Bob Ludwig is retiring

Here are some of Bob Ludwig’s favorite albums he mastered through the years, with his comments:

1960s: The Band: The Band, “an iconic recording.” Also Led Zeppelin II, “made 54 years ago and played on radio every single day since!” For historical perspective, Ludwig notes that 54 years prior to LZII, the state of the art was “acoustical recording into a horn!”

1970s: Metal Machine Music, “the first time I worked with Lou Reed” and Sheik Yerbouti, “my glorious days with Frank Zappa.”

1980s: Journey’s Escape: “Don’t Stop Believing!”; Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly: “3M digital and (producer) Gary Katz!”; Bruce Springsteen’s Born In the USA, “the start of Bruce’s Stadium performances”; and Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms, “the first time a CD outsold the vinyl version.”

1990s: Foo Fighters’ The Colour and The Shape, “Dave Grohl!” and Nirvana’s In Utero, “Kurt fell asleep in front of the left speaker!”

2000s: Radiohead’s In Rainbows, “Nigel Godrich!,” and Springsteen’s The Rising: “It moved me to tears.”

2010s: Beck’s Morning Phase; Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories; and Wilco’s The Whole Love.

2020s: The Songs of Bacharach & Costello by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello, and Metallica’s 72 Seasons.

Ludwig calls his bedroom headphone system “an absolutely killer setup!” Its source is a dCS Bartók streamer/DAC connected via Transparent Audio cables to a LTA Z10e tube electrostatic headphone amp, into which he plugs a pair of Audeze CRBN electrostatic headphones.


Bob has been credited with 6623 albums, of which 5929 he mastered. I really admire his work. Of many albums I love I found out later that he had mastered them.

I found the complete list, so work to do :wink:

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Things to read:


From Part 2:

A big early breakthrough was the dCS 900, which used dCS’s Ring technology and drew on Philips’ Bitstream concept of a very high-frequency sampling rate with few word-bits, a precursor to DSD. The dCS 900 worked internally at the equivalent of 24/44.1 or 24/48, at that time setting the bar high for digital resolution. Even though that 24-bit data couldn’t be stored on industry-standard U-Matic videotapes, low-level musical details and sounds such as tape hiss were finally being successfully converted to bits and bytes. Thus, the 24-to-16–bit dither-down devices used to convert the data into a digital master finally had a high-resolution signal to work with.

Ludwig was convinced: “We were a very good customer of dCS. Every time they would upgrade their converters, … we bought those new, every single time.” Other companies, including Apogee, also greatly advanced the digital state of the art.

Today, Ludwig uses Merging Technologies Horus converters and a Pyramix workstation, but he prefers listening back through a dCS Vivaldi DAC. “It’s the cream of the crop, the standard … . It’s a little more euphonic than the stock HORUS. I’m looking forward to the Apex upgrade … and being delighted.”


Great post @Ermos and an incredible list of recordings. I could highlight one of the older ones I like, but for new music–Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories–that is great music.

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