Sunday, February 25th, 2018

In conversation with Bob Ludwig : Mastering Engineer to the stars

By editorJune 1, 2012

MASTERING

Grammy winning mastering engineer Bob Ludwig graduated from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music education and a Master of Music degree in performance (trumpet) and music literature. In May of 2006, Bob was honored by the University of Southern Maine with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree.

Bob began his professional career in 1967 at A&R Recording as an assistant engineer working with Phil Ramone, Roy Halee (who worked there for a short time), Don Hahn, Roy Cicala, Shelly Yakus, Elliot Scheiner and other A&R Recording staff engineers. Bob learned the art of vinyl record mastering at A&R with Mr. Ramone as his mentor.  His first big single was “Kentucky Woman” by Neil Diamond.

He moved to Sterling Sound, Inc. shortly after it’s incorporation in 1969 and became Vice-President.  Sterling was the first mastering facility in the Western Hemisphere to use the new solid state Neumann mastering electronics with Telefunken M-10A and Studer tape machines.  Probably due to producer Paul Rothchild’s insistence that  Bob master Janis Joplin’s new single, “Me and Bobby McGee” for Columbia, they revised the way their Union rules applied and Bob became the first independent, non-union engineer to cut lacquers for CBS records.

After 7 years at Sterling Sound he moved to Masterdisk Corporation where he was Vice President and Chief Engineer.  He continued mastering many hit records including U2, Phil Collins, Sting, The Police, Bryan Adams, Barbra Streisand and many many more.

In 1993 Bob left Masterdisk and opened his own business, Gateway Mastering Studios, Inc. in Portland, Maine.  Bob started his own studio so he could be in control of his own destiny, including the gear he wanted, the designs and room acoustics he wanted, and the ability to service his clients with total integrity. The studio was an instant success, winning the 1994 TEC Awards for Mastering Facility and Mastering Engineer, the first full year it was eligible.

Bob has mastered countless Gold and Platinum records. He was the first person to be honored with the Les Paul Award when it was first established in 1991 for “…individuals who have set the highest standards of excellence in recording and sound production over a period of many years”. Bob won numerous Pro Sound News Mastering Awards and Mix Magazine’s TEC Award for “Outstanding Creative Achievement, Mastering Engineer” an unprecedented 15 times. Gateway Mastering Studios won the TEC Award for Mastering Studio 9 times including this year’s awards.

In conversion with Audio Times editor Robert Campbell on 16 May 2012, Bob discusses his approach to mastering, how technical advancements have influenced his work and the continuing role of analogue within the mastering process.

https://www.audio-times.com/audio/Bob_Ludwig_160512.mp3

The world’s first Third Generation Diffractal® from RPG Diffusor Systems installed on the rear wall of Bob’s studio. Photo copyright Gateway Mastering Studios, Inc. used with permission

 http://www.gatewaymastering.com

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