iZotope’s Tonal Balance Control 2 is an analysis tool that provides a real-time evaluation of your stereo mix as compared to other songs in thirteen carefully designed factory reference “target” genres. There is a drop down menu of these and you have the option of using any stereo audio track or even a whole folder of tracks as references.
Tonal Balance Control 2 comes with iZotope’s Neutron 3.1 Advanced ($399), Ozone 9.0 Advanced ($499) or it can be purchased separately as a standalone version ($199). TBC 2 is also part of Music Production Suite 3, and there is also a Tonal Balance Bundle.
In addition, TBC 2 comes with the Relay Source 1.03 plug-in to enable IPC—that’s iZotope’s Inter Plug-in Communication that allows direct control of other iZotope plug-ins equipped with IPC within TBC 2’s GUI.
Tonal Balance 2 Has Two Main Views or Modes
In the resizable GUI, there are both Broad and Fine views of your music mix’s tonal makeup. Broad divides the audio frequencies into four slotted bands with white boundaries between the lower and higher frequencies. When the frequencies in any or all of these bands are within the targeted genre’s range, the names of the bands will light up white.
The bands and ranges are: Low from 20Hz to 250Hz, Low-Mid 250Hz to 2kHz, High-Mid 2kHz to 8kHz, and the High band is from 8kHz to 20kHz. In addition, there is a horizontal bar spanning midway between each of these four ranges to show the instantaneous and varying amplitudes—a kind of average of the constituent frequencies in your music present in that band. This horizontal bar moves up and down in response to the music’s changing frequency content over time.
Fine view is a more exacting analysis and is represented by a continuous response “channel” spanning all four bands. This channel shows the fixed upper and lower amplitude limits vs. frequency of the selected target genre. Again a moving centerline runs the length of the channel but it's more like a spectrum analyzer where the various peaks and dips are more accurately indicated and it's easy to see them exceed the channel’s upper limit or fall below the lower limit.
The overall shape and the tilt in the low frequencies of this channel vary over the 20Hz to 20kHz audio range based upon the particular target genre you’ve selected. For example the “RnB-Soul” genre increases in the range of acceptable amplitudes starting at about 5kHz and continue out to 20kHz versus the “Reggae” genre that has a wider acceptance range in the bass.
I used the Fine view to spot sudden peaks at certain frequencies and at particular times such as vocal peaks, weird resonances or excessively loud cymbal crashes.
Also shown in either Broad or Fine modes is the Crest Factor meter. Crest Factor is the ratio of average level to peak level. In TBC 2 this is an immediate measurement of the dynamic range in the low frequencies based on the selected target genre curve. This became especially helpful to me when setting up stereo bus limiting of an entire mix—I am able to see in a relative way the amount of limiting I was using compared to other music in the same genre.
At the bottom of the TBC 2 window is a “Select A Source” drop down menu for selecting any track in your session with either the Relay source plug-in inserted or other iZotope plug-ins with IPC.
Relay provides an internal path to TBC 2 and when in this Source mode, the entire GUI divides in half horizontally with the bottom half of the window becoming a spectrum analyzer display showing Relay’s selected source audio or the IPC plug-in’s GUI.
I inserted the Ozone 9 Advance eight-band EQ before TBC 2 and instead of viewing the spectrum display in the lower half of the GUI, I have the equalizer screen with complete control of it from TBC2. Right now the iZotope plug-ins that are compatible IPC sources are: Ozone 9.0, Neutron 3.1, and Nectar 3.1. They will show up in the Source list automatically along with any channel (mono or stereo) with the Relay plug-in inserted. I thought it a powerful tool to watch the Tonal Balance 2 screen and then adjust Ozone 9’s equalizer and see the immediate effect of tweaking!
If you see that the high frequencies are excessive in your mix, you can select the Relay instances on tracks that would contribute to the high frequency content and adjust them without having to leave TBC 2 to go find them individually in the mixer. Awesome!
Tonal Balance 2 is an exciting piece of music production software and it and Relay are in my mixing template from now on! TBC 2 is in the updated version of Neutron 3 Advanced and Ozone 9 Advanced and sells on its own for $199MSRP. Highly recommended!