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Archives. Tag Archive for: 'review'. Sonarworks Reference 3 Room Calibration Plugin Review Auralex Mopads Studio Monitor Isolators Review. Sonarworks were kind enough to send DesigningSound a copy of Reference 3 and their calibrated microphone to review. Other reviews have been. Tag: Sonarworks GET OUR FREE MAGAZINE. Our Hearing Review Magazine delivers in-depth coverage of hearing healthcare. Subscribe Today.

Sonarworks review Archives - sorry, that

A speaker and headphone calibration software delivering consistently accurate studio reference sound.
In less than 20 minutes you can calibrate your existing studio speakers with a measurement microphone (buy from us or use yours) and calibrate your existing headphones with more than 280 headphone calibration profiles already included in the software as ready-to-use presets. With an applied calibration profile the software sets the frequency response target to be completely flat across all audible frequencies so you can trust that every mix will translate. You can also now make custom adjustments to the target curve in real-time with the new custom target feature.
With accurate studio reference sound, you can seamlessly switch between speakers, headphones, and rooms. Finally, mix with confidence and make music that sounds great everywhere.

Features
• Speaker calibration: save as many profiles as needed
• Headphone calibration profiles for 280+ supported models
• Custom target: target curve adjustments in real-time
• Translation Check: simulating 20+ different devices and device types for accurate mix translation results everywhere without leaving the workstation
• 3 filter modes: Zero Latency, Mixed and Linear Phase
• Additional DSP processing controls: Mono, Dry/Wet, and Safe Headroom
• MIDI mapping in the SoundID Reference app for various controls
• User Presets in the SoundID Reference app for switching quickly between predefined output device/channel pair combinations

What's Included
• SoundID Reference app for Speakers & Headphones
• SoundID Reference DAW plugin (AU, VST, AAX)
• SoundID Reference Measurement Microphone with an XLR connection and individual calibration profile
• Averaged profiles for 280+ supported headphone models
• Activation key for the product license: the product can be activated and used on 3 machines

System Requirements
Mac: macOS 10.12 or later
PC: Windows 8 (64-bit) or later
Sonarworks supported or Sonarworks individually calibrated headphones
2.0 or 2.1 stereo speaker system
An audio interface featuring +48v Phantom Power and 44.1 kHz sample rate capability
Audio hardware setup must consist of a single external hardware device only during the speaker measurement process
XLR to XLR audio cable
SoundID Reference measurement microphone, or other omnidirectional measurement microphone with an XLR audio connection
Stable internet connection

Microphone Specifications
• Houses pre-polarized electret-condenser capsule
• Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20kHz with supplied calibration profile
• Omnidirectional polar pattern
• Sensitivity is rated at -37dB/Pa (14 mV)
• Self noise: 24 dB
• S/N ratio: 70 dB
• Dynamic range: 106dB
• Maximum SPL: 132 dB SPL

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Review: Sonarworks Reference 3 & Measurement Microphone

Oh The Variables

When you consider the variables in play when dealing with audio, it amazes me that we’re able to create anything that sounds even half-decent to someone else.

Author-End Variables

  • How the authorship software processes audio
  • Digital-to-analog conversion quality
  • Unbalanced monitors / headphones
  • The acoustic space
  • Monitor placement
  • Mix position
  • Your ears
  • Your brain

User-End Variables

  • End format (likely compressed)
  • End user device software processes
  • End user device hardware limitations (e.g. in-built compressor)
  • Digital-to-analog conversion quality
  • Consumer monitor / headphones
  • Untreated space
  • Extraneous interference (e.g. city noise)
  • Monitor placement
  • Listening position
  • Their ears
  • Their brain

As a result of all of this, the only thing you can be sure of is that no one will ever hear your music or sound the way you do. This is why dubbing mixers or mastering engineers often are heard saying something along the lines of, “that’ll be the last time anyone hears it as it’s meant to sound”.

It’s easy to quickly turn to despair in the face of all this, but there are steps we can take to minimize the influence of some of these variables. Steps such as using more transparent gear, learning the various biases of our existing equipment and account for them, acoustic treatment and extensively testing final mixes under a variety of conditions. Aside from all of those, there’s something else you might try…

 

The Package

Sonarworks Reference 3 is a software/hardware solution that attempts to account for the combination of your monitors, the space they’re in, their placement and your mix position. It does this by taking numerous measurements around the mix position with a calibrated measurement microphone, then generating a preset for their plugin that makes EQ, delay and level adjustments in an attempt to calibrate your system to either a flat, emulated or desired response curve.

Calibration Box

Sonarworks were kind enough to send DesigningSound a copy of Reference 3 and their calibrated microphone to review. Other reviews have been broadly positive so I was excited to give it a go and see how it could help improve the sound of my home studio space.

The package I got included their XREF 20 measurement microphone which is bundled with a free trial of Reference 3. I’m not sure if the Software suite & Mic Bundle pictured above comes with any documentation, but there was none to speak of in the microphone-only package. Whilst Reference 3 is designed to be intuitive and simple to use, I did have some questions which were only partially answered by the online FAQ. Unfortunately trying to access the help menu from the software itself didn’t… well, help.

16. HelpThe mic itself is well-built and individually calibrated so any bias towards certain frequencies are accounted for by the software by way of a calibration file.

MicrophoneThe FAQ online says that “you can use any calibrated measurement microphone”, so you need not use the Sonarworks microphone if you have your own.

On the software side, Reference 3 is only Mac compatible currently, with older versions still available for PC users. The plugin comes in the following formats, VST/AU/RTAS/AAX, so you could conceivably borrow a mac to run the calibration component and then use the plugins on a windows machine if needs be.

 

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three

Before I begin, a little context about my space and the work I do. I’m primarily a composer and sound designer.  I do some of my sound work at a post-production facility with treated rooms, but my home rig is a pretty average setup with an MBox 3 Pro, feeding both a pair of small, powered 5-inch bookshelf monitors and a separate Crown amplifier feeding higher-end 4-way monitors in a A/B setup (both pairs are calibrated to 79dB). My room measures roughly 13ft/8ft/7.5ft with a mix of flat surfaces, and furniture and limited treatment. My higher-end monitors claim to track +/- 3dB 20hz-20kHz and from my own testing, they do so from 500Hz and up. Anything below 500Hz is a bit of a crapshoot due to the room so that’s where I’m hoping Reference 3 can help me out.

I went through the calibration process seven times in all, five with my high-end monitors to test the influence of various settings and to track consistency, and twice more with my 5” bookshelf monitors. I’ll start by talking about the process of calibrating itself, and then I’ll discuss my results.

The calibration process is straightforward with onscreen prompts guiding you clearly though every step. You start by selecting a microphone and a calibration profile. In this case it was the XREF 20 with the associated calibration file that relates to the serial number on the microphone.

1. Mic Selection2. Mic Response

You then select your input and output channels.

3. Input Select4. Output SelectNext Reference 3 checks the signal level coming from the mic to make sure it’s at an appropriate level.

5. Mic TestThen Reference 3 does a series of tests to determine how far apart the monitors are from each other, and how far back the listening position is.

6. Distance Check9. Locate Chair10. Chair ResultsNext is the measurement process itself which has an optional tutorial that describes how the process works.

12. Test WelcomeEssentially, through emitting sounds from the stereo monitors and picking up those signals on the microphone, the software is able to somewhat accurately determine the position of the microphone in the room, guide you to where the next measurement zone is, at which point you leave the mic stationary at ear level while sweeps are played back to analyse frequency response. The standard test uses 24 measurement locations around the listening position.

14. Test in ProgressOnce the test is complete you’re shown a frequency response chart with data lines for both left and right channels, as well as any level bias or delay between the two channels. Unfortunately there’s no zoom function so what you see is what you get in terms of detail. From here you can save a preset based on these results to use in your DAW in the Reference 3 plugin. All in all, with the standard settings, the whole process takes anywhere from ten to twenty minutes.

A T1

Plug Me In

The plugin is intended to be put on the monitor path out from the DAW to your monitors, so don’t leave it active in a record path as the idea is that it is calibrating your room, not the recording.

In the top right corner there’s a switch that changes it from the Monitor to the Headphone plugin. The Headphone plugin can be used if you own a pair of headphones which Sonarworks Reference 3 already supports. Alternatively, you can send off your headphones to be measured by Sonarworks and get a calibration file back from them to use with your headphones, or purchase a new pair of headphones directly from Sonarworks including a calibration file for that pair.

Plugin

In the plugin form, we’re afforded some more options in the graph as we’re able to see both the preexisting response curves, our target curve (in this case “Flat”), the correction being applied as well as the end result.

The plugin allows you to switch the EQ function between three phase options, Minimum, Mixed and Linear, with Minimum being the most CPU intensive and Linear having the most latency. It’s great to have this option as depending on what you’re doing as you can adjust depending on your needs between CPU efficiency and acceptable latency.

The “Simulate” function essentially models the curve to sound like other popular monitors or headphones. It seems potentially powerful for people working for different end use formats who may want to test their mixes on different Monitor or headphone profiles, but with only six on offer at the time of writing this review (only two of which are monitors, the other four being headphone profiles), it felt like it had limited potential use.

 

All About Results

The testing process is certainly streamlined, but I for one had no success in getting accurate measurements for the distance between the monitors and the location of the listening position. On one test it assumed my monitors were 4ft7in or so apart. Another with slightly different settings estimated the distance was 3ft3in when in fact they’re 4ft1in apart. The listening position also was consistently off by about five inches. Fortunately you can manually adjust these values, but only around a limited range from Reference 3’s initial estimate. I read these errors be due to my working in 48kHz or having a reflective environment, but I tested at 44.1kHz to the same effect. As this product is designed for people who don’t already have an ideal calibrated space, I was left a little concerned that one of it’s tests may not be effective in such a space. Personally I’d rather just have entered in the values manually from the very start.

When it came to the measurement phase, I had mixed results. When setting the “Location Fixing Duration” to “Fast”, I felt like the diagram and space within which I had to move the mic related to one another. However, when set to “Slow” (which results in tests taking about twice as long) it seemed to be sending me much further out from the listening position. At one point it had me place the microphone just an inch away from the screen and that wasn’t even for the furthest forward position. Unfortunately, without any documentation, I was unsure what the significance of these settings were. Overall the default setup proved to be the most consistent.

15. SettingsIn terms of the end results, I feel like Reference 3 did a decent job picking up on the most glaring errors and I saw fairly consistent results between repeated tests. Here are the results I got from the five tests I conducted with my main monitors.

 

Monitor Pair A, Test 1

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: FastA T1

Monitor Pair A, Test 2 (no changes from Test 1)

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: FastA T2

Monitor Pair A, Test 3

Measurement Signal Type: Type 2

Location Fixing Duration: SlowA T3

Monitor Pair A, Test 4

Measurement Signal Type: Type 1

Location Fixing Duration: FastA T4

Monitor Pair A, Test 5 (changed from 48kHz to 44.1kHz)

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: FastA T5

Generally I think it did a decent job but it’s clear there’s still room for some improvement as there are noticable difference between the results of each test, even when settings were left static.

I had better luck with my 5” monitors which tracked very well between two tests at the default settings.

