Har-Bal Spatial Pan is a new plug-in that lets you position instruments and audio tracks on a virtual “stage” and calculate the early reflections. According to the manufacturer, this creates a very realistic and natural-sounding room impression. So the plug-in generates reverb, but not in the usual sense – none of the traditional algorithmic or convolution approaches are used here.
Har-Bal Spatial Pan
The biggest problem with “normal” reverbs, according to the developer, is that they don’t take the performer’s position in the virtual space while generating those early reflections. Har-Bal’s solution is to create early reflections at contextually appropriate levels to imply room geometry.
In other words, Spatial Pan includes the relationship between position and early reflections in the equation – in particular, the distance between the sound source and the listening position, and the resulting differences in early reflections volume and running time. To really make a point, the plug-in uses a graphical interface to let you place instruments and tracks on the virtual stage, and immediately hear the difference.
Given the circumstances, the nature of the room also plays a role. Spatial Pan uses a perfect rectangular shape as its baseline but lets you modify it with width and depth parameters for the left, right, and back walls. Settings for the loss of high frequencies and their transition further refine the room model. This certainly makes some very interesting effects possible. Also of note is the Wide Pan algorithm working in the background to only model the reflections that actually hit the listening position. In relation, the virtual listener can be moved on a horizontal axis, but remains in the basic setting in the position of the so-called sweet spot – i.e. in the middle of the action.
If you are interested in learning more about the concept, definitely check the developer’s website. There’s plenty of reading material for those rainy afternoons.
Price and availability
Har-Bal Spatial Pan costs EUR 53.85 and works in VST, AU, and AAX formats on macOS and Windows computers.