Back to Blog

The 11 Best Mastering Engineers of All Time (Real Legends)

To go down in history as one of the best mastering engineers is a pretty difficult accomplishment. 

 

It requires an exceptional ear for detail and a deep understanding of both the technical and artistic aspects of music.

 

Plus the ability to consistently deliver high-quality results every time.

 

And they’ve got to stay ahead of industry trends and constantly tweak their craft to maintain their edge.

 

Today, we’re breaking down the very best mastering engineers in the game, crowned the best because they:

 

  • Mastered for some of the biggest artists in the game ✓
  • Consistently produce award-winning records ✓
  • Use innovative techniques to enhance sound quality ✓
  • Combine technical precision with artistic creativity ✓
  • Adapt to various genres with ease ✓
  • Maintain the integrity of original recordings ✓
  • Collaborate closely with artists and producers ✓
  • Have RIAA certifications & work with top record labels ✓
  • Push the boundaries of audio technology ✓
  • Mix, master, and tweak sounds like nobody’s business ✓
  • Have decades of industry experience & actually listen to their artists ✓
  • Influence and educate upcoming generations ✓
  • Balance analog warmth with digital clarity ✓
  • Much more based on the statistics provided ✓

 

After reading this article, you’ll know about the best mastering engineers in the game who have cemented their spot as industry legends. 

 

They’re all pioneers in their field and seriously elevate any track they touch. 

 

NOTE: if you’re a producer or an aspiring mastering engineer, knowing about these legends is super valuable.

 

It will help you get inspired and see exactly what it takes to become the next best mastering engineer yourself.

 

So, let’s dive in…

 

#1. Bob Ludwig

 

best mastering engineers

 

Bob Ludwig is a name synonymous with mastering excellence. 

 

As the founder of Gateway Mastering Studios, Ludwig has worked on some of the most iconic albums in music history, including: 

 

  • Led Zeppelin’s II
  • Radiohead’s In Rainbows
  • Random Access Memories by Daft Punk

 

His long-lasting career, which spans several decades, has been solidified by numerous accolades, including multiple Grammy wins. 

 

Ludwig’s expert way of mastering involves a deep understanding of the music he works on 一 every detail is polished to absolute perfection​.

 

One of Ludwig’s standout achievements is his work on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year. 

 

His ability to create a flawless flow between tracks while maintaining their individual integrity is a true testament to his skill. 

 

Ludwig’s dedication to mastering extends beyond the studio… 

 

He’s also an active member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy. 

 

His holistic approach (which focuses on both the technical and emotional aspects of music) makes him an invaluable mastering engineer for artists across all genres. 

 

Bob Ludwig’s influence on the music industry is profound, and his work continues to set the standard for mastering excellence​.

 

Bob Ludwig is one of the best mastering engineers because: He has mastered iconic albums for artists like Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, and Daft Punk, ensuring each track achieves optimal sound quality.

 

#2. Bob Katz

 

Bob Katz - Unison

 

Bob Katz (president of Digido) is a renowned figure in the world of audio mastering.

 

He’s celebrated not only for his technical skills but also for his contributions to the education and evolution of the field. 

 

Katz is the author of Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science (a definitive guide that is a must-read for any aspiring mastering engineer).

 

He’s mastered albums for artists across all genres like Dizzy Gillespie, Emmylou Harris, Wynton Marsalis, and countless more.

 

Katz’s innovative approach to mastering includes the development of the Audio Recovery Processor…

 

If you’re not aware, it enhances the depth, space, and definition of recordings using psychoacoustic principles, which is super cool.

 

He even recorded the world’s first commercial 128x oversampled recordings and built the first working A/D using Bob Adams’ (of DBX) design.

 

Katz’s mastering career is all thanks to his relentless pursuit of audio perfection  deeming himself a proud audio obsessive who never settles for basic.

 

He’s always pushing the boundaries of what is possible with: 

 

  • Mixing
  • Mastering
  • Analog production in general

 

Having won multiple Grammy Awards, his techniques are widely respected and emulated all throughout the music industry

 

Katz’s philosophy is that mastering is not just about making music sound good; it’s about matching the artist’s overall vibe, which he nails every time.

