Can I measure multichannel setups (5.1, 7.1 etc.)?

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    Richard Spooner

    In post-production the most important speaker is the centre, so a pass through wouldn’t work for us.

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    Kārlis Stenders (Edited )

    Hi everyone!

    This has yet again been a hot topic around here and the conclusion unfortunately is no - it will either be a fully capable multi-channel calibration at some point, or nothing at all. 

    The decision has been made by the pro side product owner; we cannot have half-functional calibration software released - our accuracy standard cannot be compromised. 

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    François Beauvais

    I'm already passing through with the patchwork work around I explained earlier. To me this is important because I dont have to constantly switch drivers (software). That way the stereo calibration is always on and there is no chance of accidently working or even listen to material without it. I dont want to use it in the daw to prevent accidental printing of the correction. I mainly mix music for films and video games so it's not that center focused. I do need 5.1 but I take what I can and if I can get a correction out of left and right, well at least that's that. To those like me mixing music in 5.1 or 7.1 setups, it would be useful until they finally release a fully surround version. That said, my work around explained earlier works perfectly.

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    François Beauvais

    I just read Richard's recommendation about developing a single speaker mono calibration version. Well that would work perfectly along side a software like patchwork. We could route as many plugins instances as we'd like to the different outputs letting us configure our system perfectly using mono and stereo calibrations to our needs. Whatever the channel count.

    Sonarworks to do list :

    1- Creating a mono calibration process and plugin.

    2- Create a routing interface inspired by pathwork for a systemwide application.

    3- Sell this new higher priced customizable multi-channel and shut us all up while making more money!

    When we put our minds together, see what we can do! hehe... All jokes aside, take the users intake for free and make your clients happy! This method would work on pretty much all multi-channel system and future ones without a tone of work on your part. Once this is working, you can always improve upon it in the future.

    Of course it would be a tiny bit more complexe for the user to setup but we can manage. Remember It would be intended for the pros out there that are used to much more complexity.

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    James Ashton

    A mono compatible version of the plugin would be all that we need (at least for Pro Tools users). A multi-mono instance of the plugin could be inserted on your monitor master fader from which each channel can be modified independently (of course, the plugin needs to not be operating in 'channel link' mode). I already put some rudimentary corrective EQ across a 7.1.2 master output in this fashion. In this way, it doesn't matter how big or small your output format is - it is completely scaleable, and wouldn't require much re-writing of software code at all (hey, I'm not a software programmer, but it shouldn't be too hard to code a mono plugin from a stereo one!)

    This would be a huge help to freelancers like myself, who regularly find themselves in different, and inappropriately acoustically treated rooms

    HUGE +1 from me

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    Shaun Gallagher

    Still waiting on some form of implementation of this. My current workaround on Mac is similar to François', but I'm instead using MenuBus Pro v2 over Patchwork and the plugin version. It's less than ideal though due to the latency introduced, but does accomplish a calibrated front L/R with pass-through of all other channels.

    I'd love to see official support for at least just multichannel pass-through of all other channels except the stereo main pair. Seems fairly trivial to implement.

    Please Sonarworks!

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    James Ashton

    It's none of my business of course what someone would do with a surround setup with only 2 speakers calibrated, but I can't understand how that would be helpful in any way? For post, the most important speaker is unquestionably the center. I can see that if you're doing music that this may not be the case, but even so - with a half calibrated system what happens when you pan something somewhere other than hard left or right? You'll get all sorts of wonky stuff going on...

     

    For what it's worth, I've manually adjusted my 7.1 system using Fabfilter Pro Q, some pink noise and a measurement microphone (if you weren't aware, Fabfilter Pro Q has a side chain feature with EQ matching). I have no doubt it's not as accurate as in depth room correction, but at least my frequency response from low to high is relatively flat within my room

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    François Beauvais

    I guess it depends on your room issues. You are right. It is definitely not the ideal solution but I'll take what I can. In my case, witch is mostly mixing musique for films and video games. The biggest issue in my room was around 100hz that build up in my corners. That came mostly from the stereo fronts and not from the center or rear speakers. Knowing my room is still part of the mixing process and I've grown accustomed to my left and right channels being corrected and it's definitely better than nothing.

    I use 2 active BM12 Dynaudio, a passive Focal for my center and a of 2.1 Energy for my rears and sub. I've also calibrated my kit with pink noise and did all I could to make coherent setup. A few years ago I didn't even have a correction on my left & right channel and since I stared using Sonarworks, my mixes have been a lot easier to get right. Even if it's not correcting all channels.

    That said, there is no doubt we could all use a multi-channel release but in the meantime, a pass through with a warning is not such a bad idea for those who wish to use it.

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    Jesse Springer

    Cannot wait for surround support. This is going to be huge for those of us who love and trust Reference and work in pro surround production environments. For what it's worth, I'll add my name to the list of people eagerly awaiting this feature. Thanks, guys!

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    Stefan Riske

    Hey guys, I'm new in this forum and would like to chime in on the multi-channel situation.

    I totally understand that the target audience for a multi-channel solution is much smaller than for the stereo version and that the development costs will have to reflect in the final product price to make it profitable.

    Mostly professionals will use this feature and those of us have no problem paying $1000+ for such a feature. It's a business investment, which will safe us valuable time, improve our workflow & results for the years to come and therefore practically pay for itself.

    So, maybe you lovely people at Sonarworks would like to re-evaluate this topic after 4 years?

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    Chris

    Thank you for all of your feedback! 
    We have actually invested research into this as more and more people express interest in the multichannel feature. We are listening and taking your requests and suggestions into consideration.
    We already have ideas on how to make this happen, but I can't currently provide any information on the development and implementation of the feature as of yet.

