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Comparison: VSX - MixingRoom - Realphones - Sienna - Sonarworks
Old 23rd April 2021
  #1
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Musician's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Comparison: VSX - MixingRoom - Realphones - Sienna - Sonarworks

I created this thread for discussion on how these main contenders amongst headphone mixing software compare in features and of course experiences by their users. As it may be tiresome or difficult to read through all them separate threads to form a conclusive opinion.

Of course the best thing to do is demo it yourself with your own preferred headphones. But this thread should serve as a great starting point for doing so.

So please stay on topic and please only constructive criticism or feedback. Thanks!

Edit: sorry my mistake, please Jules, move this thread into the Music Computer forum or other more suitable.
Old 23rd April 2021
  #2
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Neptune45's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician ➑️
I created this thread for discussion on how these main contenders amongst headphone mixing software compare in features and of course experiences by their users. As it may be tiresome or difficult to read through all them separate threads to form a conclusive opinion.

Of course the best thing to do is demo it yourself with your own preferred headphones. But this thread should serve as a great starting point for doing so.

So please stay on topic and please only constructive criticism or feedback. Thanks!

Edit: sorry my mistake, please Jules, move this thread into the Music Computer forum or other more suitable.
Definitely a good idea and a worthwhile thread but as you said needs putting in proper area of website.
Old 23rd April 2021
  #3
Gear Nut
 
Subscribed - im using Realphones right now but I'm very interested in VSX.
Old 23rd April 2021
  #4
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mutetourettes's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
also might be worth considering Waves - NX / Abbey Road / Ocean way
Old 23rd April 2021 | Show parent
  #5
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Neptune45's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bassmotion ➑️
Subscribed - im using Realphones right now but I'm very interested in VSX.
I have the Studio version of Sonarworks SoundID which includes the Headphone correction and reference scenarios. I am also looking to get Sienna from AA as have demoed that and sounds better than my Waves ARS3 (which I own) and also better than Waves OWS (which I demoed). I have been interested in VSX since it launched, waited and waited on it, then couldn't get a pair and now am waiting for the newer batch which shouldn't suffer from the faulty headband issue.

I think having an actual set of Headphones manufactured specifically for purpose for use with the dedicated plugin should mean that will be ultimately the best option but if want to use own headphones then Sienna is maybe the best from what I hear.

N.B. Audeze are also doing one but only for their own brand of HPs.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
The headband issue with the VSX and the fact that they are out of stock are the only two things stopping me from buying them anytime soon. I have a big head so a weak headband would be a no-go. I think a purpose-built set of headphones is the best route if you're going to use this special software too. Oh yeah - and I read there may be a risk involved with using Beryllium in the drivers? Anybody heard about this? Apparently it's really toxic if you come into contact with it.

I really want to like Acustica Audio. I own N4 and a couple of 3rd party libraries, but I most just use algorithmic plugins. I think it was the endless hours with Nebula 3, tweaking settings and improper gain staging (my fault) causing chirping artifacts. If I can get the demo installed I'll try Sienna out in a bit.

Not a fan of Waves except for Scheps Omni Channel, so I probably won't be messing with those, but it's good to head Sienna sounds better. It'll save the time of wondering if they would be better, so thanks for that.

Never tried Audeze headphones but I love their leather care kit. Top shelf conditioner for leather pads.

Off to try Sienna...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune45 ➑️
I have the Studio version of Sonarworks SoundID which includes the Headphone correction and reference scenarios. I am also looking to get Sienna from AA as have demoed that and sounds better than my Waves ARS3 (which I own) and also better than Waves OWS (which I demoed). I have been interested in VSX since it launched, waited and waited on it, then couldn't get a pair and now am waiting for the newer batch which shouldn't suffer from the faulty headband issue.

I think having an actual set of Headphones manufactured specifically for purpose for use with the dedicated plugin should mean that will be ultimately the best option but if want to use own headphones then Sienna is maybe the best from what I hear.

