Surrounded by his recording engineer peers, master mastering engineer and 11-time Grammy winner Bob Ludwig was presented the first dCS Legends award at an event Tuesday night during this week’s annual Audio Engineering Society confab in New York.
This was no mere award ceremony, however. U.K. high-end consumer and studio digital converter and audio component vendor dCS (Data Conversion Systems Ltd.) will be deploying Ludwig and a bevy of Grammy award-winning recording engineers for a year-long campaign to promote not only itself and its products but to bring Hi-Res audio to a wider consumer audience.
“It’s really gone from just a few select people getting to hear great music in high resolution to the masses can hear it now,” says Ludwig, who has worked with a plethora of both classical and rock artists including the Kronos Quartet, Steven Reich, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Phish, Metallica, Gloria Estefan, Nirvana, Queen, U2, Guns N’ Roses, Bonnie Raitt, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, the Bee Gees, Madonna, Elton John, Daft Punk, and on Disney’s “Frozen” soundtrack.
“No one discusses should we go to 4K, should we do HD instead of SD,” adds seven-time rammy winning audio engineer Frank Filipetti. “Everybody realized immediately [HiRes] is better.”
Ludwig and Filipetti are two of the dozen recording engineers dCS will be honoring over the next 12 months as Legends for their recording studio achievements as well as their support and work in Hi-Res remastering. dCS’ Hi-Res audio campaign, targeted at both high-end audio consumers and studio professionals, will consist of consumer and trade advertising, dealer materials and event signage, artwork with Grammy award-winning titles featuring Legends in ads as well as social media posts, podcasts, and engineer interviews promoting Hi-Res.
The campaign will stress not only the critical behind-the-scenes contributions of recording engineers in the Hi-Res ecosystem, but the emotional impact of hearing music in Hi-Res, the growing number of Hi-Res sources and, for audio retailers, the value of dCS DACs and components capable of reproducing Hi-Res’ subtler aspects.
dCS’ campaign coincides with the growing awareness and visibility of Hi-Res, such as the growing number of streaming sources such as the new Amazon Music HD service providing a growing number of Hi-Res releases, both new and catalog. To create consistency in Hi-Res content, last September, the 6,000-member producers and engineers wing of the Recording Academy released its recommendations for high-resolution music production. Hip-hop artist and producer Ivan Barias, representing the Academy wing, presented Ludwig with his Legend award.
As Hi-Res awareness grows and Hi-Res capable devices proliferate, the campaign could be extended. According to dCS, there are 180 million streaming customers, a third of which are likely candidates to subscribe to a Hi-Res audio service, and, more importantly for high-end audio dealers, Hi-Res hardware. As wireless pipeline (i.e. 5G), computer processing, and cloud and storage technologies continue to evolve and become ubiquitous, the goal is to one day make Hi-Res audio the norm.
Among the other engineers to be honored as dCS Legends during the course of the campaign will be Filipetti, Chuck Ainlay, Ed Cherney, Tony Faulkner, James Guthrie, Leslie Ann Jones, George Massenburg, John Newton, Elliot Scheiner, Al Schmitt and Mark Wilder. Like Ludwig, each of these recipients will receive a limited edition commemorative version of dCS’ Bartók Headphone DAC.