Sonarworks SoundID Reference Review – Still A Must-Have And Worth The Upgrade?

Sonarworks SoundID Reference
  • Sound
  • Features
  • Ease Of Use
4.8

SoundID Reference Review

Sonarworks SoundID Reference proves once again to be an excellent tool for all those musicians and producers who need to build confidence in the sound that they get out of their space.

PROS

  • Still a must-have for all those users with a less-than-ideal acoustic environment!
  • Upgrade-worthy thanks to workflow improvements, Custom Target modes, Translation Check presets, etc.
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Minor issues with random audio dropouts

SoundID Reference is a standalone app and a DAW plugin created by the Latvian company Sonarworks, that calibrates speakers and headphones to deliver an accurate studio reference sound.

As seen in our extensive Sonarworks Reference 4 review (the previous version of the software), this is a fantastic tool for anyone who wants to achieve accurate and consistent sound across all of their audio playback devices.
Back then our conclusion was that Sonaworks Reference 4 is an “extremely effective and useful software for both system playback and DAW audio. The flexibility to go beyond simulating flat response and adjust to different speaker/headphone profiles makes it even more impressive”.

What does SoundID Reference bring to the table? Is It worth upgrading to SoundID Reference if you are a Reference 4 user? Let’s dive in…

How Does SoundID Reference Work?

One of the standout features of SoundID Reference is its ability to create a personalized calibration profile for each of your playback devices. This involves measuring the frequency response of your device using a measurement microphone (you can either get the software + mic bundle, or if you have already bought the software buy the mic separately or get third-party omnidirectional mics) and then creating a correction profile that compensates for any irregularities in the device’s frequency response.

This ensures that your audio playback is as accurate and consistent as possible, regardless of the device you are using.

Another great feature of SoundID Reference is its ability to simulate the sound of different playback devices. This can be useful for checking how your mixes will sound on different systems, such as headphones, speakers, and even mobile devices. The software includes a variety of different simulation profiles, each based on the frequency response of a different device, so you can get a realistic representation of how your mix will sound on each device.

SoundID Reference, like its previous version, perfectly integrates with your DAW of choice, thanks to the SoundID Reference plugin (to be placed at the very end of your mix chain, and remember to turn it off when you’re bounging tracks!).

Here is an overview of this feature:

What Are The Differences Between Reference 4 and SoundID Reference?

SoundID Reference is the successor to Sonarworks Reference 4 (pictured above) and includes several improvements and new features over the previous version. Here are some of the key differences and improvements:

Custom Target Curves

SoundID Reference has enhanced its capability to allow you to personalize the flat target curve across all presets. Now, you have the option to utilize a highly flexible parametric EQ to shape the target curve according to your preferences. This empowers you to create custom house curves for all your monitor and headphone presets. Feel free to save, rename, or delete as many personalized target EQ presets as you desire. Additionally, it’s effortless to control the frequency range that SoundID Reference will calibrate, and you can adjust this setting individually for each Custom Target preset.

Translation Check presets

SoundID Reference offers convenient built-in Translation Check presets. These presets are designed to replicate the sound of your mix when played through various devices such as car stereos, cell phones, laptops, TV speakers, headphones, and earbuds. With over 20 predefined simulations available, you can save valuable time and avoid the hassle of constantly needing to test your mix by rushing out to your car or switching between different playback devices.

Export Calibration Profiles

The 5.10 release of SoundID Reference introduced a new feature that enables you to export calibration profiles for your headphones and speakers. This export includes all the data and information that you have currently selected within SoundID Reference. The exported calibration profile can then be easily imported into dedicated hardware solutions designed for this purpose. This allows you to maintain consistency and apply your customized sound preferences across different hardware platforms.

One of the supported models

The products currently supported are:

  • ADAM Audio A-Series – stereo/multichannel speaker profile export
  • AVID MTRX Studio – multichannel speaker profile export
  • AVID MTRX with SPQ – multichannel speaker profile export
  • DADman AX32 with SPQ – multichannel speaker profile export
  • Dolby Atmos Renderer Mastering Suite – multichannel speaker profile export
  • Fluid Audio Image Series – stereo speaker profile export
  • MERGING + ANUBIS – headphone and stereo/multichannel speaker profile export
  • Wayne Jones AUDIO Studio Monitors – stereo/multichannel speaker profile export

Extra Improvements

SoundID Reference offers also improved Windows support, more headphone calibration profiles (532 vs. 385), and a more streamlined workflow.

Here’s a video overview of the upgrade.

Conclusion

Sonarworks SoundID Reference proves once again to be an excellent tool for all those musicians and producers who need to build confidence in the sound that they get out of their space.

Its personalized calibration profiles and device simulation features, along with a few extra improvements, make it a must-have for anyone serious about audio production and mixing, and a worthwhile upgrade for Reference 4 users.

If you have a less-than-ideal listening environment, I totally recommend it. I don’t know what I would do without it! In my experience, I have only had some minor issues with random audio dropouts (clicks and pops). Raising the buffer in the SoundID Reference app, as reported by Sonarworks, seems to solve the problem.

Worth knowing: Sonarworks sells three different versions of SoundID Reference, with self-explanatory names: “for Headphones“, “for Speakers and Headphones” and “Multichannel” (for multichannel speakers). This is a subjective choice, but in most cases the version “for Speakers and Headphones” is the one you want.

FYI: Sonarworks SoundID Reference is currently on sale, so don’t miss out!
To learn more about the way this software works, you can check out the resources section on the Sonarworks website.


DISCLOSURE: Our posts may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we receive a commission.


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