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Bob Ludwig

i hear so much about hI'm and when i look at his client list it's like war and peace, but what is it that makes hI'm so good? I heard two different albums of a band, one mastered by bob and the earlier album was someone else, and all i could tell was that bob cranked it really loud and it was less open than the earlier album(but of course it would sound good on the radio...yippie). I really prefered the earlier guy the band got that gave them a more open dynamic album. This is only one instance of his work, but is this generally the case? Do people go to hI'm for a hot mix?

Comments

Herbeck Mon, 02/28/2011 - 23:02
audiokid, post: 365353 wrote: Point well taken, the problem between life and survival. The lucky ones are the ones that never have to compromise honor and principle over money.

If you always have to struggle to make both ends meet, worrying about the next rent etc.
Your energy and focus will drop and drain, and it gets very hard to develop and expand your work at your full capacity and in the direction you want.
I've been there, not a very nice place to dwell in.

Cheers,

Herbeck

audiokid Tue, 03/01/2011 - 18:11
I got to step in here. You all are attacking this guy and I don't think he is proving an attack. I think all he is stating (and whole heart, having fun) , money is the route of why we do things that are not always what we know we should be doing.
I know I do things for money. I do however, my very best to never do things I feel are morally wrong or slippery etc. I think he is simply saying, we wouldn't be slamming the song if we didn't have a dollar value attached to it. The client is paying yes? Is it the best sounding? I guess it is within limits but still, its compromised because your are being paid to do it.
Seriously... if this wasn't the case, what are all the mastering engineering all complaining about in the first place.
Its all about money otherwise we wouldn't do anything that we didn't like and there wouldn't be all this template sounding music.

Its money that is causing everyone to fit into a mold. If this isn't true, how come it all sounds the same. Everything in business has a dollar value attached to it. Very few of us are living our lives in perfect harmony.

Money makes the world go round.

I personally don't have to make money in music to stay alive so I can do exactly what I want. I think that's what he is saying here too, and if we all had that "luxury" things would be different.

audiokid Tue, 03/01/2011 - 18:25
I must say I have hope that technology will improve and there will be a day that we are able to be loud and not so slammed. I think its getting closer and I think this will be the difference between the ITB studios and the high end hybrid studios coming around the corner. I also think it won't be something ME will be able to help much on, I think it will be dependent on the tracking from the very start. :)

Michael Fossenkemper Tue, 03/01/2011 - 18:50
I don't think a dollar value has anything to do with it, at least the majority for me. It could be free or not, they are still going to tell me what they want. Maybe their motivation is money, or fear, it's not my motivation though. My motivation is for them to leave happy. This isn't my music, it's theirs. To impart my belief values on a project is to miss the point of my job (although I do try lead them down the righteous path). Heck, why stop at level then, start turning down jobs due to content, tuning, competency of musicians, mic techniques, religious views, days of the week, lunar cycles.

I also don't agree that technology will be the savior. It's just a new frontier to conquer. We saw it from vinyl to cassette, cassette to CD, CD to SACD etc... It's societal, just watch TV for a day. He who talks loudest gets recognized. Or he who has the flashiest backdrop. It's always been that way and will forever be that way. Not saying there isn't the odd thing here or there that bucks the trends and walks their own path, because there is. But that's not the norm. The norm is to one up.

audiokid Tue, 03/01/2011 - 18:53
Herbeck, post: 365407 wrote: Hopefully some day artists and consumers will realize how poor there CD's actually sounds.
And then there will be lots of opportunities for remastered releases.
So maybe this loudness war is not all bad.


Cheers,

Herbeck

I think its the fault of the Pro Tools/ early DAW generation that we will look back on and shake our heads.

Member Fri, 06/22/2001 - 16:29
Yup for sure bout overcompressed tracks being somehow less on the radio, In my experience it's like, the optimod etc sees a whole loud signal rather than a modulating signal w dynamic, and so it just effectively clamps onto the offending frequencies or even worse the whole track, turning it all down. Gulp.


