iZotope Elements Flash Sale: Plugins on sale for $29 each or $79 in a bundle!

iZotope Elements Flash Sale

Plugin Boutique has announced the iZotope Elements Flash Sale, an opportunity to purchase the Elements series plugins at a discount of up to 77% off the regular price. RX Elements is a budget-friendly noise reduction and audio repair tool for small home studios that need the basics. It includes a standalone audio editor with spectral […]

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Save 40% on Producertech’s mastering tutorial courses for one week!

Producertech Mastering Week

Plugin Boutique has announced a Mastering Week sale, offering a 40% discount on Producertech’s mastering courses. Learn how to master your own music quickly with Producertech’s vast selection of online courses ready to be streamed within your Plugin Boutique user account. The sale includes the following titles: Building Custom Mastering Weapons in Ableton Live. Mastering […]

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Bundle of Nugen Audio’s MasterCheck, ISL 2 & Visualizer on sale at 33% OFF

NugenAudio ModernMastering Sale

Plugin Boutique has launched a sale on the Modern Mastering Bundle by Nugen Audio, a collection of elite mastering tools that allows you to mix and master for today’s playout technologies. The bundle includes MasterCheck, ISL 2 True Peak Limiter and Visualizer. These award-winning plug-ins are designed to allow you to master effortlessly, with confidence […]

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Get up to 78% off in iZotope’s Music Production Crossgrade Sale

iZotopeMusicProductionSuite up to 78

Plugin Boutique has launched the iZotope Music Production Crossgrade Sale, offering iZotope users discounts of up to 78% off on crossgrades to Music Production Suite 2, O8N2, Neutron 2 and Ozone 8. The sale includes the Music Production Suite 2 Upgrade from any Advanced Product (including Vocal Chain Bundle) at 50% off. Music Production Suite […]

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iZotope Elements owners save 57% off on the O8N2 Bundle upgrade!

iZotope O8N2

Plugin Boutique has launched an exclusive sale on the O8N2 Bundle, offering a 57% discount on the upgrade from ANY iZotope Elements product. O8N2 combines two award-winning product lines for mixing and mastering with new futuristic metering and analysis tools. Get Neutron 2 Advanced for mixing, Ozone 8 Advanced for mastering, and Tonal Balance Control, […]

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ZAOR Studio Furniture’s Maestro series desks now available

ZAOR Maestro

ZAOR Studio Furniture has announced availability of its Maestro series, a new line of workflow-focused desk designs. The desk line was designed with help from some of the best artists in mastering/mixing as well as manufacturers of the best mastering gear such as SPL. The Maestro user is putting final touches to the sound of […]

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Get Waves 2019 best new plugins for $29 USD each (incl. Flow Motion FM Synth)

Waves New Year Sale 2019

Waves Audio has launched the New Year’s Best New Plugins Sale, an opportunity to purchase selected Waves plugins at just $29 USD each. The following plugins are included in the promotion: Scheps Omni Channel, a flexible channel strip that delivers Andrew Scheps’ time-tested combinations of compression, EQ, saturation colors and more. PRS SuperModels, created in […]

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Your questions answered: Sonarworks Reference calibration tools

If getting your headphones and studio monitors calibrated sounds like a good New Years’ Resolution, we’ve got you covered. Some good questions came up in our last story on Sonarworks Reference, the automated calibration tool, so we’ve gotten answers for you.

First, if you’re just joining us, Sonarworks Reference is a tool for automatically calibrating your studio listening environment and headphones so that the sound you hear is as uncolored as possible – more consistent with the source material. Here’s our previous write-up, produced in cooperation with Sonarworks:

What it’s like calibrating headphones and monitors with Sonarworks tools

CDM is partnering with Sonarworks to help users better understand how to use the tool to their benefit. And so that means in part answering some questions with Sonarworks engineers. If you’re interested in the product, there’s also a special bundle discount on now: you get the True-Fi mobile app for calibration on your mobile device, free with a Sonarworks Studio Edition purchase (usually US$79):

https://try.sonarworks.com/christmasspecial/

Readers have been sending in questions, so I’ll answer as many as I can as accurately as possible.

