Sonarworks True-Fi Evaluation

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Product: Sonarworks True-Fi
Provided By: Sonarworks
Price: €79.00

 

Introduction:

I've reviewed quite a few different headphones, earbuds and speakers over the past few years here at BCCHardware and while I'm sure I'm not a certified audiophile, I do like great audio. To me, great audio isn't the amount of bass present in every song, it's about balance. Balanced "flat" sound is fantastic to me. The problem is to get flat, even, balanced audio takes a lot of work or a really expensive pair of headphones - and even then, it takes a bit of work.

Studio's spend thousands of dollars making sure the headphones they are using to reference and mix the audio are tuned properly and they use these settings to ensure that they will be mixing and recording the perfect blend and that each instrument is properly represented. The downside is that when the release the final product every model of headphones, speaker and earbud has different reproduction capabilities and the listener isn't getting the pure, authentic mix as the studio intended.

That's where Sonarworks comes in. They have some very robust software and hardware solutions for studios to calibrate their equipment for recording and mixing, and now they have introduced software for the end-user as well. Their True-Fi solution allows you to match your headphones with specific profiles and this allows you to turn your regular headphones into some perfect tuned monitors to give you a True-Fidelity experience.

In our evaluation below, we'll cover some of the benefits and our experience using the True-Fi software.

True-Fi

 

True-Fi:

Installing Sonarworks' True-Fi was simple on my machine. I simply installed the software, chose my correct headphones that were in the list and enjoyed. Even with Sennheiser Momentum headphones (which are decent by all accounts), the sound profile was dramatically different than I expected. The music lost a bit of bass, treble was mellowed out and the overall balance of the high-mid-low was perfect.

We met with Sonarworks back at CES 2018 and when they demonstrated the software, they had a mid-range set of Sony headphones as well as some Marshall headphones side by side. When using the True-Fi solution, both sounded equally fantastic. Without it, you were subjected to the manufacturers bias as to how they want you to experience sound.

That pretty much sums up the goal of the True-Fi software. It enables you to be able to hear sound as it was intended during recording as it turns any supported set of headphones into reference headphones.

 

Customization:

Going slightly deeper into the software, we also have personalization options that include an age adjustment - which compensates for hearing loss that starts with profiles as young as 21 years old. Male and female profiles are available, and this doesn't indicate listening preference, rather it applies to expected hearing loss. You can also slide up the bass slider and stray away from true reference sound into something that you might be a bit more comfortable with.

True-Fi

 

Final Thoughts:

As much as I'd like to encourage everyone to run out and buy True-Fi from Sonarworks, it's not for everyone. If you are happy listening to bass-heavy music and don't really care about good quality sound, you might want to pass. If you care about audio quality and are willing to browse the list to see if your headphones are supported (list is growing all the time), you may want to give it a shot.

The headphone list is the biggest drawback and if you don't have a set that is on the list, it will give you a wrong profile and won't sound good at all. If you don't have supported headphones - and don't want to buy any that are on the list - stay away from True-Fi. The list is growing quite rapidly and if your cans aren't on the list, you can send a request. They add products to the list in order of popularity, so there is a good chance you'll get mainstream headphones added sooner rather than later.

There is a 7-day trial available. Be warned though. You may just have to buy yourself a license. Even if you have a supported set of earphones, I'd recommend the trial version as there are a few people I know that have tried listening to music through the True-Fi software on my PC and they prefer to listen to music without True-Fi. Sound is such a subjective thing, but if you want to listen to music the way it was intended to sound, you owe it to yourself to give True-Fi a shot.

The real strength of True-Fi is the ability to make your headphones sound like perfect reference headphones. This will work across multiple machines and if everyone working on an audio project takes time to setup their gear with True-Fi, the end result will be exactly the same no matter where it's worked on. It's a niche market for sure, but one that Sonarworks nails down.

Supported Headphones list here.