Bernie Grundman

Morning all

On Thursday I am interviewing Bernie Grundman for a piece I am writing. Obviously, I only have a limited amount of time with him, but if anyone would like me to ask any questions on behalf of forumites I will endeavour to try and get an answer for you.

Subject to time constraints as obviously we need to focus on the subjects in hand, and Bernie’s a busy man.

Ask away!


What fun. How about:

  • Thoughts on the loudness wars - are they over? What are the chances of new releases being mastered better (i.e. with more dynamic range) than in the past?
  • Thoughts on vinyl v. CD (or analogue v. digital, if you prefer), both in the home and studio settings. Which does he prefer?
  • Which album that he worked on is he most proud of the sound of? (poor English, but you’ll improve it, I’m sure)
  • How does he listen to music outside work (car? home? Vinyl? CD? Stream?)

Oh, and wish him a very happy 80th birthday for later this year.



What a dream job you have - Bernie is a legend.


What record is he most proud of mastering/remastering and why?

Ps sorry I see someone above with a long list of questions covered this already.

If he could have access to any of the master tapes ever produced (including those no longer in existence or not in a good enough condition to use) to work on / remaster what would he choose?

His final meal as it were.


Be nice to ask him about the challenges with the recent AP UHQR release of the Steely Dan catalogue particularly the Katy Lied tape which is supposed to have DBX related issues


What turntable does he personally use at home, and for testing disc playback?
What else does he have in his system - amps, speakers, components etc?
How many records does he own and does he have as many as Michael Fremer!?
His favourite artists and albums?

Edit: Enjoy the interview Kev, and look forward to reading the results.


How to explain the inconsistencies in quality for the lp reissues since the last years?
But better of course not ask that directly. Focus first on how good his remasters sound in general :grin:

What’s his next project/album?

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My Q’s would be:

1- Given the constant debates about whether today’s remasters can be better than (say) 1970/80s originals, it’d be interesting to know if BG thinks there is room for improvement(?), this obviously said with the knowledge that master tapes degrade over time and some, of course, have been digitised.

2- to ask if he’s ever done excellent work, only to have it ruined by a pressing plant/music company being less-caring in the chain of production!

3- how does he balance-up the benefits and downsides of the respective formats (limited to vinyl v say CD 44/16) when mastering?..which kind of goes with the question around the ‘loudness wars’ and saturation levels?


“Bernie, what were you thinking when you agreed to meet me for this interview?”

Could be used as the first or last question… :wink:

Good luck with the interview.


I remember the late audio writer in Boston, Clark Johnsen, emphasized absolute polarity, or absolute phase, where every thing in the chain would push in the same direction, say, when the drum was struck. I actually purchased a product to use in my phono section to implement it remotely but it was too noisy for my family. He called it “The Wood Effect” and wrote a book about it. I think that Stan Ricker, the producer, was a fan. Ask if Bernie uses that concept in his recordings and which ones best exemplify it.

Well Bernie was lovely. What a life he’s had! Three hours was nowhere near enough - and boy, can he talk! Fortunately he’s very interesting.


When and where will we be able to read your interview with Bernie?


It’ll be in Jazzwise (don’t know when, I’ll let everyone know) and maybe some other titles if I can “sell” it – got more material than I can use.


Yo the man Kev……brill


These are the two records that Bernie has mastered that he’s most proud of:


Rory DuNann’s Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section is one of the finest sounding recordings I’ve ever heard and Bernie does a fantastic job remastering it.

One of my favourite lesser known Bernie Grundman mastering jobs is Womack & Womack’s Love Wars LP.


Bernie said he learned a lot under Roy’s supervision at Contemporary Records, along with the label’s other great engineer Howard Holzter and owner Lester Koenig.


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