SoundID Reference

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SoundID Reference

Post by mafoster1 »

Hi everyone,

This is my first post here. But seeing that I haven't seen anyone talking about it yet, I wanted to know if anyone in the community has either upgraded from Sonarworks Reference 4 to the new version called "Sound ID Reference".
If yes, and you've upgraded from a previous version, what has your experience been like and do you think it's worth it to upgrade? If no, why not?

I also have a 2018 15" Macbook Pro running on MacOS 10.14.6 and I'm a bit on the fence about potential bugs that might pop up in the app (seeing that within the past year, I had updated the app once and it completely through it out of sync and the latency began drifting while running Sonarworks Systemwide - for which they implemented a patch that kinda works by restarting the driver every time it drifts too far).

Looking forward to your responses and hope you all are staying healthy and productive during these quite unusual times.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by RichardT »

I’m not going to upgrade at this point. I’m not sure I see enough value to make it worthwhile.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Martin Walker »

Hi mafoster1, and welcome to the SOS Forums! 8-)

I'm a long-standing and enthusiastic user of Sonarworks Reference 4, and like many others I was a little confused by the introduction of SoundID Reference, as a study of the new features didn't really suggest that such a radical change of product name.

A more basic set of translation features (NS10, and so on) were quite useful when they first appeared in the Sonarworks Reference series, but were subsequently removed due to 'copyright issues', and although Sonarworks rightly claim that they now offer a much wider range of translation options (including in-car, phone, earbuds, laptops, and the like), so many users have long since relied on their 'flattened out' headphone and room responses that they can now produce highly translatable mixes anyway.

The new adjustable EQ features that allow you to tilt the spectrum or apply correction to only part of it are already proving vital to some users, but others including me are perfectly happy with the existing Limit Control tweakability of Reference 4.

Even at the now reduced price of $89 to upgrade from Reference 4 System to SoundID System (it was $119 on first release) it still seems rather expensive to many existing users for what it offers them.

Personally I'm still on the fence, for one main reason that's not even mentioned in the list of new features - I've listened to the on/off SoundID correction for both of my headphones, and then applied my existing Reference 4 correction instead, and I can hear an increase in clarity on the SoundID-corrected versions. You can do the same by scrolling down on this page and then clicking on the 'Play Demo' button: https://www.sonarworks.com/soundid-reference).

Now if as my listening suggests, the playback filtering has been improved, then this would be a very valid reason to upgrade.

I'll post here if I find out anything more.

Martin
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by RichardT »

Now if as my listening suggests, the playback filtering has been improved, then this would be a very valid reason to upgrade.

Thanks Martin - that would be a very good reason to upgrade! I saw that they introduced new Windows drivers - maybe that’s part of the picture.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Trent in WA »

I have the Reference 4 version that I got with the calibration mic and have been demoing the SoundID update for a few days, and so far it seems like the corrections applied in playback are a bit smoother--less spiky in the highs, and a bit clearer in the upper midrange, which is good. The user interface has changed significantly--there are more features now, which are nested in multiple locations, but overall the greater tweakability is nice. Since I'm deaf in one ear, being able to swap the L/R channels with the click of a button is a selling point too.

One thing that's really surprised me is the "translation check" feature, where you can listen to your mixes on a variety of speaker and space emulations. I thought at first it'd be a gimmick or an irritation, but it's actually pretty helpful, and the emulations for the NS10 and Auratone speakers (under "Studio Speakers," of course) are really useful in their own right as alternatives to the flat-target corrected profile.

All in all, I'm happy with it and will be buying the licensed version when the demo runs out. It's not a full-on game changer, but the improvements and additions are worth the update price for me.

Trent
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Martin Walker »

Trent in WA wrote:I have the Reference 4 version that I got with the calibration mic and have been demoing the SoundID update for a few days, and so far it seems like the corrections applied in playback are a bit smoother--less spiky in the highs, and a bit clearer in the upper midrange, which is good.

Hi Trent,

Thanks for all that info - elsewhere I've seen comments that there is no official claim of any changes/improvements in sound quality, but like you I heard exactly the same differences between Sonarworks Reference 4 and SoundID Reference5.

1. This might be due to the various playback filter options (my first thought, as previous filter implementations have change the mixed filter response in particular for the better).

2. It might instead be due to improvements to the headphone profiles used in the online demos (although I can't see any obvious SoundID graphic changes compared to my own headphone profiles).

3. Or (given that there are no official claims of improvements), these changes could possibly be simply be tweaks to our hearing that occurred during alien abductions.

No doubt the truth will emerge in due course, but I for one would be surprised if Sonarworks didn't trumpet any playback improvements loudly and obviously.

