At the recent Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, Calif., Sonnox announced its collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (Fraunhofer IIS) in Germany, which resulted in the new Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec plug-in ($499), which is designed to precisely audition codecs in real time while mastering audio for online distribution. This new process is a departure from having to encode a mix to MP3/AAC, preview it, adjust it and then re-render it.
The Pro-Codec plug-in enables mix and mastering engineers to audition up to five codecs in real time within a DAW environment, produce an optimized mix and batch-encode to multiple formats at once. It supports all major codecs—including MP3, MP3 Surround, AAC-LC and HE-AAC—as well as lossless codecs such as MP3 HD and HD-AAC.
Sonnox has developed an intuitive FFT display to illustrate the input signal and 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 is said to enable engineers to switch between codecs without glitches. A "blind listening mode," ABX, augments codec comparisons.
The Pro-Codec plug-in is compatible with major DAWs including Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Sequoia and Wave Lab, and supports both Mac and Windows.