Dereck Blackburn

Creative Mixes | Solid Masters

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4 Reviews (2 Verified)
Dereck Blackburn on SoundBetter

Music, songwriting, and production: I am driven by the depth of emotion and range of feeling possible in modern music production. With every project I take on I give my full attention and expertise until the client is completely satisfied. I won't take on any project unless I have full confidence I will achieve the results you are looking for.

I'm Dereck Blackburn - a producer, mixing, and mastering engineer from Boston MA. I run a studio outside the city where I specialize in tracking, mixing, and mastering. I have been fascinated with the art of making records since I was a child. Obsessed with MTV and rock and roll I've fed myself a steady diet makin records since 1998. I don't believe in good or bad - I only believe in the intrinsic nature of creating art and serving the song, the artist, and the music.

From a technical perspective, I've been mixing and mastering audio for my entire adult life. I've worked with local bands trying to make their first demos to get shows and I've worked with Steve Albini and made effort to understand the art and science of making records. Most of the gear I use for tracking and mixing/mastering I've built on my own. I've spent the last 10 years in my purpose-built studio; Quiethouse Recording, a studio open to all.

My actual prices for mixing and producing can vary a good bit from project to project. I'd like to hear your music, get to know you a bit, and talk about your project before we settle on a price. Communication is very important to me - I am known for being easy to work with and engaged in the work. A conversation can change everything. Contact me today to start a conversation that could do just that.

Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.

4 Reviews

Endorse Dereck Blackburn
  1. Review by Wesley S.
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    Dereck did an awesome job mixing and mastering my song. He has great intuition as an engineer and was very responsive and accurate to my feedback. He is a very easy person to work with and even went out of the way to use extra equipment to get a greater sound than what we were already working with. I’m very happy with the results!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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: Tell us about your studio setup.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

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

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

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. A: Hybrid.

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

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

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

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

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

  18. 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.

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

  20. 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.

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

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

  23. Q: How would you describe your style?

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

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

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

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

  28. 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.

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

  30. 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.

  31. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  32. 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.

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

  34. 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.

  35. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  36. 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.

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

  38. 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

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

  40. 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.

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

  42. 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.

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

  44. 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.

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TRUE FAITH - GESTALT

I was the Recording, Mixing, and Mastering Engineer 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 UAD and Dangerous Music. Signal Processing by Louder Than Liftoff
  • JLM Custom Audio
  • and API.
More Photos
SoundBetter Deal

$400 mix and master for a single.

  • 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:
    MITAudio Builders WorkshopBuilding Quiethouse RecordingProductivity ToolsDual Electrical SystemsEnergy BillsMini SplitsCommunity ParticipationMastermind Groups

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