Anyone using Sonarworks Sound Reference or other calibration software?

I have been trial’ing Sonarworks reference ID for headphones in Cubase 12. I’m not sure I fully comprehend what is going on here. The claim is that the plugin makes the headphone frequency response “flat.” Ok fine. That’s good. But why is it that I cannot get a big warm and crisp sound when the plugin is engaged? My highs are muted, my lows are thin, my vocals sound boxy and I can’t hear the doubling effect of using a vocal doubler (or any stereo effect really). In fact all stereo effects seem muted. Anyway, I turn the thing off, export audio, and listen in another system. Hmmmm. Sounds decent. Bass is warm, treble is crisp, and vocal stereo effect is there. So it seems like it works to create a balanced mix… HOWEVER it seems that when you are mixing you don’t get to hear how the music is going to sound elsewhere after it is exported. How do I know how much bass to add if I can barely hear it during mixing? Am I missing something here? I looked for a user manual but I couldn’t find anything. Not sure how this is useful if it is not going to let me hear the depth and width and warm/crispy of my mix before exporting. Any insights about this tech and how you use it will be appreciated

Hi m203,
I am no expert, but this is my understanding. I use Sonarworks too. The key to understanding the benefit is you can generally get a reasonably consistent frequency response across different headphones (I only use it for headphones). I use several headphones depending on where I am working. Using Sonarworks consistently, I now have a good idea of what “good” sounds like using my various headphones. I can take a mix into my car and it sounds good, it sounds big, warm and in my face! This is totally different to how it sounded in the headphones. My ears are calibrated to the reference frequency response of the headphones.

Consumer sound systems are tuned to make the sounds bigger, warmer, and in your face. If I were to mix so it sounds big and warm using Sonarworks, my car sound system would just make it sound like a big boomy mess that I can’t tolerate at any decent volume. Furthermore, I find my mixing sounds better on more devices like my bluetooth headset coming from my phone.

I hope I have explained it well enough. One thing I would strongly suggest is to listen to your favorite commercial releases in the best quality using Sonarworks. This will really nail down what a good sounding mix truly sounds like. You will hear detail you might not have realised was there. You will also speed up the process of calibrating your ears to a “flat” mix.

Depends on what headphones. If you use headphones that at artificially bass and treble heavy then it will flatten these out. I use it for headphones and speakers and it makes a difference. If you have Cubase pro then you can put the plugin in the control room so no need to put on the master bus or bypass to render or export.

Realphones :ok_hand:t2::ok_hand:t2::ok_hand:t2: the best

Your description sounds like you did a double routing…
Make sure you only use it on the headphones bus in the control room.

I’ve been using RealPhones plug-in. It is very accurate. I can tailor to sound exactly like my car space, pretty amazing

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