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Pro-Codec or MasterCheck Pro Metering & Analysis Plugins
Old 23rd November 2016
Gear Nut

Pro-Codec or MasterCheck Pro

I've been reading up on the need to master for iTunes and spotify and various other streaming audio sites and have been looking at the Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-codec and Nugen Mastercheck Pro plugins. I have a few questions and hoped someone could me help better understand these and which may be a better choice. In particular, do they both cover the same codecs? Since the Sonnox was released around 2011 does it contain all the codecs necessary to meet today's market? Both are on sale and I want to pick one up, just trying to decide which one. I'm a novice but hope to understand these well enough through use to one day publish my music. Thanks for any help.
Old 23rd November 2016
Gear Maniac

In particular, do they both cover the same codecs?
I own both plugins. They are somewhat different. MasterCheck Pro doesn't support MP3 auditioning. It's limited to three versions of AAC and Ogg Vorbis. It's focus is delivery Loudness, inherent dynamics, True Peak monitoring, and reference comparisons.

Pro Codec is a robust auditioning tool and encoder. The bundled off-line Pro Codec Manager encoder is stellar.

Old 23rd November 2016
Lives for gear
Justin P.'s Avatar

Yeah, I agree that there is not a lot of crossover with these plugins. I also own both.

MasterCheck Pro is great for real-time auditioning the loudness normalization and general encoding quality that Spotify and others are doing, but Pro Codec is great for offline analysis and encoding, plus it's a powerful metadata tool if you need it.

I think you need them both really unless there is ONE specific thing you're looking to do.

ProCodec currently doesn't have any Spotify/Pandora settings but I wouldn't be surprised if they added this in an update soon.
Old 23rd November 2016
Gear Nut

Thanks for the replies. Sounds like both are good. I've been demoing both. I like the graphic display on Sonnox. Was wondering if it needed an update with the addition of the newer audio streaming sites. I assume it doesn't.
Old 24th November 2016
Lives for gear
Justin P.'s Avatar

Originally Posted by adigga View Post
Thanks for the replies. Sounds like both are good. I've been demoing both. I like the graphic display on Sonnox. Was wondering if it needed an update with the addition of the newer audio streaming sites. I assume it doesn't.
Well, the ProCodec app doesn't do Ogg Vorbis which is what Spotify streams. You'd like to think Sonnox will add this in a future update but who knows.

While I haven't done any tests, guys like Ian Shepherd have stated that Spotify does some behind the scenes limiting and processing to quieter material as well as other loudness management options. Forgive me if I'm wrong but I'm quite sure he said that on his mastering podcast and had asked Spotify about it to confirm. A few older/quieter masters do feel a bit more limited and lifted up from what I can tell. Apple Music at this time doesn't seem to do any alterations to the audio levels unless you enable Sound Check in your settings. iTunes Radio does normalize which usually results in loud masters being turned down as opposed to Spotify's approach of lifting up quieter stuff. I haven't tested Spotify's option of making all the songs the same level so I'm not sure where it puts those.

I have to dig into MasterCheck Pro more but it seems that those things are factored in.

This is just part of why I think it's good to have both ProCodec and MasterCheck Pro at this point. MasterCheck Pro has no mp3 support, ProCodec has no Ogg Vorbis support. The ProCodec standalone app also has it's uses.

IMO, the offline encoding of Sonnox ProCodec to test for overs and clipping to be MFiT compatible is better and more accurate than the real-time playback. While I use WaveLab which has excellent metadata support direct from the montage, ProCodec is still useful for verifying metadata and would make a decent metadata editor if you need one.

Last edited by Justin P.; 24th November 2016 at 01:17 AM..
Old 24th November 2016
Gear Nut

Since I'm new to the loudness wars and figuring out the best approach to ensuring any songs I submit in the future are within their limits I'm demoting this plugins and it's an eye opener, to say the least. I will look into the Ian Shepherd video to enhance my understanding of the mastering process. Thanks for the direction.
Old 24th November 2016
Motown legend
Bob Olhsson's Avatar

Verified Member
I use the combination of regular MasterCheck and Pro Codec.
Old 24th November 2016
Gear Nut

Seems both are in order. Great prices on plugins for the holidays. After demoing the two I will pick up the Sonnox plugin since it's at such a low price for the holiday. Master check intro offer is valid until the end of Jan so I'll see if I can pick that up later.

Anyone use Ian Shepherds Perception plugin? Watched the video last night. Seems to be another option.
Old 2nd August 2017
Gear Maniac
Is the upgrade from MasterCheck to MasterCheck Pro worth it? All I can tell from the 2 feature lists is that there are some additional presets:
MasterCheck Playout Loudness and Dynamics Metering AAX AU VST
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