02 November 2012

Home Studio: 112dB Red Monitor plugin


This entry was already published during September 2009, in my old Spanish version of this blog. I am just revisiting the entry here.

One of the issues I've got with mixing is that, when I can work in my mixes is just at the end of the day or, during the night and, therefore, I cannot use monitors often.

Some time ago, I bought some headphones with plain frequential response for mixing (Sony MDR-7509HD). With those, you can hear any discrete detail but, what usually happens when you mix with headphones is that the stereo image that is being heard thru the headphones doesn't match the stereo image being reproduced in your monitors.

With headphones, everything sounds as if it was inside your head and, after checking same mix with monitors, you can discover that the depth of the mix clearly changed.

I've accidentally discovered this plugin, while searching for RTAS and VST plugins to include in my toolbox. I checked then their demo version and liked it so, I finally bought it.

Testing the plugin
This plugin allows you to indicate the real distance between your monitors and, between those and your sweet spot (were you hear the mix), even the degrees of separation and the amount of reduction of the loudness of the phantom center so, checking carefully the sound in your headphones against the sound of your monitors, you can get a very close stereo image in your headphones.
And that's what makes this plugin so interesting for silent mixing.

Therefore, this plugin is a wonderful tool to mix during the night. The corrections that you will have to apply to the mix when going back to the sound of your monitors will be way few than if you try the mix just with your headphones and without the help of this tool.

The drawback of this plugin is that is being increasing the volume (gain) in any way. Maybe, instead of pushing down the phantom center is increasing side levels?. I dunno but, it increases the loudness so, If you use it after a Limiters, you can get peaks and overs and therefore to give the final loudness and dynamics to the mix becomes more complex.
The plugins has one option to lower the output down to -3.0dB but, in that case, you are also unbalancing the levels of your mix and, any other plugin inserted after (Limiter, by example) will be affected by those levels.
In the first version that I've installed (the one I bought!), the button Dim worked even with the plugin switched off!.
Fortunately 112dB released a new version that fixed that issue.

I made my questions to 112dB's technical department and, they answered that there is no patch that can solve the issue related to the change of volume whitin the plugin, because to include a knob to be able to regulate the output volume (to match the input volume) was technically impossible without totally change the technical design of the program. But, they said that they wanted to program a new version of this plugin that will include some autoleveling volume but, not a knob in its interface that the user could use.
Till today, I don't know of an alternative plugin so, I should live with those "dings", until I can find a better alternative. I just know one more alternative and, it's hardware (the SPL headphone monitor).

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