David Robert Mackay

Composition, Guitar, Mixing

2 Reviews
David Robert Mackay on SoundBetter

Experienced composer, musician and producer for Honda, BMG PM and many more! I write original, emotional, catchy and often quirky music. I also provide professional, broadcast-ready mixes and audio. Believing firmly in the power of analogue hardware to give modern music productions an edge, I aim to use as much as possible on all projects.

With over 30 years of guitar playing experience, a number of high-profile advertising credits, a Master's degree in Orchestration for Film, TV & Games, and a diploma in Audio Engineering, I am well placed to offer a range of musical services covering composition, orchestration, performance and production.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss the musical requirement for your production.

Contact me through the green button above and let's get to work.

2 Reviews

Endorse David Robert Mackay
  1. Review by Craig Akin
    check_circleVerified (Client)

    Very cool instrumental piece by Dave perfect for upright bass. Great backing track and excellent musical notation sheet music easy to sight read. More of that please!!

  2. Review by Gav Gordon-Rogers
    by Gav Gordon-Rogers

    David is naturally gifted when it comes to music composition. He can turn his hand to any style, and readily accepts and acts upon feedback. He has the skills to mix down your final track so it’s ready to go. And he delivers on time too. An excellent one man composer/orchestra/recording studio. Highly recommended.

Interview with David Robert Mackay

  1. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  2. A: Music for advertising, production music and mixing which would probably usually fit in the following genres: Classical Electronic, Film, TV and Games Scores Indie, Pop, Rock, Soundtrack.

  3. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  4. A: I have a relatively modest, but powerful, studio set-up based around a self-built Windows PC with an i5 processor, 32GB of RAM and 3.5 TB of SSD storage. Genelec nearfiled monitors. Cranborne Audio and Soundcraft interfaces Cranborne Audio Preamps Elysia Stereo EQ and Compressor Looptrotter SA2RATE 2 Klark Teknik 76-KT Neumann, Beyerdynamic and AKG headphones Korg midi keyboard Acoustic, Bass, Classical and Electric Guitars Brauner, Rode and Shure microphones Access via the mix:analog online service to further high-end hardware from manufacturers including: Bettermaker, Fairchild, Gyraf, Elysia, Studer and Telefunken

  5. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  6. A: Alexandre Desplat Bernard Hermann Dario Marianelli Jonny Greenwood Carter Burwell Hildur Guðnadóttir Jóhann Jóhannsson Max Richter Olafur Arnalds Ludwig Göransson Ludovico Einaudi John Powell John Williams James Horner Hans Zimmer Michael Giacchino Howard Shore Jerry Goldsmith Les Paul Joe Meek Rupert Neve Eddie Kramer John Leckie George Martin Jackson Browne The Stone Roses London Grammar Aurora Mogwai Sigur Ros Teenage Fanclub Doves Pavement Yo La Tengo The Charlatans Radiohead Small Faces Shack The Byrds Love Simon & Garfunkel Jefferson Airplane The Kinks The Velvet Underground The Beach Boys

  7. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  8. A: Three television adverts for Rowse ChocoBee, People's Energy and Macdonald Hotels here in the UK. The Honda Real View Test Drive campaign, which I wrote and produced the music for (Cvivc, CR-V and HR-V). It has been described as Honda Motor Europe's 'biggest ever online content offering'.

  9. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  10. A: Mainly advertising briefs, and production music, both for Audio Wallpaper/BAM Music and my own catalogue.

  11. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  12. A: Craig Akin provided me with a wonderfully performed and recorded upright bass part for a project in early 2022.

  13. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  14. A: Both, as explained in my work process above. I believe a 'hybrid' approach is the most practical and yields the best results in modern music production. Digital at the composing, recording and mixing stages, for its flexibility and practicality. Analogue at the mixing/mastering stage to add weight, warmth, air, character, mojo, mix 'three-dimensionality' - all that good stuff!

  15. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  16. A: How long will it take? I always try to work efficiently and prefer not to spend a long time 'pondering'! Having said that, the research phase of a project can be very important. Sometimes though, I only need a few ideas or little pieces of info to get 'cracking'. I generally work pretty fast on a non-live player project, or one where I am recording some parts myself. A mixing project will likely take longer due to my process. Writing for live players can take time too, and depends on the number of different parts, complexity of the music, and length required. I don't like to say something is finished until the client and I'm happy with it (within reason - projects can't go on endlessly!), and I feel I've spent enough time to make it as good as possible.