N.B. Audeze are also doing one but only for their own brand of HPs.
Old 24th April 2021
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
I guess we all have different ears and priorities but for me the illusion of listening to speakers instead of headphones is the most important reason for buying such a plug-in. I have bought or demo'd them all, apart from $$$$ solutions or ones where you take a snapshot of your ear. So, for that auditory illusion my preferred order is:

1. Waves OWN(and ARS/NX which I also own) with webcam head tracking
2. Realphones
3. VSX
4. Sonarworks/CanOpener
5. Sienna

This is probably the most subjective of all audio issues so I would demo all the solutions where you could use your own headphones first and if still not happy take a punt on VSX.

The VSX headphones are great and the different rooms are superb mix checking environments so what I do for most of my work is to use the VSX hardware in flat mode(the so-called "HD Linear 2") with Waves OWN room simulation which to me sounds the cleanest out of the three Waves ones. Once I've listened to that combo for a while even the in-house VSX emulations sound better so it just goes to show how much "voodoo" is involved in all of this.
Old 24th April 2021
  #8
Gear Addict
 
Sacha's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
They are all different and all good and useful in their own way, annoyingly, and probably not helpful to someone deciding but that's my experience so far!

VSX has great utility as a reference tool, the hardware + software combo really gives you a lot of different reference options and can bring to light flaws and different perspectives just like varying rooms and speakers would. The support is also worth mentioning as they are awesome and the free updates are great obviously.

Realiphones is incredible for the headphone correction to me, much nicer than just Sonarworks, and the room simulation is cool too and a nice bonus but not as much of a useful mix microscope as VSX. With my HD600 though the details and airiness are so balanced and nice to listen to.

Sienna, especially with the VSX phones, is pure voodoo magic tech and really has the deepest, craziest most organic and room-like listening experience to me. For pure listening enjoyment this is it, and maybe the most real speaker-like experience of all I've tried.

I'm just really glad this tech exists and all the competition keeps pushing things to new levels. Great time to be a mixer / music lover!
Old 24th April 2021
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I'm not sure if the idea to do more than frequency response correction to headphones is a good idea.

You mix with an emulation that may sound more like speakers, but it's even more special than a headphone this way. Might be a nice thing to check, to get a second perspective, but I would not rely on that for critical things.

Especially when there are many different emulations. It's creating even more "non standard".

Furthermore, on the average I guess there are more people with higher quality headphones than good hifi systems out there.

I think it's much better to learn headphones instead.

So I don't want to have more than a EQ like Sonarworks. Would be even better when headphones could get a better frequency response on it's own.
Old 24th April 2021
  #10
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Speaking for myself I would very much would like to land on a definite reference set of headphones that can be worn for a few hours without causing headache, feeling soft and comfortable on ears and head overall, and have a great balance of highs vs lows without color so neutral/true to the source sounding.
Then using any software would just be preference of monitoring environments and I can judge each on it's own merits.

Since it's for mixing - that would mean open back phones - which one for a budget around 200 euro is really a great choice?
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #11
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacha ➑️
They are all different and all good and useful in their own way, annoyingly, and probably not helpful to someone deciding but that's my experience so far!

VSX has great utility as a reference tool, the hardware + software combo really gives you a lot of different reference options and can bring to light flaws and different perspectives just like varying rooms and speakers would. The support is also worth mentioning as they are awesome and the free updates are great obviously.

Realiphones is incredible for the headphone correction to me, much nicer than just Sonarworks, and the room simulation is cool too and a nice bonus but not as much of a useful mix microscope as VSX. With my HD600 though the details and airiness are so balanced and nice to listen to.

Sienna, especially with the VSX phones, is pure voodoo magic tech and really has the deepest, craziest most organic and room-like listening experience to me. For pure listening enjoyment this is it, and maybe the most real speaker-like experience of all I've tried.