BTW It seems that this list is devoted to Rock and mainstream hits. While that is I guess the staple of the moderators and the ppl here, Will dub & Drum and Bass oriented questions be appropriate?

tia GERM

Big K Wed, 03/02/2011 - 02:24
Michael Fossenkemper, post: 365403 wrote: How is loud a moral problem? Some people like loud, other don't. Some people like a lot of salt on their food, other don't. I'm not the salt police or the loud police. It's their choice, not mine, for whatever reasons they have. If you think their project is too loud... don't buy it.
I don't think a dollar value has anything to do with it, at least the majority for me. It could be free or not, they are still going to tell me what they want. Maybe their motivation is money, or fear, it's not my motivation though. My motivation is for them to leave happy. This isn't my music, it's theirs. To impart my belief values on a project is to miss the point of my job (although I do try lead them down the righteous path). Heck, why stop at level then, start turning down jobs due to content, tuning, competency of musicians, mic techniques, religious views, days of the week, lunar cycles.

I also don't agree that technology will be the savior. It's just a new frontier to conquer. We saw it from vinyl to cassette, cassette to CD, CD to SACD etc... It's societal, just watch TV for a day. He who talks loudest gets recognized. Or he who has the flashiest backdrop. It's always been that way and will forever be that way. Not saying there isn't the odd thing here or there that bucks the trends and walks their own path, because there is. But that's not the norm. The norm is to one up.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------#

+1 for michaels posts


others: And I don't like generalisations.


To audiokid:
I don't think it has anything to do with certain DAWs or operators of it.
It is the lack of knowledge and ears paired up with a frenzy of applying all availlable technological possibilities without improving anything.
We are still inmids of that lunacy. The more untrained diy people let bands run into desaster ever so often, the less chances have the professional studios and engineers to put their healing hands on it from the start.
What the MEs get in their hands is often so warped and beyond that it can be said that many colleagues are working wonders on the productions. And without that it would be much worse ....much worse. Excessive loudness, as customer priority, is not our biggest problem.

Jon Best Fri, 06/22/2001 - 19:29
Originally posted by blake eat world:
really, i've always been told differently

Time for some listening! Do you have a DAW? Dump some stuff in there of varied levels, picking something that you think sounds really, really good from the 60's-70's, and something new and pop (Red Hot Chili Peppers new one, any of the boy/girl bands, really any top 40 recent thing). The next step is important- _equalize volume_ (quick and dirty is pan one left and one right and get a balance that way). Now do some comparative listening. Do this with a few different albums, and draw your own conclusions!

Member Sat, 06/23/2001 - 22:42
That's awesome that slamming a mix isn't the way to make it sound better on the radio, I always hated that myth. I also found out that the album ludwig did was recorded completly in pro tools, while the earlier was done on a 2" Studer. Now i use pro tools but i also know that a 2" Studer is gonna have a better chance at sounding more open than recording to pro tools, i believe this was the cause for my discontentment.

Bob Olhsson Sun, 06/24/2001 - 08:58
Back in LP days, just about every time an LP's sound totally knocked me out, it turned out to have been mastered by Bob Ludwig. The first time I had the budget to take one of my west coast projects to the east coast for mastering, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Bob at Masterdisk.

At the time, I had worked with just about every "name" in Hollywood and been extremely impressed by several. Still this experience did not prepare me for the level of attention to detail that Bob aggressively applies to every project I've seen him work on no matter what level the artist's profile is. Watching as an old hand at mastering myself, it was a no-brainer why Bob got the results that he got and from those results the reputation he still enjoys. It was a case of no-BS pushing the envelopes of both technology and skills. I learned a ton that I could apply to my own work which is exactly what I've heard from everybody I know who has also worked with Bob.

Bob still frequently does gorgeous work on obscure projects but like all of the rest of us, his first loyalty must be to the people paying the bills who generally want "competitive" levels. The result has been his name winding up on a lot of pretty mediocre-sounding projects that I have no doubt still sound really good for the levels of compression expected and the quality of masters provided. Still it's sad that so few people are willing to sacrifice a couple dB of level to support the incredible quality of work that Bob and a number of our other top mastering engineers are capable of.

Thomas W. Bethel Wed, 03/02/2011 - 04:52
Mastering is a SERVICE operation. We are in business to do what our clients want us to do and they pay us for doing the best we can to fulfill their needs and wants. I am not going to tell a client "I will not master your material because you want it too loud" The client would simply leave and I would have lost his or her business both for this session and any future work. I may, however, suggest that what we are doing to a client's music may not be the best thing to do if they want it dynamic and with lots of openness. People who say that mastering engineers should refuse to make things loud on moral grounds are dreaming. There are, at present, a whole lot of people that do "mastering" and if I don't want to make something the way the client wants there are 20 others that will.

