Old Lyme, CT (July 30, 2014)—Los Angeles-based mastering engineer Maor Appelbaum recently put the finishing touches to Heaven & Earth, the latest album from prog rockers Yes, with a little help from Sennheiser’s HD 600 headphones.
Appelbaum, who runs Maor Appelbaum Mastering and works across a broad range of genres, says that he chose to use the Sennheiser HD 600s as a studio reference tool to bridge the gap between album production—the album was produced by Roy Thomas Baker and mixed by Billy Sherwood—and listener.
“They are a great tool for checking the stereo spread and also evaluating low level details—which can consist of room tones, reverberation and other items,” explains Appelbaum. “Speakers are important in helping evaluate the dimension in a production, but in most cases, they are in front of you. On the other hand, headphones are essentially surrounding your head and can really help you figure out if you’re imaging natural or if it feels artificial.”
Explaining his decision to also monitor on headphones, he continues, “Once I figured out the processing chain that I wanted to use, I listened to the project on headphones because I figured that listeners of this album would include audiophiles as well as people who enjoy listening to headphones—not just people who listen through earbuds and speakers…Today, music fans want to have a better production system, but portable—that’s why I think there is more sales of headphones than ever before.
“Using the HD 600s, I could hear the entire panoramic spread in great detail —it was very revealing. With speakers you can also hear this, but with headphones, it is better because they sit right on your ear, there is nothing in between you and the music. On an album like this, where everything is very open, hearing things this way is very important and the HD 600s were perfect.”