  17. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  18. A: A classical guitar A piano A drum kit A clarinet A tuning fork ;)

  19. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  20. A: I first picked up a guitar at 11 and messed around with recording equipment from about 16. I studied Audio Engineering (Recording and Production) at SAE Glasgow in my mid-twenties. For the last 9 or so years I have been writing and composing music in addition to mixing and producing. In late 2021 I completed a Master's degree in Orchestration with ThinkSpace Education, receiving a Merit.

  21. Q: How would you describe your style?

  22. A: A mixture of indie, electronic and cinematic and soundtrack genres.

  23. Q: What's your typical work process?

  24. A: Whether all, or just some, of the following tasks are included depends on my role/s in a particular project. 1 Play around with ideas, chords, melodies on the guitar or piano etc. 2 Sketch an idea using a small number of instruments, e.g. piano, guitar, percussion 3 Get the structure in place early. 4 Fill in more parts and develop ideas. 5 Re-record some live parts if necessary e.g. guitar. 6 Create score and parts if live players will be used. 7 Aim to finish the writing stage. 8 For audio parts, work on timing and e.g. volume consistency. 9 For MIDI parts, work extensively on creating as much realism as is possible through 'humanizing' of dynamics, timing and expression using automation. 10 Record live players, or employ someone else to record live players, as necessary. 11 Balance individual tracks, automate volume levels, use panning. 12 Process individual tracks/parts through analogue hardware preamps, EQs and compressors in my studio. 13 Possibly use mix:analog to process, tracks, stems or stereo master through additional studio outboard processors. 14 Use mix:analog to transfer tracks, stems or stereo master to analogue tape (usually Studer). 15 Take resulting audio and continue mixing in DAW (music software program/sequencer) where, if necessary, I can make further adjustments to levels, panning, EQ and Compression etc. using plug-ins. 16 Export audio as final mastered audio file and do final quality control checks, or export mix file for third-party mastering. 17 Deliver to the client in mp3 or full quality WAV form, carry out any revisions and repeat any of the above as necessary. * Stages 15 and 16 involve quite regularly switching between using mixing headphones, consumer headphones and studio speakers.

  25. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  26. A: A great deal of enthusiasm for multiple genres, and a high level of musical and technical skill.

  27. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  28. A: I will provide you with music and audio that sounds great and that you'll be very pleased with :)

  29. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  30. A: That anyone can do it, that it doesn't take long to master your skills, and that you can just press a button on the computer and it'll do everything for you!

  31. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  32. A: The creative process, both musical and technical.

  33. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  34. A: What is the aim for your project? What is your message/what are you trying to say through your art?

  35. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  36. A: Feel free to drop me a line and ask any questions. Visit my website and SoundCloud to hear previous work.

  37. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  38. A: I compose and produce bespoke music tracks for advertising and production music projects, as well as providing 'off the shelf' library tracks. I also compose and orchestrate cinematic and classical music, write songs and compose and perform guitar works. My work usually involves mixing and production, and I have also recorded and mixed and number of

  39. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  40. A: An EQ cut can be as important, or more important, than a boost!

  41. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  42. A: Intricate guitar work and ear-catching compositions.

David Mackay 'A Blanket of Stars'

I was the Composer, Orchestrator and Mixing Engineer in this production

Terms Of Service

Turnaround examples:

Orchestral writing depends on length and complexity (e.g. 1 min. may need 1 week)
1-3 days for guitar
Up to 1 week for mixing
1-2 weeks for full instrumental productions

GenresSounds Like
  • Alexandre Desplat
  • Alvvays
  • The Stone Roses
Gear Highlights
  • Genelec Monitors
  • Cranborne Audio 500 Series Rack & Preamps
  • Elysia Stereo EQ and Compressor
  • Klark Teknk 76-KT
  • Access to high-end mixing and mastering hardware (including tape machines)
  • Extensive Plug-In and Virtual Instrument collection
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