Much of the problem today is that everyone wants everything "louder than anyone else" in order to complete. What they fail to realize is we have already hit the ceiling and their is no room left to make anything louder. We clip converters, we make bricks out of waveforms all the in the name of the ultimate loudness. If the musicians would start to concentrate more on lyrics, on incredible playing, on lush arrangements and create songs that have a WOW! factor maybe they would not have to reach for the all inclusive "loudness button" to make their stuff more "competitive". In the past two months I have done two sessions where the client says "make this louder than anything in the universe" in those two same months I have also had two clients who said "make this sound incredible and screw the loudness crap" so maybe things are changing. I certainly hope so. I get tired of stomping the life out of everything I do in the quest for loudness. I would like to go back to days of yore where people really wrote amazing songs and I could take what they had recorded and make it sound better. The loudness race has been going on for years and it is time for it to come to an end. I have always held that Bob Ludwig was the best of the best and I am sure even he gets tired of the constant quest for making things LOUD!

Protools comes with 32 plug-ins. Many young engineers today think they have to use all 32 plug-ins on every tune they mix. They also want their clients to have a "finished project" so they strap a limiter compressor and equalizer across the two track mix and "pre master" the mastering. When I get the tracks they are already squeezed dry of any life and now the client wants me to make them sound "incredible" and fuc#$ing loud to boot. It is a no win scenario and if I cannot do what the client wants then the client will get upset and may not come back or may decide to do the "mastering" him or her self in the future. Not a good position for a mastering engineer to be in.

Good topic but please don't put all the blame on the mastering engineer, we are the last step in chain but sometimes due to clients wants and needs we can only do so much especially if the mix is already "pre mastered".

Member Sun, 06/24/2001 - 14:15
I recorded and mixed an album that Bob was supposed to master. His people called and asked if we would mind being bumped. My client said "yes, we would". We got bumped anyway. I understand that Bob has to please the "big boys", but that wasn't cool. I think the client went to Bernie. I would have liked to have heard what BL would'a done.

Member Sun, 06/24/2001 - 22:15
Originally posted by germ:


Oh yes?? And how do you KNOW this?


Because it's absolutely true. The only way it's not true is if the Pro Tools system had all top end db converters. How people can argue this is absolutely beyond me. You obviously haven't heard the way PT degredates sound compared to 2". Even my wife can hear the difference.

The only way to minimize the degradation is to leave the faders at unity gain in PT and mix on a good analog console.

Eric

Member Mon, 06/25/2001 - 08:24
Bob,

No, Bob L himself (or more correctly an assitant to BL) did the bumping. They asked first ...as if there was really a choice....then said "sorry"....how about in a few more months. Part of me understands the economics of blowing off the little guy...and part of me gets a bit pissed. I have never bumped anybody...not to say that I haven't said "look, I've got this project that came up that I'd really like to do....how about if I do your project in 2 weeks and give you X discount or so many free CDs or something. This is why I'm adding a new room on to my place. Now if I can just get the cloning thing going!

Member Mon, 06/25/2001 - 14:30
Brad,

The client was paying $500.00/hr. To me, it does not matter. If I say I'm going to do something... I'll do it. Certainly not the best business decision, but the one
that I can live with. I have lost "higher profile" clients because I wasn't willing to bump a "lower profile" client. I had situation in which I was offered some nice
record company $, but the month was already booked with a local band. I did a lot of rescheduling (volunteer) and gave them a bit of extra time (for the previously agreed upon amount). I prolly would'a lost the national act if I couldn't move the local one, but I pulled it off. Granted Bob is waaaaayyy busier than I am, but this was not an easy thing to do....just the right thing to do..IMHO. I still have *tons* of respect for Bob as an engineer, and I realize that there are people who make some of these decisions for him. This won't cost him any Grammies, that's for sure...

Member Tue, 06/26/2001 - 04:09
Brad,

And besides, I have a studio manager who books gigs for me - there's no way I could handle my workload without a studio manager and an assistant - and I'm quite
sure Bob doesn't book his own gigs. It might not have been his decision - in fact, he might not have known about it.

That may be what happened, although anyone who owns/runs a company should make sure it's run in a way that's in line with their professional/personal values. I
own my own studio and am responsible for my actions....and the actions of my employees.


