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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Mastering Engineer Maor Appelbaum Relies On Sennheiser HD 600 In Creating New Yes Album

Old Lyme, CT, July 29, 2014: Since forming in 1968 and subsequently releasing more than 20 studio albums including classics like FragileClose to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans, Yes built its international success on the very foundations of progressive rock. Still very active as one of rock's most influential bands, Yes recently opened their latest chapter of musical innovation with the release of Heaven & Earth. Produced by the legendary Roy Thomas Baker (Queen, David Bowie) and mixed by Billy Sherwood (Nektar, Motorhead), Los Angeles-based Mastering Engineer Maor Appelbaumgot the call to put the finishing touches on the classic band's latest sonic creation, keeping his Sennheiser HD 600 audiophile grade headphones close by.
Appelbaum, who runs Maor Appelbaum Mastering and works across a broad range of genres, chose to use the Sennheiser HD 600s as a studio reference tool to bridge the gap between album production and listener. Over the course of the project, he listened as both a technically minded professional and as a passionate music fan, with the ultimate goal of delivering an emotionally engaging listening experience. In the conversation that follows, Appelbaum discusses the ins and outs of mastering a modern day classic.


What is your role as mastering engineer?
I bring an objective ear to the process. Since I haven’t heard a project before, I can listen like a fan yet have control over the outcome. I am the buffer between what is created in the studio and what finally arrives to the listener's ear. My ultimate goal is to help create a better, more emotionally engaging listening experience. Part of how I do this is through critical listening, which is evaluating how the music's 'feeling' is presented from a frequency perspective. In making my evaluations and decisions, the tools I use are very important to me. For example, I have an excellent monitoring system with many sets of speakers so I can control how these frequencies are presented. I also use headphones to help me hear other details that might be missed by speakers.
How did you begin working on the new Yes album?
Billy Sherwood and I have collaborated on many albums together, and in the past two years I have mastered around 20 albums that he has worked on. He is very well known in progressive rock circles and we have a very good, longstanding relationship. One day he called me asked me to master the new Yes album and it was a great surprise. Once the mixes came in, I wanted to take them to the next level, while keeping the openness of the recording and all the dynamics in tact.

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