Setting up on Headphones

Get started with headphone calibration in the SoundID Reference standalone app for systemwide calibration or in the DAW plugin for DAW signal calibration.


In this article:

  1. System & hardware requirements
  2. Activating license
  3. Applying calibration on your system
  4. Virtual Monitoring Add-On for headphones
  5. Target modes


System & hardware requirements


  • Supported operating system:
    • Windows 10 (or later)
    • macOS 10.14 Mojave (or later)
  • SoundID Reference for Headphones software installed (download here)
  • Sonarworks-supported headphones, see the full list of 400+ supported models here
  • Audio interface and/or headphone amp, if your headphones and workflow require it (not necessarily needed) 


Activating SoundID Reference license


To use SoundD Reference for Speakers and Headphones, you will need to add a SoundID Reference product license to your user account:

  1. Log in to your Sonarworks Account
  2. Click on 'Register a new license'
  3. Enter your license activation key
  4. Click on 'Activate on this device'

SoundD Reference for Headphones is available in Sonarworks Store, or at your local distributor: find a dealer. See upgrade options for existing Sonarworks license owners here: SoundID Reference upgrade paths.

A free trial is available here, and trial extensions are available in your Sonarworks Account.

Applying calibration on your system

With the software activated, the next step is to load the calibration profile for your headphone model and apply calibration on your system. The SoundID Reference standalone app and DAW plugin feature a headphone selection wizard to help you find the brand/model of your headphones.

Some headphone models support multiple calibration modes such as ANC, Ambient, and others. Once you have your headphone model found and selected, click on the Select current mode option to see supported modes for your headphones




NOTE! If your headphone model doesn't appear on the list, it is not supported. We do NOT recommend using a profile of a similar model - the results will be inaccurate. Instead, you can submit a model request here, or look into our individual calibration service.


The headphone selection wizard is identical in the standalone app and the DAW plugin. Identify what is the best fit for your system and workflow, and follow the guides below:

  1. SoundID Reference standalone app
    System-wide calibration for your entire computer audio (local files & players, browser, gaming, etc.). Follow this guide to get started: Setting up with the SoundID Reference standalone app
  2. SoundID Reference DAW plugin
    Perfect for music production and mixing process, featuring a Zero Latency filter. All major plugin formats are supported: AU, AAX, VST2, VST3. Follow this guide to get started: Setting up with SoundID Reference DAW plugin
  3. SoundID Reference supported devices
    Export your calibration profile for supported devices. Upload and run the calibration directly on your hardware DSP. See the list of supported devices and get started here: Exporting a calibration profile for supported devices


Virtual Monitoring Add-on

The Virtual Monitoring Add-on (VM) for SoundID Reference simulates a spatial speaker listening experience on headphones, allowing music to sound as if it's being played through professional stereo speakers in a well-treated control room. Also included are new spatial simulation Translation Check targets for cars, smartphones, laptops, and more. 


VM uses binaural audio rendering technology - a combination of crossfeed and spatial room simulation of certain devices and environments. Working with VM on headphones assumes the same workflow one would expect when working with stereo monitors, or other simulations. Using this tool enables creators to produce better mixes on headphones, ensuring a more consistent sound translation across various devices.


IMPORTANT! VM is a paid add-on for SoundID Reference, learn more below.


Target Modes

SoundID Reference will offer a choice of 4 Target Modes:

  • Flat Target (SoundID SR)
  • Dolby Atmos Music
  • Custom Target
  • Translation Check

By default, you will start with Flat Target (SoundID SR), which will provide you with Flat Studio Reference calibration, so you can hear every detail while working on a mix. However, we recommend exploring additional Target Modes such as Custom Target to create your unique target curve, or Translation Check to hear how well your mix is translating on various playback devices. Learn more here: Calibration target modes




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