Just released at NAMM and slated for a Spring launch, the new Sonnox Pro-Codec plugin has all the earmarks of a must-have plugin for those delivering audio in multiple formats. Produced in collaboration with mp3 creator, Germany-based Fraunhofer IIS, the Pro-Codec plug-in makes it possible precisely audition 5 multiple codecs in real time from within your DAW. All major codecs, including mp3, mp3 Surround, AAC-LC and HE-AAC are supported, as are lossless codecs such as mp3 HD and HD-AAC. Sonnox has developed an intuitive FFT display to illustrate the input signal, output difference signal and a unique graphical indication of the audibility of codec-induced noise.
Bit-stream integrity meters reveal potential decode overloads. Instant A-B auditioning enables engineers to glitchlessly switch between codecs. A ‘blind listening mode’ (ABX) augments codec comparisons by letting the engineer hear the outputs of multiple streams in a row without knowing the source. Then after making a true choice by ear, you can see which codec won the shootout by pushing the “Reveal” button.
I got the $10 tour in the Sonnox booth at NAMM and this plugin is well-designed and slick. You can instantly see if you’ll have any overs before committing to the burn, and also see and hear what artifacts the process is creating. This gives engineers yet another way to improve quality while saving the time it would take to produce these products on a one-off basis. You’ve got to love a product that gives you more control over your output while making your job easier.
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