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Introducing Sonarworks Reference 3 Headphone Calibration Plug-in!
Old 7th January 2015
  #1
NAMM 2015 - speaker and headphone calibration by Sonarworks

With our second year exhibiting at NAMM we are bringing two new products that will revolutionize studio mixing and mastering on speakers and headphones.

Sonarworks Reference HD for Mac.

Until now you had to measure you studio on a Windows machine and then run our plug-in on Mac to get the correction. Now it's much less hassle free - 30 minutes of measuring and you will be good to go.

We will be announcing a beta testing round for this software next week, so stay tuned. You can order the Sonarworks Reference HD Trial package now, to start calibrating as soon as we release the Mac version.

On checkout enter the "Trial-50prcnt" code to get 50% off.

Studio headphone calibration.

The same tech behind our speaker calibration solution now available for headphones. By using our patent pending headphone measurement and calibration method we are able to achieve perfectly neutral sound - as someone would hear on flatly EQ'ed speakers.

We know, usually it sounds too good to be true, so please visit our booth No.6964 in Hall A. We will have calibrated headphones for you to try out and a special deal or two for those who are interested.

If you are anxious to get a super early listen - try our beta testing thread or the trial page.



About Sonarworks -

Sonarworks software is a simple to use yet incredibly powerful and accurate sound measurement and digital calibration tool. With Sonarworks you can measure the actual performance of your speakers in your studio and calibrate the resulting sound towards a chosen reference without any loss in detail or quality of the sound. Sonarworks software combines latest innovations in mathematics and digital technologies with an in-depth understanding of psychoacoustics. We start a new era in creation and reproduction of music. An era in which digital technologies expand the possibilities of sound reproduction far beyond the constraints of analog sound systems, without losing the magic they are loved for.
Old 7th January 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
Does this require your mic? I have a mic that comes with a calibration file so I don't need one. Curious how this compares to the math audio calibration software. I use that on everything right now. Always looking for better of course.
Old 7th January 2015
  #3
The non-HD version requires our mic as it will only support our microphone correction file. If you use the trial version, full functionality will be available to you for 21 days, including the option to put in your own mic correction file.

Feel free to try it out and if Sonarworks Reference HD will not work with it, just send it to us and we'll make sure that it will support the type of file you use.
Old 7th January 2015
  #4
Lives for gear
Thanks,

The price is quite high compared to the competition. I will try it though, to see if it stands up to that.

Dom
Old 7th January 2015
  #5
Hope to get soon the mac trial. Now I have 3 questions:
1)Coupon does not work, but looking at the price (59€/117,31$) ... is it already included in the price?
2)Anyway to buy only the standalone software for headphones?
3)Will the Superlux package will work with your AKG 702 correction file?

Cheers!!!
Old 7th January 2015
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Beta testing the Headphones calibration, with my HD 650, feeling really confortable with the correction, the first time with a plugin of this kind. It has some speaker emulations very useful too, I "see" my own NS-10 in the emulation preset...
Old 7th January 2015 | Show parent
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by EL_HERALDO View Post
Hope to get soon the mac trial. Now I have 3 questions:
1)Coupon does not work, but looking at the price (59€/117,31$) ... is it already included in the price?
2)Anyway to buy only the standalone software for headphones?
3)Will the Superlux package will work with your AKG 702 correction file?

Cheers!!!
1) We had couple of problems with the e-commerce system, should work perfectly now.
2) Not, yet - we still need to figure out the pricing for the standalone plug-in. I'll PM you for exact numbers.
3) Sneaky! But yes - get the Superlux bundle and feed in the K702 curve - voila! You've got yourself two calibrated headphones (provided you have the K702 already). Won't be the cream of the crop accuracy you'd have by using an individually measured curve, but hey - props for being smart!

Cheers and happy listening!
Old 7th January 2015
  #8
Interesting, I am looking at obtaining something like this.

But I don't really understand. A very important part of monitoring is to learn your monitoring system. You do that by listening to you favourite music and get a feel for how things should sound like with your particular room/monitor/treatment combo. But this software seems to work only as a DAW plugin. If I run a CD or the like on my computer, than that will not be treated by Sonarworks. So the reference music will be played back with a different frequency response than your own mix!? You could of course import the reference music file into your DAW and play it through that, but that seems awkward...

So: how can reference music be handled?
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedberg View Post
Interesting, I am looking at obtaining something like this.

