Audified MixChecker by Tommy Zai
MixChecker from Audified is an indispensable mixing assistant plugin. It helps transform lower-end studio speakers into higher-end flat-response monitors and simulates multiple consumer devices, assuring that the final mx/master will sound great everywhere! This audio software makes it possible for budget restricted bedroom engineers to ascertain some of the advantages of an expensive studio.
The purchase, download, and install process is standard. An iLok protection device is required for authorization and use. I dig the GUI! In fact, this is my ideal interface — big buttons, simple design, and easy to navigate. The color scheme is eye-pleasing and has just enough contrast to quickly identify the controls. Everything is intelligently arranged into clear sections. It’s simple, clean, and intuitive. The primary controls are found in two main banks:
• COMPENSATION provides three speaker selections (5”, 8”, headphones) to help offset an uneven studio monitor response. This is mostly used for lower-end monitors, which seldom provide a true flat response. High-end users are advised to “simply select OFF.”
• SIMULATION accesses acoustic models of a dozen consumer devices and classic reference monitors.
• BYPASS button provides an excellent comparison.
• TOOLS are easy to access via a wrench icon.
WHY USE THIS THING?
In the midst of my professional career, I spent a couple weeks at The Music Palace in New York. During the final mix of a few ragtime-hip hop tracks, my engineer did something I’ll never forget. He took out a little steel cased drive-in movie speaker and plopped it in between the studio monitors. For comparison, he toggled back and forth between the monitors and the little speaker. What a neat idea, I thought! Of course, that was before iPhones, mp3 players, Facebook, etc. Still, it gave us an idea of what the mix would sound like in the least favorable situation — a drive-in movie theatre.
In addition, this multi-million dollar studio used several other kinds of reference monitors — flat response, dance club simulation, living room, etc. This is one of the many reasons why tracks produced in a top studio sound better than those created in a bedroom. The pure flat response monitoring assures that the mix will sound good everywhere; yet, they still cross-check. Before the final mix, I was usually sent home with a test CD and cassette tape (earlier days). My mission was to test the mix in every possible scenario and then report back to the sound engineer for the final session. I played the mix in different cars, boom boxes, bedrooms, etc. Looking back, it was nostalgic and fun, but it was also a waste of time. It would have been cool to have a plugin that could “perform a quick round of tests in only a matter of seconds, allowing users to get on with the task in hand.” I even brought my pre-mixes to clubs and begged DJs to spin them. If/when they did, it would be at the very end of the night when my ears were ringing and swollen from hours of pounding.
Over the years, the playing conditions have changed, but the process has not! Engineers, musicians, and producers still do a variety of testing before the final mix and mastering is completed. Wouldn’t it be cool to have software to help check the mix? Enter MixChecker! It quickly turns consumer level studio monitors into classic reference monitors and several common consumer devices.
The workflow for this is very straightforward:
• Drop it on the end of the DAW’s master output track chain.
• Make a compensation selection based on monitoring.
• One by one, check the sound of the mix in various situations by pressing the corresponding button clearly marked with an icon of the device:
• These provide a realistic reference of how the mix would sound if listened to on these devices.1. Classic Studio Monitor
2. Classic Cube Monitor
3. On-ear Headphones
4. Smart Phone
6. Laptop Speakers
7. Car Audio
9. Micro HiFi
11. Desktop Speakers
12. In-ear Headphones
• Cross-check and compare by engaging and disengaging the BYPASS button.
• Interface — easy to navigate
• Workflow — easy to use
• Realistic sounding simulations
• Very useful to help improve overall frequency balance and specifics.
• “No more exports” — importing mix to iPhone, CD, etc.
• Innovative developer
• Extend monitoring options to include a wider variety of devices/environments. I suggest adding drop-down menus to the current categories to provide specific models, i.e., various headphones, tablet, phones, speakers, cars, TVs, etc.
• According to Gozerian, “[MixChecker] seems to be great! why not extend the monitoring possibilities with a checking option thru different audio codecs (spotify, youtube, deezer, itunes, etc.).
• What about users who are forced to mix a demo on-the-fly with their laptop speakers? I realize flat response headphones are often used in this situation, but can the compensation section be expanded to include a wider variety of monitoring situations beyond 5”, 8”, and headphones?
• Post-gain control
• Lower price
At first, I was a little disappointed that this was a plugin because the box in the ad looked so cool. Of course, a plugin has many advantages. I just like the look for the 3D rendering.
MixChecker is a revolutionary reference monitoring software that gives users the opportunity to compensate for their subpar monitors and hear what their mixes sounds like in variety of scenarios. It helps users transform an acceptable rough mix into an extraordinary master that sounds fabulous wherever it’s played. It’s fast and effective — “MixChecker*can perform a quick round of tests in only a matter of seconds.” The concept is really, really cool, and there is certainly a need for this product. If specific devices/environments are added and the price is lowered, this might very well become the backbone of many recording studios. I will certainly use this plugin. It's a keeper! See and hear for yourself. They offer a 30-day demo. I give MixChecker one big thumbs up for the unique concept and design and another thumb in my pocket — waiting to rise up when future releases include more features and a lower price. Great stuff!
- Sound Quality — 5/5: Sounds exactly as it should — accurate impulse responses.
- Ease of Use — 5/5: It couldn’t be easier.
- Features — 4/5: It’s simple and effective, but could use a greater variety of simulations.
- Bang for the Buck — 3/5: There’s nothing quite like this on the market, so the pricing is a bit subjective. Still, I think it should cost less. If the developer doesn’t lower the price, look for a sale!