Dereck Blackburn

Creative Mixes | Solid Masters

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3 Reviews (1 Verified)
Dereck Blackburn on SoundBetter

Hello! I am a passionate professional mixing / mastering engineer, producer, and sound manipulator based in Boston, MA. I operate a boutique studio where I work with most of my clients, in person or remote. I employ a custom hybrid mixing and mastering setup using the best of analog and digital tools, much of the analog gear I have made myself.

I was a recent guest on the Working Class Audio podcast! - https://www.workingclassaudio.com/wca-270-with-dereck-blackburn/

Work with me and you get:

The best editing, vocal post-production, and competitive mixes.
Major Label Mastering without the price tag.
A true collaborative experience to realize your artistic vision.

I understand how the process of creativity works for everyone from DIY musicians to major label artists. I specialize in taking your self-recorded tracks and spinning them into gold (within reason). I've been fortunate to work with artists and engineers like Steve Albini, Imogen Heap, Sidewave, Husbands, Brad Breeck (Gravity Falls), Windmills, Dethco Labs, and Ember Wreath. What does this mean for you? It means I have the insight to help you where ever you may be in your career. Not only am I an accomplished audio engineer but I can also manage a project better than most. We will have a lot of fun making your record. Studio designed and built by Dereck Blackburn and Lou Clark with Eric Pearce at Soundwall Construction, Portsmouth NH.

Membership:
Audio Engineering Society Executive Committee (AES)
The Recording Academy (Grammys)
Audio Builders Workshop (DIY Pro Audio)

I'd love to hear about your project. Click the 'Contact' button above to get in touch.

3 Reviews

Endorse Dereck Blackburn
  1. Review by Luis P.
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    Working with Dereck was just amazing. I can't emphasise enough what a great session we had last week. Previously I had sent him a very raw recording of a song I was writing. He replied to me promptly giving a detailed description of how he envisioned the song moving forward. Then, he was methodical and professional in the studio. He wasn't afraid to experiment but always kept focused. At the end of the session I came out with a song finished and mastered. 6 stars.

  2. Review by Bradford K at Big Nice Studio
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    I've had the pleasure of collaborating with Dereck on a number of projects, and he is truly one of the great engineers in our industry. I'm so impressed by his unbounded excitement and enthusiasm for the record making process and the dedication to the vision of the artists he works with. His technical knowledge is unmatched - he has an incredibly deep understanding of each tool in his mixing arsenal, and he employs them in creative and exciting ways. He's a true advocate for the records he makes and will work tirelessly until everything is perfect.

  3. Review by Jon Rook
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    Dereck is my go-to referral for anyone in New England looking for a recording or mixing. He's incredibly knowledgeable, easy to work with, and he knows exactly how to capture the artists vision ~ I would HIGHLY recommend Dereck for ANYBODY looking to level up their music!

Interview with Dereck Blackburn

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

  2. A: I understand the emotional impact that great mixing can have on a good recording. I operate in sonic textures - a way to translate the vision of the artist to the enjoyment of the listener. I'm very easy to work with, always available, and ready to help you take on the next level.

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

  4. A: I started my career in broadcast as a board operator for Chicago area radio stations, but I've always been recording and mixing music since I was a kid. I would record local punk and hardcore bands with a Tascam 4-track and a handful of SM57s, then export the stereo mix into Cool Edit Pro to attempt to remove noise and add EQ and compression. I was so fascinated with the process I did everything I could to learn about how the musicians I loved sculpted the sounds that meant so much to me. My tools have certainly seen an upgrade in the past decade - I now employ a hybrid approach to mixing: In the box digital with a high end analog mixbuss. Regardless of the tools I use, I do whats best to serve the song and the artist - bringing my understanding of the emotional depth and effect music has on the listener. I've measured out my life with coffee spoons and hours and hours of critical listening and analysis.

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

  6. A: Primarily bands are coming to me to record or to help them with mixes. I do a lot of tracking in my home studio - Quiethouse Recording. I have 24 Inputs to Pro Tools and a large collection of outboard and mics. I can record any type of band here. We employ a modern method of recording rock: Drums and bass first creating a foundation, then everything else wrapped around it. I've done plenty of live band recordings here as well. For mixing, its usually done over the internet or the band will give me their sessions and I will spend however long its been agreed upon to flesh out my approach. I'll then submit my best effort to the band and they can give me mix notes or attend a mix session to iron out the wrinkles and edges. I work until the client is satisfied.

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

  8. A: Production and engineering goes to Sylvia Massey, Alan Moulder, Howard Willing, and Steve Albini. Sylvia because of her creative approach to using studio tools, Alan for his stature in modern music as a true heavyweight of shoegaze and rock. Howard for all of his work with the Smashing Pumpkins, and Steve Albini because he has been my mentor

  9. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  10. A: Universal Audio Apollo Recording System - 2 Quads and Twin with BLA Mods - 10 Unison Preamps / 16 Analog I/O ADA8200 BLA Mod - 8 I/O 12 channel Oram/Trident 80B Consolette with Jim Williams PIP Mods JBL/Urei 7510A 16 Channel Microphone Preamp Box 2 x Rupert Neve Designs 511 Microphone Preamps 4 x CAPI VP28 DBL2 Microphone Preamps with Red Dot Op-Amps and Litz Xformers 2 x JLM Audio LA500s with Slow Attack 1 x Alta Moda Hippo Bus Compressor 2 x DIYRE CP5 Microphone Preamps With LTLO Royal Blues 2 x Louder Than Liftoff Chop Shop EQs 2 x dbx 560A Compressor/Limiters with Revive Mod 2 x DIYRE Colour Palette with many many Color Modules Monitoring by Neumann KH120s L R and Sub.