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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Urthlupe »

Oh dear - I don’t hear any categoric difference here - pardon - didn’t catch that - what did you say....:-)

Sonarworks are only committing to updates for Reference 4 for twelve months at this point, so you may have little choice. It seems pretty clear that this is an attempt to unify their product range across the consumer/professional spectrum, obviously makes sense for them.

I do rather like the ability to restrict correction to a particular part of the frequency spectrum actually - and for me it will be interesting to see if the ‘Translation Check’ function stops me powering up my NS10’s....

Developments like these are particularly interesting here at the mo as I consider prospect of downsizing and ‘retiring’ to the coast - can I really survive with an iPad and a Babyface????? :mrgreen:

Loopy

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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Trent in WA »

Has anybody else run into licensing weirdness with their SoundID upgrade? After using and liking SoundID, I purchased the upgrade. After registering my license and activating it on my computer, though, I still get the "Your Sonarworks Reference trial has ended" message when I try to use either the standalone or plugin version of SoundID. Luckily, Sonarworks 4 still works fine, but I'd like to be able to use the upgrade that I paid for. Their tech support has been just this side of useless, and with the 10-hour time difference between Riga and the US west coast, I'm lucky to get a reply a day.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by maartenl945 »

mafoster1 wrote:Hi everyone,

This is my first post here. But seeing that I haven't seen anyone talking about it yet, I wanted to know if anyone in the community has either upgraded from Sonarworks Reference 4 to the new version called "Sound ID Reference".
If yes, and you've upgraded from a previous version, what has your experience been like and do you think it's worth it to upgrade? If no, why not?

I also have a 2018 15" Macbook Pro running on MacOS 10.14.6 and I'm a bit on the fence about potential bugs that might pop up in the app (seeing that within the past year, I had updated the app once and it completely through it out of sync and the latency began drifting while running Sonarworks Systemwide - for which they implemented a patch that kinda works by restarting the driver every time it drifts too far).

Looking forward to your responses and hope you all are staying healthy and productive during these quite unusual times.

I just put up a video on my YouTube channel about exactly what you're asking: my recent experiences with SoundID Reference and comparing it to Reference 4: https://youtu.be/-MuJs1lKf8Y

I feel this change is basically just Reference 5, but there appear to be some useful bug fixes and the already mentioned translation check feature that make it worthwhile (for me) to upgrade.

Regards,
Maarten
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by RichardT »

I bought Sound ID reference and compared it Reference 4. I did hear a difference - more clarity, a little less 'niceness' (which is a pity on my system!).

I thought I'd actually test if there is a difference.

So I created a Cubase with two tracks, both containing the same audio, but one with the phase set to 180 degrees.

I checked that they nulled, and that with the Reference 4 plug in on both, they also nulled. They did.

But with Reference 4 on one and Sound ID Reference on the other, with the same settings, they do not null. Depending on the material, the difference signal is in the range -65 to -75 dB. The differences are spread pretty evenly across the audible frequency band.

I've checked the settings religiously, and I think they are the same, and I've also tried with different settings between the two, and the difference signal is much bigger when they are out of line.

Would anyone be interested in doing the same thing to cross check my results?

I used 24/96 audio, linear phase, extended treble but other limits at defaults, listening position set to on, and the same profile.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by ozonepaul »

RichardT wrote: Mon Jul 05, 2021 2:31 pm I bought Sound ID reference and compared it Reference 4. I did hear a difference - more clarity, a little less 'niceness' (which is a pity on my system!).

I thought I'd actually test if there is a difference.

So I created a Cubase with two tracks, both containing the same audio, but one with the phase set to 180 degrees.

I checked that they nulled, and that with the Reference 4 plug in on both, they also nulled. They did.

But with Reference 4 on one and Sound ID Reference on the other, with the same settings, they do not null. Depending on the material, the difference signal is in the range -65 to -75 dB. The differences are spread pretty evenly across the audible frequency band.

I've checked the settings religiously, and I think they are the same, and I've also tried with different settings between the two, and the difference signal is much bigger when they are out of line.

Would anyone be interested in doing the same thing to cross check my results?

I used 24/96 audio, linear phase, extended treble but other limits at defaults, listening position set to on, and the same profile.

Same experience here on Bitwig and on Reaper, they do not null.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by RichardT »

ozonepaul wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 5:58 pm
RichardT wrote: Mon Jul 05, 2021 2:31 pm I bought Sound ID reference and compared it Reference 4. I did hear a difference - more clarity, a little less 'niceness' (which is a pity on my system!).

I thought I'd actually test if there is a difference.

So I created a Cubase with two tracks, both containing the same audio, but one with the phase set to 180 degrees.

I checked that they nulled, and that with the Reference 4 plug in on both, they also nulled. They did.

But with Reference 4 on one and Sound ID Reference on the other, with the same settings, they do not null. Depending on the material, the difference signal is in the range -65 to -75 dB. The differences are spread pretty evenly across the audible frequency band.

