Virtual Headhpone Studio Solutions

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
KVRAF
2875 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 10:32 am

This is slowly becoming a thing and I'm seeing some new options every day, so what are your thoughts on this, do you use any?

I'm pretty happy with Realphones, was set to get Slate VSX, but glad I found out about dSONIQ, actually they were doing this for few years already and in that time achieved what is really an awesome product, that can work on number of commercial headphones in every price range.

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KVRian
1016 posts since 30 Mar, 2008 from MN, USA

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:32 pm

It's not that new a thing. Toneboosters was doing HRTF-based soundstage simulations years ago with TB Isone (sadly no longer being sold). Realphones is like a combination of TB Morphit and Isone.

Personally, I think soundstage simulation is overrated, and I much prefer headphone correction + a crossfeed plugin (I use Goodhertz CanOpener Studio). Here Sonarworks SoundID is king, and also lets you simulate a variety of speakers to quickly test a mix against. One can go the extra mile, and purchase pre-calibrated cans from Sonarworks, vs. relying upon an average correction. Beyond that, I just don't think room simulation is that useful in production. For pleasure listening - sure.

I'd be interested in seeing a rigorous shootout between Morphit, SoundID and Realphones. I tried Morphit, but found SoundID's corrections to be better to my ears. I also use SoundID for monitor correction in my home studio.

The weak point of Realphones is its list of supported cans. For example, no profile for the AKG K55X line (K550, 553 Pro, 553 MKII - all the same acoustically).
Last edited by teilo on Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KVRist
368 posts since 13 Jul, 2021

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:35 pm

Nope. I check my mixes on a variety of sources including multiple headphones, monitors and speakers. I think a lot of this is just meant to sell you yet another product that marginally benefits you at all in your artwork.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2875 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 1:11 pm

teilo wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:32 pm
It's not that new a thing. Toneboosters was doing HRTF-based soundstage simulations years ago with TB Isone (sadly no longer being sold). Realphones is like a combination of TB Morphit and Isone.

Personally, I think soundstage simulation is overrated, and I much prefer headphone correction + a crossfeed plugin (I use Goodhertz CanOpener Studio). Here Sonarworks SoundID is king, and also lets you simulate a variety of speakers to quickly test a mix against. One can go the extra mile, and purchase pre-calibrated cans from Sonarworks, vs. relying upon an average correction. Beyond that, I just don't think room simulation is that useful in production. For pleasure listening - sure.

I'd be interested in seeing a rigorous shootout between Morphit, SoundID and Realphones. I tried Morphit, but found SoundID's corrections to be better to my ears. I also use SoundID for monitor correction in my home studio.
I didn't said it's newest or new thing, I said it's becoming a thing, there's more options every day, just recently Sknote released their take on whole thing, Acustica Audio before them, Waves, Slate and etc.

Personally I use Realphones as another reference source, like everything, you can learn and reference until you get a sense of what you can expect in different virtual room and speaker model and different speaker models in different rooms and so on, every scenario expose something different, dunno, not different than referencing on something else in real world, you need to put time to learn and train your ears.

I'm happy how my cans sound without correction, I learned them like that and power of them now lies in their factory sound, not calibrated by someone else's definition of flat, so in Realphones my aim is to have another perspective, how ever it sounds, it's referent, I can learn it, it doesn't change, it's always there, think that's whole point of all those solutions, not to replace studio monitors, studio or whatever, so if you look at it like that, you can actually benefit from having another dozen of reference sources just with you headphones alone.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2875 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 1:26 pm

Any actual users of such solutions, Slate VSX guys? :)

KVRer
26 posts since 19 Jul, 2021

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 2:16 pm

This is always going to be an issue for some and not for others. I fall squarely on the later. When VSX came out I tried it and got very good results. Since my studio has always been in my house I always had to deal with the compromises that that entails. Mainly, no matter how much acoustic material you use to tune your room its not a purpose built space and therefore there will be compromises.

In my case my sweet spot for monitoring was about 10 inches wide. Anything outside of there was not ideal. Another issue I had was that the room had a bump in the 52 to 54hz range that would make the whole room vibrate no matter how much bass trapping I had in there (and I had a lot).

To make a long story short I sold my Focal Twins with their corresponding sub in favor of VSX and now SIENNA. I deal with 0 acoustic issues and my mixes/masters translate effortlessly. It does take some getting used to but I cannot stress enough the difference from having to go to the car a dozen or more times to check a mix and never having to leave my chair to have a finished product that I am positive translates to any environment.

YMMV and all that :tu:
Leo Alvarez
Rezenent Music

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2875 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 2:58 pm

Awesome dasoundjunkie, thanks for chiming in! :tu:
dasoundjunkie wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 2:16 pm
It does take some getting used to but I cannot stress enough the difference from having to go to the car a dozen or more times to check a mix and never having to leave my chair to have a finished product that I am positive translates to any environment.
Exactly! :tu:

KVRAF
3984 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 4:27 pm

I tried a few of these and they don't make me feel like I'm in someone else's studio.. and even if they did, how is that going to help me improve my mix?

