Prosoniq is one of those companies that take
the creation of a new version of their software very serious. They do
not go for quick result and profit, but work as long as needed to get
their product in true professional shape and quality. Who benefits from
this approach is clear: the customer, who gets real good value for his
money, not digital garbage.
This approach is the reason it took more then a year before version
2.0 of sonicWORX Studio was released. The new version already was announced
at Frankfurter Messe 1999, and it took up to this year's Messe to launch
the product in its full shape.
Maintaining the high quality standard, sonicWORX Studio already showed
in the previous version (if you missed, see online
review), was one of the challenges Prosoniq had to cope with while
implementing two really major steps forward in Studio:
real time processing, and VST support.
Real time processing.
To start with the major development in this version, we have a look
at the Modular DSP Page. In this window, you chain plugins you want
to process your audio file with. You can chain Prosoniq's plugins aside
with VST plugins from Prosoniq and other companies like Waves.
Every module has an input level control, wet/dry balance, CPU load and
clip display. You can save all settings for either a single plug in
or even the complete real time page, copy plug in parameters to other
modules in the chain and even drag and drop settings between modules.
Four snapshot buttons (located at the upper right corner) let you instantly
compare between actually four completely different real time pages.
This enables you to quickly compare, and choose the best result in no
time. Very handy feature, which helps you keeping your focus on the
creative process instead of technique.
The possible combinations and numbers of plugins are endless,
up to the capabilities of your Mac of course. On my 9500/200, I managed
to load up to 4 plugs that were not too processing demanding. With heavier
plugs I can totwo or three at a time. On G3 and G4 machines, the number
of plugs increases widely, among with the process power. At Frankfurt,
Prosoniq showed with a G4/400, which was impressive to look at.
The audio file is processed "top down". In the example above,
the audio first goes through the Small Room processor, then passes the
Rubberband EQ, and finaly the WaveShell L1 UltraMax by Waves.
Making Waves plugins available in Studio 2.0 is very easy. Just drop
the WaveShell-VST in the sonicWORX Studio plugins folder, and here you
go: the world of Waves VST works now in Studio 2.0 too.
Actually, all good stuff from the VST world can now be used in Studio
2.0. You can drop VST plugins from any other vendor directly into the
plugins folder: they will work without problem. As an example we dropped
a copy of WunderVerb3 by Steinberg, we use under Cubase VST, into the
plugins folder of Studio. Works fine.
Does this mean you can forget about the plugins, Prosoniq makes? No,
very certainly not. In the online review of the previous version of
Studio, we already told you that these plugins are of a very high quality,
and Prosoniq maintains this level of quality in version 2.0. The
great advantage is now that you can use this superb quality in real
time mode. In the screenshot above you can see which plugins come standard
with version 2.0 (the plugs with the dots). That is, except for the
ones we yellowed out, like Pandora Realtime. On the 2.0 CD is a demo
version of Pandora you will have to authorize (and pay) separately.
The other plugs can be downloaded/bought online at Prosoniqs
Offline post processing.
Real time processing being the newest development in Studio, this does
not mean that you should do all post processing in real time mode. Processes
like normalizing and DC offset correction are typically tasks you will
run offline. For those tasks, Studio 2.0 has a very nice and complete
bundle, shown in the list left in the screenshot below.
These plugins were already there in the previous version, be it some
with new refinements. The quality of these plugs was and still is superb,
fit to be used in a true professional audio recording and post production
environment. It goes too far to write about all details of these plugins.
You've got to experience them to understand why I write "superb"
Prosoniq added a simple but very handy new window in version 2.0: the
It gives you full control over the volume of monitoring what you're
doing while working with Studio 2.0. You can check off left or right
chanel, and check with one click on the mono button what the result
of your work will look like in mono, often used for streaming audio
over the Internet to reduce band width, and in multimedia productions
such as CD-ROMs to reduce storage needs.
Another new feature is the "speaker cursor", shown in the
It enables you to go directly to a certain part of the recording and
listen. This way, you can quickly hop through the audio file, and check
what the applied real time plugins will do to that part of your recording.
Very handy feature.
Another nice new feature is the new audio file dialog, that now enables
you to set several settings before recording, and determine where you
want to save the new recorded file. A major enhancement compared to
version 1.5, where directing the recorded audio was a hassle. File formats
supported are AIFF, SDII and WAV.
sonicWORX 2.0 supports native playback and processing of AIFF, AIFF-C
(uncompressed), WAVE (PCM) and RAW audio files. It can open and process
files of any word length between 8 and 32bit, of any sample rate between
8kHz and 96kHz. It will import and export PARIS PAF, System 7 sound
and split stereo files. It offers 6 different dithering/noise shaping
options during save and has "playback from disk capabilities"
to preview files before opening them (independent of system extensions
and QuickTime). The new "transparent processing" architecture
lets you play files and work on them while other files are being processed.