I'm just really glad this tech exists and all the competition keeps pushing things to new levels. Great time to be a mixer / music lover!
So Realphones has the better headphones correction while Slate has the better room stimulations?
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #12
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Sacha's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician ➑️
So Realphones has the better headphones correction while Slate has the better room stimulations?
A bit apples to oranges I'd say, but I guess you could say that. Thing is VSX works with their headphones so they aren't trying to correct other phones like RP is. RP is nice to use my existing phones with and still get the benefits of the tech.
Old 24th April 2021
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
It all comes down to Translation.
Old 24th April 2021
  #14
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norbury brook's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've been trying to get into the headphone mixing thing recently just because i think it's a useful skill to have . I have a nice studio with $10,000 monitors but it would be nice to be able to mix on phones at times.

I bought sienna and I've just ordered some audeze LCD-X headphones


Sienna is working well for me at the moment with my HD650's so i think it's a case of learning the phones/software/room thing by constant listening and trial/error.


On windows Jriver media center lets you put Sienna on so you can listen to your music ref library


M
Old 24th April 2021
  #15
DKT
Gear Head
 
DKT's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I use both VSX + Sienna Guru

I bought VSX first when first released - having worked on commercial binaural projects - was interested in how they got around the individual HRTF roadblock.

I have an acoustically designed mixing room in a commercial space with nice mains (Barefoot MM26's + NS10) - but with Covid I wanted to be able to work at my apartment / turn around projects faster.

I wasn't much interested in the earlier Waves offerings - I'm less interested in the emulation of a space (like Abbey Road) than the ability to cross reference for translation.

VSX is a great product - it took some getting used to as any in any "new room". My clients were happy with the mixes and I was actually getting less revision requests. I tend to keep to one room (Archon) + Boombox. The non studio rooms such as "club" + car emulations have never really given me much useful feedback other than recreating what a track sounds like in an empty club while ordering a drink.

I use SoundSource for my metering plugs + VSX + Sienna ... the VSX depth + EQ controls don't work as noted by others, but I've never felt the needed to fine tune the stock settings.

The VSX headphones sound great but as mentioned in many threads aren't the most robust / certainly are nothing like Audeze etc ... but they are light and physically somewhat invisible. My first pair broke the headband after 3 months - but Slate was AMAZING with customer service and sent a new pair (actually a whole new system) no questions asked immediately.

I also put some of the blame upon myself with the headband - the method I use now is tightening the band before putting on and then sliding them down into place once on my head (as opposed to keep the band open and expanding the headphone, which seems to but stress on the plastic bracket).

In the downtime of waiting on the new pair of VSX - I downloaded Sienna to keep working with the same workflow.

With Guru, I think Sienna is a much deeper product than VSX - both for good and bad. The controls aren't very intuitive as to what they are actually doing ("Perfection"?) - but the preset library is rounded out nicely. VSX wins for the GUI + transitions - a bit more cartoonish but cleaner and with less glitching when changing parameters / switching rooms. To my ear, Sienna imparts less room sound / spatialization - which I prefer.

I can see not being locked into a branded headphone with Sienna as probably the the biggest benefit over VSX - their HP library covers a lot of ground (even includes the Slates).

With the new VSX update - and the addition of essentially my studio setup (Barefoots + mono Auratone) - it's hard to choose. The mono Auratone especially is incredible / unreal when compared to the real thing (not having a mono setting on Sienna or VSX 1.0 is an annoyance). Mixing with VSX is a bit trickier - you really do have to learn the rooms - but more rewarding ... but I do enjoy editing in Sienna a bit more (without the presence of spatialization).

Plan to keep on using both!
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #16
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Musician's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKT ➑️
I use both VSX + Sienna Guru

I bought VSX first when first released - having worked on commercial binaural projects - was interested in how they got around the individual HRTF roadblock.

I have an acoustically designed mixing room in a commercial space with nice mains (Barefoot MM26's + NS10) - but with Covid I wanted to be able to work at my apartment / turn around projects faster.

I wasn't much interested in the earlier Waves offerings - I'm less interested in the emulation of a space (like Abbey Road) than the ability to cross reference for translation.

