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Sonarworks releases Reference 4!
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #991
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Benj's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by todez ➡️
I bought Ref 4 and set it up. I have a safe headroom of 12 DB and my mix is around -12 to -14 on the Main Out, but when I disable Sonarworks 4 to export the mix to my project page, I'm told the mix is clipping! At this point I'm not sure if what I'm doing is correct and I can find no videos that show me how to actually use Sonarworks 4 in the mix and then export the song!

What am I doing wrong? Why does the volume jump so drastically when I disable Sonarworks 4? Why would my mix be clipping when with Sonar works it is at -12 to -14?

Thank you!

Todez
With Sonarworks bypassed, that is your actual mix volume. So if you are clipping without Sonarworks then you need to lower your mix volume. Sonarworks will EQ, both positive and negative amounts to apply the headphone or speaker correction needed. When there are boosts, then the overall volume of Sonarworks needs to drop by that amount for there to not be clipping or to be "safe" for monitoring. This is why you will hear a drop in level when the plugin is activated. The reason why it might not be clipping with Sonarworks on is if you have have the safety volume decrease more than is actually needed from the EQ correction or your mix isn't having a ton of activity in the frequencies requiring boost correction.

So turn off Sonarworks to determine the actual headroom you have on your mixes and adjust it to the level you want. One thing you can do is put Sonarworks on a second bus or Aux after your mixdown bus so that you can always see what your levels are on that bus, even with Sonarworks on. Sonarworks is only applying correction for listening back to your mixes, so you would never want to print your mixes through it anyways.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #992
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Neptune45's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by todez ➡️
I bought Ref 4 and set it up. I have a safe headroom of 12 DB and my mix is around -12 to -14 on the Main Out, but when I disable Sonarworks 4 to export the mix to my project page, I'm told the mix is clipping! At this point I'm not sure if what I'm doing is correct and I can find no videos that show me how to actually use Sonarworks 4 in the mix and then export the song!

What am I doing wrong? Why does the volume jump so drastically when I disable Sonarworks 4? Why would my mix be clipping when with Sonar works it is at -12 to -14?

Thank you!

Todez
You need to disable safe headroom at bottom of SW plugin as otherwise it lowers the sound and doesn't play it as it really is.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #993
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune45 ➡️
You need to disable safe headroom at bottom of SW plugin as otherwise it lowers the sound and doesn't play it as it really is.
Hello Neptune45,

OK. Thank you for letting me know that. My understanding was that by having the Safe Headroom set up at -12 on SW, the mix would also be at -12 when I disabled SW to export the mix. I guess I was completely mistaken. Having said that, does anyone leave the Safe Headroom on, and if so, at what level should it be at? Thank you very much!
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #994
Lives for gear
 
Benj's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neptune45 ➡️
You need to disable safe headroom at bottom of SW plugin as otherwise it lowers the sound and doesn't play it as it really is.
Please note, that this will still not tell you what your actual song’s level is if it’s on your master bus.

This will get rid of the volume drop from Sonarworks, but one is more likely to clip your output since Sonarworks is usually boosting frequencies and needs that extra headroom to not clip your output.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #995
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benj ➡️
With Sonarworks bypassed, that is your actual mix volume. So if you are clipping without Sonarworks then you need to lower your mix volume. Sonarworks will EQ, both positive and negative amounts to apply the headphone or speaker correction needed. When there are boosts, then the overall volume of Sonarworks needs to drop by that amount for there to not be clipping or to be "safe" for monitoring. This is why you will hear a drop in level when the plugin is activated. The reason why it might not be clipping with Sonarworks on is if you have have the safety volume decrease more than is actually needed from the EQ correction or your mix isn't having a ton of activity in the frequencies requiring boost correction.

So turn off Sonarworks to determine the actual headroom you have on your mixes and adjust it to the level you want. One thing you can do is put Sonarworks on a second bus or Aux after your mixdown bus so that you can always see what your levels are on that bus, even with Sonarworks on. Sonarworks is only applying correction for listening back to your mixes, so you would never want to print your mixes through it anyways.
Hello Benj,

Thank you for your reply! I was not clipping with Sonarworks on. My understanding was that if I had Safe Headroom on at -12, after turning off SW my mix would actually be at -12. But that is not how it works, apparently. I have been told now that I should turn Safe Headroom off completely and do my mix that way. That would then be the true level of my mix. So I don't really understand how the Safe Headroom function works and what it is for. But it seems that I'll have to go back and remix all of my songs again! Thank you!
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #996
Lives for gear
 