But I don't really understand. A very important part of monitoring is to learn your monitoring system. You do that by listening to you favourite music and get a feel for how things should sound like with your particular room/monitor/treatment combo. But this software seems to work only as a DAW plugin. If I run a CD or the like on my computer, than that will not be treated by Sonarworks. So the reference music will be played back with a different frequency response than your own mix!? You could of course import the reference music file into your DAW and play it through that, but that seems awkward...

So: how can reference music be handled?
The best thing is not to know your monitors, is to adapt them to your enviroment and this is what this software (and others) does. There are lot of software which can wrap the Sonar Works plugin to your audio player, in fact I use HiJack in mac to wrap IK ARC2 with iTunes, MplayerX, Vlc, Chrome ...
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrodulf View Post
1) We had couple of problems with the e-commerce system, should work perfectly now.
2) Not, yet - we still need to figure out the pricing for the standalone plug-in. I'll PM you for exact numbers.
3) Sneaky! But yes - get the Superlux bundle and feed in the K702 curve - voila! You've got yourself two calibrated headphones (provided you have the K702 already). Won't be the cream of the crop accuracy you'd have by using an individually measured curve, but hey - props for being smart!

Cheers and happy listening!
Yes, I already have K702.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by EL_HERALDO View Post
The best thing is not to know your monitors, is to adapt them to your enviroment and this is what this software (and others) does. There are lot of software which can wrap the Sonar Works plugin to your audio player, in fact I use HiJack in mac to wrap IK ARC2 with iTunes, MplayerX, Vlc, Chrome ...
There are a number of environment factors that can't be adapted with eq. Speaker transient response, phase issues with ports and crossover filters, room reverb, ear fatigue etc. So learning your monitoring by checking with reference music will always be essential. But EQ can help a bit.

Thanks for the tip about wrapping audio players. Unfortunately I'm on Windows. I have never heard of such a thing on PC. Does anyone know how to do this on PC?
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #12
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dub3000's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedberg View Post
There are a number of environment factors that can't be adapted with eq. Speaker transient response, phase issues with ports and crossover filters, room reverb, ear fatigue etc. So learning your monitoring by checking with reference music will always be essential. But EQ can help a bit.

Thanks for the tip about wrapping audio players. Unfortunately I'm on Windows. I have never heard of such a thing on PC. Does anyone know how to do this on PC?
there are multiple vst plugins for winamp: Christian's BlogWinAmp - Christian's Blog

also a vst player plugin for foobar yohng.com

might be others
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dub3000 View Post
there are multiple vst plugins for winamp: Christian's BlogWinAmp - Christian's Blog

also a vst player plugin for foobar yohng.com

might be others
Right you are. There is also a thing called the Virtual Audio Cable. It allows to reroute all outgoing digital audio through a plug-in. I would admit that it is a less-than-elegant solution and I usually just use the VST support plug-in for Foobar.
Old 8th January 2015 | Show parent
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrodulf View Post
Right you are. There is also a thing called the Virtual Audio Cable. It allows to reroute all outgoing digital audio through a plug-in. I would admit that it is a less-than-elegant solution and I usually just use the VST support plug-in for Foobar.
Thanks for the input, guys. Seems like something to try.
Old 24th January 2015
  #15
Lives for gear
 

...And how is this software any better than e.g IK ARC2 or all the others? Basically it's just a 16.000 band EQ, right?

Just curious
Old 24th January 2015
  #16
Gear Addict
 
chilly7's Avatar
At my opinion the mast natural sounding vanilla headphones out of all vanilla headphones are Sennheizers HD800!
Stax top of the line headphones has much better sound quality but they are not as natural as HD800 and also they missing low frequancys.

I wonder can u calibrate Senheizers HD800?
Can u calibrate Stax headphones?
Old 26th January 2015 | Show parent
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lydpik View Post
...And how is this software any better than e.g IK ARC2 or all the others? Basically it's just a 16.000 band EQ, right?

Just curious r
Our solution does include using equalization, after all - we are introducing changes in frequency response of the signal. At the same time you need a lot of brain behind the frequency target curve, which won't be the same for speakers and headphones.

Then there's measuring - microphones measure sound pressure as it occurs in space. So - where do you measure it? The complex geometry of listening environments introduce extremely varying FR at different points of the room due to wave interaction. Our studio measurement software takes that into account by knowing where in the room has the measurement been made - so a spatial FR matrix is made in and around the listening spot. If you need so - you can switch between many calibration profiles - one for your seat, others for the couch where your clients sit.

As for ARC2 - these guys have done a remarkable job, yet we weren't happy with the results and heard similar complaints from other studio pros. There are many factors that makes Sonarworks different from ARC2, but unfortunately I can't go into much detail about them. At least not until we get our patents.

