Last summer, we published our review of Sonarworks Reference 3. In the review, we concluded that "we simply can’t recommend this plugin enough—it is an absolute game changer, and an essential purchase for any professional producer or engineer," giving it a perfect 10/10.
A few months later, we ran a news story on Sonarworks Reference 4, in which the company announced the newest edition, but claimed that a major update was still to come.
Well, that update is finally here with Sonarworks Reference 4.1, featuring a slew of new features and upgrades, all of which can be found in our breakdown below.
Measure — What's new?
- Revised instructions. We have revised the instructions about a hardware setup and measuring process.
- Calibration microphone profile can be downloaded directly from the software. Download the Sonarworks XREF 20 Measurement Microphone calibration profile automatically in the software by entering a mic ID number.
- View microphone frequency response graph. You can visually explore a measurement microphone frequency response curve for Sonarworks measurement microphone as well as other calibration microphones that come with an individual calibration profile.
- Revised feature set. We have removed features that were unnecessary and added new ones because of the streamlined measuring process.
- Voice feedback for the speaker distance measuring phase added. The voice feedback informs you about the state of the measuring process. It is useful if you have a studio where speakers are placed behind a computer screen and you’re not able to see the screen while standing by the speakers during the measuring process.
- Revise dimensions more easily. Now you can revise the dimensions measured between the listening spot and the speakers more easily—just measure the distance in a straight line from your listening spot to each speaker.
- Revised representation of measuring points in a schematic setup (speakers and a listening area). The schematic representation of your setup allows you to locate the microphone and reminds you to aim between speakers.
- Explore your speaker frequency response curve. The legend of the graph displays a value of each point in the graph when you hover a mouse cursor on it.
- More explicit warning and error messages. We’re trying to guide you through the measuring process by providing as much useful information at the right time as possible.
Systemwide and Plugin
- Sonarworks Studio Reference. It is the most neutral and balanced target. It will ensure that the energy throughout the whole frequency spectrum remains the same.
- A revised set of features and their labels. We have reorganized the UI for several reasons: 1) removal of the simulations, 2) importance of the features and the order of their use. Also, we have renamed some of the features: we’re searching for labels for features that you could recognize or learn in a moment.
- Switching between headphone and speaker profiles from the main UI of Systemwide. Now also Systemwide (identically to the plugin) enables switching between the profiles from the main UI. The switch on the main UI and the Systemwide’s widget work in sync.
- Revised onboarding. Now we’re onboarding you contextually: the software displays few tooltips that are relevant for quick-start and getting to hearing the calibrated sound faster.
- Revised frequency response curve graph. Now you can learn about each frequency response curve from descriptions next to the menu. The graph also gives a visual feedback regarding what’s being changed when you change the settings (e.g., Bass Boost, Limit Controls, etc.)
- Warning when the calibration is turned off by changing Dry/Wet control settings. You can adjust the Dry/Wet control to adjust the level of correction applied. But when you turn it to 0, the correction is turned off. So you would know it, the software informs you by displaying a warning icon and a tooltip.