reduced fee.
“We are incorporating their plug-ins into any class/session environments,” explains Tony Nunes, CRAS music production instructor and manufacturer liaison. “We are able to compare/contrast their plug-ins against our hardware, such as our SSL EQs, 1176 compressors, and tape machines. Slate has also provided a portal for CRAS students to sign up for their monthly plug-in subscription and discounts on their other products, including the Ravens.”
Nunes adds that he has included the Virtual Mix Rack into his “Advanced Dynamics” class. “We get to compare some of our hardware to the virtual plug-ins. Early in the curriculum, the students are exposed to analog MTRs, but since two of our studios don’t have analog tape machines, I’ve included a use for the Virtual Tape Machines. I love the features and teaching intricacies of 2-inch 16-track or half-inch 2-track tape, 15 ips versus 30 ips, and even Wow & Flutter control, to name a few. The students are intrigued and love utilizing their previous knowledge from analog MTRs.”
According to Steven Slate—CEO of Slate Digital, Slate Media Technology, and Steven Slate Drum—it’s crucial for students to have access to quality tools while they learn their craft. “I feel very strongly about making sure they can learn without having their wallets emptied. That’s why they learn on it in class at The Conservatory, and also have access to additional plug-ins. This is one of my favorite aspects of our low priced monthly and annual bundles. For the price of a few cups of coffee, students can access our entire inventory.”
Slate adds that they’ve already had a lot of CRAS students reach out to their academic team to get perpetual license discounts, along with many signing up for the “Everything” bundles.
Like many people in the industry, Slate started on the music side playing in bands for his whole life. He then ended up becoming the recording engineer for his band as well as other bands, and by the time he was 18 years of age, he was interning in studios in Manhattan. When he moved to Boston in the late 1990s, he worked at several Boston studios before starting his own underground studio in a former warehouse in Roxbury. He made the switch to audio developer in 2005 with his first product, Steven Slate Drums, a sample library. Since then, he’s partnered with Fabrice Gabriel to form Slate Digital, and they’ve made some of the most acclaimed analog modeled digital products in the industry.
“I heard about CRAS through some commercial recording studio owners who said the best assistants were coming from CRAS,” Slate says. “I then hired a CRAS student, as well. I think we’re going to continue to see the democratization of media creation tools, and this will launch a new era of art and creativity. And hopefully Slate will be on the forefront of this movement with our software and hardware tools.”