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

  12. A: Mixing 1. I mix at a studio of my choice that has what I need for a quality mix with you attending the session. 2. I mix at a studio of your choice and come to your location to mix with you attending the session. 3. You send me files and I mix the songs, then send them back for your approval. This would be the most cost effective way to work. Either way I mix until you are happy and approve the mix. Recording 1. We record at a studio of my choice that I feel is best for you and your project and budget. 2. We record at a studio of your choice and I come to your location to work with you. 3. You come record with me at my studio : Quiethouse Recording. Producing Producing can mean a lot of different things but to me it means helping you with the entire process of making a record from how much its going to cost, to hiring outside musicians, to digital distribution and cassette or vinyl duplication. In between those functions, I will use my experience to help you make the best record we are capable of making.

  13. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  14. A: I can flow quickly when tracking and mixing. I know my DAWs inside and out, I understand signal flow, and I know how to make sounds by description. If you have a tone in mind you want I know how to get it or at least have an approach to achieving greatness. I never say no because my biggest accomplishment every day is providing the best service to my clients.

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

  16. A: Rock, Alt-rock, Indie rock, and Electronic Rock. I can also do Garage rock, pop, and jazz. As long as the facility we are at has amazing microphones and you are bringing your A game as well there's no battle we can't win together.

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

  18. A: A lot of people trigger an 808 sample with their acoustic kick but you can also tune a floor tom to be sympathetic to a batter side hit. Tune the floor tom until it resonates the fundamental. Sample it and load in your favorite trigger. You can lo pass the sample and do further EQ or compression to really bring out the texture of the resonance.

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

  20. A: I would like to work with YOU because YOU have a song inside you just waiting for the right moment to be free.

  21. Q: How would you describe your style?

  22. A: 90s alt-rock and shoegaze meets modern recording techniques.

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

  24. A: 4 SM57s and a Tascam 424mkII. I can make anything with those tools.

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

  26. A: A lot of people say a producer or engineer is only as good as their last client but thats not true. There are many people out there producing and recording that only have one record in them and plenty that could make this into a career. When you are digging into someones credits, understand the place and time they were in when the record was made. We are constantly learning and evolving.

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

  28. A: What is your budget - then I find a way to work within that budget. Whats your motivation? Do you love singing and being in a band or do you have a "message"? Are you open to constructive criticism? If its my job to make you sound the absolute best you possibly can then I may have to tell you my opinion which isn't always flattering but it will help in the long run. I never say anything deconstructive to the process.

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

  30. A: That when the band or artist leaves that the work is done. The work is always going it never stops.

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

  32. A: What are your rates? I try to be fair and charge what the market dictates. I'm not trying to get rich I'm just trying to make records until I die. What's something that I wouldn't know to do to make better music/art? If you are a musician, go to art museums and galleries. If you are a visual artist go to rock shows.

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

  34. A: That I get to work with the best people in the music industry every day. That bad days are just days in between good days when art gets made. That I get to travel the world to promote our art.

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

  36. A: I will always act in your best interest and when I feel like I can't do that any longer I will tell you.

  37. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  38. A: Hybrid.

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

  40. A: 3 long term tracking projects. I just finished mixing 3 records in September.

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

  42. A: Right now I am the Secretary of the AES Boston Section and I get to work on Audio Builders Workshop. The people involved are dedicated to DIY audio and education and its a privilege to know them and spread the message about building and fixing your own gear.

  43. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  44. A: Universal Audio Apollo Recording System - 2 Quads and Twin with BLA Mods - 10 Unison Preamps / 16 Analog I/O ADA8200 BLA Mod - 8 I/O 12 channel Oram/Trident 80B Consolette with Jim Williams PIP Mods JBL/Urei 7510A 16 Channel Microphone Preamp Box 2 x Rupert Neve Designs 511 Microphone Preamps 4 x CAPI VP28 DBL2 Microphone Preamps with Red Dot Op-Amps and Litz Xformers 2 x JLM Audio LA500s with Slow Attack 1 x Alta Moda Hippo Bus Compressor 2 x DIYRE CP5 Microphone Preamps With LTLO Royal Blues 2 x Louder Than Liftoff Chop Shop EQs 2 x dbx 560A Compressor/Limiters with Revive Mod 2 x DIYRE Colour Palette with many many Color Modules Monitoring by Neumann KH120s L R and Sub.

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Green Piece - Stacys Dad

I was the Recording Engineer and Mixer in this production

Terms Of Service

Mixing: We talk about the song together, you send me files, I mix them, you give me notes, I mix until you are happy with the song (within reason).

Gear Highlights
  • Conversion by Universal Audio and Dangerous Music. Neumann Monitoring. Analog outboard by API
  • JLM Audio
  • Alta Moda
  • Louder than Liftoff
  • and ADL. I own every plugin.
More Photos
More Samples
SoundBetter Deal

Soundbetter Visitors will receive a free consultation on their project prior to any contract.

  • Working Class Audio Podcast - #270 Dereck BlackburnDec 24, 2020

    Studio Building, Dual Electrical Systems, Mini Splits, Community Participation, Mastermind Groups, and Meditation.


    In this episode, we discuss:


    • MIT
    • Audio Builders Workshop
    • Building Quiethouse Recording
    • Productivity Tools
    • Dual Electrical Systems
    • Energy Bills
    • Mini Splits
    • Community Participation
    • Mastermind Groups

    https://www.workingclassaudio.com/wca-270-with-dereck-blackburn/