Benj's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by todez ➡️
Hello Neptune45,

OK. Thank you for letting me know that. My understanding was that by having the Safe Headroom set up at -12 on SW, the mix would also be at -12 when I disabled SW to export the mix. I guess I was completely mistaken. Having said that, does anyone leave the Safe Headroom on, and if so, at what level should it be at? Thank you very much!
If your mixes are at all approaching 0db on the master bus or you are listening to mastered music, then you would keep the safe volume switch on. Typically, when you switch safe volume on, the plugin will tell you how much is needed to be compensated - setting the volume for you. How much will depend on the correction needed along with the other settings you’ve chosen. So, for example, if you boost the Bass frequencies and there is already a boost there needed for compensation, the plugin will lower the the output level for you. One thing I’ve noticed is that if you then turn off the bass boost, you have to manually raise the level back up to get the previous safety level. I only have version 4, so the new plugin could be different.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #997
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benj ➡️
With Sonarworks bypassed, that is your actual mix volume. So if you are clipping without Sonarworks then you need to lower your mix volume. Sonarworks will EQ, both positive and negative amounts to apply the headphone or speaker correction needed. When there are boosts, then the overall volume of Sonarworks needs to drop by that amount for there to not be clipping or to be "safe" for monitoring. This is why you will hear a drop in level when the plugin is activated. The reason why it might not be clipping with Sonarworks on is if you have have the safety volume decrease more than is actually needed from the EQ correction or your mix isn't having a ton of activity in the frequencies requiring boost correction.

So turn off Sonarworks to determine the actual headroom you have on your mixes and adjust it to the level you want. One thing you can do is put Sonarworks on a second bus or Aux after your mixdown bus so that you can always see what your levels are on that bus, even with Sonarworks on. Sonarworks is only applying correction for listening back to your mixes, so you would never want to print your mixes through it anyways.
I use my Main Out as the mixdown buss. I don't believe that the DAW allows me a buss after it. So, would I create one buss (other than the Main) to run all my tracks to and then have that go the Main, and create another bus just to have SW on? I guess I don't really understand the routing you mentioned.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #998
Lives for gear
 
Benj's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by todez ➡️
Hello Benj,

Thank you for your reply! I was not clipping with Sonarworks on. My understanding was that if I had Safe Headroom on at -12, after turning off SW my mix would actually be at -12. But that is not how it works, apparently. I have been told now that I should turn Safe Headroom off completely and do my mix that way. That would then be the true level of my mix. So I don't really understand how the Safe Headroom function works and what it is for. But it seems that I'll have to go back and remix all of my songs again! Thank you!
If Sonarworks is on your master bus and it’s doing correction, then this isn’t your level... it’s the level of your song with Sonarworks correction on. So the only way to really know your level is to turn off Sonarworks.

You shouldn’t need to do a complete remix. You could use a free utility tool like DMG track control to lower the volume of your track without any perceived damage.

One thing I really like about Reaper and Cubase are the monitoring sections that allow correction to always be on but never on your 2-bus. But you can create Aux or a second bus in Pro Tools or other DAWs so that you can always see your 2-bus volume without your monitor correction.

Last edited by Benj; 24th April 2021 at 12:43 AM.. Reason: Typo
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #999
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benj ➡️
If your mixes are at all approaching 0db on the master bus or you are listening to mastered music, then you would keep the safe volume switch on. Typically, when you switch safe volume on, the plugin will tell you how much is needed to be compensated - setting the volume for you. How much will depend on the correction needed along with the other settings you’ve chosen. So, for example, if you boost the Bass frequencies and there is already a boost there needed for compensation, the plugin will lower the the output level for you. One thing I’ve noticed is that if you then turn off the bass boost, you have to manually raise the level back up to get the previous safety level. I only have version 4, so the new plugin could be different.
I really wish Sonarworks had better instructions or a "how to use it on a mix" video. What I've seen really didn't explain these things at all. I didn't see anything telling me how much compensation I would need. I have V4 also. I'll keep the Safe Headroom switch off now and I'll keep searching for more information about how to use SW correctly! Thank you very much for the information you've given me!
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #1000
Lives for gear
 
Benj's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by todez ➡️
I use my Main Out as the mixdown buss. I don't believe that the DAW allows me a buss after it. So, would I create one buss (other than the Main) to run all my tracks to and then have that go the Main, and create another bus just to have SW on? I guess I don't really understand the routing you mentioned.
Just create a new bus and route all of your tracks and buses there instead of the main output. Then route the new bus to your master bus. Keep Sonarworks on your master bus, but use the meter from the new bus to gauge your actual output level. Turn down the level on the new bus (instead of using a plugin like DMG track control) and you’re basically good to go.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #1001
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benj ➡️
If Sonarworks is on your master bus and it’s doing correction, then this isn’t your level... it’s the level of your song with Sonarworks correction on. So the only way to really know your level is to turn off Sonarworks.