 

He has mastered mastering (pun definitely intended) and has forever solidified his place as one of the best mastering engineers in the world​.

 

Bob Katz is one of the best mastering engineers because: He is a pioneering figure known for his educational secrets featured in his book Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science and his innovative audio processing techniques.

 

#3. Mike Bozzi

 

Mike Bozzi - Unison

 

Mike Bozzi is an OG mastering engineer at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood, California, known for his influential work in shaping the sound of contemporary music. 

 

Bozzi’s career began in the early ’90s, where he was an intern at A&M Records before joining Bernie Grundman Mastering as a quality control engineer. 

 

He later became an assistant engineer to the legendary Brian “Big Bass” Gardner (which we talk about later on).

 

Bozzi’s expertise and dedication earned him the position of chief mastering engineer when Gardner retired in 2015. 

 

Bozzi’s accomplishments include winning the Grammy Award for Record of the Year for mastering Childish Gambino’s “This Is America.” 

 

He has been a six-time nominee for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, with special nominations for his work on Kendrick Lamar’s: 

 

  • Good Kid
  • M.A.A.D City
  • To Pimp a Butterfly
  • DAMN.

 

Bozzi’s ability to enhance the emotional impact and quality of any song is the reason he has worked with top artists like Tyler, The Creator, SZA, Justin Bieber, and The Weeknd. 

 

His innovative mastering techniques and killer attention to detail ensure that each project he works on achieves the highest possible quality. 

 

In addition to his work at Bernie Grundman, Bozzi has also collaborated with major record labels and charts providers to ensure his mastered records are flawless.

 

Also, his involvement with sessions at the iconic Abbey Road Studios highlights his diverse expertise and worldwide recognition​. 

 

Bozzi continues to influence the industry every single day and he will forever go down as one of the best mastering engineers in history.

 

Mike Bozzi is one of the best mastering engineers because: He has won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year for mastering Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” and has multiple Grammy nominations for his work with Kendrick Lamar.

 

#4. Joe LaPorta

 

Joe LaPorta - Unison

 

Joe LaPorta is a distinguished mastering engineer based at Sterling Sound in New York. 

 

He has worked with a bunch of top-tier artists, including: 

 

  • Shawn Mendes
  • The Weeknd
  • Imagine Dragons

 

LaPorta’s blend of analog warmth and digital precision is a thing of beauty.

 

He mixes and masters with state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge techniques to enhance the clarity and impact of each track. 

 

LaPorta’s meticulous attention to detail ensures that the final product maintains the artist’s original vision while delivering a polished and professional sound.

 

One of LaPorta’s notable projects includes mastering The Weeknd’s Starboy, which won a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album. 

 

Plus, his work on Imagine Dragons’ Evolve and Origins further proves his ability to handle diverse genres 一 from pop to rock and EDM.

 

LaPorta’s expertise in Pro Tools and other advanced mastering software is insanely impressive, which is why he achieves the highest level of detail.

 

Every mixed track he’s been a part of mastering turned to instant gold, so to say he’s one of the best mastering engineers of all time is an understatement.

 

Joe LaPorta is one of the best mastering engineers because: He has mastered tracks for artists like Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd, using advanced techniques and achieving the highest quality. 

 

#5. Emily Lazar (Best Female Mastering Engineer)

 

Emily Lazar - Unison

 

If we’re talking about the top mastering engineers in the game, Emily Lazar is certainly part of the conversation.

 

She’s a trailblazing female mastering engineer who has made big strides in a, let’s face it, male-dominated industry 一 earning her some serious respect.

 

She founded The Lodge in 1996, a state-of-the-art mastering studio in New York City, and worked on over 4,000 albums total, like:

 

  • Sia’s This Is Acting
  • Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light
  • Beck’s Colors
  • Harry Styles Harry’s House

 

Her work on Beck’s album actually earned her the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

 

She’s the first female mastering engineer to receive this honor. 

 

Lazar’s mastering style is super unique and she claims mixing and mastering should come from your heart, never from your wallet. 

 

She also is a fierce advocate for women in the recording industry, founding the “We Are Moving The Needle” foundation. 

 

It supports female audio engineers, producers, and recording professionals through various scholarships, course offerings, internships, and mentorship programs. 