And we can calibrate the Sennheiser HD800 or Stax, if you send them to us (throw in the amp for Stax as well). For such high end headphones I can't see average responses doing justice to them.
Old 9th February 2015
  #18
Hi people! I have been one of the members of the group that are beta testing the mac version of the software (Sonarworks Reference V3). Here is the email I've sent to Rüdolfs:

" Hi again Rüdolfs!

Very good news around here! After a few days with intensive listenings, two mixes, and an intensive test in my friend’s pro studio … I love your software!!!

I’m going to divide my message in 3 sections:

1) Opinion about the product

I need to say that the "different sound impression" that I was initially hearing is not a "shaded truth” as I have said, is a totally truth!

Thanks to Reference V3 I’m hearing now a more 3Dimensional sound trough my monitors, not only it has cleaned the imperfections of my room, it has really improved the soundstage and the overall perception of what I’m hearing. Very, very satisfied with it, I would recommend it to everybody, from people with little rooms as myself (where ARC2 can’t work properly), to pro studios which could improve their sound, because there isn’t perfect acoustic rooms.

2) Beta testing

As I have said in an earlier emails, testing it in 4 different computers ( mac pro 2009 / Mavericks / Pro Tools 11.2.1 ) - ( 2011 macbook pro / Mountain Lion / Pro Tools 11.2.2 ) - ( Custom mackintosh / Yosemite / Pro Tools 11.3 ) - ( my friend’s mac pro 2013 / Yosemite / Pro Tools HD 11.3 ) … I haven’t found any major bugs (nothing during installation, normal plugin loading time, no crashes during measuring, no graphic issues). It seems to be working so far so good!


3) Pro Studio session

This weekend was crazy!
Lot of so different monitors to test the software. I installed the software in the mac pro of my friend’s pro studio (it don’t want to be named because he is working in an “underground” way, soon to be all in perfect legally order). It is a 30m2 control room very well treated, it is not dead flat but very accurate. I started measuring each speaker with the software (the Sonarworks microphone with its calibration file connected to an Earthworks preamp to an Apogee Symphony I/O, pretty linear non coloured chain). It really annoys me how efficient is the software, the room measurements are within 1 to 2 cm to the reality … awesome!

Here are the results:

1) Presonus Sceptre S6 (studio owner's 1st pair) : They are pretty flat from stock, don’t have the most powerful amp but it seems to be plenty of headroom ( is it possible?), their biggest correction was a 3.5db at around 70-80hz which seems to be some type of node in the room. They are wonderful and are probably mi next speakers hahaha!

2) Genelec 1031 (studio owner's 2nd pair) : I always have felt them very harsh and mid forward, but after the correction they were highly improved. The amp seems to be very weak because they can’t accept the extended low freq correction well (thinking that they are expensive monitors).

3) KRK V6 series 2 (my monitors) : They are bight but not harsh, maybe the problem is the mid forward attitude of the amp and not the drivers. After the correction they still preserves their character but get one of the best correction within only 3.5db as the Sceptres did. Big problem … the amp, is very weak. In my room I have a -7.5db peak, If I try to make big eqing in that area I get distortion issues.

4) KRK Rokit 5 G2 : The poor man's monitors hahahaha! By far the weakest amp, but after the correction the were vastly improved. If one can't afford 500€ monitors and ask me how crazy could be expend money in a 250€ monitors + 250€ correction software combo I will recommend this second option because it is a large in time inversion, also I doubt 500€ monitors will do better if the room is not very accurate.

5) Behringer 3031 : I know, 350€ monitors with an 8,75” woofer which don’t know if they are trying to emulate genelec or mackie ones. They are not the most accurate monitors, but after the correction they got a FLAT frequency graph and there were no major problems whit the Extended low freq setting! (they did better than the 1031). They are also neutral monitors so really awesome in my opinion.

6) Genelec 8030 : I don’t have so much love for Genelec but this little 5” monitors have always impressed me. After the correction the got a very 3d sound, they don’t go very low so with the reduced low freq setting they didn’t had any problem due to amp power and got at the worst a 3db correction.

7) Dynaudio BM15 passive with Cown XLS 2500 amp : OH MY GOD!!! It was crazy how a woofer with a 53mm excursion and an almost 500W amp with unlimited headroom powering it was trying to hit your face! They are old but in perfect shape and working condition, they got a 30hz to 20khz almost flat correction, they had the biggest problem with the room node which went to a 6db correction, but thanks to the amp there were no problems even with the aggressive low freq setting.

