For around a year now i've been using Har-Bal in a very unusual and pretty much classical music-specific way to fix the very wayward EQ usually heard on historic recordings fifty years old or greater, a technique marketed as using "Pristine Audio XR" remastering. I've been refining the techniques and come up with some pretty impressive recordings, which are now getting taken very seriously indeed, as well as passing on some of my ideas to other restoration engineers.
Thus in the new issue of US magazine 'Fanfare' you'll find the comments such as these from the hugely respected critic Henry Fogel:
"...This is the best of Furtwängler in this batch of releases, and given the quality of this restoration anyone who collects this conductor should obtain this. I have never encountered such rich orchestral timbre on a Furtwängler recording, and given the importance of color to his conducting this becomes a very significant release..."
" If you want to go to Pristines Web site and learn about their process you may do so; they offer comparison listening, and they explain a great deal about their methods (carefully avoiding giving away trade secrets). It would seem that they have developed a method of extracting a wider frequency response from older material than has been possible before, and doing it without also bringing forth noise. The method is based on computer analysis of what might be called a harmonic fingerprint unique to every piece of musicno matter who the performers and where the recording was made. This is done using modern digital recordings of a specific piece of music, which apparently match each other very closely. Again, using computer technology, Pristine then equalizes old recordings to match, at a fine resolution, the harmonic profile of each piece. It is clear from the Web site and, more important, from listening to these discs that Pristine has managed a more evenly distributed and fuller range of frequency response than has been possible in prior restorations of historic material.
...In every single case here I found myself astonished at the naturalness and richness of the orchestral, instrumental, and vocal sound that came from these transfers. In some cases (Furtwänglers Beethoven Fourth from 1953, for instance) the sound was a revelation."
...and from Marc Mandel's "Want List" in the same Nov/Dec 2007 issue of Fanfare:
"...a terrific new re-mastering on Music & Arts of the nine symphonies and selected overtures from Arturo Toscanini's famed 1939 Beethoven cycle with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, as restored by Aaron Z. Snyder using Andrew Rose's "harmonic balancing process." As I understand it, this process effectively enhances the limited sound of the original source materials by using a sort of audio fingerprint (let's call it a "sound-print") developed by averaging the characteristics of modern digital recordings of the specific musical work under consideration, and then applying that information to the recording being restored. I own three previous CD incarnations of this cycle, on Nueva Era, Relief, and Naxos, and this re-mastering surpasses them all...."
Meanwhile we've scooped Musicweb International's CD of the Month award (out of 210 discs reviewed):
"This Pristine Audio Bartók release was thrilling from the first hearing. Without reservation I recommend this issue. Its the closest to analogue sound by a genius that you will hear. If you like Bartóks music or are just getting to know it then you must have this CD. Its the very reference model of the works in sound so close to real that its truly amazing. Simply essential."
...and for another CD from the same batch:
"The sound is excellent - full praise to Andrew Rose for his remastering. Having heard this performance I could not live without it."
Gramophone magazine in the UK has also been full of praise:
"I've been mightily taken by the XR treatment...hugely impressive"
So big, big thanks to Earle and Parvo for providing the key tool that makes this possible. It's revolutionised both the way I work and the results I'm able to get.