Ted Jensen (born September 19, 1954) is an American mastering engineer, known for having mastered many recordings including the Eagles' Hotel California, Green Day's American Idiot and Norah Jones' Come Away with Me.
Ted Jensen was born to Carl and Margaret (Anning) Jensen, both of whom were musicians. Carl had studied at Yale University. Margaret went to Oberlin College & Conservatory and Skidmore College and was also a pilot. Carl and Margaret met on a train while going to a choral workshop. Ted has one brother, Rick, and two daughters, Kristen and Kim. While attending High School, Jensen was building his own stereo and recording equipment and began recording local bands both in the studio and at live events. During this time, he recorded several performances for the Yale Symphony Orchestra at Woolsey Hall in New Haven and also met Mark Levinson, who was starting an audio equipment company. Jensen joined up with Levinson and aided in the design and manufacture some of the early products of Mark Levinson Audio Systems. In 1975, Jensen left after six years with Levinson to begin his mastering career in New York City with Sterling Sound.
There were three mastering engineers at Sterling Sound when Jensen was hired to work in the tape copy room, George Marino, Lee Hulko and Greg Calbi. One of Jensen's earliest mastering jobs was the first single by the Talking Heads, "Love → Building on Fire" and later that year, Jensen mastered The Eagles' Hotel California. The following year, he mastered Billy Joel's The Stranger, which began a working relationship with Phil Ramone. Jensen was promoted to Chief Mastering Engineer at Sterling in 1984, and since then has overseen several proprietary developments in mastering technology. This included working closely with Graham Boswell of Neve Electronics in the mid-1980s in developing the first all-digital mastering console, the DTC-1, and as one of the consultants to Apple for Mastering for iTunes. Jensen also designed some of the studio monitors at Sterling, including the ones used by Tom Coyne. In 1998, Jensen, Greg Calbi and Tom Coyne, along with Murat Aktar (Absolute Audio co-founder) and UK based Metropolis, purchased Sterling Sound from previous owner, Lee Hulko.
Sterling Sound was previously located in New York City, occupying the top floor of the Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District. Jensen's studio was one of the three surround sound studios at Sterling Sound. It was designed by Fran Manzella, FM Design.
In April 2018, Sterling Sound's 20 year lease for the facility in the Chelsea Market ended. Jensen, along with Senior Engineer Ryan Smith, moved to Nashville, TN to open Sterling Sound Nashville, which was designed by Thomas Jouanjean of Northward Acoustics.
Awards and recognition
Since 1976, Jensen has mastered 16 Grammy Award winners in the categories of Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. In 2002, Mastering Engineers became eligible to win Grammys in those categories.
- 2003 - Album of the Year - Norah Jones' Come Away with Me
- 2004 - Album of the Year - Evanescence's Fallen
- 2005 - Album of the Year - Green Day's American Idiot
- 2014 - Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical - Alice in Chains' The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
- 2016 - Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical - James Taylor's Before This World
- 2003 - Jensen received a Grammy Award - Norah Jones, for Come Away with Me, which won Album of the Year for 2002.
- 1999 - Outstanding Creative Achievement
- 2005 - Outstanding Creative Achievement for Record Production/Single or Track for Green Day - “American Idiot,” American Idiot
- 2008 - Outstanding Creative Achievement for Surround Sound Recording for James Taylor - One Man Band
- 2010 - Outstanding Creative Achievement for Record Production/Single or Track for Green Day - “21 Guns” 21st Century Breakdown
- 2010 - Outstanding Creative Achievement for Record Production/Album for Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
- 2016 - Outstanding Creative Achievement for Record Production/Album for James Taylor - Before This World
Ted Jensen has mastered thousands of albums for more than 1,100 pop and rock artists. In November 2018, Bring Me The Horizon's album, That's the Spirit, mastered by Jensen, scored 1 Billion streams. Additionally, Jensen has been involved in the soundtrack or music departments on several major motion pictures including Daredevil and The Circle. .