November 2021 - 58

INSIDE
THE BOX
with Joe Albano
WORKFLOW-FOCUSED
PROGRAMS
AND PLUGINS
W
hen we consider software for music production, we
naturally think of DAWs and plugins, but studios
also use non-audio software. Studio operators who
are serious about the sound of their room may employ room
correction applications to coax a more neutral, accurate tonal
balance from their reference monitors. Many studios still utilize
racks of hardware processors, and engineers may turn to
specialized studio recall software to help them keep track of
hardware settings from session to session. And, of course, any
studio that takes on paying clients will need software to manage
the business side-bookings, billings, and scheduling.
Room Correction
Technically, room correction software is audio-related, but it
doesn't add processing directly to a recording or mix. Still, it does
affect everything heard in the room and can make a big difference
in the quest for better mixes. As we all know, the combination of
studio monitors and the control room itself determines the sound the
engineer / mixer / producer hears during every production stage
and informs every technical and creative decision made. Even the
most sonically neutral monitors respond differently in every room.
Of course, the best way to deal with that is by analyzing
a space and building a control room from the ground up-
not a viable option in most situations, where existing room
boundaries and cost constraints may limit the studio operator's
ability to physically fine-tune the sound of the all-important
control room environment. Room correction software can help in
these cases, providing electronic assistance via EQ-flattening
out the frequency response, at least at the primary monitoring
location-the sweet spot-directly between the monitors.
Measure by Measure
In the old days, using EQ to tweak the tonal balance involved
placing a mic at the sweet spot, running noise and test signals
through the monitors, and applying EQ to flatten out any unwanted
peaks and dips in response as detected by the measurement. The
problem was that this correction was only valid at that one single
spot-moving one's head even a couple of feet out of the sweet spot
might yield a tricky tonal balance, making for a limited solution.
58 RECORDING November 2021
Today's room correction software packages are sophisticated,
employing multiple measurements at several locations in and
around the sweet spot. This approach allows for an averaged value
that can provide a suitably neutral tonal balance directly in the sweet
spot, around it, and even potentially in other areas of the room.
Some room correction software is offered by speaker manufacturers
themselves, with and without hardware integration-Genelec (GLM)
and KRK are good examples. There are also affordable standalone
software packages from various companies-two popular options
are ARC System 3 from IK Multimedia and SoundID Reference
(formerly Reference 4) from Sonarworks.
Room correction solutions provide software and a reference
mic for a ballpark price of around two or three hundred dollars.
Traditionally, high-end calibration mics are very pricey,
but as long as the mic's response is known to the software,
even modestly-priced ones can work just fine for this purpose.
The software steps the user through a measurement procedure;
audio test signals are run through the speakers while the user takes
a series of measurements at different positions around the sweet
spot and perhaps other spots as well. The software then averages
these measurements to arrive at an EQ curve that compensates
for the measured room conditions. A supplied plugin is inserted in
the last slot of the master stereo bus in the DAW, where it applies
the corrective EQ curve, and the song is then played and mixed
through it as it corrects and flattens the monitors' response. Of
course, the plugin is intended for monitoring only, so it must be bypassed
when the song is bounced. But the resulting mix will have
benefited from being done on a flatter, more balanced system.
Typically, different target curves are provided, from ruler-flat to
more typical real-world responses. These systems may not achieve
the same level of tonal neutrality as thousands of dollars' worth of
physical room treatment and build-out, but these systems can be
pretty effective and are easily worth the cost and the time.
Session Recall
Back in the analog era, when mixing sessions stretched over several
days, or a project moved from studio to studio, the engineer-
or more likely an assistant engineer-had to note all the settings of
any hardware in use, from compressors to the EQ on the console,
so a session in-progress could be matched when mixing resumed at

November 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November 2021

Fade In
Fast Forward
Studio Upgrade Roundup
Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby: A Crash Course in Atmos
Plugin Outlet: Slate Digital MetaTune
KRK Systems: KNS 8402
Southern Avenue and the Modern Memphis Sound
Plugin Outlet: Raising Jake SideMinder ME2
Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone
RECORDING Show and Tell: Studio Upgrades (2021 Edition)
Plugin Outlet: bx_console Focusrite SC
Novation Circuit Rhythm
Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 11: Home Mixing in Home Studios
Mackie: Onyx16
Alclair: Electro 6 Driver
Plugin Outlet: Arturia FX Collection 2
Inside the Box with Joe Albano: workflow-focused programs and plugins
RME Fireface UCX II 40-channel USB Interface
Readers' Tracks
Fade Out: Studio Feng Shui
November 2021 - Intro
November 2021 - Cover1
November 2021 - Cover2
November 2021 - 1
November 2021 - 2
November 2021 - 3
November 2021 - Fade In
November 2021 - 5
November 2021 - 6
November 2021 - 7
November 2021 - Fast Forward
November 2021 - 9
November 2021 - Studio Upgrade Roundup
November 2021 - 11
November 2021 - 12
November 2021 - 13
November 2021 - 14
November 2021 - 15
November 2021 - 16
November 2021 - 17
November 2021 - 18
November 2021 - 19
November 2021 - Inside the Studio with Mark Hornsby: A Crash Course in Atmos
November 2021 - 21
November 2021 - 22
November 2021 - 23
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Slate Digital MetaTune
November 2021 - 25
November 2021 - KRK Systems: KNS 8402
November 2021 - 27
November 2021 - Southern Avenue and the Modern Memphis Sound
November 2021 - 29
November 2021 - 30
November 2021 - 31
November 2021 - 32
November 2021 - 33
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Raising Jake SideMinder ME2
November 2021 - 35
November 2021 - Shure MV7 USB Podcast Microphone
November 2021 - 37
November 2021 - RECORDING Show and Tell: Studio Upgrades (2021 Edition)
November 2021 - 39
November 2021 - 40
November 2021 - 41
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: bx_console Focusrite SC
November 2021 - 43
November 2021 - Novation Circuit Rhythm
November 2021 - 45
November 2021 - Session Log: The AngelHeaded Hipster, Part 11: Home Mixing in Home Studios
November 2021 - 47
November 2021 - 48
November 2021 - 49
November 2021 - Mackie: Onyx16
November 2021 - 51
November 2021 - Alclair: Electro 6 Driver
November 2021 - 53
November 2021 - Plugin Outlet: Arturia FX Collection 2
November 2021 - 55
November 2021 - 56
November 2021 - 57
November 2021 - Inside the Box with Joe Albano: workflow-focused programs and plugins
November 2021 - 59
November 2021 - 60
November 2021 - 61
November 2021 - RME Fireface UCX II 40-channel USB Interface
November 2021 - 63
November 2021 - Readers' Tracks
November 2021 - 65
November 2021 - 66
November 2021 - 67
November 2021 - 68
November 2021 - 69
November 2021 - 70
November 2021 - 71
November 2021 - Fade Out: Studio Feng Shui
November 2021 - Cover3
November 2021 - Cover4
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