Sonnox’s Codec Toolbox, at just £35 could be of use to any budding music producer….
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Our audio world is dominated by the likes of iTunes, YouTube and various streaming music services, so you’d think that producers and engineers would be concerned about how their music translates across this range of different digital delivery systems. For those who are, Pro-Codec was a godsend, allowing real-time auditioning of different codecs as well as a means of authoring the required output formats. However, Pro-Codec was a premium product, making it suitable only for high-end applications.
Realising that the technology behind Pro-Codec could see wider use, Sonnox has released the Codec Toolbox, which at just £35 could be of use to any budding music producer. Codec Toolbox has two elements: the Codec Toolbox plug-in, which is used to audition the effect of data compression in real time; and the Codec Toolbox Manager, which is where a high-resolution audio file can be rendered to a variety of ‘data-compressed’ formats.
While the Codec Toolbox plug-in will never be the most exciting tool in your arsenal, there’s no denying its practical benefits. In use, it was fascinating to hear the direct impact of various data-compression formats on your mix. If your ears don’t spot the deficiencies, a handy noise-to-mask meter enables you to visually identify problematic frequency areas. A handy OVERS meter also allows you to spot potential distortion when the mix is decoded – something that would be otherwise impossible to identify.
Overall, it’s hard not to recommend Codec Toolbox to anyone producing music in the 21st century. The ability to hear and resolve potential problems early on is a real time-saver, and could really change your approach to mixing and mastering your music.
The Codec Toolbox Manager is also a real asset if you need to deliver your work in multiple different files formats, as its batch-processing features and ability to negate unwanted codec distortion can save precious hours of studio time. All things considered, therefore, Codec Toolbox is a near essential tool for modern engineers and producers, as well as being a fascinating insight into how audio behaves when it’s subjected to such heavy-handed data compression.