IntuitQ Helps BIGTIME, man!

If you are looking for advice on how to use Har-Bal best, or you have some tips of your own, post them here!

IntuitQ Helps BIGTIME, man!

Postby Craig Reeves » Thu Nov 15, 2007 3:44 am

Yeah, remember back when I posted that I was having all these problems with Har-bal and such because I couldn't really use it very well to master one of my tracks?

It turns out the track wasn't balanced. Man, I'll tell ya as soon as I put that Intuit Q on there and took it to my limiter and eq devices to make it sound nice, it was so easy to do. It's like I could get it up to being loud enough without losing any of the original mix's integrity. Wow, I really don't know how y'all do it...but to be honest mastering is FUN now...my tracks sound PRO.

How come them people at Sterling Sound and stuff don't use this? It would make their jobs so much easier 'cause I really can't tell the difference between my stuff and their stuff as far as quality goes...

Wow...
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Postby HarBal » Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:19 am

Hi Craig,

Good to know you are getting better results now and equally glad you are enjoying your mastering now!

I offer few explanations on why more professional mastering engineers don't take it more seriously. Perhaps they were scared off by our "snake oil" branding from various people on various forums, perhaps they have no time for PC software (I'm still working on the re-write as cross platform code) and perhaps hey simply aren't aware of what it can do and have the time to investigate it.

Whatever the reason it does not bother me. I have little doubt that in time Har-Bal or Har-Bal like processes will play a bigger part in music production. I have much improvements planned for the future.

Cheers,


Paavo.
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Postby Craig Reeves » Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:21 pm

One random question, though...

Sometimes when I'm limiting and fattening a track after I've balanced it in Har-bal and what not (I personally like to use Waves L2 as my main limiter rather than Har-bal's), I can get it up to a level that I like and I don't really ever hear any distortion through my monitors when the song "hits" in places (because of I did I'd let up on the limiter or turn down a frequency), but sometimes when I play the track in my IPod or something there would have been spots that I "missed" and some distortion would pop up. I don't like distortion in my tracks even in places where the kick drum hits (I mainly do urban music) even though a lot of CDs on major labels have songs that do this a whole lot (i.e. Fabolous ft. Ne-yo - "Make Me Better"). Is there a tool out there available that lets me know when this is going on because I don't really like just solely relying on my monitors.

Thanks guys!
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Postby HarBal » Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:57 pm

Craig,

I don't think there's any simple approach to that issue. It's likely to be a combination of masking (in one monitoring system over another), drivers/ transducers possibly not handling the material well in one case and just as likely mp3 encoding artifacts.

It is probably fair to say that the more you push your levels the more likely this sort of thing will happen so about the only advice I can give, apart from listening checks on a number of systems, is to be a little more restrained in your limiting and dynamics processing.

Cheers,


Paavo
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Postby Craig Reeves » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:21 pm

Well, I'm guessing that if I test my material out with IPod headphones (sense they tend to be really sensitive to distortion and all) I might be better off.

By the way.....does Earle himself use Har-bal himself? I'm sure he does, but I was just wondering...
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Postby kgderrick » Fri Nov 16, 2007 1:29 am

This is sort of off topic but it might be appropriate for hearing the distortion that is inherent from limiting.

Take your Har-Bal track before limiting and dump it into your favorite DAW on track #1. Then take the same track that you ran through a limiter and put it onto track #2. So you have the same song on two tracks: one that isn't limited and one that is.

Now make sure the two tracks are exactly time aligned (sometimes the software limiter that you're using will slightly delay the track). Then hit the phase button on one of the tracks. Now lower the volume on the louder track (the track that's been limited) until you hear the null. This volume reduction will be about the difference in RMS volume.

What you end up hearing are just the artifacts of the limiting or compression you have done. Listen to how much the transients distort (eg: kick drum). The distortion will be even more pronounced when you listen through headphones.

This is quite revealing and will let you check out how different limiters distort your song. In fact, you can use this technique if you compare your non-limited song against a non-limited mp3 of the same song to hear the artifacts that mp3s create.

The big key is to make sure the two tracks are exactly time aligned. If they are not then you won't really hear the artifacts as much.

This technique might change how you limit in the future.

BTW - I learned this technique from some other mastering forum, but the name of the forum escapes me now.
- Keith
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Postby har-bal » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:48 pm

Craig Reeves wrote:Well, I'm guessing that if I test my material out with IPod headphones (sense they tend to be really sensitive to distortion and all) I might be better off.

By the way.....does Earle himself use Har-bal himself? I'm sure he does, but I was just wondering...


Hello Craig

Most of my mastering is done using hardware but it starts with the computer. Before I turn the first knob I check the spectral balance in Har-Bal. This lets me know immediately if I need to make corrections and to what extent. Sometimes the changes are minor but it is enough to make a big difference in the overall sound.