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    Richard Spooner

    Chris, that's great news that you are looking into mutli-channel support. I would still love you produce a solution that we could use inside our DAW's but with Dolby Atmos and the Dolby audio bridge etc starting to enter my workflow things are moving on.

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    Nicolas Vetterli

    That sounds excellent!

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    François Beauvais

    That's great news indeed! Keep up the good work!

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    Devin Lawrence

    +6 Licenses over here if you can sort out 5.1 or higher... There's more of us than you think, and we've been spending waaay too much on outboard gear. Let us give you our money, please?

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    N3roxe

    I would love to see surround support. But would you support hdmi/digital, or only analog outputs from soundcard?
    I have older devices which I feed by toslink cable with dts connect/dolby digital live to get surround sound.

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    James Ashton

    In the absence of movement on this from Sonarworks it's worth pointing out that there are other software developers that already have room correction software available for surround formats: Dirac Live supports up to 7.1.2 in all major plugin formats. I have no association with Dirac - just helping to point people towards potential solutions to their needs. I should also point out that I have never used their software either - but they have a free time-limited demo, so there's nothing to lose in checking it out.

     

    There are also many plugins that do EQ matching - although not idiot proof, you could manage to do some basic correction using noise generators and matching a live signal to the 'clean' signal - DAWs that support multi-mono use can have a literally limitless channel count in this regard.

     

    Personally, I have settled on a DIY solution using DSP processing on my audio interface (Metric Halo) - I take measurements using Room EQ Wizard (or REW - also free & cross platform), and dial in EQ on the audio outputs within the audio interface, then remeasure and adjust accordingly. I have done this for channel counts as high as 7.1.4 and it works quite well. The bonus of doing it with the hardware DSP is that no matter what audio application I use, the room correction is always on, and I don't need to worry about bypassing anything before exporting material. The drawback of course is that it is not idiot proof and requires time, effort & trial and error. Of course, you can achieve similar results within your DAW simply by putting EQ on your master output - but you'd of course need to remember to bypass it before export. REW is incredibly powerful and detailed - if you haven't checked it out it's definitely worth a look.

     

    Hopefully this information is helpful to people looking for a multi-channel solution

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    Chekad Sarami (Edited )

    +1 for pass through. It seems it is not difficult to implement. Just program software to allow signal pass through other speakers while testing! This will at least gives better result with left and right speakers while monitoring in surround.

     

    There are patents on this:

    Spatial calibration of surround sound systems including listener position estimation

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    Samuel Skubla

    Any news about multi-channel support? Thanks

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    Rome

    I was about to buy your BlackFriday Deal after checking out the Demo when I realized I can't do surround (5.1 in my case).

    Sorry but no sense for me then. Otherwise I have been very impressed, you even have the X-Curve as Target Curve. But who needs an X-Curve for movie theaters with no surround function, maybe dialog editors...

    Your post from February looks promising. But I don't know if I can buy an upgrade later on or if you're going to have a full-prized new software for the multi-channel version.

     

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    Kārlis Stenders (Edited )

    Hi all, thank you for your comments and for the other solutions suggested for multichannel setups!

     

    I'm afraid we still cannot confirm any news on multichannel development. I'm sure that everyone realizes the challenges involved here - if we are to do it, it would have to be as easy as measuring stereo setups with SW currently. Meaning, we would not have questionable temporary workarounds in place, it would have to be a proper implementation. Stay tuned :)

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    Zed Whyte

    Unless one has been living alone on a desert island for the past decade then one is intensively aware and regularly reminded that music/studio technology has and is moving at an alarming pace. Blink and you might actually miss it.  Regards multichannel calibration. Not just important, essential.  I was evaluating your product a month ago whilst working in stereo with my trusty Cubase for the past 10 years.  A month on, Apple's announcement to process new music and back catalogue through Dolby Atmos has changed the game somewhat and the days of simple stereo are now numbered.  As a result, I am looking at a number of options to upgrade from a 2.1 JBL RMC setup to a 7.1.4 atmos setup.  I don't really want to replace my already excellent 2.1 system but it is quite old and the range is difficult to obtain (and in what level of condition) so the question is, how do I add a further 9 monitors (active or passive) with different resonant curves, different phase offset, different spl levels etc etc and in addition, calibrate room correction (as the rmc does) and compensate for time/distance.  I am prepared to pay whatever is required for this project but as I say, I would like to continue to use some of my existing set up.  Sound ID Reference whilst a good product, does not cater for this purpose, and this purpose is likely to become the standard very quickly.  For this reason, I could not purchase a calibration setup software that cannot deliver the correct calibration results for use with 7.1.4 dolby atmos.  I do appreciate the engineering constraints that you face but you will lose potential customers.  I am one so I can speak with at least some small authority and I will have to purchase the tools from a competitor. Sorry Sonarworks.

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    Kārlis Stenders

    Hi Zed, 

     

    You are definitely on point! Stay tuned for multi-channel news from Sonarworks :)

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    Patrice Lazareff

    Hi Zed,

    Upgrading my studio to dolby atmos indeed forced me to stop using Sonarworks which I replaced by a Trinnov processor.

    However, since then a solution seemed to emerge as it is possible (from what I understood, I hav not tried this myself) to integrate Sonarworks to the Merging Anubis interface, which should allow to use Sonarworks on a Ravenna/AES67 AOIP setup.

    As a long time fan of Merging's products, and since you seem determined to change your setup, that's definitely an option worth considering.

    https://www.sonarworks.com/soundid-reference/blog/product-news/soundid-reference-now-available-for-merginganubis/

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    Rome

    Hi Patrice,

    that would be great news. Unfortunately on the Merging site it specifically says: "Note: SoundID Reference is stereo technology only."

    https://www.merging.com/products/interfaces/merging+anubis

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