Genelec enters the world of headphone calibration software, but with a difference. Rather than profiling the source audio material being played back or the headphones you’re using, it is you who is being profiled. The Genelec Aural ID mobile app will help you build a detailed profile of the shape of your head, ears, and your listening posture. The idea is not to compare or compete with studio monitor systems, but instead to expand on the capabilities and accuracy when working on headphones. As a rising number of users are achieving great results this way, Genelec’s goal is to increase the efficacy of stereo, surround, and immersive mixing on headphones.
What’s behind the development of Genelec Aural ID?
With headphone monitoring on the rise, more companies are looking to test their metal to see what innovations and developments they can offer. With Aural ID, Genelec is one of the first specialized loudspeaker manufacturers to offer software-based solutions for headphone users. Until now, it has been predominantly software companies occupying this space, and as far as we know Genelec has never developed a pair of headphones. So Aural ID may have come out of leftfield for some of us.
The Aural ID system requires two platforms: one for the mobile app on Android or iOS, and another for the VST, AAX, and AU plugin which is Windows or macOS based. We’ve mentioned that the goal is to create a more neutral headphone monitoring experience and deliver audio presentations that translate on any playback system, but how is Aural ID different? From Genelecs perspective, the ideal monitors for your listening environment are still the best tool available. The idea is to create the perfect complement for this when you only have access to your favorite pair of studio headphones.
In recent times, immersive audio formats have become increasingly significant in almost every avenue where we consume media. As the demand rises for these formats, so does the development behind the tools that help calibrate and mix audio for music and visual media. To keep up with the times, engineers have come to rely on solutions like headphone calibration and room simulation. Genelec aims to bring the same high-precision sensibility from their experience in speaker development Aural ID headphone monitoring software.
What makes Aural ID personal?
It all starts with the Aural ID Creator mobile app which assists in capturing a 360-degree video of your ears, head, and upper body. Once Genelec has this data, they create a unique HRTF(Head-Related Transfer Function) profile, for your ears only. You can find more details of the way the HRTF profile interacts with the Aural ID plugin here. As no two users are alike, each profile suits only the specific listener the plugin has been calibrated for.
Overall this creates more accurate spatial localization and colors the output signal sent to your headphones, producing more neutral audio playback. The plugin draws from a growing headphone model database to make these adjustments, and also includes an EQ, allowing manual user customization. Everyone is used to the sound of their specific studio environment, so the aim is to be able to reproduce this faithfully.
At this point, the Aural ID Virtual Monitor Calibration maps your simulated monitoring environment, allowing you to position multiple virtual monitors according to what suits your workflow. This makes mixing in surround and immersive formats very much a reality on headphones, as each individual monitor can have its volume adjusted or simply muted completely. Your listening position is also adjustable within the plugin, and all settings are stored within a preset for recall.
Genelec’s SAM (Smart Active Monitor) system also joins the party, allowing you to integrate the GLM Loudspeaker Manager with the Aural ID. This way the calibration profile from your monitors is quickly imported and used to create an even more accurate representation of your studio’s monitoring environment on your headphones.
Aural ID: a personalized professional solution
The Genelec Aural ID system has been developed primarily to bring more flexibility to a pro user’s workflow. From music to sound design and broadcast audio, the demand for headphone-based monitoring solutions means the technology will be constantly improving with time, although more affordable virtual headphone solutions are available. Aural ID is currently on offer at a subscription fee of 490 euros per year or 49 euros monthly, which is an expense difficult to justify unless you’re in the professional arena.
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