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Har-Bal Promises to Turn Anyone Into a Mastering Engineer


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[url=http://news.harmony-central.com/Newp/2003/Har-Bal.html]Har-Bal Promises to Turn Anyone Into a Mastering Engineer[/url] [url=http://www.har-bal.com/]WEBSITE[/url] EH?!?!?! :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

 

Jesus Is Coming, Make Music, Get Ready!

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This looks interesting enough and as was mentioned is similiar to frequency morphing that freefilter does - only loudness compensated attuned to the way we perceive sound (equal loudness contours). Gotta pay attention to how that cochlea perceived things at different freqs and loudness levels (SPL - get out your radio shack SPL meters !) I've been looking at this same thing for the past couple of months only using VST CurveEQ (Voxengo.com) that hase 60 bands - Aleksey calls it EQ stealing. You can push the EQ of your song into the EQ curve of another song by varying amounts. Following that you can also push that result into an inverse 'A' weighted EQ curve which is called 'greynoise'. I put the 60 band greynoise settings on the forum over where CurveEQ lives. You can also try this with Arboretum Ionizer but it's too expensive to justify really. Plus you don't really have to morph, you can save the spectrum of your favorite CD or greynoise in Ozone2 spectrum analyzer and push your eq into that curve. But there's another issue down in the low bass 20-60 Hz. If you simply push those first couple of octaves up into someone elses EQ curve a lot of times there's too much density down there and you really aren't fixing anything. You're just pouring concrete. I've added some space and fluff down there by using PSP MixBass psycoacoustic settings at 30Hz that generate just a touch of synthesized bass down there. Hal-Bar sounds interesting anyway I might give it a closer look. Thanks for the link. This weekend I'll be pushing into some curve, probably with Curve EQ, and doing some parallel upward compression/expansion using this technique... http://www.nthelp.com/mastering/faq/specialtechniques.htm I think someone posted on these forums... :cool: kylen
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  • 2 months later...
I'm reviewing this for EQ, and a few things... 1. It WILL NOT turn you into a mastering engineer. Actually, I think mastering engineers are the best people to use this tool. 2. Har-Bal requires ears -- you need to correlate what you HEAR as being wrong with what you SEE on the spectrum analysis of your signal. 3. It does NOT do curve-morphing like FreeFilter. You can load a reference file for visual comparison, but you can't "impose" one curve on the other. 4. It's not available as a plug-in -- stand-alone only (although Mac and plug-in versions are supposedly on the way). 5. IMHO it's a fascinating tool with a dead-simple interface that, in the right hands, really can make files sound better. It's also quite an ear-training tool. It doesn't touch dynamics or anything else, just EQ, and it does a superb job of fixing EQ anomalies IF the person using it has decent ears. Check out the review in the January 2004 EQ for more details.
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I've got that thing and like it well enough. You have to be able to accurately hear what you're doing to judge the cause-and-effect of pushing or pulling on a peak as opposed to a broader bandwidth. It also helps if you understand why you would want to push or pull on anything in the first place. And you have to kind of understand what your music is made up of in oder to understand why it would look a certain way on an averaging and peaking spectrum. I think if you push into the saturator a bit it will have an affect on dynamics although that isn't the main feature and is seperate from the curve balancing piece. I'm going to use it to compare my room curves too while balancing acoustics. That's my take on it anyway. Also the web site is so over-hyped you'd think all you have to do is match curves while you're watching TV. Ha Ha. Paavo might want to fix that - he's real quick on support too ! Looking forward to the review ! 2c kylen
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Another thread from over on GM's site: http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=006023#000000 Like I said over there, I can see applications for the software, and where it could be useful, but it's not going to put a great mastering engineer out of business - website hyperbole aside. More troubling (to me personally) is that I couldn't get a response from the company when I attempted to contact them. Okay, the threads over on GM's were mostly company originated spam, but setting that aside, I never got a response to my email to the company nor to my two public requests via the forum to be contacted off list. And (at least as of that time) there's no listed phone number. And then was publically called a liar over the whole thing, with the admonition to "try the software" - which I had previously sstated that I had already done - at least the (8 bit) demo. So... said company isn't going to get a nickel from me until they either contact me or I get a public apology. I don't care how good the software is. I don't need it so badly that I would be willing to be treated like that and then reward that poor customer service by buying their product in return. Check out that thread - it is an interesting read.