You shouldn’t need to do a complete remix. You could use a free utility tool like DMG track control to lower the volume of your track without any perceived damage.

One thing I really like about Reaper and Cubase are the monitoring sections that allow correction to always be on but never on your 2-bus. But you can create Aux or a second bus in Pro Tools or other DAWs so that you can always see your 2-bus volume without your monitor correction.
I'll have to figure out how to create a "2-bus" to check the volume without the SW correction then.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #1002
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benj ➡️
Just create a new bus and route all of your tracks and buses there instead of the main output. Then route the new bus to your master bus. Keep Sonarworks on your master bus, but use the meter from the new bus to gauge your actual output level. Turn down the level on the new bus (instead of using a plugin like DMG track control) and you’re basically good to go.
OK. Got it! Thank you very much for your help!
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #1003
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by todez ➡️
I bought Ref 4 and set it up. I have a safe headroom of 12 DB and my mix is around -12 to -14 on the Main Out, but when I disable Sonarworks 4 to export the mix to my project page, I'm told the mix is clipping! At this point I'm not sure if what I'm doing is correct and I can find no videos that show me how to actually use Sonarworks 4 in the mix and then export the song!

What am I doing wrong? Why does the volume jump so drastically when I disable Sonarworks 4? Why would my mix be clipping when with Sonar works it is at -12 to -14?

Thank you!

Todez
If your running SW on the Master BUS ... and have the 'SAFE' mode ON ... then SW is lowering the Output of your Mix Intentionally to provide itself Headroom for the correction.

It's no different than putting a GAIN plugin on your Master Bus, and lowering it 10,12 dB.

If you disable SW .... as you should to Print your track ... all that GAIN has returned. Very straightforward.

Some DAW have what's called a 'Monitor' section where plugs like SW can be Inserted ... for ONLY monitoring purposes.
They will then have no impact on your Main Master BUS.

Check that first.

There are other options ... some more a pain than others.
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #1004
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Analogue Mastering's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It should not be on the MAIN OUT, but on the MONITOR OUT (which should be the same outputs where your monitors are physically connected.
MAIN OUT > mix print
MONITOR OUT > monitors (Sonarworks plugin should reside here)

Last edited by Analogue Mastering; 24th April 2021 at 08:24 AM..
Old 24th April 2021 | Show parent
  #1005
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJHollins ➡️
If your running SW on the Master BUS ... and have the 'SAFE' mode ON ... then SW is lowering the Output of your Mix Intentionally to provide itself Headroom for the correction.

It's no different than putting a GAIN plugin on your Master Bus, and lowering it 10,12 dB.

If you disable SW .... as you should to Print your track ... all that GAIN has returned. Very straightforward.

Some DAW have what's called a 'Monitor' section where plugs like SW can be Inserted ... for ONLY monitoring purposes.
They will then have no impact on your Main Master BUS.

Check that first.

There are other options ... some more a pain than others.
Thank you! I just found out from someone else that I should have it on the Post and not as an insert, and that I should have it on the Listen Bus (Monitor Section) like you said. I'll make the changes! Thank you!
Old 28th April 2021 | Show parent
  #1006
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Been using this for awhile now with AKG K702s and I can't go back to not using headphone-correction - love Reference Headphones. But here's the #1 thing that's dawned on me...

- My mix still has to sound good without it

I've learned that this kind of thinking is dangerous: "I know it's a bit harsh in the top end but with the Sonarworks on it's fine... so it must be OK".

I do trust the correction curve is pretty damn accurate, I just can't put all my faith in it - the cliche "use your ears" still applies, and also using your un-corrected headphones is a lesson in getting things to translate in a non-ideal world anyway.

If my mix sounds good without Sonarworks, and even better with it - I know I'm on the right path. I know this for a fact because typically my references will also sound great without / even better with headphone correction.

(disclaimer: I mix with monitors too - I just do some evenings on headphones so as not to annoy the family)
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