 

Monitor Pair B, Test 1

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: FastB1

Monitor Pair B, Test 2

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: FastB2

The Limitations

While Reference 3 is going to help account for any frequency bias away from a flat response, it’s obviously not going to help you if you have any reverberant issues in your space such as slapback. Also, if you’re monitors are worn or damaged to the point where they can’t produce certain frequencies (extreme highs or lows for example), don’t expect Reference 3 to suddenly extend their range. It’s not a count against the product, just something to consider. I would say that Reference 3 doesn’t eliminate the need for room treatment, but should probably be seen as a supporting element to help you get another step along the path to a calibrated space.

The fact that it’s more of a software solution (safe for the measurement microphone) certainly helps keep the price down, but I did find it unfortunate that I would only ever be able to hear the calibration effect while in a DAW environment. You have to get used to the idea that if you listen to anything outside of the DAW environment, it’s going to sound different. It may not sound like a big deal, but getting to know the sound of your set-up can be tough when it’s inconsistent. I’m often spot-checking assets from the OS preview or working in a simple 2-track editor and there are times I felt uncomfortable as I listened thinking “that’s not how it sounded when I bounced it out”.

One final limitation I should note is that it’s currently only able to handle two channels, so those of you looking to calibrate your surround rig may need to wait for an update or future release.

 

Summary

Sonarworks Reference 3 is a software solution that may help you get closer to that ever elusive flat frequency response in your space. On the plus side it’s affordable, easy to use, well designed with nice aesthetics and it noticeably adjusts the sound to better reflect a calibrated setup. On the negative side, I did find inconsistencies in both the testing process and the results so I see it less of a total solution and more as a tool to add to your arsenal, supporting other elements such as room treatment. I can’t help but feel that for a tool designed for people wanting more control, it doesn’t offer much in the way of control. The testing process is highly automated and I would like to have been able to specify certain values and look at the results in more detail, but the design philosophy is more a “don’t worry about it, we’ll take care of it”, which is fine, but it places Reference 3 in an odd position directed towards people who care enough about their work to try and calibrate their space, but who also don’t care or aren’t knowledgeable enough to take a more hand’s on approach.

Whilst I suspect it’s effectiveness will vary wildly from space-to-space, the relatively low price point makes it worth checking out. For more on Reference 3 including pricing, free trials and Sonarworks’ other products, you can head to http://sonarworks.com

 

A NFR copy of Sonarworks Reference 3 and Measurement Microphone was provided by Sonarworks for use in this review.

*** For a $30 discount on Sonarworks Reference 3, enter the code “desoundsp” at checkout. This offer is valid through 10/31/15.

Filed Under: reviewsTagged With: audio, Calibration, mixing, music, Reference 3, Reviews, Sonarworks, sound design

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Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

Gear Maniac

Sonarworks Reference Studio 4...is flat a good thing??


I just installed Sonarworks Reference Studio 4 (Headphones & Speaker Calibration) and listened not only to my own mixes but also to a whole bunch of albums that were mixed by legends: Andy Wallace, Chris Lord Alge, Tom Lord Alge, Jack Joseph Puig, and the list goes on...

Using my old and trusty Beyer Dynamic DT 770's 250 Ohm headphones, I loaded the exact (preloaded) response for my headphones and was shocked by the results...

With the Sonarworks correction engaged the music sounds like someone stuffed my ears full of sand.

The upper midrange is totally lifeless and the lower mids sound very muddy.

I am at a loss for words...

My intention is not to bash this software. I want it to work...even if that means admitting to the reality that everything I ever listened to or mixed through these headphones was TOTALLY OFF.

Tomorrow I will run the speaker calibration and see how that sounds. I have new Genelec 8050s...I am not lying...I am kinda scared...

Anybody else have the same initial reaction?

Would love to hear what other Sonarwork's users have to say.

Well, I truly believe that the most important thing is to know your monitor.

You seems to know your headphones pretty well, so the sonarworks changes everything you are used to.

I have sonarworks and I use it a lot in a room that have big problems with the low end. But I don't use it for my headphones, a DT770 and a HD650, because I already know exactly how music should sound through them.

Edit: that said, I have a buddy that only uses his hd650 with the sonarworks on. He actually bought a custom headphones with sonarworks that have a custom profile for his hp.

So, I guess it depends on what you are used to.

I use Sonarworks and Dirac before that for my monitors in my semi treated room, but not for phones.
Couldn't be without it but for phones you should send yours to them to be measured.

Matti

Gear Addict

Sonarworx has not measured your ears and your inner ear so there is no way it CAN work

Sure, but they do measure your phones if you send them for that...
Same for monitors - I do hear them with MY ears, lol

Matti

Gear Maniac

Quote:

Originally Posted by arctic audio➡️

Sonarworx has not measured your ears and your inner ear so there is no way it CAN work

So here's the thing: I just calibrated my speakers this morning and I am currently sitting in my monitoring position listening and it is an incredible difference. Really, huge--all in the positive sense. My low end is tighter, my upper midrange is clearer...pretty great.

But with my headphones it sounds like total crap.

I know the custom calibration is an option but even so...they use the average of 10 sets of the same headphones to create their calibration file's that ship with the software...which is why I just can't figure it out.

The funny thing in all of this is that I expected my speakers would sound worse than my headphones--what I mean is that I anticipated my mixes sounding worse on my speakers post calibration, but that my mixes would hold up on my headphones as I primarily track with them and do most, if not all, my creative work & arranging with them on.

Basically, on my Genelec 8050s (in my semi treated room) night and day difference in the positive...on my Beyer Dynamic DT 770's 250 Ohm, total dog crap.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Princeton.Verb➡️

I just installed Sonarworks Reference Studio 4 (Headphones & Speaker Calibration) and listened not only to my own mixes but also to a whole bunch of albums that were mixed by legends: Andy Wallace, Chris Lord Alge, Tom Lord Alge, Jack Joseph Puig, and the list goes on...

I'm only a Sonarworks Headphone user myself (with ATH-M50x cans), and I have mix feelings as well. I assume you performed the calibration and setup? Did you use your own mic or the calibrated one supplied? And a further, side-note question regarding the latter: Did the microphone come with a calibration .FRD file or was it simply looked-up with an included code number?

Gear Maniac

I do not use Sonarworks with headphones at all at this point, only speakers. Regarding the mic, I bought the full version that includes the measurement mic. There is a code on the mic that I had to put in during installation. I do not recall whether there was an .frd file or not. It's been a couple months since I did the calibration and my ole brain does not recall all installation steps anymore.

Lives for gear

Quote:

Originally Posted by Princeton.Verb➡️

So here's the thing: I just calibrated my speakers this morning and I am currently sitting in my monitoring position listening and it is an incredible difference. Really, huge--all in the positive sense. My low end is tighter, my upper midrange is clearer...pretty great.

But with my headphones it sounds like total crap.

I know the custom calibration is an option but even so...they use the average of 10 sets of the same headphones to create their calibration file's that ship with the software...which is why I just can't figure it out.

The funny thing in all of this is that I expected my speakers would sound worse than my headphones--what I mean is that I anticipated my mixes sounding worse on my speakers post calibration, but that my mixes would hold up on my headphones as I primarily track with them and do most, if not all, my creative work & arranging with them on.

Basically, on my Genelec 8050s (in my semi treated room) night and day difference in the positive...on my Beyer Dynamic DT 770's 250 Ohm, total dog crap.

I've wondered if this would be the case for a while ... when reading about headphone design, I've previously read that they are not flat for the reason that the peaks and troughs are there because of how injecting audio directly into your ears works. All the primary cans manufacturers have been making the curves that way for years - presumably because they think it sounds better that way ... and then we come along and flatten all their hard work out. Completely different for monitors because you're dealing with the room - you don't have to correct the room with cans, just mess directly with the presentation to your ears. I know many people love the result and they will probably tell us so here, but I have to say I'm not really surprised with the difference you've noticed between the process on cans Vs monitors, as it makes sense to me that this might be the case. I'm no expert, but this just seem logical to me.

Lives for gear

Mixing on headphones never work for me. I don't know why. Even with sonarworks'

Yes, for mixing, flatter is better (yes, I know that's not always true). Generally, for most people (of course there's always exceptions), speakers are better to mix than headphones. But, things being what they are, if you need to mix on headphones, get used to listening to them flat to all sorts of music - as well as your own/the music you'll be mixing. Familiarity is more important than "flat". But if you can be familiar with flat - well, that probably will help.

There's others that do similar.

Flatter headphone response has, generally speaking, helped me mix better.

I feel like sonar works Reference4 for headphones is kinda a lie, my mix didn't translate well (Focal Listen Pro ---> Focal Alpha 65), maybe I'll have to try it out more. I love the True-FI desktop app n phone App for casual listening though.

I used Sonarworks only in my poorly treated room, which is small in size and difficult to be completely treated. While I was happy with my results after correction, I don't have the same appreciation when it comes to headphones. At most of my time I worked with IEMs which I don't think Sonarworks have their calibration curve. But even when I used those headphones like AKG or Sennheiser, I immediately turned Sonarworks off. It was simply not my feeling. I agree with most of you that I know my headphones pretty well and I get used to their sound.

Go with Sonarworks with your speakers only.

I purchased DT880 250s. Without correction they sound peaky, cold and weak. With correction they are warm, pure heaven.

Lives for gear

Headphones sound different on every person who puts them on. Physiology in such a tiny, contained area makes measurements almost meaningless. “Flat” in whatever model they use is inevitably altered by your ears. It’s a crapshoot, depending on how close you are to their test simulation environment. So I haven’t found the headphone modeling tremendously useful, unlike the speaker correction. THAT I’ll vouch for strongly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by burp182➡️

Headphones sound different on every person who puts them on. Physiology in such a tiny, contained area makes measurements almost meaningless. “Flat” in whatever model they use is inevitably altered by your ears. It’s a crapshoot, depending on how close you are to their test simulation environment. So I haven’t found the headphone modeling tremendously useful, unlike the speaker correction. THAT I’ll vouch for strongly.

You think that speaker+room+ears interface has less inherent variance than headphones+ears? After selling calibration software to around 40 000 people I'd politely disagree.

Ear shape generally follows a normal distribution or a bell curve, which means that the majority of people are pretty similar. I don't, however subscribe to the "ears hear" school of thought, because it doesn't take into account the brain. There have been tests with people having their ear shape altered by silicone inserts. Initially the hearing is off and they have trouble locating things, however after a day or two their ability to locate sounds came back to normal.

Here at our lab we don't only measure headphones, we have every curve checked by no less than three engineers for translation. Hence it should be reasonably clean from measurement artefacts.

Lives for gear

 
loopy's Avatar

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hrodulf➡️

You think that speaker+room+ears interface has less inherent variance than headphones+ears? After selling calibration software to around 40 000 people I'd politely disagree.

Ear shape generally follows a normal distribution or a bell curve, which means that the majority of people are pretty similar. I don't, however subscribe to the "ears hear" school of thought, because it doesn't take into account the brain. There have been tests with people having their ear shape altered by silicone inserts. Initially the hearing is off and they have trouble locating things, however after a day or two their ability to locate sounds came back to normal.

Here at our lab we don't only measure headphones, we have every curve checked by no less than three engineers for translation. Hence it should be reasonably clean from measurement artefacts.

I agree.
All one has to do is bend the outer ear just a little bit when listening to speakers and the sound changes drastically. This brings up the question, what if I were born with my outer ear in the "bent shape". Would I hear music like "that" for all of my life OR would the brain, over time compensate?

I think you have answered the question.