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Hmmm...well in the process of reviewing it, I've had the chance to go back and forth a few times with the designer (Paavo). He seems like a nice guy, not really tuned into marketing or any of that, he just wants to make software. He has a partner over here in the US (a well-known engineer actually) who appears to be trying to put the marketing together on a shoestring. So I think they're pretty green about this whole thing, hence the spam in George's forum and the lack of responsiveness. In fact, I was so turned off by the hype that I volunteered to review the software for EQ because I wanted to find out for myself what this was all about, and skewer it if need be. To give you an idea of where they're at, Paavo wouldn't send me an NFR, only a 60-day evaluation copy (I don't think he knew who I was, or possibly even EQ). So my expectations were pretty low. But as I worked with HarBal over the course of the past few days, I can't deny that everything I put through it I could end up making sound a little better in some cases, and a lot better in others. So there you have it. If they get their heads screwed on right about how to sell software to the music industry, I think they'll really have something on their hands, especially after the version appears that can host plug-ins. The main reason I resuscitated this thread is because the initial impression that was made here was pretty negative, and I thought y'all should know that it is a very useful processor, especially at the $95 price point. Sounds way better than FreeFilter, and is a lot easier to use than tweaking parametrics. Of course, it won't turn anyone into a mastering engineer, but if you are one, it definitely has its uses.
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[quote]Originally posted by Philip O'Keefe: [b]Another thread from over on GM's site: http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=006023#000000 Like I said over there, I can see applications for the software, and where it could be useful, but it's not going to put a great mastering engineer out of business - website hyperbole aside. More troubling (to me personally) is that I couldn't get a response from the company when I attempted to contact them. Okay, the threads over on GM's were mostly company originated spam, but setting that aside, I never got a response to my email to the company nor to my two public requests via the forum to be contacted off list. And (at least as of that time) there's no listed phone number. And then was publically called a liar over the whole thing, with the admonition to "try the software" - which I had previously sstated that I had already done - at least the (8 bit) demo. So... said company isn't going to get a nickel from me until they either contact me or I get a public apology. I don't care how good the software is. I don't need it so badly that I would be willing to be treated like that and then reward that poor customer service by buying their product in return. Check out that thread - it is an interesting read.[/b][/quote]Philip, I appologise if I or anyone representing Har-Bal in this or any other thread has directly or indirectly called you a liar. It was certainly not intended. As for not responding to your queries I certainly did not receive any from you (at least I have no record of it). I make a point of answering all emails sent to me. If you wish to review the software contact myself or Earle at support@har-bal.com and I will be happy to assist. In regard to "Spamming" you'll be pleased to know that you should never receive any such postings on this or any other forum in future. We do not do so anymore. Put it down to naivety and lack of experience. My appologies for this too. And finally, if I have not been attentive enough to answer points on this forum it is because I simply do not visit regularly. There are hundreds of forums and I have little time to check out what is happening. I've only visited in response to direct prodding from my partner so usually I'm blissfully unaware of what goes on here. The only forums I regularly visit is our own on Har-Bal and comp.dsp. Regards, Paavo Jumppanen Author of Har-Bal Harmonic Balancer http://www.har-bal.com
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I guess there's a reason I thought he was a nice guy... I decided to be a bit of the consumer advocate and contacted Earle myself. He also says he didn't receive any email, and given the amount that he DOES answer, I believe him. Internet email is not infallible, as I have found to my regret many times. Anyway, I think it's worth giving these guys a chance. I'm definitely impressed by what I've been able to do with the HarBal software. BUT it is NOT a one-button mastering solution by any means, you need to understand EQ and read curves properly. Thanks to Paavo for jumping in. Let us know when the version that hosts plug-ins becomes available.
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[quote] [b] I appologise if I or anyone representing Har-Bal in this or any other thread has directly or indirectly called you a liar. It was certainly not intended. In regard to "Spamming"..... We do not do so anymore. Put it down to naivety and lack of experience. My appologies for this too. [/b][/quote]That is certainly big of you, Parvo. Phil is a very respected member here, and a very nice and honest guy. I'll look forward to reading more about your software. So far sounds interesting.

