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Steve Hoffman (audio engineer)

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Steve Hoffman
Born (1951-12-04) December 4, 1951 (age 72)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
OccupationMastering engineer

Steve Hoffman (born December 4, 1951)[1] is an American audio mastering engineer.


Hoffman was born in Los Angeles in 1951.[1] In the 1970s, he worked in radio before joining MCA Records as catalog research and development coordinator.[citation needed] For the next decade, he was responsible for compiling hundreds of budget cassette releases for MCA's Special Products division, with a focus was on jazz and big band recordings.[citation needed]

In 1984, Hoffman sent copies of several Buddy Holly master recordings to John Pickering of the Picks, the vocal group that had backed Holly on most of his early singles. The Picks overdubbed new vocal parts onto at least 60 recordings and sent them back to Hoffman at MCA, hoping MCA would have issued these "new" recordings as an album. This did not occur, and Hoffman was subsequently fired from MCA, reportedly for the unauthorized lending of the tapes of Pickering.[2] In 1992, Pickering approached Viceroy Records to arrange for distribution of these recordings, but MCA made it clear that Pickering did not have legal clearance to release such recordings.[2]

In 1985, Hoffman worked on a series of releases aimed at the CD market which bore the title "From the Original Master Tapes." This series included works of artists such as Buddy Holly, Bill Haley and John Coltrane. He also plied his trade with the Dunhill Compact Classics and Audio Fidelity labels.[3][4]


The adjustments Hoffman makes depend on the quality of the tape source and the equalization choices of the mixing engineer. While he avoids noise reduction, he does add subjective "colorations" through subtractive equalization and up to five layers of vacuum tube distortion.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b "Steve Hoffman". Allmusic. Retrieved January 21, 2024. Born December 4, 1951 in Los Angeles, CA.
  2. ^ a b Rowland, Hobart (December 19, 1996). "Bone to Pick". Houston Press. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014.
  3. ^ In Search of the Holy Hi-Fi Grail JazzTimes, March 2007
  4. ^ a b Tape Op Magazine > Articles > Steve Hoffman
  5. ^ Sreedhar, Suhas (August 1, 2007). "The Future of Music". IEEE Spectrum. IEEE. Retrieved March 1, 2018.

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