Niles, IL--Shure Incorporated announced that a five-member team from Butler University is this year's Grand Prize Winner of the seventh annual “Fantastic Scholastic Recording Competition.”
Shure media relations manager Mike Lohman (center) presented the award to the five-student team of Elissa Chapin, Rob Courtney, Brian Gross-Bias, Taylor Lehman, and Tommy Nichols, with faculty advisor Cutler Armstrong, for an original composition by Gary Walters and Jim Albrecht entitled “Air."
The five-student team of Elissa Chapin, Rob Courtney, Brian Gross-Bias, Taylor Lehman, and Tommy Nichols, with faculty advisor Cutler Armstrong, won this year's contest, with an original composition by Gary Walters and Jim Albrecht entitled “Air.”
“We congratulate the winning team from Butler and thank all of the students who participated in this year’s contest from all of the different schools,” said Dave Mendez, market development specialist at Shure, who coordinated the competition. “This year’s competition was closer than ever before, which is a credit to the high quality of all the submissions and hard work of the students and faculty of these fine recording programs.”
The judges for the competition were John Alagia, Joe Chiccarelli, David Cole, and Elliot Scheiner. They evaluated the recordings on their overall fidelity, clarity, and sonic balance as well as creativity in selection and placement of microphones.
Each of the ten student teams worked on a recording project that consisted of tracking and mixing a performance, exclusively using a “microphone locker” provided by Shure for the competition. Teams submitted an unmastered stereo mix for review by a panel of industry professionals who were invited by Shure to judge the competition.
“My involvement in this was helping to choose the material,” said Professor Cutler Armstrong, faculty advisor for the winning team. “When we did this before, we’d picked a rock song that was really dense… maybe 40 tracks. The recording process was great, but it became difficult to mix, and I don’t think it showcased the microphones the way we wanted it to. So, this time, we made the decision, collectively, to go in a different direction. I had a couple of suggestions in the mixing phase, but the students made all the decisions and touched everything.”
“It was a whole different mixing process for me because I tend to get to a point where I’m using way too many plug-ins,” said student Brian Gross-Bias. “I do a lot of rock stuff, but this was more minimal. We were using a lot more outboard gear that I don’t normally get a chance to use, so it was a different experience for me.”
The winning team used almost all of the microphones in the “locker” provided by Shure to create their project. This enabled them to gain experience with some microphones that none of them had previously used. Having a wide selection of professional microphones at their disposal also enabled them to experiment with different mics on different instruments and a variety of microphone placements.
“I had never used any of the Shure ribbon mics before and the one that we had [the KSM313] was definitely different,” said student Taylor Lehman. “It was interesting to learn how to use it correctly and learn for what instrument it would be good, we ended up using it with the brass. It ended up working out pretty well.”
Adds Armstrong, “I had spoken to Bill Vorndick in Nashville and he told me about the [KSM] 313 and recommended that we buy one here at Butler, so it was really cool that we got to use it as part of this project. I hadn’t used one before, but now… we have one.”
“I personally fell in love with the KSM42,” said student Rob Courtney. “We have a great reverb processor here, but the vocals we recorded with the KSM42 just blew me away. I felt like I had to do almost nothing… no EQ hardly at all because that mic is so awesome.”
In addition to the winning team from Butler, there were nine other competing teams from California State University, Chico; the Cleveland Institute of Music; Ex’pression College for Digital Arts; Full Sail University; Ithaca College (School of Music); Loyola Marymount University; Michigan Technological University; New York University; and the University of South Carolina.
The runner-up in this year’s competition was the team from California State University, Chico. The students from Ex’pression College for Digital Arts received an honorable mention.
As the winning school, Butler University takes ownership of a selection of Shure KSM recording microphones, which consists of one KSM313 ribbon microphone, two KSM32/SL, two KSM44A/SL, one KSM141/SL Stereo pair of studio condenser microphones, with A27M stereo mic stand adapter. The entire microphone package is valued at more than $6,000. In addition, each member of the winning team will receive a KSM42/SG, valued at $999 MSRP.