Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

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recursive one
KVRAF
4188 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Post Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:37 am

My studio is a small rectangular room (about 10 square meters), with some DIY treatment: floor to ceiling "superchunk" bass traps made of rockwool in each corner and also sidewall rockwool panels in the first reflection points. I also have just bought some acoustic foam which I'll stick onto the ceiling and the wall behind the monitor.

My speakers stand in the corners and my head makes an equilateral triangle with the speakers, I hear the bass tight and clean in this position, but when I nod my head I can hear some bass frequencies entirely dissapear or the bass timbre changes which apparently means the room response is still not ideal (i didn't expect it to be anyway), but I can't afford more physical tretament and can't move to another room.

So I guess it must be the time for room correction software?

Sonarworks Reference 4 seems to get good reviews and it seems to work not only for speakers but also headphones, so it's probably the most obvious option, are there any cons or better solutions? E.g. i know some speakers come with their own calibration systems (like iLoud MTMs), maybe it would be better for some reason?

I currently have KRK Rokit G5 speakers and AKG k701 headphones (these are good but the bass sounds a bit weak in them so I think this is where Sonarworks could also help).

Please share whatever experiense you have with room correction/speaker calibration hardware or software. Does it really help and how much? Can it potentially create new problems while solving the existing ones? What should I keep in mind when choosing one for my room and setting it up?

Thanks
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

recursive one
KVRAF
4188 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:01 am

Anyone? :scared:
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

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ATN69
KVRAF
1983 posts since 5 Oct, 2015 from Swedish / Living in Hong Kong

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:36 am

I have Sonarworks Reference 4 with calibration microphone. I also happen to have AKG K701 headphones. For me Reference 4 has been a big step up. First I just got Reference 4 for head phones and the sound I have in my K701 is now nice. I totally agree with you that they are weak in the low freqiency area.

I upgraded Reference 4 and got the calibration microphone. In my case I am renting the ground floor in a small house. The landlord doesn't allow me to drill holes in the wall to put up stuff and my little studio is in a small room. The size is around 6sqm. Since I can't put up any acoustic treatment I decided to try just to calibrate my Adam A7 monitors with Reference 4 and the calibration microphone. The result was like night and day. Most of the boomy low end reflections I had before are now gone. Reference 4 calibrated EQ curve take care of a lot of issues. I can't say the final result is perfect but well worth the money in my case.
Win 10 -64bit, CPU i7-7700K, 32Gb, Focusrite 2i2, FL-studio 20, Studio One 4, Reason 10

recursive one
KVRAF
4188 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:30 am

Thanks a lot!

Great that you have the same headphones :) I really like my AKGs, they have very detailed and clean sound, great for sound-design and revealing various small issues in the mix, but the lack of bass was always a serious problem for me (i make goa/psy-trance where the bass is super important), so was it also fixed in your case? I see Sonarworks have a profile for these headphones, did you use it?
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

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ATN69
KVRAF
1983 posts since 5 Oct, 2015 from Swedish / Living in Hong Kong

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:51 am

Yes, I use the profile for the K701 that Sonarworks created and it did fix the problems I had with my K701. The low end is higher and it sounds more balanced. I happen to be an acoustic engineer and I manage the audio lab in my office. We have a HATS from Brüel&Kjaer where I can measure the frequency response in my K701 quite accurately. I checked my own K701 and in the lab and compared the result before and after using Sonarworks. The response is not totally flat after adding Reference 4 but it's more than good enough.

I work with different styles of music together with friends but when I produce something on my own it is mostly uplifting trance and dance music.
Win 10 -64bit, CPU i7-7700K, 32Gb, Focusrite 2i2, FL-studio 20, Studio One 4, Reason 10

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andymcbain
KVRist
254 posts since 10 Jan, 2017

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:53 am

Can't comment on the speaker correction stuff (though there's some well renowned psytrance artists using it) - but Reference 4 makes my Sennheiser HD650s much easier to work with, in my opinion. Not just in the lows but in the extreme highs. Can recommend.

recursive one
KVRAF
4188 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:34 am

Thanks a lot, guys!
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

PieBerger
KVRist
481 posts since 23 May, 2012 from London

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:53 am

Great investment imo. Coupled with some mineral-wool based DIY treatment, it was like night and day in my bedroom studio. I like it for my cans too, if anything it just evens out their response enough to make longer headphone sessions less fatiguing.
Always Read the Manual!

recursive one
KVRAF
4188 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:02 am

PieBerger wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:53 am
Great investment imo. Coupled with some mineral-wool based DIY treatment, it was like night and day in my bedroom studio. I like it for my cans too, if anything it just evens out their response enough to make longer headphone sessions less fatiguing.
Yes, I remember you recommended Reference, just wanted to collect more opinions :)
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

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biodiode
KVRian
553 posts since 23 Sep, 2003 from UK

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:53 pm

Putting the issues they had recently with one of their updates, Reference 4 has helped me achieve a consistent sound within my semi-treated environment. I use two of the headphone curves for the AKG K702 and Neumann NDH20 alongside the calibration microphone settings for my environment.

If you are in the position of only being able to have some or none acoustic treatment Reference 4 will go along way to helping you improve your environment for mixing.
Check out more of my work at https://www.biodiode.com where you will find tips, tricks on the blog and more of my compositions.

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JulsnJVM
KVRer
24 posts since 27 Jun, 2016

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:44 am

I also use Reference 4, and after measuring my room, I can say that it definitely helped. I´m able to discern the different frequency ranges much better, and my mixes translate much better. I still need a little bit of help with controlling the low end, as my room is small, but that´s where tools like Bassroom help a lot.

I´d only advise to try to be as much precise as possible when measuring the room, as I think it gets you slightly better results. I used a mic stand for my measurements, and even used tape measure on the very first calibration, when you have to position the mic close to each speaker, making sure both takes were at the exact same distance from the mic capsule. Subsequent calculations, like the one that determines the distance between speakers, provides exact results if the previous step is done carefully.

So yes, I´d definityely go for it, and make sure to be precise when measuring your room!

recursive one
KVRAF
4188 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Re: Your experience with speaker calibration systems (Sonarworks, iLoud MTM, etc). Do I need it for my home studio?

Post Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:33 am

Thanks, guys!

So only positive feedback, that's great. JulsnJVM, thanks for the measurement tips :tu:

JulsnJVM, biodiode, I wonder how much physical treatment do you have in your rooms?
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

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