- Sonarworks Tru-Fi is software for Mac and PC designed to give your headphones “studio sound.”
- The software alters the headphones’ frequency response based on which pair of headphones you are using.
- It’s $US80, and there is a free trial available.
If you’re disappointed with how your headphones sound, there could be a solution that doesn’t involve throwing them out and buying a new pair.
Generally, we don’t hear music the way it sounded when it was recorded in the studio. Without expensive audio equipment it’s pretty difficult to replicate that sound – meaning that when you listen with standard, consumer headphones, on a standard, consumer music player, something gets lost in the wash.
That’s a problem that Sonarworks is trying to fix. The company is best known for Reference 4, software that’s used by thousands of producers and musicians in the studio. For consumers, though, it offers True-Fi:$US80 software that’s intended for everyday music listeners who want to get a little more out of their headphones.
Currently, True-Fi is only available for Mac and Windows, but the company has said that a mobile app is coming.
For True-Fi, Sonarworks calibrated over 150 different pairs of headphones, developing an acoustic profile of each pair. Each type of headphone processes sound differently, so there isn’t a “once size fits all” approach that would solve the issue of sub-optimal sound quality for everybody. With these measurements, though, users are able to select their headphones (if they’re one of the supported pairs), and the software will adjust the frequency response in an attempt to replicate studio sound.
In the above image, the orange line is the adjusted frequency response, while the grey line represents the original, unaltered frequency response. This particular screenshot comes from a pair of Marshall Monitors.
With Sonarworks True-Fi disabled, I was honestly disappointed with the sound of the $US200 Marshall headphones. They sounded a bit muddy, and the highs weren’t nearly as clear as I would have liked.
However, after switching the software on, there was an immediate increase in sound quality. Everything in the mix becomes clearer, and after turning the software off again the listening experience just becomes unpleasant. The difference wasn’t as striking when I tried the software on my Sony studio monitor headphones, but I could notice a slight difference in the highs, while the rest of the mix remained about the same.
There’s only so much this software can do, and while it won’t make a cheap pair of headphones give off studio-quality sound, it can definitely make a noticeable improvement. You’ll have to make the decision for yourself if the $US80 price tag is worth it, as you could buy another decent pair of headphones for that price. That said, there is a free trial of True-Fi available.