Turn your headphones into a world-class mixing room with the Dear Reality dearVR MIX plugin, anywhere, anytime
Dear Reality, a subsidiary of Sennheiser, has launched stunning and immersive room virtualization into the stereo world, turning your professional studio headphones into a complete stereo mixing room.
the dearVR MIX is an AAX/VST3/AU plug-in that leverages headphone spatial compensation and supports 44 popular professional studio headphones. It offers three virtual stereo reference mixing rooms with four selectable speaker positions.
All of this means you can be teleported into your professional studio mixing room, armed only with your computer and headphones. Of course you can use it in the studio, but you can also use it on the road – without the expense of renting a studio.
The plugin is aimed at audio producers, artists, and content creators, and ensures that their stereo productions translate reliably to any audio system, regardless of production type or musical genre. dearVR MIX lets you create exceptional sonic experiences and assess positions, stereo width, reverb and low frequencies with total reliability – anytime, anywhere.
Christian Sander, chief executive officer, Dear reality, said, “When developing dearVR MIX, the focus was on creating the ultimate virtual acoustic environments for headphone mixing. All of the experience we’ve gained in spatial audio is packed into one stellar plugin. dearVR MIX puts this technology in everyone’s hands.
Sander knows; he founded Dear Reality in 2014 with Achim fell, with a mission to provide cutting-edge, high-quality 3D audio software for interactive and linear audio production. The company is renowned in the industry for its binaural, Ambisonics and multi-channel encoder with totally realistic room virtualization. Its products are used worldwide by sound engineers, sound designers, broadcasters and musicians. It was acquired by Sennheiser in 2019, with Sennheiser recognizing the amazing immersive audio capabilities the company was creating.
dearVR MIX can give you confidence in monitoring your session in multiple virtual reference rooms and mixing with professional studio headphones, using Dear Reality’s headphone spatial compensation technology.
It offers three world-class reference mixing rooms and four selectable mono and stereo speaker positions. Each mixing room can be tailored by controlling the amount of diffusion and setting the perfect balance between overcolor and localization, using Sennheiser AMBEO’s patented Clarity algorithm.
As you can see, there’s a lot of intelligence and technology built into the software, based on the audio expertise of Dear Reality and Sennheiser.
All of this means you get a reliable and consistent monitoring experience wherever you are, and can easily and accurately control your production in non-studio acoustic environments from your own device. You could be in the car, in the club, in your living room – the dearVR MIX plugin will whisk you away to a land of pure sound for clear audio and mixing excellence.
iTWire tested dearVR MIX with a pair of Sennheiser HD280PRO studio monitoring headphones for ourselves.
Now, while many in the audio sphere increasingly mix on headphones these days – like Anna Kendrick’s Beca in the Pitch Perfect film series, let’s say – it’s still the great-sounding mixing room where many professionals seek audio excellence. Although it’s a great experience, it’s a lot of money. So many artists end up mixing exclusively with headphones in a less than ideal room.
The big goal of mixing is to make sure the audio gets from the producer’s mind to the listener’s ear as intended, but with a wealth of playback systems, from AirBuds to Hi-Fi, the sound can be distorted if the room being mixed in cannot effectively translate into this. range of options. Imagine if Corey Hart’s sunglasses at night or Queen’s bohemian rhapsody fell flat without the amazing left-right twist, not to mention their ups and downs?
iTWire found the plugin intuitive and clear, and that’s coming from someone who certainly has no significant audio mixing experience. I like to think I’m a bit creative, but I felt intimidated by the opportunity to review software that can be used by true professionals to find it surprisingly simple.
Note that since the software is a plug-in, you don’t run it directly; there is no “app” as such, but instead you use it with your existing audio software. For example, here I added it to GarageBand on macOS. Click on an empty plugin area and at the bottom of the plugin menu you can select dearVR MIX. Other audio software will also allow you to load plug-ins.
Dear Reality provided an impressive package; the screen offers settings to let you tweak the speaker setup and other elements, but without it looking like a Jumbo Jet cockpit. Of particular interest is the headset’s spatial compensation component which uses Dear Reality’s proprietary intellectual property, an algorithm that has been tuned, tested and fine-tuned by its expert audio, software and mastering engineers. This component provides spatial sound specific to the headphones you are using. The Sennheiser HD 280 PRO was there as an option, along with over 40 others.
“By carefully compensating for the sonic characteristics of individual headphones, dearVR MIX ensures the best binaural playback experience with the highest degree of out-of-head localization,” Sander said.
iTWire had a lot of fun playing with the software; controls let you play with ambience, focus, scenes, bypass, speaker setup and more. Some of the settings like ambience provided quite noticeable variation, adjusting the diffusion and taking advantage of Sennheiser’s Clarity algorithm, so you can find the perfect spot for the room you’re using. The scene option allowed you to select the various world-class reference mixing rooms you were using – as if you were physically sitting there – and also allowed you to select a physical room to emulate – such as the car, the club, kitchen, living room, or if your aspirations are big enough, a stadium.
The plugin is truly immersive and whether I was sitting outside on my patio – full of barking dogs, chirping birds, passing cars and the occasional crowing of distant suburban roosters – or at the Inside the house, I was spirited away in an incredibly clear crisp, quiet audio experience. I could play music and sounds and experiment, hearing all the subtle nuances of the changes I was making right away. I felt a level of control over the sound that I never imagined possible without actual physical audio mixing hardware.
The software works on both Windows and macOS and sells for $132.66 ($143.55 NZD) with a 14-day free trial so you can explore risk-free.
See it in action here: