Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mastering Mastering in the box question Reply To: Mastering in the box question

Robert Hundt

    Hey David

    About your question, let's think this through logically.
    - You are using Sonarworks during mixing, to let it "correct your room acoustics" and subsequently, to make the right decisions during mixing without being affected too much by your room acoustics.
    - So if you are attempting to master that same mix, you want the same out of Sonarworks Reference. You want the same correction, to make the right decisions during mastering.

    "To make the right decisions", that is the very reason why you got your hands on Sonarworks Reference, no matter what decisions you are trying to make in whatever step, editing, mixing, mastering, some sort of post work, whatever it is.

    And part two, where to put it:
    - In a mixing situation, you are putting the Sonarworks Reference plugin last on a mix bus or some sort of post bus or your master channel or just somewhere on the sum of all signals, but at the very very last position in the chain. No meter and no analyzer or limiting device sits after Sonarworks. Else those will be affected by the corrective EQ curve, which wouldn't make sense.
    - In mastering you are doing the same. You build your mastering chain and finish that up with a limiter. After the limiter you'll most often find an analyzer and a meter, which helps us to see a visual feedback of the song after the mastering chain. After that, after all your essential mastering tools, you will insert Sonarworks Reference to its job.
    Again, its job is to help you make the right decision and therein is your answer, yes you will want to use it and you will want to put LAST.

    Never forget to bypass it for making exports. You never want to bake that corrective EQ curve into your final exports. Not in the mixes, not in the masters!!!

    A trick: is to use Sonarworks Systemwide, will which implement itself in the OS itself. If you are using Sonarworks Systemwide, you don't need to put the plugin in your DAW, because all system sound (DAW sound, Browser Sound, Spotify, iTunes, Winamp 😉 etc) will go through Sonarworks Systemwide. Works like a charm on my Mac, it's a little tricky on my Windows 10 PC.

    It has been said that before, you don't have to master your mixes for feedback here. I want to encourage you to dabble around with it though, knowing a thing or two about mastering won't hurt!!! But if you send something out to the Academy or the public, you run the risk of ruining a mix with inexperienced mastering settings.