 

Emily Lazar is one of the best mastering engineers because: She made history as the first female mastering engineer to win a Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, and has mastered over 4,000 albums for top artists like Foo Fighters, Coldplay, and Sia​.

 

#6. Mandy Parnell

 

Mandy Parnell - Unison

 

Mandy Parnell, the head mastering engineer at Black Saloon Studios in London, is renowned for her work with critically acclaimed artists such as: 

 

  • Björk
  • Aphex Twin
  • The xx

 

Her commitment to learning and growing never stops, and she even uses green energy to power her studio, which is pretty dope.

 

Parnell’s dedication to her mixing and mastering has earned her numerous accolades, including a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album for The xx’s I See You

 

Side note, if you want to learn all about AI mixing and mastering, we’ve got you.

 

Her forward-thinking techniques and commitment to quality make her one of the top mastering engineers in the recording industry, hands down.

 

Plus, how she blends experience and vision ensures that every track she masters is on point 一 making her one of the best female mastering engineers around.

 

Mandy Parnell is one of the best mastering engineers because: She has worked with groundbreaking artists like Björk, Aphex Twin, and The xx, known for her ability to handle complex and experimental music with a sustainable approach​.

 

#7. Brian “Big Bass” Gardner

 

Brian 22Big Bass22 Gardner - Unison

 

Brian “Big Bass” Gardner is a true icon in the mastering world, famous for his knack for creating powerful, bass-heavy tracks that still maintain clarity. 

 

Gardner earned his nickname from Dr. Dre due to his exceptional ability to enhance bass frequencies, which is not as simple as it sounds. 

 

His work has been pivotal in shaping the sound of hip-hop and pop music over several decades, working on groundbreaking albums like: 

 

  • Dr. Dre’s The Chronic
  • Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP
  • Various 50 Cent albums

 

These records set new standards for how bass could drive a track while still leaving room for other elements to shine​.

 

Plus, his use of the Fairchild compressor adds punch and presence 一 making all the individual tracks pop in a way that feels super refined.

 

Beyond hip-hop, Gardner has also worked with legends like Michael Jackson on Bad, showcasing his versatility and long-standing experience.

 

His mastering career is a testament to his ability to inspire and innovate (and a personal inspiration of mine).

 

He’ll go down in history as one of the best mastering engineers ever, and rightfully so.

 

Brian “Big Bass” Gardner is one of the best mastering engineers because: He is renowned for his ability to enhance bass frequencies in hip-hop and pop music, working with legends like Dr. Dre and Michael Jackson​.

 

#8. Emerson Mancini

 

Emerson Mancini - Unison

 

Emerson Mancini is a highly respected pro mastering engineer (and mixing engineer) known for his work with top artists like: 

 

  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Lizzo
  • The Weeknd

 

His work on Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers showcases his ability to handle complex sonic landscapes.

 

He seamlessly integrates interludes, choir pieces, and spoken word segments into a cohesive album like a magician (which he calls himself often).

 

This album, along with Lizzo’s About Damn Time 一 which won the Grammy for Record of the Year 一 demonstrates his unmatched mastering process. 

 

His work is characterized by a deep understanding of the artist’s vision, hard work, and a commitment to preserving the integrity of the original recordings.

 

He barely needs unlimited revisions, because he is so incredibly talented; claiming his weighted algorithm and Spotify streams is not the key to success, but rather hustle. 

 

His contributions to high-profile projects and his advocacy for inclusivity make him a standout figure in the world of mastering engineers.

 

Emerson Mancini is one of the best mastering engineers because: He has worked on high-profile projects for artists like Kendrick Lamar and Lizzo, known for his technical precision and advocacy in the music industry​.

 

#9. Dale Becker

 

Dale Becker - Unison

 

Dale Becker, based at Becker Mastering in Los Angeles, is another leading figure in the mastering world, known for his work with: 

 

  • The Kid LAROI
  • Doja Cat
  • Khalid

 

Becker’s expertise spans multiple genres, from pop and hip-hop to R&B

 

One of his standout projects includes mastering The Kid LAROI’s Fck Love*, which has received critical acclaim for its dynamic range and master emotional depth. 

 

Becker’s innovative techniques include a careful balance of analog warmth and digital clarity that always amount to perfection.