I just don't want to criticize him or his operation based on one bumped session.

Gosh Brad, I certainly wasn't asking/hinting/hoping that you criticize anyone. I simply expressed my disappointment in the way the situation was handled. I
would have loved to have heard what he would have done. I'm certainly not going to start an anti BL thread and with this post I'm done with any more talk (on my part) on BL's scheduling practices.

Bob Olhsson Tue, 06/26/2001 - 10:53
High profile clients are a real challenge.

Once you take on a project for them, they expect to be able to make a lot of changes, singles, substitute mixes, etc. with the mastering facility able to turn on a dime exactly the way an in-house facility would be able to. Major labels and high-profile artists want (and willingly pay for) Service with a capitol S. You can easily end up doing a day or two every month per blockbuster title for a year or more. The challenge is that you also need to be able to develop new clients and take on the new projects of your existing clients.

Doug Sax always dealt with this by flatly not taking on new clients for extended periods of time. Bob has always been a lot more open to new clients but there is always the risk of getting shuffled around. The way I have dealt with it was to just send Bob my non-major label projects to do when he could fit them in rather than attempting to coordinate a session with both of our schedules.

audiowkstation Fri, 06/29/2001 - 20:27
I believe in the Golden rule...He who has the gold...makes the rule...But...Bumping a client that is already scedualed is bad buisness. I would never schedual something that I cannot pull off. I have had clients schedualed 2 months in advance and had to turn down other gigs because of it...but that is the way the ball bounces...You win some..you lose some...but never do they get "rained out".

Jon Best Fri, 06/29/2001 - 20:48
An interesting point- when you schedule that far into the the future, are you taking deposits?

Originally posted by Bill Roberts:
I believe in the Golden rule...He who has the gold...makes the rule...But...Bumping a client that is already scedualed is bad buisness. I would never schedual something that I cannot pull off. I have had clients schedualed 2 months in advance and had to turn down other gigs because of it...but that is the way the ball bounces...You win some..you lose some...but never do they get "rained out".

audiowkstation Fri, 06/29/2001 - 21:35
I do take deposits. A flat retainer. We really never know how long a project may take as it depends on the mix...etc.

IF the client keeps open communication, the schedual "can" vary and I can open slots up.

One thing I really dislike is to have to travel to another studio to do a mix that was schedualed 2 months in advance and it keeps getting bumped up. Meanwhile I am idle because I have not schedualed anything at the mastering facility for that period.

Deposits take care of many problems. I have a trip to Hollywood that was supposed to happen in March. It is still unschedualed. Until I get a retainer for that project, my schedual is open. In order to do the Hollywood project, I will need a retainer and 10 days notice. I cannot afford to wait for them nor can I afford to tie up my facility without money changing hands and contract. Someone has to help me pay the bills!!

It is just good business.

So far..no problems.

Member Sat, 06/30/2001 - 20:41
Originally posted by Jon Best:
An interesting point- when you schedule that far into the the future, are you taking deposits?



For me, I take deposits on projects booked in advnce. But I don't master, I either record or mix. So if a project bails on me at the last minute I lose between a couple of weeks to a couple of months depending on the project.

I don't hold time for anybody without the money. If they can't give me a deposit, it's because they can't guarantee the time will be used, or they can't guarantee that I will do it.

Eric Sarafin

Member Sun, 07/01/2001 - 14:00
Bob is a God among mastering engineers, if you studied his list of clients you'd notice that anybody who is anybody uses Bob. Also, you ought to check out his gateway studio, man what a piece of work. The stands that hold his monitors are completly isolated and run all the way down to bedrock, now that's paying attention to detail.

Herbeck Wed, 03/02/2011 - 19:47
Michael Fossenkemper, post: 365410 wrote:
It's societal, just watch TV for a day. He who talks loudest gets recognized. Or he who has the flashiest backdrop. It's always been that way and will forever be that way. Not saying there isn't the odd thing here or there that bucks the trends and walks their own path, because there is. But that's not the norm. The norm is to one up.

A just found an old clip from a German station with Joni.
No flashy backdrop, not loud, just a great artist.
If this was the norm I would strongly consider to get myself a TV.

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.youtube…"]YouTube - Joni Mitchell on Dutch National TV 1/4[/]="http://www.youtube…"]YouTube - Joni Mitchell on Dutch National TV 1/4[/]

Cheers,

Herbeck
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