Sonarworks Reference 3

Ok. I was too curious, and skeptic, about this plugin so I bought a measuring microphone and am now in the free trial of this. This is a plugin that is supposed to calibrate the sound of your speakers/headphones depending on the room you are listening in. It makes measurements first and then creates a profile for that room in particular which you load on an instance of the plugin in your DAW (last in your FX chain).

My mind was blown. The problems I detected listening in other systems were clearly exposed in my studio now. If any of you end up with mixes that have isues when listening in other systems, I do recommend to test this out. I will continue with the trial and think I’ll buy a license for this.

Any other impressions about it?


Excellent piece of kit. Have yet to use seriously but tests I did certainly exposed some flaws which I WAS happy to let by before.

I’ve been trying out REW, Room EQ Wizard last weekend. That’s a completely free program with an excellent tutorial in how to use it, how to interpret the graphs etc. Bit of a steep learning curve I will admit. But apparently it will also help you make a room impulse profile to compensate for its shortcomings. You just plug it in your mix bus. Haven’t got round to it, because I first want to try one or two more fundamental solutions (build more bass traps and maybe a specific Helmholz trap).
Maybe REW is worth checking out (being free…).
My guess is that the Sonarworks plug is easier to use (does the thinking for you)?
Now you come up with this, I’ll give the room impuls correction profile a shot some time in the next few days.
But not tomorrow: I will be enjoying a Ryan Adams concert!

I checked REW out some time ago and, yes, it seems to work fine also. I haven’t tested it yet. While going through the instructions on how to use it I noticed that is was a bit complicated, but was willing to try it out. Then I stumbled upon the Sonarworks solution and tried it out. I installed it, measured very easily and that was that. The only thing I needed was the profile of the mic.

The licensing process gave me some trouble though. But it got solved.

This type of solution can lead to a very interesting discussion. Is it ok to have an OK sounding room and use this to make it even better quite easily? Or is that not an option and the ultimate answer is to fix your room till it is perfect…


Good question, I hope that “a bit of both” is the best answer. I’ve read that even top studio’s have substantial bumps (more than 10 dB) in their impulse response. I’ve never read they use this sort of software to overcome them… I have read that the effort is (to some extent?) in vain: where those specific low frequencies cross they either nullify each other or boost each other depending on the phase of the soundwave at the crossing point. By boosting that frequency I would guess you can only make it worse. By attenuating that frequency you’ll get less low fq energy in the room, maybe more is absorbed and you get a better response? I’m not sure how this software actually works.

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Sonarworks is awesome, I use ARC2 myself (but have tried Sonarworks but didn’t see the benefit of buying both, if i didn’t already have ARC2 i would buy it though. ) it helps level out the room frq which helps your mixes translate across to other systems. probably the best money spent on SW besides your DAW IMO.

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