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.
While studying at Eastman, Bob worked several years in the school’s Recording Department as well as working for the local Century Records affiliate recording many high school band/orchestra/choir concerts around western New York State. He also worked as a trumpet teacher, an announcer at a commercial classical radio station WBBF-FM, did a great deal of independent recording, and played Principal Trumpet with the Utica Symphony Orchestra for several seasons including the piccolo trumpet part in a performance of the Bach B Minor Mass broadcast on local radio.
While Bob was finishing work on his Master’s degree during a summer session, engineer and producer Phil Ramone came to Eastman and conducted Eastman's first Summer Session recording workshop where Bob assisted him. After the workshop, Phil hired Bob to work at his A&R Recording Studios in New York City.
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. He started on the fixed-pitch mono Neumann lathe and worked his way up to the first stereo Neumann computer controlled lathe owned by an independent studio. He was the first engineer in North America to audition the revolutionary SX-68 cutter head Steve Temmer brought over from Germany. 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. Sterling was the first to use VMS-70 lathes and then the powerful SAL-74 cutting electronics with the SX-74 cutterhead. Sterling was also the first American facility to use the Tracing Simulator developed by Horst Redlich (AES Fellowship 1966)(AES Silver Metal Award 1977). Bob cut many famous records at Sterling including Led Zeppelin II, Houses of Holy, Jimi Hendrix, most of The Band’s famous albums and many others. 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 etc. As Chief Engineer, Bob continued being involved with many firsts. Bob cut his first album from a Soundstream digital recorder for Telarc in 1978. Masterdisk was one of the original 3 mastering companies that commissioned Neve to produce the first all digital mastering console. In 1987 Bob was one of the first engineers to master using speakers designed for audiophile use, the Duntech Sovereign. Today, most mastering studios use audiophile speakers including John Dunlavy (Sovereign) designs. Masterdisk took delivery of the first CDR-90 Compact Disc Reference System in America, which was the first practical recordable CD system (1989). The system incorporated the Sony 1610 as a playback source along with special PQ Senior software developed by Harmonia Mundi. Masterdisk became one of the few mastering studios in the US to own the Teldec/Neumann DMM (direct metal mastering) lathe where for the first time one could cut directly into a copper substrate instead of a lacquer acetate. These coppers could be used as “Fathers” to electroplate “Mothers” and “Stampers” and eliminated the difficult silvering process that was the cause of so many ticks and pops on vinyl pressings. Bob owned the second Sony portable DAT machine in America (Michael Jackson owned the first).
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.
www.allmusic.com shows Bob Ludwig as the engineer who seems to hold the largest number of mastering credits of all engineers employed in the industry' with 41 pages of credit listings. Bob has won a Latin Grammy Award for Alejandro Sanz’s Album of the Year and won a Grammy Award for Best Surround Recording (Dire Straits Brothers In Arms 20th anniversary edition). 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.
Bob has contributed a great deal of his free time to educating other engineers and musicians about sound. He's been a panelist or spoken to many organizations including SXSW (South by Southwest), the Audio Engineering Society, SPARS, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Society of Broadcast Engineers, the Surround Sound Conference and the Record Industry Association of America. He has been a guest lecturer at many universities and recording schools including McGill University, the Banff Centre for Performing Arts, Berklee College of Music in Boston, the University of Iowa, the State University of New York at Fredonia and Purchase, The University of Connecticut, the University of Southern Maine, the University of Maine in Augusta, the University of Miami and the Full Sail School of Film, Art, Design, Music & Media Production among others. He has written technical articles appearing in professional magazines and journals and has often been interviewed in consumer audio magazines. In the past few years special articles on Bob and Gateway Mastering have appeared in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, USA Today and the Portland Press Herald and many US newspapers via the Associated Press.
Bob was recently Co-chairman of the 6,000+ member Producers and Engineers Wing of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He is active in the Audio Engineering Society and was a past Chairman of the NY section. This year he will again chair the Platinum Mastering Panel and participate on a panel concerning the level wars.
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Very selected discography:
For a partial list of thousands of credits please go to http://www.allmusic.com and search for “Bob Ludwig” for pop music and “Robert C. Ludwig” or “Robert Ludwig” for classical music. Mastering credits were never listed on albums until 1972 so there are no original mastering credits listed for all my work done between 1967 and 1972. Here are some career highlights:
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