 

He’s able to enhance the natural qualities of any recording without ever sacrificing its essence.

 

This hands-on master approach has earned him a reputation for producing masters that not only meet industry standards but also exceed all expectations. 

 

Fun Fact

 

Becker’s work this last year or two on projects like Khalid’s Free Spirit and Doja Cat’s Hot Pink really shows his versatility (and industry associations). 

 

He’s no doubt one of the best mastering engineers in the industry today.

 

Dale Becker is one of the best mastering engineers because: He has mastered albums for The Kid LAROI, Doja Cat, and Khalid, known for his meticulous attention to detail and ability to enhance the emotional depth of tracks.

 

#10. Don Bartley

 

Don Bartley - Unison

 

Don Bartley is a veteran mastering engineer based in Australia, known for his precision and expertise in analog mastering. 

 

With an impressive mastering career that spans decades, Bartley has worked with a wide range of artists from different genres, including: 

 

  • Alanis Morissette
  • Icehouse
  • John Farnham
  • David Bowie

 

One of his standout projects was the remastering of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the Australian market.

 

It’s very highly regarded for its exceptional sound quality. 

 

Bartley’s master process is so on point and his sounds are so refined (you’ll hear when you listen) that it will blow your mind.

 

Each track always maintains its original character while being enhanced for modern listening environments, which most people can’t pull off on that level.

 

Bartley’s mastery in analog techniques has made him a go-to engineer for artists seeking a warm, rich sound. 

 

His work at Benchmark Mastering has been key in shaping the entire sonic world of Australian music/sounds.

 

Bartley’s commitment to quality is obvious in his attention to detail and his ability to bring out the best of each recording. 

 

Don Bartley is one of the best mastering engineers because: He has shaped the sound of Australian music with his analog mastering expertise, working with artists like Alanis Morissette and Icehouse​.

 

#11. John Davis

 

John Davis - Unison

 

John Davis at Metropolis Studios in London is a master of versatility.

 

He’s best known for being the guy behind the remastering of Led Zeppelin’s entire back catalog (which was mixed and mastered to perfection).

 

It masterfully retained the band’s legendary sound while enhancing it for modern listeners, which was brilliant.

 

Davis’s master expertise isn’t just limited to rock 一 he’s also worked with contemporary artists like FKA Twigs, Royal Blood, and many others. 

 

This alone shows his ability to enhance his song techniques and tweak them to fit any song genre or style.

 

Davis’s approach to mastering is highly collaborative…

 

Meaning, he really values having the artist/singer and producer present during sessions to, of course, ensure the final product aligns with their vision. 

 

His toolset includes both analog and digital equipment, like the Manley Massive Passive EQ and the Fairman TMC compressor, so you know he’s super passionate.

 

This blend of old-school gear with new technology is what makes his work stand out. 

 

Whether it’s enhancing the emotional impact of an R&B joint or adding punch to a rock anthem, Davis has the skills (and the ear) to make it happen.

 

John Davis is one of the best mastering engineers because: He has remastered the entire Led Zeppelin back catalog and worked with artists like FKA Twigs and Royal Blood, known for his collaborative approach and technical precision​.

 

Top Mastering Engineers: Final Thoughts

 

Mastering engineers are some of the most hard-working professionals in the game.

 

They make sure each track is polished and perfect, bringing out the best in every recording and enhancing the overall sound of each and every track.

 

All the best mastering engineers we talked about today are legends in their own right.

 

With their countless accomplishments, Grammys, and collaborations, they will always be part of the conversation if the best mastering engineers is the topic.

 

If you’re a producer yourself and want to mix and master like the greats on our list, the number one Beatmaking Course available today is your golden ticket.

 

This course will help you use signature mixing and mastering tricks that will instantly elevate your tracks to a professional level and skyrocket to the top of the charts.

 

Plus, you’ll learn how to master the art of sound selection and even get access to epic industry secrets that will give you a serious competitive edge.

 

So remember, always strive for excellence and keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in your music production journey.

 

You never know, you could end up on this list someday.

 

Until next time…

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

0:00
0:00

default

Sound Doctor Mainstage Expansion Pack

Original price was: $127.Current price is: $67.

CART

You have no items in your cart.