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Faith No More’s New Album Mastered On PMC Loudspeakers

Maor Appelbaum Mastering upgraded to the PMC IB1S control room monitors as part of a studio renovation.

After a hiatus of nearly 18 years, US rock band Faith No More has released Sol Invictus, a new studio album and a long overdue follow up to the 1997 release, Album of the Year. Mastering engineer and musician Maor Appelbaum says the clarity delivered by his PMC monitors helped make a complex project much faster and more enjoyable.

Released on May 18th on Reclamation Records and distributed by frontman Mike Patton’s label, Ipecac Recordings, Sol Invictus was produced by bass player Billy Gould and recorded in his studio in Oakland, California. The mastering process for both the album and the two singles that preceded it, took place at Maor Appelbaum Mastering, a West Coast facility equipped with PMC IB1S main monitors and a Maselec MTC 1X console.

“Sol Invictus is a collection of very different songs that work like scene changes within a movie,” he explains. “While each song has to work on its own, it also needs to work as part of the whole project.

“In order to achieve a cohesive effect, I used quite a big mastering set up, which included two analogue compressors, two analogue EQs and various digital compressors, limiters and de-essers. The monitoring was critical and I was very pleased with the clarity and precision of my PMC speakers, especially when I was playing tracks at high volume. They give incredibly detailed sound, which makes the reviewing process much faster – and they are not fatiguing at all so, if I need to, I can spend longer in front of them without feeling tired.”

Originally from Israel, Appelbaum moved to the US in 2007 to work as staff engineer (mixing, recording and mastering) for record producer Sylvia Massy Shivy at Radiostar Studios in California. In 2008 he relocated to Los Angeles and set up his own mastering facility, which was re-designed three years ago by acoustician Jonathan Sheaffer. Initially Maor Appelbaum Mastering was equipped with a different brand of monitors, but as part of the re-design Appelbaum decided to switch to PMC monitors because they had been on his wish list for some time.

“I first came across PMC when I was working in Israel,” he explains. “A friend of mine asked me to help demo speakers for his studio and the company’s nearfield monitors were among the brands we tried out. I was really impressed by their quality and earmarked them for myself at some future date. That time came three years ago when I decided to upgrade my facility and install PMC monitors to suit the accuracy of the room acoustics. They were a great match.”

Appelbaum took advice from PMC’s US sales and marketing president Maurice Patist and installed PMC IB1S speakers because they were capable of delivering all the power he wanted. These three-way monitors are popular with a wide range of mastering broadcast and post production facilities because they can be installed stereo configuration or paired with a dedicated centre channel and SB100 sub bass system to give 5.1 surround sound. PMC IB1S speakers are also popular with Hollywood film scoring and postproduction facilities thanks to their optional ‘Film filters’ that give two high frequency roll off positions. 

“My PMC system incorporates Film filters and is powered a Bryston 4B SST2 power amp,” Appelbaum says. “Everyone who hears the room loves it, including Billy Gould and Matt Wallace who mixed the album. They came here a few times to listen to mixes prior to mastering. It was very much a collaborative effort.”

Since completing Sol Invictus, Appelbaum has mastered two live double CD/DVDs for the band Yes and is currently mastering an album for Adam Ben Ezra Trio. His credit list is extensive and eclectic, taking in a wide variety of genres and many different artists including Seputlura, Halford, Wayne Hussey, Eric Gales, Yngwie Malmsteen, Walter Trout, William Shatner, Therion and Nekromantix. He has also worked with a wide range of producers including Mike Clink, Matt Wallace, Ulrich Wild, Toby Wright and Billy Sherwood.

“Being a mastering engineer allows me to combine my passion for music with my technical skills in the studio,” he says. “But what I really love about my job is having the opportunity to master music from all over the world – and from so many different styles and genres.”


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