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[quote]Originally posted by Paavo Jumppanen: [b]Philip, I appologise if I or anyone representing Har-Bal in this or any other thread has directly or indirectly called you a liar. It was certainly not intended. As for not responding to your queries I certainly did not receive any from you (at least I have no record of it). I make a point of answering all emails sent to me. [/b] Paavo: As Craig pointed out, Internet email is certainly not infallible, and I am more than willing to admit that something could have gone wrong at any of several places. I assure you that I did indeed send out an email, but it obviously never got to the proper people. And I appreciate not only the apology, but also that you posted it both here and on GM's forum. That speaks well of you. [b]If you wish to review the software contact myself or Earle at support@har-bal.com and I will be happy to assist.[/b] My original intent in asking / offering to review the software was to act as a impartial reviewer. As someone who many people around here know and (I'd like to think) at least somewhat respect, if I were to give your product a favorible review, people might be more willing to give it a chance and try it themselves. Because of the, shall we say, enthusastic marketing comments on your website, as well as the unrequested threads started by your representative, some posters seemed to have reservations regarding your product - myself included. But I was willing to give it a fair try. I did try the demo, and as I have said, I felt the software held promise... but I did want to try a time limited or NFR copy so I could make a more accurate assessment of the sonics of the software. And I would have had no problem with any reasonable assurances you requested pertaining to the security of your software while in my posession. I have beta tested for several companies and I take NDA's and the rights of software vendors seriously. Based on the demo, I felt you might indeed have a cool product and if the sonics backed that up, I felt I might be able to be a intermediary between your company and the readers of these forums. I can offhand think of no single person who I would consider a more credible and unbiased reviewer than Craig Anderton. I'm quite certain that he has given your product a complete trial and has written a fair and honest review. That should be more than sufficient. However, I am still willing to give everyone a "second opinion" and if you are willing to help in arranging this, I would be more than happy to do so. I will be sending an email to the address you gave within the next 24 hours. [b]In regard to "Spamming" you'll be pleased to know that you should never receive any such postings on this or any other forum in future. We do not do so anymore. Put it down to naivety and lack of experience. My appologies for this too.[/b] Again, your apologies speak well of you. :thu: I want to make it clear that spam (being defined as unrequested marketing information) is far different from your participation on threads started by other, third party (unaffiliated with your company) forum members. Your participation on other threads - including those where your product is being discussed and questions are being asked - is very welcomed. That's one of the cool things about these forums - the direct interaction between customers and developers. [b]And finally, if I have not been attentive enough to answer points on this forum it is because I simply do not visit regularly. There are hundreds of forums and I have little time to check out what is happening. I've only visited in response to direct prodding from my partner so usually I'm blissfully unaware of what goes on here. The only forums I regularly visit is our own on Har-Bal and comp.dsp. Regards, Paavo Jumppanen Author of Har-Bal Harmonic Balancer http://www.har-bal.com [/b] Well, I can certainly understand that. There's many forums I am registered on that I rarely participate in, mostly due to a lack of time. But we all seemed to have a good discussion going over at GM's forum, and while I appreciated your answering questions, it would have been nice if you had seen my requests to be contacted - it would have avoided a lot of misunderstanding. It's of no consequence now. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this with you, I thank you for your public apologies and explainations, and I wish you all the best. I will contact you at the address you gave within the next day to discuss things further. Best wishes, [/quote]
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Hey Phil - I'm glad you're going to be checking this out. I've been using it some more since my last posts, and I gotta say, if you know a bit about mastering you can really help tweak up EQ issues. It's definitely not a "cure-all" but it at least makes one piece of the puzzle fall into place. I'll be very interested to hear about your experiences. You do need to slog through the documentation, though....
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The whole idea of what is and what ain't a mastering engineer kinda gets foggy to me. Does it imply a degree? Are they still the same if they're using software to do the same thing as the cats who used analog gear to achieve the same end?
Down like a dollar comin up against a yen, doin pretty good for the shape I'm in
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Craig, I'm curious as to how you would use this product in conjunction with something like Izotope Ozone 3 (which does have a spectrum EQ which can be applied to a mix). Is HalBar redundant? I use Ozone with Wavelab and it's so nicely integrated into the CD creation/mastering process. Would you process through Hal Bar first, then use Ozone for non-EQ? Busch.