Its just plain stupid not to first check a mix in Har-Bal. I was telling Paavo the other evening that I had received 3 tracks that were seemingly beyond repair until I opened then in Har-Bal I was able to immediately spot the troubled areas and continue the project.
I use multiband compression on certain types of music and by initially correcting the overall balance it prevents the compressor from working hard and still allows me to preserve the dynamics. I have been using our own tool for years and I am still smiling when I use it each time to start a project.

I have customers from four continents and they have not complained yet...

If folks out there want to knock Har-Bal because they refuse to understand how to properly use the tool then so be it. Paavo and I use to vist forums and try to defend our product. We have since came to the conclusion that folks are just going to have to experience it for themselves. We are through trying to convince those folks.
Now we expend our energy into improving the tool even more.

We are happy you are finding the tool useful.

BTW: Did you hear what Pristine Audio is doing in Europe with all the classical music on 78's from the 1930's All the greats are being resurrected using Har-Bal. You ought to check out their radio broadcast
http://www.har-bal.com/ipw-web/bulletin ... .php?t=955

Cheers

Earle
Last edited by har-bal on Sat Nov 17, 2007 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Inertia

Postby Jyri T. » Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:20 am

Craig Reeves wrote:...I don't really ever hear any distortion through my monitors when the song "hits" in places, but sometimes when I play the track in my IPod or something there would have been spots that I "missed" and some distortion would pop up...


My notion is that speaker cones are smoothing down the distortion because of inertia due to their big mass. If you use headphones, you get a more accurate representation of the square wave produced by excess limiting.

For example I can't listen to some Morrissey albums with my headphones because the bass is deliberately clipped. With speakers (esp. ones with a dark sound - meaning less top end) it sounds OK, because the "edges" get rounded.

J
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Re: Inertia

Postby HarBal » Sat Nov 17, 2007 7:03 pm

Jyri T. wrote:My notion is that speaker cones are smoothing down the distortion because of inertia due to their big mass. If you use headphones, you get a more accurate representation of the square wave produced by excess limiting.

For example I can't listen to some Morrissey albums with my headphones because the bass is deliberately clipped. With speakers (esp. ones with a dark sound - meaning less top end) it sounds OK, because the "edges" get rounded.
J


Perhaps, though I'd suggest a more accurate explanation is that the extra bass in your "dark speakers" masks the clipping. Speakers with more top end and less pronounced bass will make it more audible to your ears.

The notion of "lighter" cones somehow responding faster than heavier ones is one of those long standing Hi-Fi myths promulgated around the place. The truth is not that simple. What is important in HF performance of drivers is the rigidity of the cone and how it behaves when outside of the piston operating zone (ie, when the code surface is no longer behaving as a rigid body). That is related to the speed of sound in the cone material which is not simply a matter of overall weight. More like mass per unit area and stiffness per unit area.

Lighter cones require less force to produce the same sound pressure level in the same manner that a lighter car will accelerate faster than a heavier one given that the engine power is the same. But you can put a more powerful engine in the heavier one and the picture looks quite different. In a similar manner for heavier cone loudspeakers you can up the force produced by the voice coil to raise the sensitivity.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that there isn't good reason for making a cone as light as possible but the explanation for as to why is not simply that lighter cones respond faster to transient material, as I believe that explanation is too trivialised to be accurate. If that were simply the case then you would make the cone material microscopically thin but it doesn't take much imagination to see that if you took that approach then at some point (thickness wise) the cone would be so flimsy that it would be incapable of moving the air that it is supposed to.

Cheers,


Paavo.
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Postby Sp00ky » Wed Nov 21, 2007 8:40 pm

Craig Reeves wrote:...but sometimes when I play the track in my IPod or something there would have been spots that I "missed" and some distortion would pop up.


...and...

Craig Reeves wrote:Well, I'm guessing that if I test my material out with IPod headphones (sense they tend to be really sensitive to distortion and all) I might be better off.


One of the first things I noticed about my iPod (back when I first got it) is the bass distortion at the headphone jack. Some EQ settings are worse than others, but it seems that any EQ setting other than "flat" or "none" (or whatever they're called, I don't have the iPod on me right now), or at least the ones that boost bass frequencies, make the headphone jack distort. The "rock" setting is horrible.

I'm not sure if it happens through the iPod's line out (on the bottom) or not. But I know it's the iPod and not the headphones coz I've tried it with a few different headphones and it behaves the same with all of them.

So if your songs are distorting on the iPod, they may not necessarily be distorting otherwise.

~J~
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Postby Hitmaker » Sun Dec 02, 2007 2:58 pm

Hi ,

Another explanation for the distortion you are hearing , is that it's intersample 'overs' in the iPod's DAC ...
SSL have just released a free plug to measure these , and good explanation of the phenomenon ....

http://www.solid-state-logic.com/music/X-ISM.html

Cheers ,

Evan .
" I hate compression with a vengeance . I avoid it . I'm a great believer in the dynamic range being preserved " Alan Parsons
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