Here’s something for all you bedroom producers: Sonarworks Reference 4 is an app that claims to “even out” the sound coming out of your headphones or speakers. It does this by flattening the audio peaks and valleys in your cans or monitors, letting you hear your production or mix with greater accuracy. The result is a sound that is less “coloured”, which can help you make better mixing and production decisions.
All speakers and headphones have their own characteristic sound – some have more bass than others, some sound brighter, some have a dip in the mids, and so on. Sonarworks Reference claims to calibrate the speaker or headphones that you’re using (there’s a list of compatible devices) to get you a “flatter” sound.
Furthermore, producing and mixing in rooms that don’t have acoustic treatment (eg your home studio set-up) can be challenging. If you’ve produced something on your laptop that sounded “great” in your bedroom but sounded boomy / woolly and shrill when you played it in the car or at the club, that’s often the result of your studio space not having adequate acoustic treatment. This leads you to make mixing and production choices that don’t accurately reflect the way your audio truly sounds.
Reference 4 aims to help you make better sonic decisions by helping you hear the sounds closer to how they are supposed to sound like, without the colouration / bias of your speakers, headphones, and room.
It’s an interesting concept, and one that has been around for a while now – companies like KRK have similar systems, and it’s due to the fact that more electronic music is being made at home instead of a properly treated production studio. Watch out for our review of this app soon.
• Sonarworks Reference 4 is available from US$99 and comes with a 21-day trial. Check the Sonarworks site for more details.
What are your thoughts on this app? What headphones or speakers do you use when you produce? Would you be interested in trying this out? Share your thoughts below.