sonarworks headphones. my experience.

Discussion in 'Software' started by tun, Apr 16, 2020.

?

what is your overall opinion of sonarworks headphone section after using it?

  1. love it

    57.1%
  2. it was okay

    32.1%
  3. hated it

    10.7%
  1. tun

    tun Rock Star

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    i thought i would give sonarworks a try and see how well it really performs. so i DLed the latest from sister site and used that.

    the installation was very painful (sonarworks end). it did not ask me which components i wanted or where i wanted to install them to, so now i have AU and RTAS installed and will never need them and i also have extra VST folders which i will have to symlink to, which is fine, but adds mess to my very tidy folder structure.
    i cant get systemwide to work (R2R end) because i need to use an offline headphone file. maybe it is possible but i didnt care enough at this point so just tested it in my DAW.
    ^update:
    systemwide worked fine after rebooting the computer. for anybody having trouble try that.
    i was able to load my patched reference file with no problems. originally the wizard would open every time, but after reboot it does not.

    i loaded a couple of tracks into my DAW and A/B'd it and i was very dissapointed. it had some corrections that were great, but others that made the sound worse. overall it was worse. this is not completely down to me being used to the headphons flaws either. it tried to compensate the roll-off at the top end with a huge boost around the 18kHz area and it sounded very much like an unnatural boost. it also over-corrected a wide band around 100Hz, but i think this is a taste thing.

    i could not find any way to fine tune their adjustments other than sub so i decided to add an EQ after sonarworks to correct these flaws myself.
    after a long session of A/Bing and fine tuning i found a nice balance with sonarworks mixed to 66% and an EQ afterwards taming the harsh boost around 18kHz and a very slight, wide boost at 100Hz. i havent decided if i want to keep the 100Hz boost on the EQ yet, i will decide after more hours of listening to music i know. an EQ with 1 or 2 corrections is not too bad i guess, they were close.

    overall i feel like it might be too much to have sonarworks running if i am going to EQ afterwards anyway, at that point, why not just use the EQ on its own and match sonarworks with the corrections.
    i would assume the speaker calibration is much better because you can measure where the problems are and correct only those, but the only way to get the correct response of your headphones is to send them to sonarworks to be measured. i assume the harsh boost at 18kHz is the result of the difference between my headphones and the pair they measured, although i did not expect two pairs of the same headphones to sound so vastly different.

    i havent decided if i want to keep using it yet. it will take a while to get used to the new sound of the headphones that i have been using for about 3-4 years then i can decide.


    what is your experience of sonarworks? i would love to hear if people are having a similar experience or what?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2020
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  3. jhagen

    jhagen Producer

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    The very concept is completely wrong, if you skin Winamp like Cubase it still Winamp.
     
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  4. GodHimSelf

    GodHimSelf Producer

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    I am very happy. I got the full version with mic.

    It actually depends on the headphones you're using (HD650). If they are somehow exagerated you'll notice correction. In mine, I found the lower mids more controlled and less muddy with a tad of brighter highs. I am considering sending them for calibration.

    For me the big big advantage is calibration that worked specially well in my homestudio. The soundshift and translation was really good. You have to remember that is not only EQ it's phase correction as well.

    Kind regards,
    D.
     
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  5. Unirorm

    Unirorm Kapellmeister

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    Assuming you re not having an individual calibration and using the generic profile than can lead in some rare cases in large gaps between the actual curve and correction. Imagine having a generic measurement for speakers for your room and you would have to select one for the same dimensions as your control room. There are many factors that determine the final result thus the result would be wrong.
    The same analogy could be in headphones, although there is no acoustic space to be calculated, there are other factors that may introduce differences from one pair of cans to another. Humidity, playtime, use etc.

    If you love your cans, send them for individual calibration, you can't go wrong with this. From time to time they have discounts on this.
     
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  6. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    I'm one of the few that is not a fan of it. I know my headphones and my speakers. Yes, I have a very tuned and treated room. I don't need another "filter" in my chain (which also adds annoying latency). No thanks for me.
    I was against "Antares Mic Modeler" in the late 90's too, and I'm betting on the same horse again. Call me old-fashioned boomer, I don't care.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  7. tun

    tun Rock Star

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    i dont think it is phase correction, i think the phase shift is a result of the filters. there is a linear phase option where there is no shift to work around this.
    this is actually one thing i was worried about until i spotted the linear phase option.
    i could be wrong though, i have just not seen anything mentioned about any phase correction.
     
  8. tun

    tun Rock Star

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    how so?
    you cant really compare skins with audio. skins are a visual thing, so if you skin winamp to look like cubase then yes, it is cubase, visually.
    i dont think the two things can be compared.
    im not saying its a flawless method, but it can certainly help in theory. i think the biggest part of my problems have come from information that the method needs but i have not supplied, such as an actual measurement of my headphones, or maybe even the processes used by the devs, but i cant judge that without proper input from my end.
     
