Donny Baker (dB)

Remote Mixing and Mastering

Donny Baker (dB) on SoundBetter

Grammy Nominated Mixing engineer - Own studio - Analog front end - Awesome vintage outboard - Vibey feeling sound - Demo mix FREE!

Touring live mix engineer for 15 years. Studio owner, Mixer, Engineer, 15 years. Multiple award nominations. Multiple Platinum awards. Many credits in many genres.

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Interview with Donny Baker (dB)

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

  2. A: We are full into a new video game recording dialog and coding and then of course we are always producing and creating music. We have some high end clients that I can't talk about because they are very private. But, I can assure you know who they are and you are excited about their new project coming.

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

  4. A: Mixing does not involve editing, tuning, Etc. If the client sends us a track to mix and there are no edits, and then say the Chorus is not "Flown" to the other spots where they need it to be and then the vocals are not tuned and sound terrible. I'll ask the client to do those things before calling us in. If the individual tracks are not labeled. I send it back. I don't want to spend a bunch of time trying to figure out what each track is.

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

  6. A: My Universal Audio Apollo and also my UA -2-1176 limiting amp. A few SM57's in case I have to record anything and then anything Analog. The only Plug Ins I absolutely have to have is Slate Digital Mix Rack. Plus anything UA for the Apollo.

  7. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  8. A: Led Zeppelin - John Bonham was an inspiration for me to begin this journey - As well as artist like Joe Walsh, Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, Etc. Etc. When music was real. And, artists couldn't hide behind things like Autotune and quantizing ( Flex Time, Elastic Audio, Etc. ).

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

  10. A: Yes, Make your snare drum sound like the snare drum you want and record it. Don't depend upon your computer to fix it later. Stop mixing visually, LISTEN! Use your ears!

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

  12. A: I like to bring up the faders and start mixing right away. There's nothing like getting the sounds to happen and then tweak it and make it awesome. Once I get a song to place where it feels good, then I can bing in the client to do the final and then off to Mastering!

  13. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  14. A: We have an awesome analog system here that revolves around an Audient ASP4816 in our Studio A. Some great vintage outboard gear as well. In Studio B, the system revolves around a rare A&H GS3000 that has been redone. It sounds really good and feels great to work on.

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

  16. A: We did a record recently that I was part of the recording process. And, it was all organic and had some monster players on it that we all know and love. It was awesome being a part of that project. The artist had done her previous record at a very well known studio in Northern Alabama (Yes that one) and said to us that she liked working here better. I kind of just thought, well maybe she's just being nice because so many great records came out of that Alabama studio that it's hard to think of myself on that level. But, I'll take that compliment and run with it. We've been here doing this for 17 years now and I guess we do have a reputation in this business of music. Wow, really? People know us? Yes, Yes they do. Keep up the great work guys!

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

  18. A: Most of what I do here is mixing. Although, I do record and edit. My main gig is Mixing. We have 3 rooms here at this facility that are always busy working. We work with may different genres and can also Produce if that need arises. Our Studio A is kind of known for the drums sounds we can achieve. We have a great reputation as a drum room.

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

  20. A: That's a tough one. My focus is on organic music. (real instruments) Not to say that working samples and midi is not also cool. I prefer to make an instrument sound like that instrument and record that way. You know, pick the right microphone, the right distance and angles and of course the right PreAmp, etc. And, then press record. That way, it's done. No need to depend upon the computer to do it after ( fix it in the mix ) if you will.

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

  22. A: Many. Many, Many years of mixing live and in the studio. I know how I like it and hopefully that translates well for the client.

  23. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  24. A: Vocals. I always start with vocals in a mix. The vocals of the song are the strongest part of most songs. So they should be amazing and then bring everything else in around them to support.

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

  26. A: We seem to work on a lot of Hip Hop, Rap, R&B, But, the occasional Punk Rock (Green Day) type feel is common as well. But Rock works as well. Metal, Pop, Whatever! We also work on some Post Production stuff at times. Our Studio B is setup for a 5.1 mix. We mix a few regular shows for Netflix and Hulu and FX. Also, Video Game dialog recording is a big thing at times.

  27. Q: How would you describe your style?

  28. A: Raw, Live, Make it awesome. Let's turn off the click track and play the damn song. Music wasn't meant to be perfect. It should feel alive and have a soul about it.

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

  30. A: I grew up in New Orleans. So, the Jazz, funk is built in. I love feel good music. If it makes you dance, it's perfect. I have been mixing since 1973 when we sitting around the garage and bands practicing and growing and getting record deals. ( Zebra, being one)

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

  32. A: If you want real, live sounding mixes. I can handle that for you for sure. You know, it's all about the vibe and the feel. It's not about how many plugins I can use at the same time.

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

  34. A: Budget? JK, I like to sit and vibe with potential clients about life and stuff. Not just the work, I own the studio. So, time is not that really important.

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

  36. A: How much? Usually is the first question. But that should not be a thing when it comes to your songs. We will always try to work within budgets as long as they are reasonable.

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

  38. A: Man, Come on. This is not a job. This is life. I am the happiest when I am in a mix and the parts are hitting and the client is happy and the songs just feel right! That's best feeling anytime. And then we get to make our living doing something that we love. It don't get better than that!

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

  40. A: We promise to work with you until you are satisfied with your product. We can take your ideas and make them reality.

  41. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  42. A: ANALOG! I shouldn't have to tell you why. But, I will. Digital has a limit. It's math. Ones and Zeros. And they have a ceiling. Digital will tell you "Nope, That's all you get. There is no more room". That's like telling the country boy he can't slide down the hill and do a back flip into the creek. You know he's gonna say, "Hold My Beer" - "Hey ya'll, watch this!" Analog. So, Hey Ya'll watch this!

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Gear Highlights
  • Audient ASP4816 Analog Console
  • Sony C800G
  • Neve 1073 Preamps
  • Neve 1081 Classic Preamps (1972)
  • Universal Audio 1176
  • Preamps by API
  • SSL
  • Avalon
  • Studio Projects
  • Allen & Heath GS300 Analog Console
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