About Bob Katz

Bob Katz

Bob Katz Digital Domain audio mastering mixing products

President, Mastering Engineer

World’s Firsts:

  • Bob recorded the world’s first music DVD with 96 kHz/24 bit audio, Sara K.’s Hobo, released on Chesky Records
  • Bob recorded the world’s first commercial 128x oversampled recordings and built the first working A/D that enabled these, using Bob Adams’ (of DBX) design.
  • Bob invented and patented the world’s first Ambience Recovery Processor.
Bob played the B flat clarinet from the age of ten. He has taught himself analog and digital electronics and software design. In 1972, Bob became Supervisor of the Connecticut Public Television Network, producing every type of program from game shows to documentaries, music and sports, and he learned to mix all kinds of music live. When he wasn’t working television, he was on location recording music groups direct to 2-track.

In 1977 he moved from Connecticut to New York City, and began a recording career in records, radio, TV, and film as well as building and designing recording studios and custom recording equipment. From 1978-79, he taught at the Institute of Audio Research and supervised the rebuild of their audio console and studios. In 1988 he began a long and pleasant association with Chesky Records, which became the premiere audiophile record label, where he made many recordings of popular and classical music using minimalist miking techniques and no overdubs. So he’s very familiar with the sound, dynamics and impact of live music.

In 1989 he built the first working model of the DBX/UltraAnalog 128x oversampling A/D converter, and produced the world’s first oversampled commercial recordings. He’s written two books, Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science, now in its third edition, and iTunes Music: Mastering High Resolution Audio Delivery.

Every day, Bob applies his specialized techniques to bring the exciting sound qualities of live music to every form recorded today. In 1990 he founded Digital Domain, which masters music from pop, rock, and rap to audiophile classical. In 1996, Bob and Mary moved the company from New York to Orlando, adding numerous Florida-based artists and labels to the international clientele. Bob masters in Studio A and supervises/produces mixes which are made in Studio B.

In the 90’s, Bob invented three commercial products, found in mastering rooms around the world. The first product, the FCN-1 Format Converter, was dubbed by Roger Nichols the Swiss-Army knife of digital audio. Then came the VSP model P and S Digital Audio Control Centers, which received a Class A rating in Stereophile Magazine. These devices perform jitter reduction, routing, and sample rate conversion. In the 21st century, Bob invented and patented an entire new category of audio processor, the Ambience Recovery Processor, which uses psychoacoustics to extract and enhance the existing depth, space, and definition of recordings. It’s currently licensed to Weiss as a hardware processor, and to UAD as a software plugin.

Bob has mastered CDs for labels including EMI, BMG, Virgin, Warner (WEA), Sony Music, Walt Disney, Boa, Arbors, Apple Jazz, Laser’s Edge, and Sage Arts. He enjoys the Celtic music of Scotland, Ireland, Spain and North America, Latin and other world-music, Jazz, Folk, Bluegrass, Progressive Rock/Fusion, Classical, Alternative-Rock, and many other forms. Clients include a performance artist and poet from Iceland; several Celtic and rock groups from Spain; the popular music of India; top rock groups from Mexico and New Zealand; progressive rock and fusion artists from North America, France, Switzerland, Sweden and Portugal; Latin-Jazz, Merengue and Salsa from the U.S., Cuba, and Puerto Rico; Samba/pop from Brazil; tango and pop music from Argentina and Colombia, classical/pop from China, and a Moroccan group called Mo’ Rockin’.

Bob mastered Olga Viva, Viva Olga, by the charismatic Olga Tañon, which received the Grammy for Best Merengue Album, 2000. Portraits of Cuba, by virtuoso Paquito D’Rivera, received the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Performance, 1996. The Words of Gandhi, by Ben Kingsley, with music by Ravi Shankar, received the Grammy for Best spoken word, 1984. In 2001 and 2002, the Parents’ Choice Foundation bestowed its highest honor twice on albums Bob mastered, giving the Gold Award to children’s CDs, Ants In My Pants, and Old Mr. Mackle Hackle, by inventive artist Gunnar Madsen. The Fox Family’s album reached #1 on the Bluegrass charts. African drummer Babatunde Olatunji’s Love Drum Talk, 1997, was Grammy-nominated.

Bob’s recordings have received disc of the month in Stereophile and other magazines numerous times. Reviews include: “best audiophile album ever made” (McCoy Tyner: New York Reunion reviewed in Stereophile). “If you care about recorded sound as I do, you care about the engineers who get sound recorded right. Especially you appreciate a man like Bob Katz who captures jazz as it should be caught.” (Bucky Pizzarelli, My Blue Heaven reviewed in the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint). “Disc of the month. Performance 10, Sound 10” (David Chesky: New York Chorinhos, in CD Review). “The best modern- instrument orchestral recording I have heard, and I don’t know of many that really come close.” (Bob’s remastering of Dvorák: Symphony 9, reviewed in Stereophile).

Some of the great artists Bob is privileged to have recorded and/or mastered include: Afro- Cuban All Stars, Monty Alexander, Carl Allen, Jay Anderson, Lenny Andrade, Michael Andrew, Lucecita Benitez, Berkshire String Quartet, Gordon Bok, Luis Bonfa, Boys of the Lough, Bill Bruford, Ron Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, George Coleman, Larry Coryell, Eddie Daniels, Los Dan Den, Dave Dobbyn, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Delmoni, Garry Dial, Dr. John, Toulouse Engelhardt, Robin Eubanks, George Faber, John Faddis, David Finck, Tommy Flanagan, Foghat, Fox Family, Johnny Frigo, Ian Gillan, Dizzy Gillespie, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Goodwin, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Hackett, Lionel Hampton, Emmy Lou Harris, Tom Harrell, Hartford Symphony, Jimmy Heath, Vincent Herring, Conrad Herwig, Jon Hicks, Billy Higgins, Milt Hinton, Fred Hirsch, Freddie Hubbard, David Hykes Harmonic Choir, Dick Hyman, Ahmad Jamal, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Clifford Jordan, Sara K., Connie Kay, Kentucky Colonels, Lee Konitz, Peggy Lee, Chuck Loeb, Joe Lovano, Patti Lupone, Gunnar Madsen, Jimmy Madison, Taj Mahal, Sean Malone, Manhattan String Quartet, Herbie Mann, Michael Manring, Marley’s Ghost, Winton Marsalis, Dave McKenna, Jackie McLean, Jim McNeely, Milladoiro, Mississippi Charles Bevels, Max Morath, Paul Motian, New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble, New York Renaissance Band, Gene Parsons, Gram Parsons, Danilo Perez, Itzhak Perlman, Billy Peterson, Ricky Peterson, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Chris Potter, Kenny Rankin, Mike Renzi, Rincon Ramblers, Sam Rivers, Red Rodney, Rodrigo Romani, Phil Rosenthal, Mongo Santamaria, Horace Silver, Lew Soloff, George ‘Harmonica’ Smith, Janos Starker, Olga Tañon, Livingston Taylor, Clark Terry, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band, Steve Turre, Stanley Turrentine, McCoy Tyner, Jay Ungar, U.S. Coast Guard Band, U.S. Marine Band, Amadito Valdez, Kenny Washington, Peter Washington, Doc Watson and Son, Clarence White, Widespread Jazz Orchestra, Robert Pete Williams, Larry Willis, and Phil Woods.
For a reasonably up to date list see Bob’s entry at All Music
Bob is an avid amateur photographer. Visit his photography website.