Of course, this needs the more heavy equipped PowerPC to run smoothly.
sonicWORX 2.0 has full I/O support for all ASIO devices. This makes
it capable of recording at the highest possible quality your hardware
offers, and independent of the Apple Sound Manager. What's more, sonicWORX
processing capabilities let you instantly compare processed and original
version at full quality during processing. I do not know of other audio
software that can perform this control function. You can even process
several files simultaneously, and if your computer is fast enough all
DSP processes automatically execute in real time.
Another enhancement is that now through the preferences page, you can
determine where Studio 2.0 will store its workfiles. Version 1.5 had
some minors here for which we found a workaround using aliases. Far
from ideal that was. Now, the flaw has been resolved: you can direct
the temp files anywhere you like. Good improvement.
Studio 2.0 provides several help features. First of all there is Balloon
Help, based upon the standard help feature of the Apple OS. It provides
basic help information for almost all functions you can find in the
Studio 2.0 windows and screens.
Then, under the Apple menu, you will find the option Tips & Shortcuts.
When chosen, a bunch of popup screens give you a "on site"
explanation of the major features in the major windows and screens.
If you would like to see these screens in detail, click on the resized
examples below. The screens appear in a new window, that you can close
again to continue reading on this page.
wave editor shortcuts help screen
history help screen
modular dsp page help screen.
Other help screens are keyboard layout and a handy list with all keyboard
shortcut commands. Nice work.
A detailed manual still lacks in the package. A basic handbook provides
good basic info like for version 1.5, but that's it. At Frankfurt Messe,
Prosoniq admitted that this work still has to be done. However, I do
not see this as a major disadvantage. A true semi-pro or pro audio producer
will know what to do with the plugins of Studio 2.0. And as always,
a good set of ears is absolutely required and more important than a
The looks of Studio 2.0 had a very nice facelift, compared to version
1.5, but still is true sonicWORX Studio. The real time monitoring windows
(Stereo Correlation, Analyzer, and Level meter are still there, all
"coated" with the new more metallic like looks.
Speed is always an issue when working with digital audio. Your harddisk
should be a fast one (7200 rpm is OK), and the faster the processor
the better the time performance. Somehow, Prosoniq managed to squeeze
more speed out of their software. On my 9500/200 PowerMac, the processing
time on the test file shortened quit a lot, compared to version 1.5.
It is not documented how this was done, but I presume a major part of
Studio's code was written native this time. Good.
Prosoniq has been working on version 2.0 for more than a year, and the
result matches the efforts: sonicWORX Studio 2.0 is very powerful, flexible
and high-quality software.
Studio 2.0 combines ease of use, flexible post processing and
superb digital audio quality with a major step forward: real time processing
with multi chained effects, VST support, and ASIO 2.0 support as well.
You don't need an animal of a PowerPC to run it, but the more horsepower
you can afford, the more plugins you can chain, thus reducing production
time. And production time always is a hot issue in recording and production
So, if you're in for superb audio processing quality, software where
important goodies of digital audio are combined (real time, VST, ASIO),
and software that lets you go at work in no time: get sonicWORX Studio
2.0. You will love it.
In my country we rate from 1 (very bad) to 10 (excellent) in steps of
1. Studio 2.0 gets a royal 9.
And believe me: software vendors get my 9 only when I am truly convinced
that they really deserve it. There is enough garbage in the digital
audio software business. But Prosoniq absolutely is worth this high
rating. Go get the software, available at URLs below, and get hooked
just as I got. Have fun.
No more Steinberg.
Prosoniq tried Steinberg as distributor, but somehow that appeared not
to work. Where did we hear bad news about the support by Steinberg before....?
Now, Prosoniq has found new more
willing partners for selling their products. The first one is AudioMidi.com,
the website to turn to if you live in the USA. And second there is The
PlugIn-Shop.com, run by Prosoniq. At both web addresses you can
More specific info on Prosoniq products can be found at
We have for you a page with sonicWORX
Online reviews of Prosoniq VST plugins can be found in the
Testing of sonicWORX Studio v2.0 was performed by Peter J. Bloemendaal
at BloWe Studio
and Roel Toering at Stable
All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter
J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.
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