HarBal is pretty mental all in all …
What is Loudness Compensation Technology?
When you perform EQ on a typical equalizer or mixing desk you cannot make an impartial judgment about whether a particular EQ setting is good or not because it is generally not loudness compensated. By that we mean for an A/B test of with and without EQ to be unbiased, the perceived loudness of each case must be the same! If you boost the midrange on your EQ you will have boosted the overall loudness so any in/out test will be biased toward your boosted case simply because it is louder. The only way you can do this on a mixing desk is to cut the output level on the EQ’d case but by how much will you cut it?
Unlike mixing and EQ’ing on a console, Har-Bal is loudness compensated to maintain the same perceived loudness between filter in and filter out. What you hear in an A/B comparison with Har-Bal is truly due to EQ alone and not a bias introduced by the fact that the perceived loudness is higher in one.
Without compensating for loudness it is very easy to make EQ mistakes. With the approach Har-Bal takes it is much less likely.
What is Harmonic Balancing?
It is pretty well documented that prolonged periods of listening to improperly mastered recordings usually leads to hearing fatigue that ultimately takes the pleasure out of the listening experience. Harmonic Balancing provides a reliable means of correcting and removing the tonal imbalances inherent in any song, thus producing a more naturally pleasing and agreeable sound to the listening ears. Users of the software report that this new process has demonstrated itself time after time in producing a harmonically balanced sound from one that was wanting. When a song is harmonically balanced they state that the effect can be phenomenal. The goal of Har-Bal is to correct existing frequencies that are in conflict with the natural sound spectrum.
So why is Har-Bal better than conventional approaches?
To answer this question let’s reflect upon and define conventional approaches. The current practice for mastering of popular music will typically involve a combination of processes including mix-down, dynamic range compression, equalization and normalization or limiting. Har-Bal principally addresses the issue of equalization in a newer way. After the mix-down the final mix will more often than not have some level of dynamic range compression applied to it, either through a conventional compressor or a multi-band compressor like that available in the Finalizer. After compression some degree of equalization may be needed to compensate for the shift in spectral balance that compression often causes, or worse still, to compensate for a poor mix-down. Either way, this is achieved by a studio engineer of varying skill adjusting the controls on a graphic, or more commonly a parametric, equalizer while monitoring the resultant sound through speakers to obtain the desired effect.