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Bob Ludwig

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i hear so much about him and when i look at his client list it's like war and peace, but what is it that makes him 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 him for a hot mix?

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Profile picture for user Herbeck
Member for
11 years 10 months

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

Profile picture for user Michael Fossenkemper
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18 years 9 months

Michael Fossenkemper Tue, 03/01/2011 - 17:25

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.

Member for
51 years 5 months

bigtree 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.

Member for
51 years 5 months

bigtree 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. :)

Profile picture for user Herbeck
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Herbeck Tue, 03/01/2011 - 18:42

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

Profile picture for user Michael Fossenkemper
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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.

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bigtree 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 for
19 years 5 months

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.

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+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.

Profile picture for user Thomas W. Bethel
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19 years 6 months

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".

Profile picture for user Herbeck
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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.com/watch?v=3km3Z04aYxM&feature=related"]YouTube - Joni Mitchell on Dutch National TV 1/4[/]="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3km3Z04aYxM&feature=related"]YouTube - Joni Mitchell on Dutch National TV 1/4[/]

Cheers,

Herbeck

Member for
19 years 5 months

Big K Thu, 03/03/2011 - 02:06

Good old Joni...

This '88 Dutch production I consider, at best, as barely acceptable and only for the circumstances it was filmed in.
Jan Douwe Kroeske was moderator of a low budget Youth magazine mid/end ‘80s. I saw it a number of times, because it fell in the
years when I worked in the Netherland.

I would not want to consider it an example for untreated and natural sound in TV broadcast.
By today's (and yesterday's) standarts it is plain awful. I recorded hundreds of hours for live interviews and film.
This audio ( not talking about picture and choice of location..) would be considered a good reason to fire the whole production team.
It is noisy and distorted ....
Any other live sound I heard on German Television over many months was better than this one, sorry...
The presence of excessive environmental noises is no evidence for good and natural sound recording, neither is distortion.
Any other live sound I heard on German Television over months was better than this one, sorry...
The presence of excessive environmental noises is no evidence for good and natural sound.

Herr Herbeck, who are you?
;-)

Profile picture for user Herbeck
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Herbeck Thu, 03/03/2011 - 02:54

I've only heard this on Youtube so I've no idea how the orginal sounded.
But that wasn't the point.

People with real talent doesn't need hyped videos to be interesting to look and listen to.
Mediocre mainstream artists do. To bad that the orignal sound was not good.

Big K, post: 365478 wrote:
Herr Herbeck, who are you?
;-)

I'm just a dude without a TV.

Cheers,

Herbeck

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Profile picture for user Herbeck
Member for
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Herbeck Thu, 03/03/2011 - 06:41

Thousand Thanks Thomas.

Great reading.
The first time I've seen a video with Bob, I can see why people like to work with this guy.

Cheers,

Herbeck

Profile picture for user SASman
Member for
13 years 5 months

SASman Sat, 04/02/2011 - 05:00

There are many recordings that I love and when I check the back, often Mastered by Bob Ludwig, he is a professional.

Of course a great recording, great musicians, a great mix in a fantastic studio all comes together in the end.

It's not just 1 man or womans work, it's many.

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