Services

Recording

Tucked away in the Sebastopol hills where the vineyards meet the redwoods, this studio has vibes for days. Come for a day or stay a week to hunker down and record your album at this cozy retreat. The forested-yet-sunny natural environment combined with the wooden, earth-toned interior aesthetic of the studio make for the perfect music-making setting.

The studio is a 900 square-foot cottage with lofted ceilings. Most of the walls have been intentionally left untreated to allow for a more organic, live sound. With close mic-ing we can achieve controlled, dry, and intimate sounds.

The studio is equipped with all the tools necessary to make an album, and more. There is a broad palette of top-shelf instruments, microphones, preamps, and compressors to dial in exactly the tone we want whether it be modern or vintage, hi-fi or lo-fi.

As the recording engineer, with years of experience making albums, I can help you plan, organize, and run your session. I typically take a producer role in projects by offering feedback and direction on song structure, arrangement, parts, tone, performances, etc. But I’m happy to just engineer if you already know exactly what you’re going for.

The guesthouse next door may be available for extended sessions for an additional charge.

Mixing

The goal at the mixing stage is to balance the elements of a song and give the song the best sonic space in which to tell its story. All of the tracks should combine in a coherent, compelling way that enables the listener to be completely immersed in the song without any elements of the mix poking out at them. Sometimes that means enhancing tracks with processing like EQ, compression, reverb, delay, imaging, modulation, etc. Sometimes it means leaving a track well alone because it’s already perfect. Knowing when and how to enhance a track in the overall context of a mix is the key.

I have experience mixing in a variety of genres from pop, to folk, indie, rock, EDM, R&B, Hip-Hop, blues, and funk.

I can go experimental, add interesting textures, and make a mix sound larger than life, or I can get a song to sound as natural and organic as possible.

In addition to the extensive Logic Pro stock plugin and sample libraries, I have access to and experience with a whole host of third-party plugins and software instruments from Soundtoys, Softube, Output, Waves, and Elysia. I can also patch in outboard gear or re-amp guitars for a more “realistic” sounding character.

Mastering

Mastering is the last step in the production process. Mastering brings balance between songs within an album to give the album a coherent sonic character. The goal is for the listener to experience seamless transitions between songs, not be distracted by pronounced disparities in tone, volume, and dynamics.

Mastering also brings balance between the album and the rest of the world of music that already exists so that the album can be enjoyed alongside other albums in the same genre or playlist. Mastering gets the song sounding great in every playback environment.

One component of mastering is loudness. My goal is to strike the balance between loudness and dynamics that the client desires. I am mindful of the loudness war and the loudness normalization processes implemented by the various streaming services and can guide the client in crafting the most compelling and musical balance. If the client wants it loud, I have the tools and experience to deliver loud masters in the most dynamic and transparent way possible.


Rates

For recording and mixing, my hourly rate is $40-$60/hr., sliding scale, depending on the nature of the project. Lower rates are given for bigger projects involving more hours. Day rates and project rates are also available upon request. Contact me to discuss the nature of your project and request a quote.

For mastering, I charge $50 per song for albums with 5 or more songs, $75 per song for albums with less than 5 songs, and $100 for singles.

Bio

I’m David Lipps. I started playing percussion in the 6th-grade school band. I was classically trained and have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of music theory. I’ve played drum set for a number of bands in a variety of genres including indie, folk, rock, blues, and funk. I appreciate all genres of music with a leaning toward indie folk.

I’ve been recording, mixing, and mastering music since 2002. I have a passion for music and building community in the music scene.

A previous client described me in his album credits as the “doula” of his album. I think this is a powerful metaphor because birthing one’s creative ideas into the world can be a difficult but rewarding process. I love to support artists through that process.

I am fully engaged with each project and am kind, caring, empathetic, a clear communicator, direct but diplomatic, patient, and laid back. I have meticulous attention to detail (some might say OCD), a finely tuned ear, and the dedication and focus to bring a project to completion.

On an emotional level, my goal is to provide a welcoming, safe, positive container for my clients to fully express themselves through music. On a technical level, I want my clients to feel inspired by the sound that’s coming through their headphones so they can deliver the most genuine performance of their art. And then, after the song is mixed and mastered, I want my clients to feel like the final product is exactly what they had in mind, if not infinitely better.

Audio Samples

Gear List

Mics

  • Neumann U87
  • Neumann KM85 (x2)
  • AKG C414 (x2)
  • Blue Baby Bottle
  • Groove Tubes GT55
  • Oktava MK219
  • AKG C1000 (x2)
  • Shure SM7
  • Coles 4038
  • AEA R84
  • Peluso R14 (x2)
  • AKG D112
  • Audio Technica Pro 25
  • Sennheiser MD-421 (x3)
  • Shure SM57 (x4)
  • Shure SM58
  • Shure Beta 57
  • Shure Beta 58
  • Shure Beta 52

Preamps

  • Universal Audio 4-710d
  • Universal Audio LA 2-610
  • A-Designs Pacifica (x2)

Dynamics

  • ADL 1000 Tube Compressor
  • DBX 160xt VCA Compressor (x2)
  • Universal Audio 4-710d

EQ

  • Klark-Teknik DN 410 Dual Parametric Equaliser

Conversion

  • Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt 8-channel AD/DA
  • Universal Audio 4-710d 4-channel AD
  • (Total of 16-channel simultaneous tracking)

Monitors

  • Yamaha HS8s
  • Avantone MixCubes
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro-80 (headphones) (x3)
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro-250 (headphones) (x2)
  • Behringer Powerplay P16 (x3)

Instruments

  • DW Collector's Series 6-piece maple drum set (fusion tom sizes)
  • No-brand vintage 3-piece drum set
  • An assortment of Paiste and Zildjian A, K, K Custom, and K Constantinople cymbals
  • LP Aspire 3-piece conga set
  • Remo djembe (x2) (14" and 16")
  • Cajon (x2)
  • An assortment of shakers, tambourines, and other percussion accessories
  • 88-key MIDI keyboard (x2)
  • Taylor acoustic guitar
  • Gretsch Boxcar resonator guitar
  • Fender Stratocaster (MIA) electric guitar
  • Gibson SG electric guitar
  • Fender Active Deluxe Precision bass guitar

Guitar & Bass Amps

  • Fender Princeton Recording Amp
  • Orange Crush Pro 60