Applying calibration with the DAW plugin

Get started with the SoundID Reference DAW plugin - load headphone or speaker calibration profiles, adjust DSP and target mode settings to calibrate your DAW signal.


In this article:

  1. Installing the SoundID Reference plugin
  2. Load the plugin in your DAW
  3. Load a headphone calibration profile
  4. Create and load your speaker calibration profile
  5. Streamline your workflow with SoundID Reference in DAW



Installing the SoundID Reference plugin

Sonarworks headphone and room calibration can be applied in DAW (e.g. Cubase, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, etc.) using the SoundID Reference plugin format. The plugin can also be loaded in other apps/platforms that feature plugin hosting capability in one of the formats specified below. For example, some advanced music playback apps, like Audirvana, can host plugins too.

SoundID Reference installer (download here) will install the plugins into the common plugin folders on your computer. Here are the SoundID Reference supported plugin formats and their respective default install directories:

  • PC: Windows 10 (or later) - VST, VST3, AAX
C:\Program Files\VSTPlugins\SoundID Reference VST Plugin x64.dll
C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3\SoundID Reference VST3 Plugin.vst3
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Avid\Audio\Plug-Ins\SoundID Reference.aaxplugin\Contents\x64\SoundID Reference.aaxplugin


Tip [WIN]: Custom install locations can be assigned on Windows by clicking on Customize during the installation

  • MAC: macOS 10.14 Mojave (or later) - VST, VST3, AU, AAX
Macintosh HD/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST/SoundID Reference VST Plugin.vst
Macintosh HD/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST3/SoundID Reference VST3 Plugin.vst3
Macintosh HD/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components/SoundID Reference AU Plugin.component
Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Avid/Audio/Plug-Ins/SoundID Reference AAX Plugin.aaxplugin


Load the plugin in your DAW

In most cases, your plugin host app (e.g. DAW) will then recognize the plugin automatically on start-up. However, if it doesn't, please make sure that the plugin is located in the correct folder and your host software is scanning the same folder. More troubleshooting details can be found here

NOTE! [WIN] If the plugin is missing in DAW, make sure you are not mixing up the default VST directory with the Steinberg VST directory:


C:\Program Files\VSTPlugins
C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VSTPlugins
  1. Create a new session or open an existing project in your DAW
  2. Find or open your audio mixer view and locate the stereo master bus (the master output channel). If your new session does not have a master bus (e.g. Pro Tools), please create one
  3. Insert the SoundID Reference as the LAST plugin on the master bus. The example below shows how to load the plugin Logic Pro X:


Load a headphone calibration profile

Headphone calibration profiles are pre-made and readily available in SoundID Reference (all editions). We have measured and averaged close to 300 headphone models - see the full list of supported headphones or simply start a free trial to view what's available. 

  1. Click on Add new preset
  2. Proceed to Select your calibration profile > Add headphones
  3. Find your headphone model listed in the app and select the profile

Click on the loaded calibration profile name to change the profile and access the Recent calibration profiles section in the dropdown menu. Learn more about how to use presets here.

From here, you can start exploring the audio settings, check out the new Translation Check and Custom Target features, get familiar with the new sound by enabling/disabling calibration with the dedicated button at the bottom-right corner.


Create and load your speaker calibration profile

If you have already measured your speakers, proceed to load a speaker calibration profile. If not, create a new speaker calibration using the SoundID Reference speaker measurement module and measurement microphone:

  1. Click on Add new preset
  2. Proceed to Select your calibration profile > New speaker measurement
  3. Follow the instructions in the speaker measurement module to create a speaker calibration profile

IMPORTANT! There are NO averaged speaker calibration profiles readily available in the software (as opposed to headphones). Each speaker system sound is unique not just to the speaker model, but also to the individual setup layout and room properties, so each speaker setup has to be measured individually!



Load a speaker calibration profile

  1. Click on Add new preset > Select a calibration profile
  2. Proceed to Open an existing profile - this will open the Sonarwoks Projects directory
  3. Select a speaker calibration profile (.swproj file) and click Open to load it


[SIDR] Plugin - Open profile - Load from Sonarworks Projects folder (1).webp

Important to know when using the plugin

  1. Keep the SoundID Reference plugin active on the master bus throughout the entire recording, mixing, and mastering process
  2. Bypass the plugin when rendering your project! SoundID Reference plugin functions as a solution for your individual monitoring setup only. For that reason, it should be hard-bypassed when rendering your project (turn it off completely in the channel strip) to avoid imprinting your unique calibration EQ curve on the track


Streamline your workflow with SoundID Reference in DAW

For a more effective solution, a dedicated monitoring bus can be created for SoundID Reference (not a part of the master output chain). That way, you can avoid bypassing the plugin for rendering and also avoid the volume drop which is introduced by the Safe Headroom feature. For more information on how to avoid the need to bypass the plugin for mixdown, see this article: Using a dedicated monitoring bus for the DAW plugin

Some DAWs feature dedicated monitoring plugin sections (for example, the Control Room section in Cubase) which are bypassed automatically for rendering. If your DAW has such a feature, we recommend taking advantage of it.


Adjust your DSP and calibration target settings 

Once you have the basics covered, you can proceed to explore the DSP settings, Target Modes, and other features in the app. All changes you make from here will be saved as a part of your Preset configuration in the Output Panel

  • Frequency response curves - select which curves are being displayed
  • Filter Type - Zero Latency, Mixed, and Linear Phase options
  • Listening Spot - calibrates the stereo image for speakers
  • Limit Controls - apply calibration range and ceiling
  • Custom Target - make target adjustments with a parametric EQ
  • Translation Check - simulate your mix translation on different devices 

Was this article helpful?

11 out of 13 found this helpful

Have more questions? Submit a request

1 comment



Please sign in to leave a comment.