I’m a recent convert to Reference and now regard it as an essential tool, however, I have several mixing rooms that have multiple speakers and it is a bit of pain to switch profiles every time I want to compare the mix on different speakers.
I work mainly in ProTools HDX so use it as an AAX plugin and obviously, I could set up multiple outputs with different profiles, but unfortunately in all my rooms the speaker switching is handled by a dedicated external monitor controller which also has multiple inputs from several other devices, so Ideally I would lie to insert the EQ in the feed to each monitor so I have been looking at ways of building a dedicated audio processing computer with multiple ins and outs along the lines of the Trinnov ST2 PRO (way out of my price range)
To this end I have come up with the following using a spare HP XW4600 PC and an M audio Delta 44 PCI sound card:
In order to run multiple instances of Sonarworks as a plugin and insert them in between the correct inputs and outputs, you need a host program.
I have multiple ProTools licenses so initially, I experimented using one of these, and it worked fine. The Delta 44 is a 4 in and 4 out soundcard so I just set up ProTools to rout the feed to each of the 2 pairs of speakers through its own instance of Sonarworks e.g. feed to Pair 1 = input 1&2 via plugin with curve 1 to output 1&2 and Pair 2 using in/out 3&4 via a plugin with curve 2.
This was then inserted it into the feed to the speakers from my monitor controller.
However using a full ProTools installation for this was a bit like a sledgehammer to crack a nut, plus I needed the license for use on other machines, so what I required was a lightweight and preferably free host, and I found a program called Element by Kush audio (https://kushview.net/ )
This available for MAC and PC and while not free, it is donationware (if you want the latest version) It was a paid-for programme but has since converted and I’m happy to support the developer. This will host VST plugins and has a lovely graphical interface for you to set up routing. (It can also be used a wrapper to run VSTs as an AAX in ProTools but that’s another story)
The bottom line is I now have dedicated speaker correction PC inserted in the feed to all my speakers, which means I can listen to the EQd mix while bouncing (I tend to do this in real-time as I use outboard effects) plus as I have multiple PCs and MACs in both of my rooms (Although I’m mainly ProTools on PC I do have other engineers who are Logic-based) it also helps with license management and I now only need one install for each room for the speaker correction PC, rather than constantly moving them between the other machines.