Gimmick with a dash of snake oil in my opinion.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2875 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 5:14 pm

MogwaiBoy wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 4:27 pm
I tried a few of these and they don't make me feel like I'm in someone else's studio.. and even if they did, how is that going to help me improve my mix?

Gimmick with a dash of snake oil in my opinion.
You can actually go in that room and have no clue how to improve your mixes, only thing you can certainly do is to hear your music differently than what you got used to in your room. But that info isn't really going to give you anything valuable if you don't really know what to expect from all of it and how to use all that to your advantage. You got to know your own room after so much trial&error, referencing and whatnot.

Same goes for getting NS10's, Auratone's, checking mixes in car, headphones and wherever, all of that can't improve your mixes until you figure out what you can expect from those and how to take that info and use it to your advantage.

Gimmick or not, there's people getting good results with VSX, NS10's, Auratone's and wouldn't want to be without any of it, if you don't need any of those to pull great mixes, than you got something even better going on for you and stick to that.

KVRer
26 posts since 19 Jul, 2021

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 6:33 pm

MogwaiBoy wrote:
Sun Aug 01, 2021 4:27 pm
I tried a few of these and they don't make me feel like I'm in someone else's studio.. and even if they did, how is that going to help me improve my mix?

Gimmick with a dash of snake oil in my opinion.
The reason this worked for me is simple, I'm no longer fighting a room that was never intended for that application. I've been in the business for 30 years and the rooms where its been easiest to work have always been properly tuned rooms. I go with my music reference library, do some listening and get a good feel as to where things need to be.

Any time I've worked in rooms that are compromised (including my own) I've had to work twice as hard to get to my goal. I mentioned in my earlier post that there were 2 types of people regarding this subject and that I was in the latter camp. You are obviously in the former.

To answer your question as to how mixing in someone else's room will improve your mix you have to look at the big picture. For as long as I've been doing this there have been people asking "What about in the boom box? Or what about in my car stereo? Or what about______? Insert whatever reference here".

Between SIENNA and VSX if I want to check my work in Howie Weinberg's mastering studio, (which is brutal BTW, if ever there was a room that bluntly told you everything that is wrong with your mix it is that one.) I now now can. If I want to listen to what it sounds like in a car then VSX has 2 that sound very much like most people set up their car stereos. The nightclub in VSX is a useless mess to me but Club 7 on position 4SUB in SIENNA gives an excellent representation of what that environment sounds like not to mention a very clear picture of the lowest lows in a mix.

I've now got access to multiple world class facilities from mixing to mastering at the click of a mouse. I also have boom boxes, phones, lap tops, audiophile systems, night clubs, ear buds, an assortment of high end headphones and even overhead store speakers. If my mix sounds good across all of these (or at least a select cross section of all of these) it will translate anywhere anyone plays it, period.

This is the new Hardware vs ITB argument. About 8 years ago I let go of about $84,000 worth of gear that I had crammed into a 18 by 15 foot room (and the corresponding $750 a month electric bill that went with it), purchased a powerful computer, a couple of UAD cards and never looked back. I just got rid of an over $6,000 monitoring system for a sub $500 set of headphones and I'm extremely happy with my decision.

If you are satisfied with your monitoring then there is no need to look any further, but to dismiss something out of hand that you clearly haven't fully explored is...shortsighted.
Leo Alvarez
Rezenent Music

KVRAF
5741 posts since 9 Jul, 2002 from Helsinki

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:12 pm

Imagining that a glorified eq preset applied on your output listened thru headphones can represent a club PA sound is just crazy. Not only you can't hear the frequencies, you neither can feel them.

It's cool if these kinds of tools help people to mix, but VST plugins can't turn elephants into trains, or clouds to mountains.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2875 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Sun Aug 01, 2021 11:24 pm

NS10 is just an glorified hi fi speaker, Auratone too, It's cool if these kinds of tools help people to mix, but speakers can't turn elephants into trains, or clouds to mountains.

KVRAF
5741 posts since 9 Jul, 2002 from Helsinki

Post Mon Aug 02, 2021 6:13 am

The difference is that nobody claims that checking your mix on NS10s turns your headphones into a purpose-built mastering room.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2875 posts since 5 Nov, 2014

Post Mon Aug 02, 2021 6:23 am

Nobody expect their car turns into purpose-built mastering room when they reference in it.

If someone can nail his mix in some virtual headphone room better than his own room with 6000 bucks monitoring system, than more power to him, if someone can nail mix sitting on toilet and listening through speaker standing on washing machine, even more power to that guy, whatever gets the job done.

KVRist
356 posts since 25 Sep, 2002 from Chicago

Post Mon Aug 02, 2021 11:05 am

I'm keeping an eye on this thread. I do a lot of mixing in my home studio (converted two car garage). I have a lot of treatment but still struggled until I got Sonarworks a few years back. Suddenly, my mixes began to translate and I didn't need to double check in the car. I'm using LYD48 speakers and also check mixes on ATH50X headphones with Sonarworks. Headphones don't give me an accurate idea about the stereo field. Maybe some of these new tools can improve that. I know Andrew Scheps mixes on headphones often and gets great results, so it is possible.

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