I wonder if those that they measured had worn out earn pads, which can apparently cause the bass to roll-off more steeply due to a flimsier fit. It offers calibration profiles, predefined simulations, and filter modes for a variety of usage scenarios. It's unclear to me from looking at the screenshot of the software how you would get Sonarworks 4 to equalize the headphones to reproduce the Harmon Curve. New equipment is introduced, furniture is moved, or new speakers are brought in. The only steps you must take are accepting the End User License Agreement and following the on-screen instructions provided by the installer since the rest of the process is carried out automatically. This system actually does work! So we introduced headphone calibration in Version 3.
Sonarworks offer a variety of bundles and individually calibrated headphones from Sennheiser, Focal, Sony, Beyerdynamic and Audio Technica. You learn to compensate through trial and error and experience until your mixes sound good. After doing so, loading the plugin depends on the workstation that serves as a host app. Think of it as part of your headphones or speaker system, not the mix itself. However, just because a recording studio does it, does not necessarily mean it is right for every context. Your existing headphones may be capable of absolute accuracy, but physical limitations are keeping them from realizing their potential. Made to measure Moving on then, the Speaker version Studio Edition of Reference is pretty much identical to the Headphone version, but you also get a separate application to measure your room.
Sonarworks Reference 4 comes in two flavours. The on-screen graphics help you position the microphone to the necessary positions in relation to your speakers and physical setup. Sonarworks Reference 4 uses an intricate algorithm to apply changes in the frequency response of your system resulting in a flat frequency response curve. Your existing headphones may be capable of absolute accuracy, but physical limitations are keeping them from realizing their potential. You can also adjust the reference curve for Bass Boost or Tilt or add custom profiles to hear what things would sound like on consumer grade equipment. We figured out the answer using proprietary tools, software and methodologies, and ultimately realized that we can make headphones sound the same as calibrated speakers sound in a well-tuned room. Our tests were met again with very encouraging feedback and results.
Heres's a Sweetwater tip: you may not need to shell out the big bucks for top-of-the-line 'phones. The Studio Edition, which is what I used for this review, is designed to work on headphones and speakers. Sonarworks Reference 4 Systemwide can help you in this situation. Unlike the speakers, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear that there was no immediate dramatic shift from the uncalibrated sound. The results were immediately obvious. With Reference 4, you take the guesswork out of mixing.
Treble was surprisingly well-behaved and I had very few issues there — somewhat the opposite of what I would have expected looking at the measurements. You can choose from various profiles in the upper part of the window, manually calibrate your system, simulate a different system and tweak advanced settings, such as selecting a filter type or set calibration limit controls. The proof is in the pudding, as they say when you play back your mixes on other systems and hear how much more accurately they translate. Reference 4 Studio Edition offers the full package of highly powerful software, providing consistent reference sound both in the studio and on the go. I immediately heard that some of my track levels needed to be adjusted. The Headphone Edition features a long list of averaged calibration files for various headsets, which load in a specific frequency curve to help give the smoothest and flattest response. If you didn't register for a trial code, you can do so on the app's homepage.
One of the main problems with home project studios is that they are rarely ideal architectural designs in terms of acoustics. . Sonarworks measurements of these headphones show a very steep roll-off in the bass starting around 100hz, however, most other measurements, including mine, show a much narrower roll-off in this region. One of the biggest challenges we faced when building Reference was the simple fact that if you measure the frequency response of a room with a microphone, and then move it around even by a fraction of an inch, the measurement changes. At first, I was startled that the level was so much quieter. If you can't afford to spend money on expensive acoustic room treatments, do yourself a favor and get Reference 4 and the measurement mic that comes with it. When completed, you simply save the correction profile in the same folder where the headphone profiles live, giving you quick access to various listening scenarios.
Reference 4 Studio Edition offers the full package of highly powerful software, providing consistent reference sound both in the studio and on the go. So the question becomes, Which is the right way to measure a headphone? For the discerning listeners, there is a Linear Phase mode which ensures the ultimate accuracy through time-accurate filtering techniques. It also gives you the option to open the main Standalone window, which pretty much replicates the functionality available in the plug-in version. Not sure why that is, as my experience measuring is that treble is usually more finicky than bass - in this case Sonarworks seems to have excellent treble, but occasionally odd bass and midrange measurements. Sonarworks Reference 4 Studio Edition Overview Finally you can work with confidence on the setup you have.
The less expensive Headphone Edition is a modified version, set up to work with headphones only. So if you take 100 readings in the room, there will be 100 different measurements. I took a mix I did a month ago and remixed it with the Sonarworks plug-in in place on the stereo bus. You'll receive an email with the license code to complete your order. I really like that the difference was subtle.