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Top 5: Davey Badiuk

Thursday February 8, 2024. 03:51 AM , from AudioTechnology
Top 5: Davey Badiuk
This is by far my favourite mixer. I think this model is from the early 1990s and was originally paired with some cassette recorder. Because I grew up in the industry with computers and having to work so much in the box, I only ever get outside of it when I’m wanting to colour something in a way that I can’t achieve in the computer. There’s a consistently growing number of plug-ins out there that try to do this, but when I’m really trying to fuck things up in a way that is convincingly lo-fi, or add colour that isn’t exactly pretty, I find it so inspiring to just run it through some weird piece of gear in my ever-growing collection.
My biggest inspirations are engineers such as Dave Fridmann (MGMT, The Flaming Lips) who have walls and walls of weird stuff and I just absolutely love that. I find so much inspiration from it. So, the M-208 is a killer mixer for that kind of thing. I have two of them, each with eight channels, and I use both for doing any kind of analogue summing. The way I do this is to either mix the 16 channels coming out of my Foster B-16 reel-to-reel, or to just colour things right out of the box. The way I have my rig set up, allows me to easily patch in and out of the board or tape, straight from the computer. And doing this gives me the ultimate ‘bedroomy’ colour chain, which I love so much.

It’s another ‘mixer’ but this one has four channels, though only one of the mono outputs on mine actually works. I use it mostly as a preamp, on the snare a lot, though I’ll re-amp things out of my computer into it as well. Soundtoys has a plug-in called ‘Radiator’ based on this thing and I believe The Black Keys made it famous by having a whole console of them, which is a huge part of their sound. It’s definitely my favourite sounding type of overdrive as it screws up my sound in a very delicious way. It has a two-band EQ which is cool, though it’s not about getting the perfect sound. For me, it is all about character. I will use this more in the production stage and not so much in the mixing stage. All the gear I have outside of the computer is for using it to be creative and to get weird sounds. Ever since I started collecting gear very early in my career, I’ve been drawn to Altec stuff, and the 1567a is definitely the most sought-after piece!

One piece of gear that absolutely had to make this list is my LCD-5s. I love being on the road and do a ton of travel for work, as I have clients all over the world, from New York to the Bahamas to Japan. And because of this, I’ve put a ton of energy over the years into finding a way to be able to get professional sounding mixes on headphones. It was always a struggle until I got a pair of Audeze headphones. The LCD-5s are its current flagship model and you really have to hear them to realise what they have to offer. It’s really mind-blowing how deep the sub frequencies seem to reach. This is something I’ve found difficult to work around on headphones. The low end is always either too exaggerated or non-existent. Yet these headphones seem to get it just right without any fatiguing to my ears at all. They also have a really articulated high-end. They give this feeling of a very grand soundstage which makes listening so much fun. I use them with my RME ADI-2 Pro headphone amp and travel with those as both fit in a backpack. While being out on the road, I’ve been able to deliver many major labels mixes this way!

I definitely over-use Acustica Plug-ins in every single mix session that comes through my studio. One of my co-mixers, Anthony Dolhai, gets kind of cheesed off at me for it because they are so overly CPU heavy, which makes it harder to send sessions back and forth. They are also notorious for bugs, so recalling settings can sometimes be an issue. But I can’t help using them as they just sound so good. The plug-ins capture some sort of impulse response through analogue gear that is played back in real-time. Because of this, I feel like I have every piece of outboard gear at my fingertips no matter where I am. They’re constantly coming out with new plug-ins and I’m always on top of trying them out. So, I use them all, with some of my favourites being the Gainstation, Blonde EQ, the 3 band EQ version of Cola, Camel compressor, Diamond dynamic saturator, and Lift.

The tool I always use to compare what I’m working on with reference mixes is the Metric A/B. It’s in every single one of my sessions, at the end of my master chain. It’s extremely helpful to make sure, loudness-wise and dynamically, all my mixes are feeling competitive. A lot of guys will throw reference mixes into audio tracks in their session, which is great, but I find using plug-ins like this just that much more efficient. I will often bring in previous versions of a mix I’ve done to compare and make sure any comments are addressed and that the mix is improving. It also has many useful meters too, along with a loudness match button, which scans whatever you’re referencing and plays it back at the same volume as your mix. This is really useful as it will make sure that I’m not fooled in thinking that something is better just because it is louder.

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