Does it work?

Oh yeah, this one is easy. I found it instantly easier to mix both on headphones and sitting in the studio, in that you hear far more consistency from one listening environment / device to another, and in that you get a clearer sense of the mix. It feels a little bit like how I feel when I clean my eyeglasses. You’re removing stuff that’s in the way. That’s my own personal experience, anyway; I linked some full reviews and comparisons with other products in the original story. But my sense in general is that automated calibration has become a fact of life for production and live situations. It doesn’t eliminate the role of human experts, not by a long shot – but then color calibration in graphics didn’t get rid of the need for designers and people who know how to operate the printing press, either. It’s just a tool.

Does it work when outside of the sweet spot in the studio?

This is a harder question, actually, but anecdotally, yeah, I still left it on. You’re calibrating for the sweet spot in your studio, so from a calibration perspective, yeah, you do want to sit in that location when monitoring – just as you always would. But a lot of what Sonarworks Reference is doing is about frequency response as much as space, I found it was still useful to leave the calibration on even when wandering around my studio space. It’s not as though the calibration suddenly stops working when you move around. You only notice the calibration stops working if you have the wrong calibration profile selected or you make the mistake of bouncing audio with it left on (oops). But that’s of course exactly what you’d expect to happen.

What about Linux support?

Linux is officially unsupported, but you can easily calibrate on Windows (or Mac) and then use the calibration profile on Linux. It’s a 64-bit Linux-native VST, in beta form.

If you run the plug-in the handy plug-in host Carla, you can calibrate any source you like (via JACK). So this is really great – it means you can have calibrated results while working with SuperCollider or Bitwig Studio on Linux, for example.

This is beta only so I’m really keen to hear results. Do let us know, as I suspect if a bunch of CDM readers start trying the Linux build, there will be added incentive for Sonarworks to expand Linux support. And we have seen some commercial vendors from the Mac/Windows side (Pianoteq, Bitwig, Renoise, etc.) start to toy with support of this OS.

If you want to try this out, go check the Facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1751390588461118/

(Direct compiled VST download link is available here, though that may change later.)

What’s up with latency?

You get a choice of either more accuracy and higher latency, or lower accuracy and lower latency. So if you need real-time responsiveness, you can prioritize low latency performance – and in that mode, you basically won’t notice the plug-in is on at all in my experience. Or if you aren’t working live / tracking live, and don’t mind adding latency, you can prioritize accuracy.

Sonarworks clarifies for us:

Reference 4 line-up has two different *filter* modes – zero latency and linear phase. Zero latency filter adds, like the name states, zero latency, whereas linear phase mode really depends on sample-rate but typically adds about 20ms of latency. These numbers hold true in plugin form. Systemwide, however, has the variable of driver introduced latency which is set on top of the filter latency (zero for Zero latency and approx 20ms for linear phase mode) so the numbers for actual Systemwide latency can vary depending on CPU load, hardware specs etc. Sometimes on MacOS, latency can get up to very high numbers which we are investigating at the moment.

What about loudness? Will this work in post production, for instance?

Some of you are obviously concerned about loudness as you work on projects where that’s important. Here’s an explanation from Sonarworks:

So what we do in terms of loudness as a dynamic range character is – nothing. What we do apply is overall volume reduction to account for the highest peak in correction to avoid potential clipping of output signal. This being said, you can turn the feature off and have full 0dBFS volume coming out of our software, controlled by either physical or virtual volume control.

Which headphones are supported?