Lives for gear

With all due respect, I politely but firmly disagree. Having done a conservative 5000 headphone demos across a LOOOONG parallel career in sales, nothing is more stunning than watching two people listen to the same set of headphones with the same source and amplification and coming up with almost diametrically opposed opinions on the sound. One will hear it as unconscionably bright while their friend will hear them as dark. A third might find the same phones as the perfect Goldilocks solution - just right. This occurred over and over, regardless of brand, style and quality.

As to the question of the brain adapting to the sound, I agree without a doubt. All you'd need to do for a full recalculation would be to wear the headphones continuously for, oh, what - 5 years? 4? 10? Otherwise, you're just guessing and compensating, just like you'd do without the calibration software.

One of the most telling aspects of this discussion is that headphone manufacturers, under most circumstances, quote a frequency response range without any plus and minus dB tolerance. If you did that with speakers, they'd laugh you out of the pro market. The manufacturers understand the situation of giving a measured range on your head and, instead, give a spec of what the driver(s) are capable of reproducing.

The best parallel I can think of is if, rather than measuring the response of a monitor in it's acoustic environment, as you do, you instead did very precise measurements for many specific brands and models of speaker in an anechoic chamber and built and supplied correction curves based on that, without considering that these speakers will live their lives in wildly varying and completely individual acoustic environments, ranging from dull, muffled closets to hall-of-mirrors level reflective nightmares. But you don't.

As the acoustic environment shrinks, minute physical changes can make noticable sonic ones. And we haven't even discussed the equivalent of room loading that occurs inside the canal as levels increase.

I'm not dismissing the idea of headphone correction. In fact, I've found curves I like very much for 4 of the 5 different phones I have in my studio. Tellingly, in 3 of those cases, they're NOT the curves that correspond to the model as supplied, but rather ones I chose after listening to all the models provided. And I would never use those curves when handing these phones to someone else, for all the reasons I've stated above. Rather, I allow them to select the headphones that best suit how they hear.

And I firmly believe that the speaker correction you provide is heaven sent. It's made my life easier and my mixes better. Not sure how much more one could possibly ask of a plug-in. To me, the headphone curves are gravy on top. Potentially tasty, but not the meat of the matter.

As always, YMMV.

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I've heard nothing about the use of a reference mic here.

Sonarworks is sold with a XREF 20 Measurement Microphone. If you haven't got the mic to test what the speakers and/or headphones are actually putting out vs what the original file is producing then you're wasting your time using the software only. Using software only its pure guesswork what the software is doing compared it actual measurements.

You don't need to spend $300 on sonarworks to do this either. If you have a reference mic, you can buy a copy of RAL for $25. You can sweep frequencies or use Pink/white noise to test the response from the listening position. You overlay the test signal against what the mic is hearing and you can then EQ the hills and valleys out.

Personally I'd forgo using an EQ and tune the room to correct the sound which is the way its supposed to be done. Monitors should be flat from the factory. The damage an EQ can do to the signal is worse then just treating the room.

The whole idea is NOT to make the monitors sound better then they actually are. You can enhance your Hi Fi playback systems all you want and make them sound bigger then life. You should Not do this for your mixing monitors. The key here is to have them produce a flat sound so when you're mix is off it sounds unnatural. You'll then do something to correct it and make it sound like a normal mix knowing the adjustments you make will be compatible to any playback system.

If your room is too reflective, its likely too bright sounding as well and having too much ambiance. You'll wind up with exactly the opposite issue. A mix that lacks that reflective bright sound (or a bass bump to add what's missing and a lack of ambiance.

Monitors and headphones always do the opposite to your mix. If there is too much bass, middle or treble, your recording will wind up with too little of these. If there's too little bass, mids or treble, you will attempt to compensate and flatten the mix and wind up adding too much. The only answer is to start with dead pan flat response, neither embellished or lacking response. Then when you sculpt whatever mix you choose you know the contour of the frequency response will sound similar on any other playback system. That doesn't mean the entire mix is done to sound flat either. Its mixed to sound natural and real (in most cases). After that its a matter of personal preference.

The only reason to calibrate frequency response is to minimize faults which are causing the issues I just mentioned with too much or too little of a frequency which skews all your mixes and makes them incompatible on other playback systems.

As far as headphones go, I wouldn't even attempt to try and flatten their response. First off using a reference mic inside the headphone cup without the cup being closed against the ear is next to impossible. The cup must be against the ear/head to get its full bass response. Just sticking the tip of a reference mic inside the cup isn't going to produce an accurate response. You'd need something like a dummy head and a mic similar to a hearing aid to measure things properly. Seeing the headphone manufacturer has already done that pretty much engineering the headphones why even bother. Most headphones are designed to make the music sound bigger then life, all will have a lack of crossfeed and your outer ears which are not being used will cause an upper midrange bump when you attempt to compensate for them not being used.

In short, you can try a cross feed plugin. Several companies make them in software and hardware form. nothing is going to fix the issue with the upper mid bump or the center of the sound scape occurring in your skull instead of out in front of you like most bands would be. (a band cant climb inside your skull and play so your depth perception is always screwed up) I only use headphones for tracking vocals any more. They are pretty much useless for mixing but many think thay can and that's not going to change till they get the experience comparing mixes done both ways.

Quote:

Originally Posted by loopy➡️

I agree.
All one has to do is bend the outer ear just a little bit when listening to speakers and the sound changes drastically. This brings up the question, what if I were born with my outer ear in the "bent shape". Would I hear music like "that" for all of my life OR would the brain, over time compensate?

I think you have answered the question.

That's philosophical problem of qualia. Namely - wether we, for example, perceive the colour blue the same. It is evident that there's no real way of knowing that.

What we do know is that there are more or less universal laws of aesthetics which seem to function similarly across cultures at the very least. As a musician or engineer you know that there are certain means of evoking emotions from your listeners. When executed properly they will work on most people.

Quote:

Originally Posted by burp182➡️

With all due respect, I politely but firmly disagree. Having done a conservative 5000 headphone demos across a LOOOONG parallel career in sales, nothing is more stunning than watching two people listen to the same set of headphones with the same source and amplification and coming up with almost diametrically opposed opinions on the sound. One will hear it as unconscionably bright while their friend will hear them as dark. A third might find the same phones as the perfect Goldilocks solution - just right. This occurred over and over, regardless of brand, style and quality.

As to the question of the brain adapting to the sound, I agree without a doubt. All you'd need to do for a full recalculation would be to wear the headphones continuously for, oh, what - 5 years? 4? 10? Otherwise, you're just guessing and compensating, just like you'd do without the calibration software.

One of the most telling aspects of this discussion is that headphone manufacturers, under most circumstances, quote a frequency response range without any plus and minus dB tolerance. If you did that with speakers, they'd laugh you out of the pro market. The manufacturers understand the situation of giving a measured range on your head and, instead, give a spec of what the driver(s) are capable of reproducing.

The best parallel I can think of is if, rather than measuring the response of a monitor in it's acoustic environment, as you do, you instead did very precise measurements for many specific brands and models of speaker in an anechoic chamber and built and supplied correction curves based on that, without considering that these speakers will live their lives in wildly varying and completely individual acoustic environments, ranging from dull, muffled closets to hall-of-mirrors level reflective nightmares. But you don't.

As the acoustic environment shrinks, minute physical changes can make noticable sonic ones. And we haven't even discussed the equivalent of room loading that occurs inside the canal as levels increase.

I'm not dismissing the idea of headphone correction. In fact, I've found curves I like very much for 4 of the 5 different phones I have in my studio. Tellingly, in 3 of those cases, they're NOT the curves that correspond to the model as supplied, but rather ones I chose after listening to all the models provided. And I would never use those curves when handing these phones to someone else, for all the reasons I've stated above. Rather, I allow them to select the headphones that best suit how they hear.

And I firmly believe that the speaker correction you provide is heaven sent. It's made my life easier and my mixes better. Not sure how much more one could possibly ask of a plug-in. To me, the headphone curves are gravy on top. Potentially tasty, but not the meat of the matter.

As always, YMMV.

Thank you for the great comment! I too have experienced that there can be gross discrepancies in what people prefer in terms of sound reproduction. However I don't believe that actual differences in audial perception are [solely] to blame for that. I have noticed that a previous point of reference is the largest factor to determine listening impressions. At least for less-than-expert listeners. Say, I enable calibration which flattens out a +6dB bass peak. Most listeners will not perceive a tonally balanced representation of the played material, rather they will hear the difference - a bass light representation. It usually takes some time before they get used to it and appreciate the increase in details do to a lack of tonal masking. It's something like putting frozen hands under a lukewarm stream from the faucet - it will feel scalding for a moment.

And what makes me doubt your statement regarding variance of preference in headphones is that I've observed the same effects in speakers as well. What's your take on speaker listening?

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During many monitor auditions with clients, I never found the almost incredible swings of opinion between participants in the same demo. Personal preferences always surfaced, but I’m guessing the more natural situation of distance providing some air damping along with the interaction between speakers and the room made the results of a more uniform nature, as opposed to what we might have found by pressing our ears directly against the drivers (which is the best simulacrum I can give for the headphone experience).
It’s amazing that we’ve made phones work as well as we have but at its heart, it’s an unnatural situation we’ve somewhat normalized and become somewhat accustomed to.

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I tried out sonarworx yesterday in my Studio, after a friend of mine was very impressed with the software and showed it to me at his little home studio. It is impressive what this software does.

My studio is fully treated, but with any studio there are some parts in the frequency response i am not quite happy with. in my case a mode at around 70Hz and a corresponding dip at 80Hz, a dip at 170Hz and a broad peak at 300Hz, among other things.

The Software did make a difference. I noticed what was very important for me was to tweak the settings so that the sofware made no boosts, only cuts! Also changed it to not alter the lows and highs so much. This is something that it always tried to over accentuate. Running the Software with no tweaking made my speakers sound super HiFi, not natural and flat at all!
It still boosts the very highs (above 10k) quite drastically, which is annoying. Of course it can't fix my modal issue at 70Hz and i was happy to see that it did not try to.

One thing that im eager to understand is the measuring side of Sonarworx. I've done many measurements in the past with fuzzmeasure and rew and this one from sonarworx is interesting. I like how it does the random sweetspot measures. I am not sure how accurately it works though. Having the mic in hand can't be optimal (moving during the measurement will tilt the high end). Also the Body will be part of the measurement. Comparing it to previous measurements shows that it does get quite close, the bass seems to be off though, not sure why.

All in all its an interesting software. I will still need to play with it for a while to see if it is useful in my situation. I don't like that i need a plugin for my DAW and a system wide software.

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oh and the headphone correction did not make sense to me. I only used one par (focal spirit pro, which are great as is). Reference did some weird things, i can't believe that it was flat!
It seemed very peaky in the highs (above 2khz) and sounded very weird. The Focal spirits are quite dark and a little muddy, missing some presence, but what Reference did to them did not seem right to my ears. Im sure this is what the OP felt when he was listening to his DT990 (which i could test as well). Not sure if it makes sense.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Princeton.Verb➡️

I just installed Sonarworks Reference Studio 4 (Headphones & Speaker Calibration) and listened not only to my own mixes but also to a whole bunch of albums that were mixed by legends: Andy Wallace, Chris Lord Alge, Tom Lord Alge, Jack Joseph Puig, and the list goes on...

Using my old and trusty Beyer Dynamic DT 770's 250 Ohm headphones, I loaded the exact (preloaded) response for my headphones and was shocked by the results...