8) Custom HIFI towers ( 1 silk tweeter, 3” mid woofer, 3 x 8” woofers) with the same Crown XLS 2500 amp : they are an experiment of the Dyns owner, they had a very boomy sound, several crossover issues with a big dip with V shade around 2.5khz and are harsh like hell, but Reference took care of it and thanks to the Crown’s headroom they got a flat correction. Still they don’t had enough resolution to work with, but they are not designed for that.

note apart from email : there are no "real issues" with the power of the amp, just it seems to be trading low end extension for absolute SPL, so with that software you can get an almost full range monitoring system with every 8" monitor, but not cranking up the volume in excess (75-80dbs maximun)

CONCLUSION

As always a correction software can only affect to the interaction of the room and the monitors, it can’t change their character (because it’s in part due to the response of the amp), but this is not a bad thing, because some people like mid forward monitors ( as I like) and others like sterile ones. Whatever, I have tried almost every product I have discovered to get the perfect integration of my room and my monitors and, by far, Sonarworks Reference has done the best job. I think it is an essential tool for everyone and I will recommend to anyone. As I have said before, I would recommend a newbie in the sound area a 250€ monitors + 250€ Reference combo to a 500€ monitors, and also to any Pro to get not only the flattest response, but the best interaction. This weekend I felt the same improvements in every speaker I have tested, better soundstage and better separation of each instrument which is for me the most important thing. "

The experience has been really good, being Rüdolf very communicate and answering every question about the product. I think I have found my best partner while producing, mixing and mastering.
Old 9th February 2015 | Show parent
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by EL_HERALDO View Post
The experience has been really good, being Rüdolf very communicate and answering every question about the product. I think I have found my best partner while producing, mixing and mastering.
Was that about me or our software, haha?

Anyway, I have to tell you all - when we do beta testing 95% of the testers usually are pretty blown away by the results and the remaining 5% are who keep our crew awake at night. Heraldo was in those 5%.

Initially at least! In such cases we usually request the project files to see what's wrong. Engineers revise filter mathematics, developers sift through lines of code. Then after two days (it's always two days) I get an e-mail or PM, have good laugh and tell my team to calm down. It's always the more experienced engineers who give us most of the trouble, mostly because they know their setup like the back of their hands.

Thank you Heraldo and good luck with your work!
Old 10th February 2015
  #20
At first it is really difficult to get in because everyone is biased to the sound of its setup, and I have to admit that I'm a little bit stubborn! But you only need to do an intensive listening session as I did for a few days with your favorite records (good and bad sounding), and your eyes will be wide open. From a bedroom producer to the most pro studio I think it is not only a good tool, I would say it's necessary. Lot of people care more about the next plugin emulation, but THIS is what people really need, because this is what is going to help them translate their work to the real world = success! I have tried every acoustic correction tool and software, and by far this Sonarworks Reference is the one that has worked the best everywhere I have measured.

Last edited by EL_HERALDO; 10th February 2015 at 12:02 PM..
Old 12th February 2015
  #21
Introducing Sonarworks Reference 3 Headphone Calibration Plug-in!



INTRODUCING SONARWORKS REFERENCE 3

Sonarworks introduces the world’s most accurate studio calibration software. Reference sound for everyone in 15 minutes.

After 3 years and 1M USD spent on development, Sonarworks has just released their newest speaker calibration software for sound studio professionals and home recording enthusiasts. Currently the most accurate speaker and room calibration software on the market, Sonarworks Reference 3 empowers studio pros of every caliber to achieve reference sound at an affordable price point.

Reference 3 is packed with unique and patent-pending technologies as well as automation that enables anyone to do the complete studio calibration process with a visual step-by-step workflow in less than 15 minutes. Reference 3 utilizes a proprietary Perceived Acoustic Power Frequency Response (PAPFR) technology that measures and analyzes sound the way humans actually hear it. During the measurement process, the software automatically detects the microphone position in the room, making the process much easier and the results more consistent. The processing plugin has a filter engine that is specifically designed for audio calibration in a studio setting with a choice of linear, mixed, and minimum phase filters to suit the task at hand. A full description is available on the company website: Overview on our Speaker Calibrator Software | Sonaworks.



"Truly accurate monitoring, allowing you to be fully confident in your mixes. An absolute must have for the studio," said well-regarded studio engineer Smith Carlson (OneRepublic, Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé).
Producer Matt Wallace is thrilled about the sonic transparency it offers. “Bill Gould and I mixed the new Faith No More record, Sol Invictus, with the Sonarworks Studio Speaker Calibration software and are thrilled with the results. It’s the first time, in our 20 year history of working together, that we’re able to hear music so accurately. I’m finally able to hear things more clearly and no longer have to try and guess if my mixes will translate out into the ‘real world’,” said Matt.