VSX is a great product - it took some getting used to as any in any "new room". My clients were happy with the mixes and I was actually getting less revision requests. I tend to keep to one room (Archon) + Boombox. The non studio rooms such as "club" + car emulations have never really given me much useful feedback other than recreating what a track sounds like in an empty club while ordering a drink.

I use SoundSource for my metering plugs + VSX + Sienna ... the VSX depth + EQ controls don't work as noted by others, but I've never felt the needed to fine tune the stock settings.

The VSX headphones sound great but as mentioned in many threads aren't the most robust / certainly are nothing like Audeze etc ... but they are light and physically somewhat invisible. My first pair broke the headband after 3 months - but Slate was AMAZING with customer service and sent a new pair (actually a whole new system) no questions asked immediately.

I also put some of the blame upon myself with the headband - the method I use now is tightening the band before putting on and then sliding them down into place once on my head (as opposed to keep the band open and expanding the headphone, which seems to but stress on the plastic bracket).

In the downtime of waiting on the new pair of VSX - I downloaded Sienna to keep working with the same workflow.

With Guru, I think Sienna is a much deeper product than VSX - both for good and bad. The controls aren't very intuitive as to what they are actually doing ("Perfection"?) - but the preset library is rounded out nicely. VSX wins for the GUI + transitions - a bit more cartoonish but cleaner and with less glitching when changing parameters / switching rooms. To my ear, Sienna imparts less room sound / spatialization - which I prefer.

I can see not being locked into a branded headphone with Sienna as probably the the biggest benefit over VSX - their HP library covers a lot of ground (even includes the Slates).

With the new VSX update - and the addition of essentially my studio setup (Barefoots + mono Auratone) - it's hard to choose. The mono Auratone especially is incredible / unreal when compared to the real thing (not having a mono setting on Sienna or VSX 1.0 is an annoyance). Mixing with VSX is a bit trickier - you really do have to learn the rooms - but more rewarding ... but I do enjoy editing in Sienna a bit more (without the presence of spatialization).

Plan to keep on using both!
That's what I call useful and constructive feedback, thanks very much!

So Sienna has more of a direct dryer sound, less of the room sound? That would appeal to me more as well...
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #17
DKT
Gear Head
 
DKT's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician ➑️
That's what I call useful and constructive feedback, thanks very much!

So Sienna has more of a direct dryer sound, less of the room sound? That would appeal to me more as well...
In my opinion, Sienna (with Guru) has greater control over personal preferences ("room sound" among them).

VSX is a slicker package / easier install + update system / simpler GUI.

This is completely personal opinion and in no way scientific - but I feel I mix faster in Sienna but better in VSX.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #18
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candyflip's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician ➑️
So Sienna has more of a direct dryer sound, less of the room sound?
You can edit how much room sound with one of the parameters
Old 25th April 2021 | Show parent
  #19
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Neptune45's Avatar
 
@ DKT thanks for the info, very detailed and informative. Appreciate posts like this from someone who has experience of both.
Old 25th April 2021 | Show parent
  #20
DKT
Gear Head
 
DKT's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune45 ➑️
@ DKT thanks for the info, very detailed and informative. Appreciate posts like this from someone who has experience of both.
My pleasure!

I wish I had the technical ear to describe the exact differences between them as in other threads - but they both work for me as valuable tools / make my job easier / keep clients happy + money in.

After a decade with the headache of doing cost analysis of NYC real estate / killing my lungs with cutting 703 insulation - I'm psyched for this tech!

Finally able to mix at home in my sweatpants with my cats.
Old 25th April 2021 | Show parent
  #21
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norbury brook's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKT ➑️
My pleasure!

I wish I had the technical ear to describe the exact differences between them as in other threads - but they both work for me as valuable tools / make my job easier / keep clients happy + money in.

After a decade with the headache of doing cost analysis of NYC real estate / killing my lungs with cutting 703 insulation - I'm psyched for this tech!