With the Sonarworks correction engaged the music sounds like someone stuffed my ears full of sand.

The upper midrange is totally lifeless and the lower mids sound very muddy.

I am at a loss for words...

My intention is not to bash this software. I want it to work...even if that means admitting to the reality that everything I ever listened to or mixed through these headphones was TOTALLY OFF.

Tomorrow I will run the speaker calibration and see how that sounds. I have new Genelec 8050s...I am not lying...I am kinda scared...

Anybody else have the same initial reaction?

Would love to hear what other Sonarwork's users have to say.

I've had Reference 3, now 4, for a few years. I've learned to treat it like another set of speakers. At 1st I felt like my mixes translated better, and for the most part they did, but I realized I hadn't really learned my speakers in my room as well as I thought. I grabbed a plugin called Metric AB from PLugin Alliance and that showed me everything I needed to know. I do use Reference but a lot less. As far as I'm concerned, there is still some value in it.

All audio is somewhat subjective - it depends on what we like and what we understand to be good. So with that caveat out of the way :

1. I posted a mixed review of Sonarworks here which goes into a bit more detail.

Sonarworks Reference 4

2. It obviously helps if your room is not too reverberant or reflective and you have done a decent job of placing the speakers, to avoid the worst issues like SBIR, Floor bounce, !st reflections, Desk reflections, - that's a whole big subject in itself I will not attempt to cover that here.

acousticsinsider.com is an awesome site with a collation of really fresh thinking, that simplifies the issues with room treatment. On of its assertions is that no room, none including the best professional studios, done by acousticians, measures flat - with this awesome revelation, it bodes on us to establish realistic targets for our own room improvement.

3. If I may add, another thing I learnt from acousticsinsider.com, no matter how much we improve our room (or headphones), a decent amount of referencing with commercial music or our own previous recordings, will help us calibrate our ears, and this is something we need to do pretty much each day, cos we are human, we do not have accuracy built in as part of our human reference. To assure consistency, we need tools - reference listening, calibration, spectrum analyzers to help keep our listening honest. I give an example - I once thought that some of my plugin tweaks were having an impact on the sound, and one day did a null test to discover I had been deceiving myself, on a very specific tweak that I thought brought an improvement - result in that case was a perfect null. So while listening with our ears is good, objective tools help us to do a better job and deliver a better result.

4. One of the greatest learning tools I found out the hard way, is being able to correlate a spectrum analyzer with what you are hearing, especially things like seeing low end down to 40hz or 30hz in the analyzer, which you are not hearing - this is a real ear opener, letting you know something is not quite right with either your ears or your listening environment (speakers, room, etc).

5. In summary Sonarworks is a great idea and in spite of its overwhelming dominance in the market and endorsements, I found that is can produce a distinct sound of its own, which while commendably flat, has the following psycho-acoustic enhancements/anomalies.

a) On speakers - it has a constant hump in the low end, really unnatural hump that cannot be a response to room measurement, it is a kind of fixed EQ in that region, I tested on two different speakers and this behavior is consistent., the eq curve it produced in this area was like a semi circle, in both speakers.

It also enhances the region between about 2K and 12Khz, and in its default settings encourages a drop off beyond about 15K, which sweetens the high frequencies through masking lower emphasis, in the mid range and very high end.

In its defense, it has a good number of options for you to tweak to taste and some of this may help improve the observation, but you never get away from this feeling of listening to a hi-fi enhanced version of the truth. Listening to pop music, it gets away with it, but when you listen to jazz or acoustic instruments, this overemphasis becomes more apparent and dislikeable.

But this is all about money, Sonarworks needs to make money to keep its owners and employees happy, so they are not going to advertise all the caveats like - oh you really need to start with a good set of speakers in the 1st place, and sort out your acoustics, then after using Sonarworks, you also need to customise your settings, why?

All of the above costs money and time, to achieve, so Sonarworks as a proposition is silent on the truth, preferring to simply say just buy our product it will fix all your issues. = Not true.

If I still have to do so much of the work myself, what's the value of Sonarworks? Why do I pay £250, for what.......

My point is there is no single magic bullet for fixing audio, and Sonarworks rather than give you a truly flatter response, goes some way to alter this supposedly flat response based on generalised psychoacoustics, according to their own rules and listening tests. This is the aspect I object to, the psychoacoustic enhancements should be an option, like the speaker emulation they suddenly took away without consent - how can I upgrade from version 3 to version 4 and a feature is removed !! - that's a bit heavy handed - are they taking a leaf from Big Brother - Microsoft who can install or deinstall whatever they like, whenever they like in Windows 10 Home edition, with or without your consent.

In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king. Sadly its a bit of a monopoly, with Sonarworks having created a market literally. I guess most of those who use it cannot evaluate it cos they have nothing else to compare it with, cos the other tools are more difficult to use. Sonarworks advantage is its relative simplicity and bundling of the microphone(which is a good measurement microphone) But all is not lost.

When I compared the measurements of Sonarworks with other correction tools, there was a lot of correlation, with the exception of the psychoacoustic enhancements referred to above.

Sonarworks is like an over the counter pain killer, a palliative, but it does not fully solve the root causes of your sonic challenges, or give you unbiased tools to fix them, this is instant relief, when what you need is a full CAT Scan/comprehensive health check, and some time in hospital.

In a similar way to the development of the medical profession, which started with quite a bit of what we know know is pure quackery, it will get better, one day. In a similar manner to the medical profession, not related to Sonarworks in particular, is a broad lack of quality checking in the audio and review profession.

I give an example - in magazines like Sound on Sound, they test audio interfaces, especially the more expensive ones, with painstaking authoritativeness - using Audio Precision analyzers. If only the same painstaking approach had been applied to Sonarworks, the truth would by now be evident, and I think this is where the failings lie, those qualified to test Sonarworks authoritatively, on our behalf objectively using the best tools, which most of us do not have, the audio technology reviewers, have done a poor job of it, becoming like hi-fi equipment reviewers - reverting to anecdotal impressions.

Result - we have been somewhat deceived, by those who should know better. It's not Sonarworks fault, it is the industry's fault.

But on another note, it is also our fault, if Sonarworks was so good, it should be used in Abbey Road, and similar major studios, and by those who run studios recording classical music, e.g Deutsche Gramaphone, but Sonarworks does not have such references, and that in itself should have let us know that something was not quite right. There are no major commercial studios using this - so why should we?

And there are no major film production studios using this, or large broadcasting organisations like the BBC, CNN, etc..

I feel sad that I had to test this for myself, after several years of reading all the hype, only to discover all of the above....

Any measurable comparisons published by Sonarworks, that others can similarly reproduce - none.

It reminds me of the other oily snake, microphone virtualisation, which is all the rage with Slate Digital, Antelope Audio and others. Hopefully after all the hype, the dust will settle and the deception will end... How can you expect to reproduce the transient response of one microphone on another? But there is a captive market of wanna be studio owners, and up and coming hobbyists and professionals who will be misled by these claims. Any measurable comparisons - none.

Acustica Audio is another creepy crawly - where is the measurable evidence for all their claims of audio equipment virtualisation - none - in 10 years+. None. Only anecdotes of fans.

I believe there is an emergence that is due, when all of the software tools we use are subjected, by reviewers, to the same analytical scrutiny as hardware, rather than the current hi-fi reviewer like opinions of software - that mean nothing verifiable.

From my tool based analysis, of two pretty different speakers in the same room, I found similarities in the top and bottom end of Sonarworks correction that were not evidence of a flat response, with tweaks that are superimposed by their algorithm - see highlighted circles in the linked image below.

https://i.imgur.com/VajdFGB.png

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If you want to confirm what sonarworks can do try it with synth sine wave and sweep thru the frequency range with and without reference activated. You should be able to hear what your room or headphones respond, it will be louder or quiter at certain frequencies best case its equal.
For me its clear the correction or detection fits really good to what I am hearing.
Sonarworks cant remove standing waves etc. only flatten frequency response.
And if it to flat for your taste you can add eq for hifi smiley curve to your taste after correction.
The sine sweeping procedure is a standard to check the frequency response from rooms and hopefully evident enough...

Tip: If the speakers have any build in correction eq start flat measure check result. Mostly there is an issue around 150hz from desktop and the most speakers have a integrated desktop notch use it.
Measure again and you should see a changed result clear less correction is necessary better will be the results.

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norbury brook's Avatar

if you want/have to mix on headphones try the waves NX plugin. I have HD 650's I've been using for years and the Sonarworks profile for them is very subtle, which means they're pretty good to start with. Anything that makes your phones sound very different I would say means your phones were never giving you a flat response in the first place and you've got used to that.

Go sit in a high end mastering room and AB headphones against the monitors, I found the HD650's gave a very good representation of the high end PMC system in my mastering engineers studio.


MC

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sharky's Avatar
 


My Studio

🎧 15 years

Quote:

Originally Posted by wrgkmc➡️

You don't need to spend $300 on sonarworks to do this either. If you have a reference mic, you can buy a copy of RAL for $25.

Sorry, probably a dumb question... what does RAL stand for? Or is that the actual name of the (what I assume is a) plugin or standalone piece of software?

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plexus's Avatar

OT, I use Sonarworks 4. I used 3 as well. I use it to calibrate my monitors/listening space. The point of this is to have a flat, or as flat as you can get, so it's a known reference. The idea is to know what flat sounds like and use a known as-flat-as-possible monitor to compare what you hear to what you know flat to be. The idea is not to master to flat, but rather to mix / master with respect to a known sound. this way when you change the tone you know what you are changing it with repsect to. otherwise you are adjusting with respect to the response of your system which may not be flat. this is fine, on your system but its much harder to predict how it will sound across different non-flat systems. by working against a known flat monitor response you can have better control and intent with the audio.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OK1➡️

From my tool based analysis, of two pretty different speakers in the same room, I found similarities in the top and bottom end of Sonarworks correction that were not evidence of a flat response, with tweaks that are superimposed by their algorithm - see highlighted circles in the linked image below.

https://i.imgur.com/VajdFGB.png

So let me get this straight. A room correctionsoftware applies a similar curve in order to correct two different speakers in the same room, and you are suspicious about the curves being similar.

Honestly, what am I missing here?
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Similar video

REVIEW: Sonarworks Reference 4 for Studio Speakers

Gear Maniac

Sonarworks Reference Studio 4.is flat a good thing??


I just installed Sonarworks Reference Studio 4 (Headphones & Speaker Calibration) and listened not only to my own mixes but also to a whole bunch of albums that were mixed by legends: Andy Wallace, Chris Lord Alge, Tom Lord Alge, Jack Joseph Puig, and the list goes on.

Using my old and trusty Beyer Dynamic DT 770's 250 Ohm headphones, I loaded the exact (preloaded) response for my headphones and was shocked by the results.

With the Sonarworks correction engaged the music sounds like someone stuffed my ears full of sand.

The upper midrange is totally lifeless and the lower mids sound very muddy.

I am at a loss for words.

My intention sonarworks review Archives not to bash this software. I sonarworks review Archives it to work.even if that means admitting to the reality that everything I ever listened to or mixed through sonarworks review Archives headphones was TOTALLY OFF.

Tomorrow I will run the speaker calibration and see how that sounds. I have new Genelec 8050s.I am not lying.I am kinda scared.

Anybody else have the same initial reaction?

Would love to hear what other Sonarwork's users have to say.

Well, I truly believe that the most important thing is to know your monitor.