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  9. tun

    tun Rock Star

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    yea i think thats where the problems are coming from. the problems are actually minimal in theory, but enough to potentially make me trust my knowledge of my headphones over the correction. i honestly believe that if i sent my headphones to them then there would be an improvement, but its not an option for me unfortunately.

    i have just read the manual and spotted a feature that i didnt spot while i was playing with it, which is "limit controls". it seems that you can roll off the process at the top and bottom. this feature seems to be only available on the speaker module :(
    the biggest problem for me is the big boost at around 18k, which in theory can be corrected using this. the other problem is the result of bias towards the sound i am used to with those headphones, i think.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
  10. tun

    tun Rock Star

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    i completely agree, if you have a well treated room and a good monitoring environment then you should not introduce more potential problems. they say you can perfect a well treated room, but i think learning your listening environment is far more important.
    unfortunately for me my listening environment is currently limited to a pair of relatively budget headphones.
    one of my monitors is dead and the other is on its way out, my old room is gone and im stuck in a hard room with so many other problems related to it. i cant afford to fix any of those problems so i am trying to make the most with what ive got :(
     
  11. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    I tried it for some time systemwide on my headphones.

    Although I found the correction curve useful, it sounded exaggerated to me.
    I compared it to ToneBooters Morphit and found a similar curve, even if less detailed.
    I applied a very simplified curve to my soundcard's software (HP output only) and am pleased with the result.
     
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  12. tun

    tun Rock Star

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    i think it was you that i remembered saying that, but i didnt want to tag you and make you read through that bullshit OP if you didnt want to, especially if i was wrong about it being you :D
    as i said, the settings that felt right to me was a mix set at 66% wet with a very small tweek, so its safe to say that i probably heard similar problems as you. i think it could be because we are so used to the colour of our headphones that when they suddenly sound flat we dont like it.
    there are obviously physical limitations too, which could be the case. just because we can read the flaws and apply EQ to correct them doesnt mean that the headphones can recreate this correction.
    for example, a standing wave is always going to be a standing wave no matter how much you try to correct it. obviously thats not relevant to headphones though, but there are other physical limitations too.
     
  13. No Avenger

    No Avenger Audiosexual

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    A too big change is irritating, no doubt, but I'm not sure if flat sounds good on HP. I looked up a lot of diagrams of high end HP with max stars for sound in reviews and none of them was even close to being flat.
     
  14. Trurl

    Trurl Rock Star

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    Tried it with my AKG K240s. It radically changed the frequency response but not in a useful way... I ditched it. I guess I'm so used to those phones anyway...
     
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  15. tun

    tun Rock Star

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    yea agreed. i think that might have been my problem with the 100Hz area.
    that said, we are not supposed to like the sound :)
     
  16. tun

    tun Rock Star

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    i think thats why it sounded bad to me, the fact that i have used the headphones for years and got used to their sound, then suddenly those boosts in certain areas werent there. it makes it hard to determine if its even a change i want to stick with.
    since my initial tests i have listened to white and pink noise through it and i have to say that the sonarworks processed version of noise sounds far better. maybe i am hearing flaws with the music, or maybe its because its a musical signal that things are perceived differently.

    i think i am going to have to use this setup for a long time before deciding.
     
  17. Trurl

    Trurl Rock Star

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    Interestingly, I would never in a million years have thought I could get away with mixing with those AKGs. But I've been tracking some stuff here at home at my house with them for fun and today I took what I had by my regular studio just to check it out and it all sounded FANTASTIC. I'd change some reverb levels and other than that I wouldn't change anything. I'm shocked to the core.
     
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  18. jksixfour914

    jksixfour914 Member

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    I honestly use it every single time I mix. For my headphones I use the Avantone Mixphones and my main monitors are the Hedd Type 07's. I never leave the calibration at 100%. I'm used to listening to both of them and having them at 100% I hated it. I usually keep the level around 55-75%. Sounds more natural and better to me and I nail my mixes with no problem. Also what helps out is using the Goodhertz CanOpener after the sonarworks plugin. Me personally I will never mix without sonarworks engaged. I love it.
     
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  19. Trurl

    Trurl Rock Star

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    I'm guessing that the common factor in all this is the phrase "used to it" ;) Probably also few of us have such lousy equipment (phones or monitors) that they are unusable without Sonarworks. I don't doubt Sonarworks can be a very positive thing with the right curve applied, and taking time to get used to the result.
     
  20. EAR TO LEARN

    EAR TO LEARN Producer

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    Sonarworks corrects your speakers and headphones, NOT your mixes. You have to bear this in mind. It's all about getting used to them. Your ears will recalibrate along with the software in time...It's not an instant fix. I thought it sucked at first, now I find it very useful
     
  21. The Pirate

    The Pirate Audiosexual

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    A happy user since the very first day they came out. I am so used to it now that I don't ever used my headphones without it. I prefer both the the standard and individual calibration over no Sonarworks. Only problem was that I was so used to the sound of the Sennheiser and Focal headphones that it took me a while to get used to Sonarworks. This is one of those programs like Soothe (here we go),we all can continue to make music without it.
     
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