The calibration process is simple: first measurements are made in the studio with a measurement microphone. Reference 3 then analyzes the data and produces a filter profile for the studio. The filter is then opened with a plug-in in DAW just before sending a signal out to the monitors. When the plugin is enabled, the monitors are calibrated towards a chosen reference.



The company is currently offering a free and fully functional 21-day software trial of the Sonarworks Reference 3 software at Free trial of Speaker and Headphone Calibration Software | Sonarworks. A measurement microphone is required to use the software. Sonarworks offers a bundled version with a custom calibrated measurement microphone for 269.00 EUR / 345.00 USD. A download only license is currently 229.00 EUR / 299.00 USD. Both bundles contain one measurement software license and two plug-in licences.

Sonarworks Reference 3 measurement software is currently available for Mac. PC users can use version 2.2, which will be upgraded free of charge to 3.0 in spring 2015. The DAW plug-in is available for both OSX and Windows.

About
Sonarworks is a recording studio software development start-up specializing in acoustic calibration and DAW plug-ins. For years, the company has been working with custom studio installations. Reference 3 was shaped through the experience of working with best sound engineers. The company made its debut in the music industry by pioneering a plug-in based headphone calibration that makes them suitable for mixing and mastering.

P.S. A special thanks to all of the beta testers from the community who made this possible! Without you the road to release would have been extra bumpy! Sorry for all the delays on responses, however be sure that your help was extremely valuable. Good luck to you all!
Old 12th February 2015 | Show parent
  #22
I have been using it with the AKG K701, Sennheiser HD600 and Soundlux headphones and I just want to say that I'm impressed. This and the Sonarworks Reference room correction software are essentials for everyone.
Old 12th February 2015 | Show parent
  #23
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rhythmtech's Avatar
 

just finished up my demo of the previous version and was about to pull the trigger so this is great
Old 13th February 2015 | Show parent
  #24
Great to hear that from you guys!

By the way - everyone of our existing plug-in users will get a free upgrade to 3.0. Also your trial timer should be reset when you download the new version!
Old 3rd March 2015 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
Looking forward to hearing everyones impressions! Haven't made decision on the software but liking it so far.
Old 4th March 2015 | Show parent
  #27
Seems quite impressive so far, only been testing for a couple of hours.

I'm fairly suspicious of using software like this for room correction, but it's interesting to check out.

Are there any mic calibration files available for non Sonarworks mics?
Old 4th March 2015 | Show parent
  #28
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Taurean's Avatar
This is one of really great RC softwares out there. They did their homework and one of the things I always test for is weird, warped, phasey or just low integrity audio running through an RC. You get great fidelity with Sonarworks, no weirdness imo. Also I've been in correspondence with Karl so they have awesome customer support to boot!

If you don't have a good acoustic measuring mic, go for the SW mic package, it's really a good mic.
Old 4th March 2015 | Show parent
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TranscendingM View Post
This is one of really great RC softwares out there. They did their homework and one of the things I always test for is weird, warped, phasey or just low integrity audio running through an RC. You get great fidelity with Sonarworks, no weirdness imo. Also I've been in correspondence with Karl so they have awesome customer support to boot!

If you don't have a good acoustic measuring mic, go for the SW mic package, it's really a good mic.
Done any mixes with it on all the way? In the process of starting, be good to know what you think if you've been doing this.

I did the measurements using my ecm8000, not exactly top of the line
Old 4th March 2015 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by method1 View Post
Seems quite impressive so far, only been testing for a couple of hours.

I'm fairly suspicious of using software like this for room correction, but it's interesting to check out.

Are there any mic calibration files available for non Sonarworks mics?
Absolutely! Check out the Dayton Mic. I have one of those. Seems great. I also have the sonarworks mic. It also seems good. No idea which one is better. Both come with a calibration file so it really shouldn't matter which is better.

Also, nothing wrong with being suspicious. The best thing to have is a well treated room of course but I swear by this type of software. Makes my mixes translate so much better. I mix in a condo and I like my mixes. not bad! I have 6 bass traps. I could use another 6 to clean it up a bit more. but would still use correction software if I did.

Check out Mathaudio RoomEQ. I love that one. Can't decide which one I like more so I am using them for a few months and comparing mixes to see which software translates better.

One thing to keep in mind is Mathaudio has crazy low latency. I use it for group jam sessions. For mixing I can use either software because latency doesn't matter. Sonarworks seems easier on the ears.
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