You seems to know your headphones pretty well, so the sonarworks changes everything you are used to.

I have sonarworks and I use it a lot in a room that have big problems with the low end. But I don't use it for my headphones, sonarworks review Archives, a DT770 and a HD650, because I already know exactly how music should sound through them.

Edit: that said, I have a buddy that only uses his hd650 with the sonarworks on. He actually bought a custom headphones with sonarworks sonarworks review Archives have a custom profile for his hp.

So, I guess it depends on what you are used to, sonarworks review Archives.

I use Sonarworks and Dirac before that for my monitors in my semi treated room, but not for phones.
Couldn't be without it but for phones you should send yours to them to be measured.

Matti

Gear Addict

Sonarworx has not measured your ears and your inner ear so there is no way it CAN work

Sure, but they do measure your phones if you send them for that.
Same for monitors - I do hear them with MY ears, lol

Matti

Gear Maniac

Quote:

Originally Posted by arctic audio➡️

Sonarworx has not measured your ears and your inner ear so there is no way it CAN work

So here's the thing: I just calibrated my speakers this morning and I am currently sitting in my monitoring position listening and it is an incredible difference. Really, huge--all in the positive sense. My low end is tighter, my upper midrange is clearer.pretty great.

But with my headphones it sounds like total crap.

I know the custom calibration is an option but even so.they use the average of 10 sets of sonarworks review Archives same headphones to create their calibration file's that ship with the software.which is why I just can't figure it out.

The funny thing in all of this is that I expected my speakers would sound worse than my headphones--what I mean is that I anticipated my mixes sounding worse on my sonarworks review Archives post calibration, but that my mixes would hold up on my headphones as I primarily track with them and do most, if not all, my creative work & arranging with them on.

Basically, on my Genelec 8050s (in my semi treated room) night and day difference in the positive.on my Beyer Dynamic DT 770's 250 Ohm, total dog crap.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Princeton.Verb➡️

I just installed Sonarworks Reference Studio 4 (Headphones & Speaker Calibration) and listened not only to my own mixes but also to a whole bunch of albums that were mixed by legends: Andy Wallace, Chris Lord Alge, Tom Lord Alge, Jack Joseph Puig, and the list goes on.

I'm only a Sonarworks Headphone user myself (with ATH-M50x cans), and I have mix feelings as well. I assume you performed the calibration and setup? Did you use your own mic or the calibrated one supplied? And a further, side-note question regarding the latter: Did the microphone come with a calibration .FRD file or was it simply looked-up with an included code number?

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I do not use Sonarworks with headphones at all at this point, only speakers. Regarding the mic, sonarworks review Archives, I bought the full version that includes the measurement mic. There is a code on the mic that I had to put in during installation. I do not recall whether there was an .frd file or not. It's been a couple months since I did the calibration and my ole brain does not recall all installation steps anymore.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Princeton.Verb➡️

So here's the thing: I just calibrated my speakers this morning and I am currently sitting in my monitoring position listening and it is an incredible difference. Really, huge--all in the positive sense. My low end is tighter, my upper midrange is clearer.pretty great.

But with my headphones it sounds like total crap.

I know the custom calibration is an option but even so.they use the average of 10 sets of the same headphones to create their calibration file's that ship with the software.which is why I just can't figure it out.

The funny thing in all of this is that I expected my speakers would sound worse than my headphones--what I mean is that I anticipated my mixes sounding worse on my speakers post calibration, but that my mixes would hold up on my headphones as I primarily track with them and do most, sonarworks review Archives, if not all, my creative work & sonarworks review Archives with them on.

Basically, on sonarworks review Archives Genelec 8050s (in my semi treated room) night and day difference in the positive.on my Beyer Dynamic DT 770's 250 Ohm, total dog crap.

I've wondered if this would sonarworks review Archives the case for a while . when reading about headphone design, I've previously read that they are not flat for the reason that the peaks and troughs are there because of how injecting audio directly into your ears works. All the primary cans manufacturers sonarworks review Archives been making the curves that way for years - presumably because they think it sounds better that way . and then we come along and flatten all their hard work out. Completely different for monitors because you're dealing with the room - you don't have to correct the room with cans, just mess directly with the presentation to your ears. I know many people love the result and they will probably tell us so here, but I have to say I'm not really surprised with the difference you've noticed between the process on cans Vs monitors, as it makes sense to me that this might be the case. I'm no expert, but this just seem logical to me.

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Mixing on headphones never work for me. I don't know why. Even with sonarworks'

Yes, for mixing, flatter is better (yes, I know that's not always true), sonarworks review Archives. Generally, for most people (of course there's always exceptions), speakers are better to mix than headphones. But, things being what they are, if you need to mix on headphones, sonarworks review Archives, get used to listening to them flat to all sorts of music - as well as your own/the music you'll be mixing. Familiarity is more important than "flat". But if you can be familiar with flat - well, that probably will help.

There's others that do similar.

Flatter headphone response has, generally speaking, helped me mix better.

I feel like sonar works Reference4 for headphones is kinda a lie, sonarworks review Archives, my mix didn't translate well (Focal Listen Pro ---> Focal Alpha 65), maybe I'll have to try it out more. I love the True-FI desktop app n phone App for casual listening though.

I used Sonarworks only in my poorly treated room, which is small in size and difficult to be completely treated. While I was happy with my sonarworks review Archives after correction, I don't have the same appreciation when it comes to headphones. At most of my time I worked with IEMs which I don't think Sonarworks have their calibration curve. But even when I used those headphones like AKG or Sennheiser, I immediately turned Sonarworks off, sonarworks review Archives. Sonarworks review Archives was simply not my feeling, sonarworks review Archives. I agree with most of you that I know my headphones pretty well and I get used to their sound.

Go with Sonarworks with your speakers only.

I purchased DT880 250s. Without correction they sound peaky, cold and weak. With correction they are warm, pure heaven.

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Headphones sound different on every person who puts them on. Physiology in such a tiny, contained area makes measurements almost meaningless. “Flat” in whatever model they use is inevitably altered by your ears. It’s a crapshoot, depending on how close you are to their test simulation environment, sonarworks review Archives. So I haven’t found the headphone modeling tremendously useful, sonarworks review Archives, unlike the speaker correction. THAT I’ll vouch for strongly.

Quote:

Originally Posted by burp182➡️

Headphones sound different on every person who puts them on. Physiology in such a tiny, contained area makes measurements almost meaningless. “Flat” in whatever model they use is inevitably altered by your ears. It’s a crapshoot, depending on how close you are to their test simulation environment. So I haven’t found the headphone modeling tremendously useful, unlike the speaker correction. THAT I’ll vouch for strongly.

You think that speaker+room+ears interface has less inherent variance than headphones+ears? After selling calibration software to around 40 000 people I'd politely disagree.

Ear shape generally follows a normal distribution or a bell curve, which means that the majority of people are pretty similar. I don't, however subscribe to the "ears hear" school of thought, because it doesn't take into account the brain. There have been tests with people having their ear shape altered by sonarworks review Archives inserts, sonarworks review Archives. Initially the hearing is off and they have trouble locating things, however after a day or two their ability to locate sounds came back to normal.

Here at our lab we don't only measure headphones, we have every curve checked by no less than three engineers for translation. Hence it should be reasonably clean from measurement artefacts, sonarworks review Archives.

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loopy's Avatar

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hrodulf➡️

You think that speaker+room+ears interface has less inherent variance than headphones+ears? After selling calibration software to around 40 000 people I'd politely disagree.

Ear shape generally follows a normal distribution or a bell curve, which means that the majority of people are pretty similar, sonarworks review Archives. I don't, however subscribe to the "ears hear" school of thought, because it doesn't take into account the brain. There sonarworks review Archives been tests with people having their ear shape altered by silicone inserts. Initially the hearing is off and they have trouble locating things, however after a day or two their ability to locate sounds came back to normal.

Here at our lab we don't only measure headphones, we have every curve checked by no less than three engineers for translation. Hence it should be reasonably clean from measurement artefacts.

I agree.
All one has to do is bend the outer ear just a little bit when listening to speakers and the sound changes drastically. This brings up the question, what if I were born with my outer ear in the "bent shape". Would I hear music like "that" for all of my life OR would the brain, over time compensate?

I think you have answered the question.

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With all due respect, I politely but firmly disagree. Having done a conservative 5000 headphone demos across a LOOOONG parallel career in sales, nothing is more stunning than watching two people listen to the same set of headphones with the same source and amplification and coming up with almost diametrically opposed opinions on the sound. One will hear it as unconscionably bright while their friend will hear them as dark. A third might find the same phones as the perfect Goldilocks solution - just right. This occurred over and over, regardless of brand, sonarworks review Archives, style and quality.

As to the sonarworks review Archives of the brain adapting to the sound, I agree without a doubt. All you'd need to do for a full recalculation would be to wear the headphones continuously for, oh, what - 5 years? 4? 10? Otherwise, you're just guessing and compensating, just like you'd do without the calibration software.

One of the most telling aspects of this discussion is that headphone manufacturers, under most circumstances, quote a frequency response range without any plus and minus dB tolerance, sonarworks review Archives. If you did that with speakers, they'd laugh you out of the pro market. The manufacturers understand the situation of giving a measured range on your head and, sonarworks review Archives, instead, give a spec of what the driver(s) are capable of reproducing.

The best parallel I can think of is if, rather than measuring the response of a monitor in it's acoustic environment, as you do, you instead did very precise measurements for many specific brands and models of speaker in an anechoic chamber and built and supplied correction curves based on that, without considering that these speakers will live their lives in wildly varying and completely individual acoustic environments, ranging from dull, muffled closets to hall-of-mirrors level reflective nightmares. But you don't.

As the acoustic environment shrinks, minute physical changes can make noticable sonic ones. And we haven't even discussed the equivalent of room loading that occurs inside the canal as levels increase.

I'm not dismissing the idea of headphone correction. In fact, I've found curves I like very much for 4 of the 5 different phones I have in my studio. Tellingly, in 3 of those cases, they're NOT the curves that correspond to the model as supplied, but rather ones I chose after listening to all the models provided. And I would never use those curves when handing these phones to someone else, for all the reasons I've stated above. Rather, I allow them to select the headphones that best suit how they hear.

And I firmly believe that the speaker correction you provide is heaven sent. It's made my life easier and my mixes better. Not sure how much more one could possibly ask of a plug-in. To me, the headphone curves are gravy on top. Potentially tasty, but not the meat of the matter.

As always, sonarworks review Archives, YMMV.

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I've heard nothing about the use of a reference mic here.

Sonarworks is sold with a XREF 20 Measurement Microphone. If you haven't got the mic to test what the speakers and/or headphones are actually putting out vs what the original file is producing then you're wasting your time using the software only. Using software only its pure guesswork what the software is doing compared it actual measurements.

You don't need to spend $300 on sonarworks to do this either. If you have a reference mic, you can buy a copy of RAL for $25. You can sweep frequencies or use Pink/white noise to test the response from the listening position. You overlay the test signal against what the mic is hearing and you can then EQ the hills and valleys out.

Personally I'd forgo using an EQ and tune the room to correct the sound which is the way its supposed to be done. Monitors should be flat from the factory. The damage an EQ can do to the signal is worse then just treating the room.