I've checked the settings religiously, and I think they are the same, and I've also tried with different settings between the two, and the difference signal is much bigger when they are out of line.

Would anyone be interested in doing the same thing to cross check my results?

I used 24/96 audio, linear phase, extended treble but other limits at defaults, listening position set to on, and the same profile.

Same experience here on Bitwig and on Reaper, they do not null.

Thanks Ozonepaul, good to know.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

Oh, that's a clever idea to make a null test. I thought I heard an improvement when switching between the filter types, there is less of a difference in timbre between each one in Sound ID than Reference 4. But I wasn't able to compare, so I thought maybe my hearing got worse :lol:
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by RichardT »

Tomás Mulcahy wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 10:12 pm Oh, that's a clever idea to make a null test. I thought I heard an improvement when switching between the filter types, there is less of a difference in timbre between each one in Sound ID than Reference 4. But I wasn't able to compare, so I thought maybe my hearing got worse :lol:

It probably did! But that’s true of all of us. Now I’m 60 I’m wondering how long it will be before HF loss starts interfering with my mixing….
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Martin Walker »

Hmm... So despite online assurances that the filtering & standard profiles remain identical, several users have now confirmed that SoundID does sound slightly different from Reference 4.

Perhaps I ought to rethink about upgrading.

Martin
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Freelance Subversive »

I appreciate this may be a remarkably stupid question, so please bear with me.

Does an upgrade license for SoundID invalidate the Reference 4 license?

I have a machine which can’t be upgraded, but I still mix on and therefore would like to retain Reference 4. I’d like to upgrade my main machine to SoundID, although don’t want to risk affecting a perfectly functional location set up with Reference 4, by invalidating its license. I can’t justify another full license, even at the temporarily favourable prices.

Thanks!
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Aled Hughes »

Freelance Subversive wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:06 pm I appreciate this may be a remarkably stupid question, so please bear with me.

Does an upgrade license for SoundID invalidate the Reference 4 license?

I have a machine which can’t be upgraded, but I still mix on and therefore would like to retain Reference 4. I’d like to upgrade my main machine to SoundID, although don’t want to risk affecting a perfectly functional location set up with Reference 4, by invalidating its license. I can’t justify another full license, even at the temporarily favourable prices.

Thanks!

You get to keep the original Reference 4 license and activations when you upgrade to SoundID, so you should be ok!
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

I could not do that with my upgrade. Traded one for the other. But mine's an educational license.

Best to ask tech support about it first.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Aled Hughes »

Tomás Mulcahy wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 5:39 pm I could not do that with my upgrade. Traded one for the other. But mine's an educational license.

Best to ask tech support about it first.

I’ve just sorted some confusion with them where I had tried to upgrade my license for the 2nd time since I could still the original Reference 4 license in my account.
They stated:

A key can only be used for upgrade input one time

After a Reference 4 > SoundID Reference upgrade, the Reference 4 key remains in the account (we leave the original R4 key in place, as it can be used)
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

That's really useful to know thank you.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Freelance Subversive »

Aled Hughes wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 3:20 pm You get to keep the original Reference 4 license and activations when you upgrade to SoundID, so you should be ok!

Thanks Aled, that’s a relief. Given their returns policy, the only risk is with exchange rates.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Freelance Subversive »

Tomás Mulcahy wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 5:39 pm I could not do that with my upgrade. Traded one for the other. But mine's an educational license.

Best to ask tech support about it first.

Interesting. For an individual wishing to use more than a single machine, a normal license still provides better value.

Quite right about asking support first... Mea maxima culpa!
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Aled Hughes »

Freelance Subversive wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:51 am
Tomás Mulcahy wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 5:39 pm I could not do that with my upgrade. Traded one for the other. But mine's an educational license.

Best to ask tech support about it first.

Interesting. For an individual wishing to use more than a single machine, a normal license still provides better value.

Quite right about asking support first... Mea maxima culpa!

You can activate a single license on 3 machines, so that may be enough for you anyway?
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

Freelance Subversive wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 4:51 am
Tomás Mulcahy wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 5:39 pm I could not do that with my upgrade. Traded one for the other. But mine's an educational license.

Best to ask tech support about it first.

Interesting. For an individual wishing to use more than a single machine, a normal license still provides better value.

Quite right about asking support first... Mea maxima culpa!

True, I must say I am happy with the value I am getting. They're also super supportive for my Institute's licensing. Excellent service from them.
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Re: SoundID Reference

Post by Freelance Subversive »

Aled Hughes wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 8:11 am You can activate a single license on 3 machines, so that may be enough for you anyway?

Quite so yes, R4 has already been exhausted: main, portable rig and wife’s laptop for her casual listening, which she’s still more than happy with. So with an additional 3 machines for SoundID, I’m nicely catered for when the portable rig is worth upgrading.
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