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Sonarworks brings a personal touch to headphone calibration


The basic idea behind SoundID is “perfect is personal.” What you think is the perfect sound, I might suggest could be improved. This new app is built on the same basic premise as True-Fi, but it’s a lot more user friendly and the interface is simplified. Like True-Fi, you begin using SoundID by selecting the model of headphones you’re wearing. You then take a quick hearing test where you select between two tracks to determine which one you think sounds better. Based on those responses, SoundID creates an audio profile after analyzing the answers using machine learning.

Sonarworks

EQ curves and other audio interfaces that might be intimidating to some users are gone. Sonarworks has replaced them with a grid or pattern of squares. And each pattern is unique to the user. What’s more, the company’s application of the sound “improvement” isn’t as intense as I experienced with Dirac’s “digital audio solution” this week. Dirac’s software dramatically boosted the bass with some genres to the point it was almost unpleasant. Sonarworks takes a much more restrained approach. You can still tell the difference, and the sound is certainly improved. But the tweaks are more noticeable in things like clarity and presence instead of a huge difference in the overall EQ tuning — even though SoundID is adjusting that too. Songs that sound compressed and muted on cheap Sony headphones have a lot more depth when SoundID is activated.

The SoundID beta is available now for Android and iOS. The full launch is expected in Q2.


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