The whole idea is NOT to make the monitors sonarworks review Archives better then they actually are. You can enhance your Hi Fi playback systems all you want and make them sound bigger then life. You should Not do this for your mixing monitors. The key here is session horns pro crack Archives have them produce a flat sound so when you're mix is off it sounds unnatural. You'll then do something to correct it and make it sound like a normal mix knowing the adjustments you make will be compatible to any playback system.

If your room is too reflective, its likely too bright sounding as well and having too much ambiance. You'll wind up with exactly the opposite issue, sonarworks review Archives. A mix that lacks that reflective bright sound (or a bass bump to add what's missing and a lack of ambiance.

Monitors and headphones always do the opposite to your mix. If there is too much bass, middle or treble, sonarworks review Archives, your recording will wind up with too little of these. If there's too little bass, sonarworks review Archives, mids or treble, you will attempt to compensate and flatten the mix and wind up adding too much, sonarworks review Archives. The only answer is to start with dead pan flat response, neither embellished or lacking response, sonarworks review Archives. Then when you sculpt whatever mix you choose you know the contour of the frequency response will sound similar on any other playback system. That doesn't mean the entire mix is done to sound flat either. Its mixed to sound natural and real (in most cases). After that its a matter of personal preference.

The only reason to calibrate frequency response is to minimize faults which are causing the issues I just mentioned with too much or too little of a frequency which skews all your mixes and makes them incompatible on other playback systems.

As far as headphones go, sonarworks review Archives, I wouldn't even attempt to try and flatten their response. First off using a reference mic inside the headphone cup without the cup being closed against the ear is next to impossible. The cup must be against the ear/head to get its full bass response. Just sticking the tip of a reference mic inside the cup isn't going to produce an accurate response. You'd need something like a dummy head and a mic similar to a hearing aid to measure things properly. Seeing the headphone manufacturer has already done that pretty much engineering the headphones why even bother. Most headphones are designed to make the music sound bigger then life, all will have a lack of crossfeed and your outer ears which are not being used will cause an upper midrange bump when you attempt to compensate for them not being used.

In short, you can try a cross feed plugin. Several companies make them in software and hardware form. nothing is going to fix the issue with the upper mid bump or the center of the sound scape occurring in your skull instead of out in front of you like most bands would be, sonarworks review Archives. (a band cant climb inside your skull and play so your depth perception is always screwed up) I only use headphones for tracking sonarworks review Archives any more. Sonarworks review Archives are pretty much useless for mixing but many think thay can and that's not going to change till they get the experience comparing mixes done both ways.

Quote:

Originally Posted by loopy➡️

I agree.
All one has to do is bend the outer ear just a little bit when listening to speakers and the sound changes drastically. This brings up the question, what if I were born with my outer ear in the "bent shape". Would I hear music like "that" for all of my life OR would the brain, sonarworks review Archives, over time compensate?

I think you have answered the question.

That's philosophical problem of qualia, sonarworks review Archives. Namely - wether we, for example, perceive the colour blue the same, sonarworks review Archives. It is evident that there's no real way of knowing that.

What we do know is that there are more or less universal laws of aesthetics which seem to function similarly across cultures at the very least. As a musician or engineer you know that there are certain means of evoking emotions from your listeners. When executed properly they will work on most people.

Quote:

Originally Posted by burp182➡️

With all due respect, I politely but firmly disagree. Having done a conservative 5000 headphone demos across a LOOOONG parallel career in sales, nothing is more stunning than watching two people listen to the same set of headphones with the same source and amplification and coming up with almost diametrically opposed opinions on the sound. One will hear it as unconscionably bright while their friend will hear them as dark. A third might find the same phones as the perfect Goldilocks solution - just right. This occurred over and over, regardless of brand, style and quality.

As to the question of the brain adapting to the sound, I agree without a doubt. All you'd need to do for a full recalculation would be to wear the headphones continuously for, oh, what - 5 years? 4? 10? Otherwise, you're just guessing and compensating, just like you'd do without the calibration software.

One of the most telling aspects of this discussion is that headphone manufacturers, under most circumstances, quote a frequency response range without any plus and minus dB tolerance. If you did that with speakers, they'd laugh you out of the pro market. The manufacturers understand the situation of giving a measured range on your head and, instead, give a spec of what the driver(s) are capable of reproducing.

The best parallel I can think of is if, rather than measuring the response of a monitor in it's acoustic environment, as you do, you instead did very precise measurements for many specific brands and models of speaker in an anechoic chamber and built and supplied correction curves based on that, without considering that these speakers will live their lives in wildly varying and completely individual acoustic environments, ranging from dull, muffled closets to hall-of-mirrors level reflective nightmares, sonarworks review Archives. But you don't.

As the acoustic environment shrinks, minute physical changes can make noticable sonarworks review Archives ones. And we haven't even discussed the equivalent of room loading that occurs inside the canal as levels increase.

I'm not dismissing the idea of headphone correction. In fact, I've found curves I like very much for 4 of the 5 different phones I have in my studio, sonarworks review Archives. Tellingly, in 3 of those cases, they're NOT the curves that correspond to the model as supplied, but rather ones I chose after listening to all the models provided. And I would never use those curves when handing these phones to someone else, sonarworks review Archives, for all the reasons I've stated above. Rather, I allow them to select the headphones that best suit how they hear.

And I firmly believe that the speaker correction you provide is heaven sent. It's made my life easier and my mixes better. Not sure how much more one could possibly ask of a plug-in. To me, the headphone curves are gravy on top. Potentially tasty, but not the meat of the matter.

As always, YMMV.

Thank you for the great comment! I too have experienced that there can be gross discrepancies in what people prefer in terms of sound reproduction. However I don't believe that actual differences in audial perception are [solely] to blame for that. I have noticed that a previous point of reference is the largest factor to determine listening impressions. At least for less-than-expert listeners. Say, sonarworks review Archives, I enable calibration which flattens out a +6dB bass peak. Most listeners will sonarworks review Archives perceive a tonally balanced representation of the played material, rather they will hear the difference - a bass light representation. It usually takes some time before they get used to it and appreciate the increase in details do sonarworks review Archives a lack of tonal masking, sonarworks review Archives. It's something like putting frozen hands under a lukewarm stream from the faucet - it will feel scalding for a moment.

And what makes me doubt your statement regarding variance of preference in headphones is that I've observed the same effects in speakers as well. What's your take on speaker listening?

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During many monitor auditions with clients, I never found the almost incredible swings of opinion between participants in the same demo. Personal preferences always surfaced, sonarworks review Archives, but I’m guessing the more natural situation of distance providing some air damping along with the interaction between speakers and the room made the results of a more uniform nature, sonarworks review Archives, as opposed to what we might have found by pressing our ears directly against the drivers (which is the best simulacrum I can give for the headphone experience).
It’s amazing that we’ve made phones work as well as we have but at its heart, it’s an unnatural situation we’ve somewhat normalized and become somewhat accustomed to.

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I tried out sonarworx yesterday in my Studio, after a friend of mine was very impressed with the software and showed it to me at his little home studio. It is impressive what this software does.

My studio is fully treated, sonarworks review Archives, but with any studio there are some parts in the frequency response i am not quite happy with. in my case a mode at around 70Hz and a corresponding dip at 80Hz, a dip at 170Hz and a broad peak at 300Hz, sonarworks review Archives, among other things.

The Software did make a difference. I noticed what was very important for me was to tweak the settings so that the sofware made no boosts, only cuts! Also changed it to not alter the lows and highs so much. This is something that it always tried to over accentuate. Running the Software with no tweaking made my speakers sound super HiFi, not natural and flat at all!
It still boosts the very highs (above 10k) quite drastically, which is annoying. Of course it can't fix my modal issue at 70Hz and i was happy to see that it did not try to.

One thing that im eager to understand is the measuring side of Sonarworx. I've done many measurements in the past with fuzzmeasure and rew and this one from sonarworx is interesting. I like how it does the random sweetspot measures. I am not sure how accurately it works though. Having the sonarworks review Archives in hand can't be optimal (moving during the measurement will tilt the high end). Also the Body will be part of the measurement. Comparing it to previous measurements shows that it does get quite close, the bass seems to be off though, not sure why.

All in all its an interesting software. I will still need to play with it for a while to see if it is useful in my situation. I don't like that i need a plugin for my DAW and a system wide software.

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oh and the headphone correction did not make sense to me. I only used one par (focal spirit pro, which are great as is). Reference did some weird things, i can't believe that it was flat!
It seemed very peaky in the highs (above 2khz) and sounded very weird. The Focal spirits are quite dark and a little muddy, missing some presence, but what Reference did to them did not seem right to my ears. Im sure this is what the OP felt when he was listening to his DT990 (which i could test as well), sonarworks review Archives. Not sure if it makes sense.

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My Studio

🎧 15 years

Quote:

Originally Posted by Princeton.Verb➡️

I just installed Sonarworks Reference Studio 4 (Headphones & Speaker Calibration) and listened not only to my own mixes but also to a whole bunch of albums that were mixed by legends: Andy Wallace, Chris Lord Alge, Tom Lord Alge, Jack Joseph Puig, and the list goes on.

Using my old and trusty Beyer Dynamic DT 770's 250 Ohm headphones, I loaded the exact (preloaded) response for my headphones and was shocked by the results.

With the Sonarworks correction engaged the music sounds like someone stuffed my ears full of sand.

The upper midrange is totally lifeless and the lower mids sound very muddy.

I am at a loss for words.

My intention is not to bash this software. I want it to work.even if that means admitting to the reality that everything I ever listened to or mixed through these headphones was TOTALLY OFF.

Tomorrow I will run the speaker calibration and see how that sounds. I have new Genelec 8050s.I am not lying.I am kinda scared.

Anybody else have the same initial reaction?

Would love to hear what other Sonarwork's users have to say.

I've had Reference 3, now 4, for a few years. I've learned to treat it like another set of speakers. At 1st I felt like my mixes translated better, and for the most part they did, but I realized I hadn't really learned my speakers in my room as well as I thought. I grabbed a plugin called Metric AB from PLugin Alliance and that showed me everything I needed to know. I do use Reference but a lot less. As far as I'm concerned, there is still some value in it.

All audio is somewhat subjective - it depends on what we like and what we understand sonarworks review Archives be good. So with that caveat out of the way :

1. I posted a mixed review of Sonarworks here which goes into sonarworks review Archives bit more detail.

Sonarworks Reference 4

2. It obviously helps if your room is not too reverberant or reflective and you have done a decent job of placing the speakers, to avoid the worst issues like SBIR, Floor bounce, !st reflections, Desk reflections, - that's a whole big subject in itself I will not attempt to cover that here.

acousticsinsider.com is an awesome site with a collation of really fresh thinking, that simplifies the issues with room treatment. On of its assertions is that no room, none including the best professional studios, done by acousticians, measures flat - with this awesome revelation, it bodes on us to establish realistic targets for our own room improvement.

3. If I may add, another thing I learnt from acousticsinsider.com, no matter how much we improve our room (or headphones), a decent amount of referencing with commercial music or our own previous recordings, will help us calibrate our ears, sonarworks review Archives, and this is something we need to do pretty much each day, cos we are human, we do not have accuracy built in as part of our human reference. Sonarworks review Archives assure consistency, we need tools - reference listening, calibration, spectrum analyzers to help keep our listening honest. I give an example - I once thought that some of my plugin tweaks were having an impact on the sound, and one day did a null test to discover I had been deceiving myself, on a very specific tweak that I thought brought an improvement - result in that case was a perfect null. So while listening with our ears is good, objective tools help us to do a better job and deliver a better result.

