Perfecting your music-making environment is paramount, but how best to do it? There’s plenty of options, but here we’re showing you how to calibrate your room using Reference 4…
Calibrate your room using Reference 4: step-by-step
1. Let’s run through calibrating our room using Reference 4. The first step is to work through the setup checklist, which includes ensuring your mic is receiving phantom power, making sure no direct mic sound is reaching the speakers and that you’re using a single interface.
2. Next, we need to load a specific mic calibration file. Sonarworks mics come with a code on the side that can be input to download the relevant calibration curve, or you can navigate to an alternative file location on your HD if you’re using a different mic.
3. We now set the volume of the system by increasing the level until it’s just right. You can turn up the recording level on your interface too, but don’t rely on this, as it’s important that the speakers are loud enough to properly excite the room.
4. The final part of the setup involves pointing the mic at the left and then right speaker’s mid-range drivers to help the system work out how far apart they are. You can then use a tape measure to double check, and tweak the value to get make sure it’s accurate.
5. Now we measure! Reference 4 uses clicking sounds to locate the position of the mic, which is represented in the GUI. You move it to 37 positions in and around the listening position, and it measures a short, full-range sine sweep at each one.
6. The software has now created a profile for your speakers and room. Make sure you save the file with a useful name, as you may end up trying several calibrations. This can then be loaded into the Reference 4 plug-in inside your DAW, or into Systemwide to affect all the system audio.
7. Have a listen to your favourite reference tracks and consider tweaking the dry/wet dial a little to taste. You can also use the Bass Boost and Tilt EQ to skew the overall balance, and choose between Linear Phase or low-latency, minimum phase mode if you want to use it for tracking.
8. You now have a calibrated speaker setup. If you find yourself in the middle of a mix and want to check it on headphones, you can simply hit the headphone icon in the top right and load one of the averaged presets, then switch back again once you’re done.