There’s a big range of headphones with calibration profiles included with Sonarworks Reference. Right now, I’ve got that folder open, and here’s what you get at the moment:

AIAIAI TMA-1

AKG K72, K77, K121, K141 MKII, K240, K240 MKII, K271 MKII, K550 MKII, K553 Pro, K612 Pro, K701, K702, K712 Pro, K812, Q701

Apple AirPods

Audeze KCD-2, LCD-X

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x, M30x, M40x, M50x, M70x, MSR7, R70x

Beats EP, Mixr, Pro, Solo2, Solo3 wireless, Studio (2nd generation), X Average

Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro, DT 150, DT 250 80 Ohm, DT 770 Pro (80 Ohm, 32 Ohm PPRO, 80 Ohm Pro, 250 Ohm Pro), DT 990 Pro 250 Ohm, DT 1770 Pro, DT 1990 Pro (analytical + balanced), T 1

Blue Lola, Mo-Fi (o/On+)

Bose QuietComfort 25, 35, 35 II, SoundLink II

Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless

Extreme Isolation EX-25, EX-29

Focal Clear Professional, Clear, Listen Professional, Spirit Professional

Fostex TH900 mk2, TX-X00

Grado SR60e, SR80e

HiFiMan HE400i

HyperX Cloud II

JBL Everest Elite 700

Koss Porta Pro Classic

KRK KNS 6400, 8400

Marshall Major II, Monitor

Master & Dynamic MH40

Meze 99, 99 NEO

Oppo PM-3

Philips Fidelio X2HR, SHP9500

Phonen SMB-02

Pioneer HDJ-500

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

PreSonus HD 7

Samson SR850

Sennheiser HD, HD 25 (&0 Ohm, Light), HD-25-C II, HD 201, HD 202, HD 205, HD 206, HD 215-II, HD 280 Pro (incl. new facelift version), HD 380 Pro, HD 518, HD 598, HD 598 C, HD 600, HD 650, HD 660 , HD 700, HD 800, HD 800 S, Moometum On-Ear Wireless, PX 100-II

Shure SE215, SRH440, SRH840, SRH940, SRH1440, SRH1540, SRH1840

Skullcandy Crusher (with and without battery), Hesh 2.0

Sony MDR-1A, MDR-1000X, MDR-7506, MDR-7520, MDR-CD900ST, MDR-V150, MDR-XB450, MDR-XB450AP, MDR-XB650BT, MDR-XB950AP, BDR-XB950BT, MDR-Z7, MDR-XZ110, MDR-ZX110AP, MDR-ZX310, MR-XZ310AP, MDR-ZX770BN, WH-1000MX2

Status Audio CB-1

Superlux HD 668B, HD-330, HD681

Ultrasone Pro 580i, 780i, Signature Studio

V-Moda Crossfade II, M-100

Yamaha HPH-MT5, HPH-MT7, HPH-MT8, HPH-MT220

So there you have it – lots of favorites, and lots of … well, actually, some truly horrible consumer headphones in the mix, too. But I not lots of serious mixers like testing a mix on consumer cans. The advantage of doing that with calibration is presumably that you get to hear the limitations of different headphones, but at the same time, you still hear the reference version of the mix – not the one exaggerated by those particular headphones. That way, you get greater benefit from those additional tests. And you can make better use of random headphones you have around, clearly, even if they’re … well, fairly awful, they can be now still usable.

Even after that long list, I’m sure there’s some stuff you want that’s missing. Sonarworks doesn’t yet support in-ear headphones for its calibration tools, so you can rule that out. For everything else, you can either request support or if you want to get really serious, opt for individual mail-in calibration in Latvia.

More:

https://www.sonarworks.com/reference

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Buy Waves Gold Bundle for $199 USD & Get SSL 4000 Collection FREE

Waves Audio Gold SSL 4000 deal

Waves Audio’s third say in the 10 Days of Holiday Deals promotion is live now. For 24 hours only you can purchase the Gold Bundle for $199 USD and get the SSL 4000 Collection ($799 USD value) for FREE! The Gold bundle brings a wealth of mixing and mastering power to your studio, including many […]

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Get up to 77% off iZotope Elements plugins in a Holiday Sale

iZotope Elements Sale PIB

Plugin Boutique is offering discounts of up to 77% off regular on the iZotope Elements series of audio effect plugins. Grab an iZotope bargain! Everything you need for repairing, mixing and mastering with Ozone 8, RX and Nectar Elements. Give your vocals professional clarity and polish with Nectar Elements. Using the new Vocal Assistant, Nectar […]

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