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<> I like the spectrum analyzer/adjust parametric approach in Ozone. The thing about the HarBal is that it's an 8,196 point linear phase digital EQ, so it's really quite transparent. When you tweak it, you're actually drawing on the curve itself, and you can see how this affects both the peak and average result. Perhaps of even greater value is the loudness compensation. When you A/B the EQed and original versions, they are loudness compensated so you have a level playing field for comparison. A lot of times when you boost EQ, the resulting file sounds louder compared to the original, so you think it's "better." The compensation puts the EQ change in perspective. No matter what you do, the level is pretty much the same, so the only differences you hear are due solely to the EQ. What I've been doing is taking tracks and getting the EQ right in HarBal first. Then I'll bring it into Wavelab and do any required dynamics processing. I understand that there will be a version next year that hosts plug-ins, so I will be able to add some limiting or compression and hear how that affects the EQ. Just a quick story to get the point across about what this does. I had a tune from around 1990 that was, for some reason, unmasterable. I had a hard time with it, and a friend of mine who's a pro, full-time mastering engineer did too. We got close, but there was always something about the lower mids that just didn't ever seem to work right. So I threw the thing into HarBal to see what would happen. I immediately noticed a prominent peak in the lower midrange, with a prominent dip a little lower in frequency. When I was EQing before, I couldn't win: If I boosted to get rid of the dip, it made the peak even higher, and if I cut to get rid of the peak, it made the cut even lower. With HarBal, I was able to bring down the peak and bring up the dip with a great degree of precision, flattening out the curve in that one problem spot. It made all the difference in the world. That's what's impressed me the most so far.
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[quote]Originally posted by Geenard: [b]The whole idea of what is and what ain't a mastering engineer kinda gets foggy to me. Does it imply a degree? Are they still the same if they're using software to do the same thing as the cats who used analog gear to achieve the same end?[/b][/quote]Well, I do it (mostly) with software, and my clients leave the shop happy. I also charge less than the cats who use analog gear, so it works out either way. To me (strictly from a financial perspective), mastering is kinda the same game as recording - the boys with the toys can charge a lot more for their services. What's tough about the market I work in is that all the guys who own recording studios "do the mastering themselves" - which is, IMO, the height of stupidity. Of course, telling them that wouldn't exactly be conducive to drumming up business...
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[quote]Originally posted by Griffinator: [b] [quote]Originally posted by Geenard: [b]The whole idea of what is and what ain't a mastering engineer kinda gets foggy to me. Does it imply a degree? Are they still the same if they're using software to do the same thing as the cats who used analog gear to achieve the same end?[/b][/quote]Well, I do it (mostly) with software, and my clients leave the shop happy. I also charge less than the cats who use analog gear, so it works out either way. To me (strictly from a financial perspective), mastering is kinda the same game as recording - the boys with the toys can charge a lot more for their services. What's tough about the market I work in is that all the guys who own recording studios "do the mastering themselves" - which is, IMO, the height of stupidity. Of course, telling them that wouldn't exactly be conducive to drumming up business...[/b][/quote]Would that be the same as "getting another set of ears" to listen? Almost everyone I know who has a home studio or a project studio, does their own mastering.
Down like a dollar comin up against a yen, doin pretty good for the shape I'm in
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<> That's kind of scary, actually. I do my own mastering now, but that was only after letting other people do it for over 20 years. I paid real close attention to the process, and finally, as the tools to do digital mastering became affordable, I felt comfortable enough to try it in my own studio. I wouldn't consider myself a great mastering engineer, but for the type of work I need to to, I'm pretty darn good . I would urge anyone who has never worked with a pro mastering engineer to do so, preferably with half a dozen different ones. It will provide an education that will improve not just your mastering, but your mixing as well.
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[quote]Originally posted by Anderton: [b]<> That's kind of scary, actually. I do my own mastering now, but that was only after letting other people do it for over 20 years. I paid real close attention to the process, and finally, as the tools to do digital mastering became affordable, I felt comfortable enough to try it in my own studio. I wouldn't consider myself a great mastering engineer, but for the type of work I need to to, I'm pretty darn good . I would urge anyone who has never worked with a pro mastering engineer to do so, preferably with half a dozen different ones. It will provide an education that will improve not just your mastering, but your mixing as well.[/b][/quote]But doesn't the software options really take alot of the guesswork out? I agree that if I were wanting to release something on a big scale, I'd want a pro.
Down like a dollar comin up against a yen, doin pretty good for the shape I'm in
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The best part on a mastering engineer is the ears. True, Mastering Engineers has a "rep" that was earned in the olden days when their equipment was very very special that nobody else had (who had a multiband compressor!?!?!?) Now in the digital world, this is different. The true Mastering Engineers have the EARS and the EXPERIENCE. The two E's of mastering. /Z
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