4. One of the greatest learning tools I found out the hard way, sonarworks review Archives, is being able to correlate a spectrum analyzer with what you are hearing, especially things like seeing low end down to 40hz or 30hz in the analyzer, which you are not hearing - this is a real ear opener, letting you know something is not quite right with either your ears or your listening environment (speakers, room, etc).

5. In summary Sonarworks is a great idea and in spite of its overwhelming dominance in the market and endorsements, I found that is can produce a distinct sound of its own, which while commendably flat, has the following psycho-acoustic enhancements/anomalies.

a) On speakers - it has a constant hump in the low end, really unnatural hump that cannot be a response to room measurement, it is a kind of fixed EQ in that region, I tested on two different speakers and this behavior is consistent., the eq curve it produced in this area was like a semi circle, in both speakers.

It also enhances the region between about 2K and 12Khz, and in its default sonarworks review Archives encourages a drop off beyond about 15K, sonarworks review Archives, which sweetens the high frequencies through masking lower emphasis, in the mid range and very high end.

In its defense, it has a good number of options for you to tweak to taste and some of this may help improve the observation, but you never get away from this feeling of listening to a hi-fi enhanced version of the truth. Listening to pop music, it gets away with it, but when you listen to jazz or acoustic instruments, this overemphasis becomes more apparent and dislikeable.

But this is all about money, Sonarworks needs to make money to keep its owners and employees happy, so they are not going to advertise all the caveats like - oh you really need to start with a good set of speakers in the 1st place, and sonarworks review Archives out your acoustics, then after using Sonarworks, you also need to customise your settings, why?

All of the above costs money and time, to achieve, so Sonarworks as a proposition is silent on the truth, preferring to simply say just buy our product it will fix all your issues. = Not true.

If I still have to do so sonarworks review Archives of the work myself, what's the value sonarworks review Archives Sonarworks? Why do I pay £250, for what.

My point is there is no single magic bullet for fixing audio, and Sonarworks rather than give you a truly flatter response, goes some way to alter this supposedly flat response based on generalised psychoacoustics, according to their own rules and listening tests. This is the aspect I object to, the psychoacoustic enhancements should be an option, like the speaker emulation they suddenly took away without consent - how can I upgrade from version 3 to version 4 and a feature is removed !! - that's a bit heavy handed - are they taking a leaf from Big Brother - Microsoft who can install or deinstall whatever they like, whenever they like in Windows 10 Home edition, with or without your consent.

In sonarworks review Archives land of the blind the one eyed man is king. Sadly its a bit of a monopoly, with Sonarworks having created a market literally, sonarworks review Archives. I guess most of those who use it cannot evaluate it cos they have nothing else to compare it with, cos the other tools are more difficult to use. Sonarworks advantage is its relative simplicity and bundling of the microphone(which is a good measurement microphone) But all is not lost.

When I compared the measurements of Sonarworks with other correction tools, there was a lot of correlation, with the exception of the psychoacoustic enhancements referred to above.

Sonarworks is like an over the counter pain killer, a palliative, but it does not fully solve the root causes of your sonic challenges, or give you unbiased tools to fix them, this is instant relief, sonarworks review Archives, when what you need is a full CAT Scan/comprehensive health check, and some time in hospital.

In a similar way to the development of the medical profession, which started with quite a bit of what we know know is pure quackery, it will get better, one day, sonarworks review Archives. Sonarworks review Archives a similar manner to the medical profession, not related to Sonarworks in particular, is a broad lack of quality checking in the audio and review profession.

I give an example - in magazines like Sound on Sound, they test audio interfaces, especially the more expensive ones, with painstaking authoritativeness - using Audio Precision analyzers. If only the same painstaking approach had been applied to Sonarworks, the truth would by now be evident, sonarworks review Archives, and I think this is where the failings lie, those qualified to test Sonarworks authoritatively, on our behalf objectively using the best tools, which most of us do not have, sonarworks review Archives, the audio technology reviewers, have done a poor job of it, becoming like hi-fi equipment reviewers - reverting to anecdotal impressions.

Result - we have been somewhat deceived, by those who should know better. It's not Sonarworks fault, it is the industry's fault.

But on another note, it is also our fault, if Sonarworks was so good, it should be used in Abbey Road, and similar major studios, sonarworks review Archives, and by those who run studios recording classical music, e.g Sonarworks review Archives Gramaphone, but Sonarworks does not have such references, and that in itself should have let us know that something was not quite sonarworks review Archives. There are no major commercial studios using this - so why should we?

And there are no major film production studios using this, or large broadcasting organisations like the BBC, CNN, etc.

I feel sad that I had to test this for myself, after several years of reading all the hype, only to discover all of the above.

Any measurable comparisons published by Sonarworks, that others can similarly reproduce - none.

It reminds me of the other oily snake, microphone virtualisation, which is all the rage with Slate Digital, Antelope Audio and others. Hopefully after all the hype, the dust will settle and the deception will end. How can you expect to reproduce the transient response of one microphone on another? But there is a captive market of wanna be studio owners, and up and coming hobbyists and professionals who will be misled by these claims. Any measurable comparisons - none.

Acustica Audio is another creepy crawly - where is the measurable evidence for all their claims of audio equipment virtualisation - none - in 10 years+. None. Only anecdotes of fans.

I believe there is an emergence that is due, when all of the software tools we use are subjected, by reviewers, to the same analytical scrutiny as hardware, rather than the current hi-fi reviewer like opinions of software - that mean nothing verifiable.

From my tool based analysis, of two pretty different speakers in the same room, sonarworks review Archives, I found similarities in the top and bottom end of Sonarworks correction that were not evidence of a flat response, with tweaks that are superimposed by their algorithm - see highlighted circles in the linked image below.

https://i.imgur.com/VajdFGB.png

Here for the gear

If you want to confirm what sonarworks can do try it with synth sine wave and sweep thru the frequency range with and without reference activated. You should be able to hear what sonarworks review Archives room or headphones respond, it will be louder or quiter at certain frequencies best case its equal.
For me its clear the correction or detection fits really good to what I am hearing.
Sonarworks cant remove standing waves etc. only flatten frequency response.
And if it to flat for your taste you can add eq for hifi smiley curve to your taste after correction.
The sine sweeping procedure is a standard to check the frequency response from rooms and hopefully evident enough.

Tip: If the speakers have any build in correction eq start flat measure check result. Mostly there is an issue around 150hz from desktop and the most speakers have a integrated desktop notch use it.
Measure again and you should see a changed result clear less correction is necessary better will be the results.

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norbury brook's Avatar

if you want/have to mix on headphones try the waves NX plugin. I have HD 650's I've been using for years and the Sonarworks profile for them is very subtle, which means they're pretty good to start with. Anything that makes your phones sound very different I would say means your phones were never giving you a flat response in the first place and you've got used to that.

Go sonarworks review Archives in a high end mastering room and AB headphones against the monitors, I found the HD650's gave a very good representation of the high end PMC system in my mastering engineers studio.


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My Studio

🎧 15 years

Quote:

Originally Posted by wrgkmc➡️

You don't need to spend $300 on sonarworks to do this either. If you have a reference mic, you sonarworks review Archives buy a copy of RAL for $25.

Sorry, probably a dumb question. what does RAL stand for? Or is that the actual name of the (what I assume is a) plugin or standalone piece of software?

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plexus's Avatar

OT, I use Sonarworks 4, sonarworks review Archives. I used 3 as well. I use it to calibrate my monitors/listening space. The point of this is to have a flat, or as flat as you can get, so it's a known reference. The idea is to know what flat sounds like and use a known as-flat-as-possible monitor to compare what you hear to what you know flat to be. The idea is not to master to flat, but rather to mix / master with respect to a known sound. this way when you change the tone you know what you are changing it with repsect to. otherwise you are adjusting with respect to the response of your system which may not be flat. this is fine, on your system but its much harder to predict how it will sound across different non-flat systems. by working against a known flat monitor response you can have better control and intent with the audio.

Quote:

Originally Posted by OK1➡️

From my tool based analysis, of two pretty different speakers in the same room, I found similarities in the top and bottom end of Sonarworks correction that were not evidence of a flat response, with tweaks that are superimposed by their algorithm - see highlighted circles in the linked image below.

https://i.imgur.com/VajdFGB.png

So let me get this straight, sonarworks review Archives. A room correctionsoftware applies a similar curve in order to correct two different speakers in the same room, and you are suspicious about the curves being similar.

Honestly, what am I missing here?
Источник: [https://torrent-igruha.org/3551-portal.html]

Review: Sonarworks Reference 3 & Measurement Microphone

Oh The Variables

When you consider the variables in play when dealing with audio, it amazes me that we’re able to create anything that sounds even half-decent to someone else.

Author-End Variables

  • How the authorship software processes audio
  • Digital-to-analog conversion quality
  • Unbalanced monitors / headphones
  • The acoustic space
  • Monitor placement
  • Mix position
  • Your ears
  • Your brain

User-End Variables

  • End format (likely compressed)
  • End user device software processes
  • End user device hardware limitations (e.g. in-built compressor)
  • Digital-to-analog conversion quality
  • Consumer monitor / headphones
  • Untreated space
  • Extraneous interference (e.g. city noise)
  • Monitor placement
  • Listening position
  • Their ears
  • Their brain

As a result of all of this, the only thing you can be sure of is that no one will ever hear your music or sound the way you do. This is why dubbing mixers or mastering engineers often are heard saying something along the lines of, “that’ll be the last time anyone hears it as it’s meant to sound”.

It’s easy to quickly turn to despair in the face of all this, but there are steps we can take to minimize the influence of some of these variables. Steps such as using more transparent gear, learning the various biases of our existing equipment and account for them, acoustic treatment and extensively testing final mixes under a variety of conditions. Aside from all of those, sonarworks review Archives, there’s something else you might try…

 

The Package

Sonarworks Reference 3 is a software/hardware solution that attempts to account for the combination of your monitors, the space they’re in, their placement and your mix position. It does this by taking numerous measurements around the mix position with a calibrated measurement microphone, then generating a preset for their plugin that makes EQ, delay and level adjustments in an attempt to calibrate your system to either a flat, emulated or desired response curve.

Calibration Box

Sonarworks were kind enough to send DesigningSound a copy of Reference 3 and their calibrated microphone to review. Other reviews have been broadly positive so I was excited to give it a go and see how it could help improve the sound of my home studio space.

The package I got included their XREF 20 measurement microphone which is bundled with a free trial of Reference 3. I’m not sure if the Software suite & Mic Bundle pictured above comes with any documentation, but there was none to speak of in the microphone-only package. Whilst Reference 3 is designed to be intuitive and simple to use, sonarworks review Archives, I did have some questions which were only partially answered by the online FAQ. Unfortunately trying to access the help menu from the software itself didn’t… well, sonarworks review Archives, help.

16, <b>sonarworks review Archives</b>. HelpThe mic itself is well-built and individually calibrated so any bias towards certain frequencies are accounted for by the software by way of a calibration file.

MicrophoneThe FAQ online says that “you can use any calibrated measurement microphone”, so you need not use the Sonarworks microphone if you have your own.

On the software side, Reference 3 is only Mac compatible currently, with older versions still available for PC users. The plugin comes in the following formats, VST/AU/RTAS/AAX, so you could conceivably borrow a mac to run the calibration component and then use the plugins on a windows machine if needs be.

