TECHNICAL GRAMMY Daniel Weiss
If you’ve made or enjoyed a world-class album in the past 35 years, chances are, that record was touched by one of Daniel Weiss’ inventions. Daniel Weiss is a true pioneer in digital audio technology for music mastering. A lifelong musician with a deep scientific streak, Weiss develops tools that have continually elevated digital audio productions and processes, driving the state of the art forward in a relentless pursuit of the sonic ideal. Weiss joined legendary audio equipment maker Studer in 1979, just as the company — renowned for its tape machines and consoles — began exploring the nascent world of digital audio. There, in Studer’s “PCM Laboratory,” he and a maverick team of engineers took on the formidable task of pioneering digital technologies that could fit into a largely analog world. When the CD arrived in 1984, it ushered in a new demand for digital audio processing tools. The early 1980s were wild times for digital studio technologies, as machines were built around proprietary formats and interfaces, and couldn’t communicate with each other. So when Ben Bernfeld, the owner of German mastering studio Harmonia Mundi Acustica, asked Weiss to develop an interface that could link two digital recorders, Weiss knew he was on to something big. Together, Weiss and Bernfeld embarked on creating a modular digital audio system to interface and process digital audio. That same year, Weiss Engineering was born. That first product, the BW102, was an instant game changer for mastering engineers: The revolutionary system offered a range of modules for processing and interfacing digital audio, in a flexible, configurable format that let engineers customize their tools for their needs. This technology breakthrough converted mastering engineers to the advantages of digital. Soon, Weiss’ processors became fixtures in top mastering studios around the world, playing a role in revolutionizing the sound of recorded music. Over the years, Weiss developed more than 70 modules for the BW102 and went on to develop a console version of the system, the IBIS, which was installed at Sony Music New York and other
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How Daniel Weiss Revolutionized Music Mastering
“A lifelong musician with a deep scientific streak, Weiss develops tools that have continually elevated digital audio productions and processes, driving the state of the art forward in a relentless pursuit of the sonic ideal.” leading studios. Later, Weiss’ Gambit Series of processors brought digital sonic quality to yet another level, and have become prized by mastering engineers for their ergonomics as well as their algorithms. In 2000, Weiss turned his focus to the audiophile world, launching a range of hi-fi products, putting him in the unique position of touching both music production and playback with his technology innovations. Today, Weiss creates products for both professional music creators and audiophile enthusiasts, reinforcing an end-to-end path of quality and clarity.
Weiss’ career is marked by a series of firsts — not just because he pioneered digital tools, but because those tools elevated digital technologies and processes. They modernized old concepts, showed equipment makers that there can be freedom in digital design, and proved that digital audio can both sound incredible and have soul. His design ethos is simple: Offer the highestquality digital signal processing, with the ultimate goal of serving music — specifically, presenting music precisely as the artist intended, without compromise. — Sarah Jones