Finally able to mix at home in my sweatpants with my cats.
that's a similar situation for me, the main issue now is my 16/32 core ryzen machine I need to run all my AA plugs when mixing is firmly in the studio and I cannot get a laptop to replicate that

it's certainly a worthwhile skill though I feel being able to mix well on phones. I'm still learning and learning the tools too. I'm looking forward to my Audeze LDC-X coming tomorrow though.



M
Old 25th April 2021
  #22
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mutetourettes's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah VSX takes a lot less CPU than Sienna.
Old 26th April 2021
  #23
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Neptune45's Avatar
 
Just purchased Sienna Vol A before deadline for intro offer ends tomorrow (89 Euros instead of 149). The other Volumes B and C will stay the same price at 69 Euros apparently so might pick them up along the way.

As to VSX, still awaiting more peoples' comments on version 2 over on that thread and also the new stock to arrive in the shops and peoples' comments about the headbands on those etc.
Old 26th April 2021
  #24
Gear Guru
 
4 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Great topic! SKNote also coming out with one fwiw..
Old 27th April 2021
  #25
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Finnish's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Sienna with VSX headphones
Old 27th April 2021
  #26
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soundrage's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I just grabbed Sienna with 15 minutes to spare on the intro deal. Really looking forward to this, since I relocated to LA and living in apartment.
Old 27th April 2021 | Show parent
  #27
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soundrage's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook ➑️
that's a similar situation for me, the main issue now is my 16/32 core ryzen machine I need to run all my AA plugs when mixing is firmly in the studio and I cannot get a laptop to replicate that

it's certainly a worthwhile skill though I feel being able to mix well on phones. I'm still learning and learning the tools too. I'm looking forward to my Audeze LDC-X coming tomorrow though.



M
I only have AT ATH-M50's but I can emulate those Audeze...
Old 27th April 2021 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Musician ➑️
Speaking for myself I would very much would like to land on a definite reference set of headphones that can be worn for a few hours without causing headache, feeling soft and comfortable on ears and head overall, and have a great balance of highs vs lows without color so neutral/true to the source sounding.
Then using any software would just be preference of monitoring environments and I can judge each on it's own merits.

Since it's for mixing - that would mean open back phones - which one for a budget around 200 euro is really a great choice?
Easy...HD 600. I could wear those for days with no fatigue or discomfort. I’ve tried a lot of headphones in this price range and the HD 600 was a game changer for me. It set the standard.
Old 28th April 2021
  #29
Lives for gear
 
soundrage's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Well, this technology is new for me and I am stunned. Working on a mix I thought was half way good sounds like ass in some of these Sienna rooms. I relocated to another state so my room treated studio is gone, so I only have some small Presonus monitors in untreated room right now. So I've been using my Audio Tech AT50's and "thought" I was getting use to them....wow...If this Sienna is telling my ears the truth I'm sure glad I didn't let anyone hear any of my recent mixes. I'm new to mixing on headphones and this tool is clearly letting me know I've got a learning curve.
Old 2nd May 2021 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis ➑️
Great topic! SKNote also coming out with one fwiw..

Wow...Unreal!

https://www.sknoteaudio.com/wp/index...gh-headphones/

any thoughts/expectations on this you know of?
i just read the info but don't know the company.

So, Sienna's into offer has 29 hours left.
Realphones are having 45% discount
Mixingroom's intro price is going to be 49.99$. and later 99.99$.


I recently purchased Realphones and haven't used it much/ set up right yet.
I have to say i really got coucht up in the hype about Sienna after reading (not all but a lot) of that mega thread, but haven't listened to the demo.
Tempted to buy with the clock ticking on intro offer even, but decided to stick to RF.
Realphones will have more rooms/spaces etc added also, i've read.

And now next week there's Mixingroom??? wow...
Holding back & sticking to what i have may be wise at this moment!

EDIT:
Ok, i now see MixingRoom is even in the title already. I wasn't aware of another competitor.
πŸ“ Reply

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