In what could be seen as a slightly unusual move for a company that specialises in studio monitors, Genelec has just released a plugin, Aural ID, that’s designed to give producers a better, more reliable experience when they’re mixing on studio headphones.
To use Aural ID, you first need to grab the free mobile app of the same name, which was announced in 2019. Using video footage, this analyses the way your head, external ear and upper body affect and colour audio coming from all directions. This response is known as the Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF), and everyone’s is unique.
Aural ID uses its cloud-based calculation engine to model the user’s head and upper torso features and create their personal HRTF, with this information promising to enable precise rendering of audio in any direction in the Aural ID plugin.
Genelec says that, unlike headphone mixing solutions that rely on generic HRTFs, Aural ID delivers a truly personal experience, and one that’s closer to the one you get when you’re using monitor speakers. The theory is that this will enable you to make better decisions when you’re mixing on cans.
The plugin version of Aural ID enables you to compensate for the sound colouration that your headphones introduce either with tailored corrective EQ for a library of specific models, or with a more general response that’s designed to work with any pro headphones.
For users of Genelec Smart Active Monitors, there’s even more functionality, as you can also import calibration files from the company’s GLM loudspeaker manager software. This, in theory, enables you to replicate the performance of your in-room monitoring system, while also making fine adjustments if they’re required.
“While we firmly believe that in-room loudspeaker monitoring is unrivalled during the recording and mixing process, high-quality headphones play an important role as a supplementary monitoring tool,” says Genelec Managing Director Siamäk Naghian.
“Aural ID empowers headphone users by giving them the confidence to switch between monitors and headphones freely, delivering mixes that translate consistently to the outside world.”
Aural ID certainly isn’t cheap - it’s available on subscription priced at €490 a year or €49 - but if it helps professionals to work more effectively when they’re on the move, some may consider it to be a price worth paying. The Aural ID plugin runs on PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats.
Find out more on the Genelec website.