 

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three

Before I begin, a little context about my space and the work I do. I’m primarily a composer and sound designer.  I do some of my sound work at a post-production facility with treated rooms, but my home rig is a pretty average setup with an MBox 3 Pro, feeding both a pair of small, powered 5-inch bookshelf monitors and a separate Crown amplifier feeding higher-end 4-way monitors in a A/B setup (both pairs are calibrated to 79dB). My room measures roughly 13ft/8ft/7.5ft with a mix of flat surfaces, and furniture and limited treatment. My higher-end monitors claim to track +/- 3dB 20hz-20kHz and from my own testing, they do so from 500Hz and up. Anything below 500Hz is a bit of a crapshoot due to the room so that’s where I’m hoping Reference 3 can help me out.

I went through the calibration process seven times in all, five with my high-end monitors to test the influence of various settings and to track consistency, and twice more with my 5” bookshelf monitors. I’ll start by talking about the process of calibrating itself, and then I’ll discuss my results.

The calibration process is straightforward with onscreen prompts guiding you clearly though every step. You start by selecting a microphone and a calibration profile. In this case it was the XREF 20 with the associated calibration file that relates to the serial number on the sonarworks review Archives src="https://designingsound.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/1.-Mic-Selection.png" alt="1. Mic Selection" width="500" height="353">2. Mic Response

You then select your input and output channels.

3. Input Select4. Output SelectNext Reference 3 checks the signal level coming from the mic to make sure it’s at an appropriate level.

5. Mic <a href=Design Archives s width="500" height="353">Then Reference 3 does a series of tests to determine how far apart the monitors are from each other, and how far back the listening position is.

6. Distance Check9. Locate Chair10. Chair ResultsNext is the measurement process itself which has an optional tutorial that describes how the process works.

12. Test WelcomeEssentially, through emitting sounds from the stereo monitors and picking up those signals on the microphone, the software is able to somewhat accurately determine the position of the microphone in the room, guide you to where the next measurement zone is, at which point you leave the mic stationary at ear level while sweeps are played back to analyse frequency response. The standard test uses 24 measurement locations around the listening position.

14. Test in Progresssonarworks review Archives the test is complete you’re shown a sonarworks review Archives response chart with data lines for both left and right channels, as well as any level bias or delay between the two channels. Unfortunately there’s no zoom function so what you see is what you get in terms of detail. From here you can save a preset based on these results to use in your DAW in the Reference 3 plugin, sonarworks review Archives. All in all, with the standard settings, the whole process takes anywhere from ten to twenty minutes.

A <b>Sonarworks review Archives</b> width=

Plug Me In

The plugin is intended to be put on the monitor path out from the DAW to your monitors, so don’t leave it active in a record path as the idea is that it is calibrating your room, not the recording.

In the top right corner there’s a switch that changes it from the Monitor to the Headphone plugin. The Headphone plugin can be used if you own a pair of headphones which Sonarworks Reference 3 already supports. Alternatively, you can send off your headphones to be measured by Sonarworks and get a calibration file back from them to use with your headphones, or purchase a new pair of headphones directly from Sonarworks including a calibration file for that pair.

Plugin

In the plugin form, we’re afforded some more options in the graph as we’re able to see both the preexisting response curves, sonarworks review Archives, our target curve (in this case “Flat”), the correction being applied as well as the end result.

The plugin allows you to switch the EQ function between three phase options, Minimum, Mixed and Linear, sonarworks review Archives, with Minimum being the most CPU intensive and Linear having the most latency. It’s great to have this option as depending on what you’re doing as you can adjust depending on your needs between CPU efficiency and acceptable latency.

The “Simulate” function essentially models the curve to sound like other popular monitors or headphones. It seems potentially powerful for people working for different end use formats who may want to test their mixes sonarworks review Archives different Monitor or headphone profiles, but with only six on offer at the time of writing this review (only two of which are monitors, the other four being headphone profiles), it felt like it had limited potential use.

 

All About Results

The testing process is certainly streamlined, but I for one had no success in getting accurate measurements for the distance between the monitors and the location of Jogos de Gatos de Graça para Baixar listening position. On one test it assumed my monitors were 4ft7in or so apart. Another sonarworks review Archives slightly different settings estimated the distance was 3ft3in when in fact they’re 4ft1in apart. The listening position also was consistently off by about five inches. Fortunately you can manually adjust these values, sonarworks review Archives, but only around a limited range from Reference 3’s initial estimate. I read these errors be due to my working in 48kHz or having a reflective environment, but I tested at 44.1kHz to the same effect. As this product is designed for people who don’t already have an ideal calibrated space, sonarworks review Archives, I was left a little concerned that one of it’s tests may not be effective in such a space. Personally I’d rather just have entered in the values manually from the very start.

When it came to the measurement phase, I had mixed results, sonarworks review Archives. When setting the “Location Fixing Duration” to “Fast”, I felt like the diagram and space within which I had to move the mic related to one another. However, when set to “Slow” (which results in tests taking about twice as long) it seemed to be sending me much further out from the listening position. At one point it had me place the microphone just an inch away from the screen and that wasn’t even for the furthest forward position. Unfortunately, without any documentation, sonarworks review Archives, I was unsure what the significance of these settings were. Overall the default setup proved sonarworks review Archives be the most consistent.

15. SettingsIn terms of the end results, I feel like Reference 3 did a decent job picking up on the most glaring errors and I saw fairly consistent results between repeated tests. Here are the results I got from the five tests I conducted with my main monitors.

 

Monitor Pair A, Test 1

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: FastA T1

Monitor Pair A, Test 2 (no changes from Test 1)

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: FastA T2

Monitor Pair A, Test 3

Measurement Signal Type: Type 2

Location Fixing Duration: SlowA T3

Monitor Pair A, Test 4

Measurement Signal Type: Type 1

Location Fixing Duration: FastA T4

Monitor Pair A, Test 5 (changed from 48kHz to 44.1kHz)

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: FastA T5

Generally I think it did a decent job but it’s clear there’s still room for some improvement as there are noticable difference between the results of each test, even when settings were left static.

I had better luck with my 5” monitors which tracked very well between two Jurassic World Evolution crack Archives at the default settings.

 

Monitor Pair B, Test 1

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: FastB1

Monitor Pair B, Test 2

Measurement Signal Type: Default

Location Fixing Duration: Fastsonarworks review Archives alt="B2" width="500" height="353">

The Limitations

While Reference 3 is going to help account for sonarworks review Archives frequency bias away from a flat response, it’s obviously not going to help you if you have any reverberant issues in your space such as slapback. Also, if you’re monitors are worn or damaged to the point where they can’t produce certain frequencies (extreme highs or lows for example), don’t expect Reference 3 to suddenly extend their range. It’s not a count against the product, just something to consider. I would say that Reference 3 doesn’t eliminate the need for room treatment, sonarworks review Archives, but should probably be seen as a supporting element to help you get another step along the path to a calibrated space.

The fact that it’s more of a software solution (safe for the measurement microphone) certainly helps keep the price down, but I did find it unfortunate that I would only ever be able to hear the calibration effect while in a DAW environment. You have to get used to the idea that if you listen to anything outside of the DAW environment, it’s going to sound different. It may not sound like a big deal, but getting to know the sound of your set-up can be tough when it’s inconsistent. I’m often spot-checking assets from the OS preview or working in a simple 2-track editor and there are times I felt uncomfortable as I listened thinking “that’s not how it sounded when I bounced it out”.

One final limitation I should note is that it’s currently only able to handle two channels, so those of you looking to calibrate your surround rig may need to wait for an update or future release.

 

Summary

Sonarworks Reference 3 is a software solution that may help you get closer to that ever elusive flat frequency response in your space. On the plus side it’s affordable, sonarworks review Archives, easy to use, well designed with nice aesthetics and it noticeably adjusts the sound to better reflect a calibrated setup. On the negative side, sonarworks review Archives, I did find inconsistencies in both the testing process and the results so I see it less of a total solution and more as a tool to add to your arsenal, supporting other elements such as room treatment. I can’t help but feel that for a tool designed for people wanting more control, it doesn’t offer much in the way of control. The testing process is highly automated and I would like to have been able to specify certain values and look at the results in more detail, but the design philosophy is more a “don’t worry about it, we’ll take care of it”, which is fine, but it places Reference 3 in an odd position directed towards people who care enough about their work sonarworks review Archives try and calibrate their space, but who also don’t care or aren’t knowledgeable enough to take a more hand’s on approach.

Whilst I suspect it’s effectiveness will vary wildly from space-to-space, the relatively low price point makes it worth checking out. For more on Reference 3 including pricing, free trials and Sonarworks’ other products, you can head to http://sonarworks.com

 

A NFR copy of Sonarworks Reference 3 and Measurement Microphone was provided by Sonarworks for use in this review.

*** For a $30 discount on Sonarworks Reference 3, enter the code “desoundsp” at checkout. This offer is valid through 10/31/15.

Filed Under: reviewsTagged With: audio, Calibration, mixing, music, Reference 3, Reviews, Sonarworks, sound design

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A speaker and headphone calibration software delivering consistently accurate studio reference sound.
In less than 20 minutes you can calibrate your existing studio speakers with a measurement microphone (buy from us or use yours) and calibrate your existing headphones with more than 280 headphone calibration profiles already included in the software as ready-to-use presets. With an applied calibration profile the software sets the frequency response target to be completely flat across all audible frequencies so you can trust that every mix will translate. You can also now make custom adjustments to the target curve in real-time with the new custom target feature.
With accurate studio reference sound, you can seamlessly switch between speakers, headphones, and rooms. Finally, mix with confidence and make music that sounds great everywhere, sonarworks review Archives.

Features
• Speaker calibration: save as many profiles as needed
• Headphone calibration profiles for 280+ supported models
• Custom target: target curve adjustments in real-time
• Translation Check: simulating 20+ different devices and device types for accurate mix translation results everywhere without leaving the workstation
• 3 filter modes: Zero Latency, Mixed and Linear Phase
• Additional DSP processing controls: Mono, Dry/Wet, and Safe Headroom
• MIDI mapping in the SoundID Reference app for various controls
• User Presets in the SoundID Reference app for switching quickly between predefined output device/channel pair combinations

What's Included
• SoundID Reference app for Speakers & Headphones
• SoundID Reference DAW plugin (AU, VST, AAX)
• SoundID Reference Measurement Microphone with an XLR connection and individual calibration profile
• Averaged profiles for 280+ supported headphone models
• Activation key for the product license: the product can be activated and used on 3 machines

System Requirements
Mac: macOS 10.12 or later
PC: Windows 8 (64-bit) or later
Sonarworks supported or Sonarworks individually calibrated headphones
2.0 or 2.1 stereo speaker system
An audio interface featuring +48v Phantom Power and 44.1 kHz sample rate capability
Audio hardware setup must consist of a single external hardware device only during the speaker measurement process
XLR to XLR audio cable
SoundID Reference measurement microphone, or other omnidirectional measurement microphone with an XLR audio connection
Stable internet connection

Microphone Specifications
• Houses pre-polarized electret-condenser capsule
• Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20kHz with supplied calibration profile
• Omnidirectional polar pattern
• Sensitivity is rated at -37dB/Pa (14 mV)
• Self noise: 24 dB
• S/N ratio: 70 dB
• Dynamic range: 106dB
• Maximum SPL: 132 dB SPL

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