The Har-Bal Team

Paavo Jumppanen

Developer/Engineer

As with many good ideas, Harmonic Balancing has its origins in a number of life experiences leading up to a seminal realization. The seed of the idea came from my time spent as a researcher at the University of Tasmania whereupon I was using homomorphic signal processing techniques in the analysis of laser schlieren signals in transitional combustion flows. My reference book on the subject (Digital Signal Processing by A.V.Oppenheim & R.W. Schafer ISBN 0-13-214107-8) had a particularly interesting section (10.7.3) giving an overview of homomorphic deconvolution applied to the restoration of acoustic recordings. More specifically they were using the technique to remove the frequency response of the recording horn from recordings of Enrico Caruso. At the time I found the idea very impressive but saw no direct use for it and there it remained dormant in my mind.

Concurrently, I was also developing spectrum analysis software for the same research project that would, over a number of years and after my departure from that institution, evolve into what is now AtSpec, a PC based 2 channel FFT spectrum analysis software package.

I was simultaneously in the process of designing and developing what I was hoping to be my definitive pair of loudspeakers. Having invested a large amount of time and effort in both modelling and testing and trialing a number of different drivers I settled upon a design that I was satisfied with but only to a point. Coming from a purest standpoint I was somewhat naive to believe that if you had good speakers and good components then any recording you happen to listen to should sound good. By and large this held true for 70-80% of the recorded music I listened to but there was always those exceptional recordings that raised doubts in my mind as to the quality of the speakers that I had designed. So much so that I was in the habit of continually tweaking the crossover to get the right tonal balance. Then after considerable time I reverted back to the original design and resigned myself to the fact that my speakers weren’t up to par (or so I thought at the time).

For a number of years this whole issue of how some recordings just sounded so distressing while others sounded beautifully serene continued to trouble me. It was then, quite by accident, while checking the speaker performance with AtSpec that I discovered, much to my surprise, that the recordings that I found difficult to listen to had distinctive spectral characteristics that tallied with my perception of how the recording sounded. It was a vindication for the speaker design and an indictment on the recording. In hindsight this seemed to make perfect sense and shouldn’t have come as a surprise but yet it did.

The concept of Harmonic Balancing had sprung to life : If we can measure the mean spectrum of a recording we can test the quality of the sound through its spectrum and our perception of the song, and if found to be lacking we can construct an equalization filter to correct for any deficiencies. Over the following five years Harmonic Balancing has been transformed from a concept into reality.

Earle Holder

Mastering Engineer / HDQTRZ Mastering Studios

Earle Holder (a voting member of The Grammy’s Recording Academy for Engineering) is well known to American music artists, and has gained worldwide recognition for his work.

Currently the Chief Mastering engineer for the world famous Public Enemy and Chuck D’s new record label SlamJamz.com, Earle has a musical background that spans his entire life and is a high level computer engineer by trade. He studied music with the late Jimmy Cannady of Cannady Studios (former member of the Inkspots for those of you who remember). He has more than thirty-five years experience and is the recipient of several prestigious music awards, including the Atlanta Music Industry Award presented by SOFRAS. He is the leading authority for bits and bytes (digital setups). He is a regular guest speaker at music studios throughout North America and is quoted in numerous industry magazines. You can also tune into LIB Radio and listen to a few of his tips.

He has recorded and produced for Atlanta Records and collaborated on numerous projects with Platinum artists such as Public Enemy Beyonce, B5, Tameko Starr (MCA Records Europe), Kenny Banks, Tuere, Houseguest, Ayana, 4ize (Disturbing tha Peace, part of the Ludacris crew, JD Lawrence and countless others. He is an international artist whose mastered cd’s are frequently heard throughout the United States and Europe on most underground radio stations.

An accomplished musician on keyboard, bass and lead guitar, born in England and raised between Jamaica, West Indies and Queens, New York, he has been referred to in the industry as “The Specialist” because he strives for and achieves perfection when mastering his client’s music.

BUY NOW!

Har-Bal version 3.7 can be purchased and downloaded immediately through RegNet by following this link.

Upgrade from version 2.3 for US$41.95, Upgrade from version 3.0 for US$12.00

(Registered Users will be contacted by email with upgrade instructions)
Haven't been contacted about the upgrade? [Click Here]

Har-Bal 3 Manual

For those who are eager to learn more about Har-Bal version 3 the manual can be viewed on line here.
A PDF version can also be downloaded for viewing offline here

Har-Bal News

What the Pro’s Say

Clarke’s third law says “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. That is what you have done!
Chuck McDowell
Chuck McDowell
All I can say is wow!!! Witness the restoration of an old song “Shake that Body Music” I recorded/released in the mid 1980’s. This demonstration of the Har-bal 3.0 software proves this software is nothing short of amazing! When the song was uploaded to Earle, it had no dynamics, no power, or presence. I had absolutely no idea how much Har-bal 3.0 enhances audio until I listened to how it breathed life back into this song! I am extremely impressed and elated that my song was chosen to demonstrate the Har-bal 3.0 software! There is simply nothing on the market that compares. Thanks Earle and Har-bal 3.0!!!
Donald Harris
Rythmn Machine
Donald Harris
“(Har-Bal is) a cleverly implemented tool that fixes EQ problems with astonishing speed and precision…(it’s) is a welcome, important, well-designed program for those who believe mastering has much more to do with subtle response touch-ups than squashed dynamics. Very cool” Craig AndertonEQ Magazine Jan 2004
“Har-Bal is a truly unique program, extremely affordable and probably the quickest and easiest way to balance your audio material.” Ian Waugh, Music Tech MagazineMarch 2004
“Sounds good enough to use on commercial tracks. I found Har-bal an altogether more serious application than any other EQ ripping utility I’ve reviewed to date.” Martin Walker, Sound on Sound MagazineMarch 2004
“Overall, version 2.0 is a huge step forward, since it not only provides the means to improve the sound of your mixes, but also has a very good stab at doing this automatically. I can see IntuitQ being controversial in some mastering circles, but in my opinion the results speak for themselves.” Martin Walker, Sound on Sound MagazineMarch 2006
Overall, although it’s still initially harder to get to grips with than some rival ‘EQ ripper’ utilities, I still prefer Harbal, with its more considered approach to improving the final sound of an audio track, the detail of its manual and tutorials, and its helpful on-line user forum hosted by Har-Bal’s professional mastering and research engineers. It’s a serious tool that can teach you a lot about why your mixes don’t sound like commercial tracks, at the same time as improving them. Martin Walker, Sound On Sound MagazineJuly 2004
I don’t have to take my product to a high-end studio anymore – I have Har-Bal! Tameko StarMusic Dish
Australian developer Paavo Jumppanen has certainly delivered the goods on this one and turned a sceptic into a believer with this awesome piece of software. Har-Bal really does give eyes to your ears. Todd MacalpineOzmusicweed

Mastering Tutorial

The following is a mastering tutorial explaining many tips, tricks and audio mastering secrets. There are a number of methods used to accomplish harmonic balancing or spectral correction. Your tracks will sound their best when they are first processed in Har-Bal before any digital eq or multiband

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