Better mixing as a result of what I learned from Har-Bal

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Better mixing as a result of what I learned from Har-Bal

Postby mgc3003.com » Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:45 pm

As a result of what I've learned from using Har-Bal, my mixes are looking more and more like my intended curve before using Har-Bal!

The significance of this is enormous! The less you need to alter the EQ of your final mix, the better. Obviously, right?

By using my ears and eyes with Har-Bal, I learned to spot problems in my mix and compositions BEFORE going into Har-Bal! Most recently, I started using a spectrograph on my master bus while composing. Now, when I'm adding an instrument or sound, I evaluate the spectrum to make sure it fits.

Basically, Har-Bal helped me to learn about the complex interactions of frequencies in a well-mixed song. Before Har-Bal I'd often have competing parts.. multiple instruments in the same frequency range. This caused a muddy sound. Now I'll literally look at the spectrum even before going into Har-Bal to get it close to what it should be. An example is in a recent track, the low end was a bit midrangy and there were two synth parts that were competing for space. So on my bass synth patch, I literally dialed through presets until i found one that moved into a lower frequency area that happened to be relatively empty. This made my song sound bigger, fuller, and majorly enhanced the clarity of both of the competing instruments.

Then, when I took the song into Har-Bal after mixdown, rather than needing MASSIVE changes, I just had to tweak it a bit to get it perfect.

Sure, the best producer in the world would be able to do this perfectly with only his ears... but Har-Bal trained me to SEE what my fixes will look like even before I mix down!

I'm not sure I explained this well... but let's just say that I believe the knowledge you get by using Har-Bal as a mastering tool carries with you into your compositional skills... particularly if you use a spectrograph on your master bus so you can SEE the effect of your sound choices as you mix, sculpt your sounds with EQ, and in selection of instrument sounds.
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Postby mgc3003.com » Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:53 pm

Let me give an example, specifically.

I had a muddy bass sound, and two parts that overlapped. I looked at the spectrograph and there was a hump between 120 and 300 if I remember right. By muting channels, I realized both the muddy parts occupied that sound space.

One was a synth part. So I dialed through presets until I found one that shifted that channels sound OUT of the 120-300 area and down to the 80-150 area. Then I used EQ on the other one to cut the lower part of it that was still in the 100-150 area. This solved by problem!

And solving problems like this in advance is really important because a mix problem like this isn't something that HarBal could fix... but it's something I wouldn't have solved visually before I used Har-Bal.

Har-Bal changed my life. Seriously.

The only resistance I've ever seen to Har-Bal is when purist types dismiss the use of the eyes in making changes to the sound. But Har-Bal doesn't take that away!!! It just *adds* the option of considering what you see in the choices you make with your ears.

Har-Bal ADDS choices. It doesn't take them away.
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Postby AntonyR » Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:22 pm

I agree totally with your assessment mgc3003.com.

I have just purchased Har-Bal last week and used it and the advice associated with it to master 2 tracks I thought I had completed. The difference is not subtle - it is significant - and very positive. When I first did the A/B comparison in Har-Bal with the EQ tick button I had my doubts. My original sounded full and the EQ'ed version sounded weak. I went ahead anyway and mastered the 2 tracks. I left it until the next day to listen to them on my home stereo system and other speakers around the house and I was amazed. It sounds the same on each system (ie. the level of bass, etc is consistent), even on my Ł10 speakers that you plug in to a portable CD player. Not only does it sound the same, but it sounds full, clear and the levels are good. I then played my original version and it sounded muddy and lacking somewhat in comparison. My ears had just become used to hearing it that way that it sounded normal. But as I have learned, normal is not always right or better.

Many thanks to Har-Bal - not just the product but the excellent advice also that comes with it.
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Postby jammer » Wed Mar 30, 2005 8:55 am

AntonyR wrote:I agree totally with your assessment mgc3003.com.

I have just purchased Har-Bal last week and used it and the advice associated with it to master 2 tracks I thought I had completed. The difference is not subtle - it is significant - and very positive. When I first did the A/B comparison in Har-Bal with the EQ tick button I had my doubts. My original sounded full and the EQ'ed version sounded weak. I went ahead anyway and mastered the 2 tracks. I left it until the next day to listen to them on my home stereo system and other speakers around the house and I was amazed. It sounds the same on each system (ie. the level of bass, etc is consistent), even on my Ł10 speakers that you plug in to a portable CD player. Not only does it sound the same, but it sounds full, clear and the levels are good. I then played my original version and it sounded muddy and lacking somewhat in comparison. My ears had just become used to hearing it that way that it sounded normal. But as I have learned, normal is not always right or better.

Many thanks to Har-Bal - not just the product but the excellent advice also that comes with it.


great stuff!

to my mind good mixing is just as much about perceived volume/power/presence/clarity as much as it is about that volume/power/presence/clarity actually being there, if you follow my meaning. something that sounds full on your full range monitors can sound that way because its essentially mixed specifically for those speakers rather than being a 'good mix' per se.

whilist a mix might not sound as full on your monitors after this process the perception across systems is where its at and i can honestly say that harbal is helping me in this regard. getting that 'avarage' curve that works on all systems is the best way to achieve this with consistency, something harbal excels at imo.
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Re: Better mixing as a result of what I learned from Har-Bal

Postby mflorio » Thu Mar 31, 2005 3:56 pm

mgc3003.com wrote:As a result of what I've learned from using Har-Bal, my mixes are looking more and more like my intended curve before using Har-Bal!


This has been my experience exactly.

Mike
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Postby Jrel » Wed Sep 27, 2006 2:16 pm

Same here. I recently finished a great song. I popped it into Har-Bal to check the spectrum and realized I didn't have to do any tweaking for the curve looked great and the mix already sounded great. Over time, Har-Bal has helped train me to mix better.
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