For the first time, the Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-Codec plug-in allows to precisely audition codecs in real time. This breaks away from the current time-consuming cycle of having to encode the mix to mp3/AAC, preview it, tweak it and then go back and re-render. The entire process is accomplished ‘on the fly,’ and frees the engineer to focus on producing a compensated, optimized mix. 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 simultaneously.
The Sonnox Fraunhofer Pro-codec made its Winter NAMM
debut in 2011. A pioneering collaboration between mp3 creator, Germany-based Fraunhofer IIS, and innovative plug-in designer/manufacturer Sonnox Ltd, has resulted in a groundbreaking plug-in set to simplify the way audio is mastered for online distribution. More than two years later, Pro-Codec Version 2 was launched in September 2013 and is on show at 135th AES
, New York City, stand 2644.
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. Recognized for their exceptional sound quality and innovative graphic displays, 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. Harald Popp, Head of the Multimedia Realtime Systems Department at Fraunhofer IIS, comments, "With the growing importance of online music distribution we have seen a strong need for mastering engineers to prepare mixes for download acquisition. Our search for the perfect partner to solve this issue led us to Sonnox and their uniquely successful plug-ins. The opportunity to collaborate with them on this truly market-driven product has been an extremely gratifying experience."
“Fraunhofer’s mp3 and AAC technologies have revolutionized the audio industry,” adds Sonnox Managing Director Rod Densham. “We are excited to be collaborating with them in this unique new mastering solution, which we believe will change the way engineers prepare final mixes or masters for online distribution.”
The Pro-Codec plug-in is compatible with all popular DAWs - Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Sequoia and Wavelab. Both Mac and Windows are supported.
Launched in September 2013, the Pro-Codec Version 2 introduces the ability to master for iTunes and supports the latest multi-channel audio codecs. For the first time, the Pro-Codec Plug-In enables engineers to use Apple’s iTunes Plus codec for real-time auditioning, making it a powerful time-saving tool to efficiently mix directly for the “Mastered for iTunes” program. Sonnox has added Apple’s iTunes Plus codec to the Plug-In to enable the exact clipping behaviour of the iTunes encoding chain to be monitored and levels corrected if necessary, saving time and ensuring high quality output during the mixing process.
In addition, Sonnox and Fraunhofer have integrated the latest MPEG Surround codec along with Advanced Audio Coding Low Complexity (AAC-LC) multi-channel and High Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC) multi-channel support, making the codecs conveniently available for producers of surround music. These codecs provide superior audio quality for surround sound mixing and are used in surround broadcasting and streaming.
In fall also 2013 Fraunhofer told pro-music-news.com that a consumer version of the Pro-Codec should soon be available and affordable for musicians and home recording applications.