SonoCrafters works entirely "in the box", meaning that everything we process is converted to digital format at the pre-amp during live capture and remains 100% within the digital realm from that point, regardless of whether we are producing CDs, MP3, or broadcast streams. That eliminates any possibility of introducing noise or reducing quality by processing with outboard equipment such as compressors or reverb units.
This is made possible by an explosion of very sophisticated and high-quality software "plug-ins" that are able to perform the functions of legendary outboard equipment at a much lower cost with higher resulting quality. However, this explosion of plug-in availability presents its own challenge because not all plug-ins have sufficient quality. SonoCrafters has carefully selected technologies that will give the best results at an affordable cost. While we may use hundreds of plug-ins in certain circumstances, this page lists some of our favorite technologies that we use frequently.
Live recording presents special problems because we cannot fully control the environment. There may be a furnace nearby with a fan that occasionally rumbles. A person in the audience may whistle or a waiter may drop a tray at a critical moment that destroys the effect of the recording. Or there may simply be a high level of ambient noise or reverberation in the recording space. Our favorite tool for these purposes is Izotope RX6, which has an amazing ability to deal with many of these situations while preserving the important parts of the recording.
Mixing begins with the Digital Audio Workstation. Our DAW hardware is a PC custom designed with components optimized for speed and minimal sound. It heavily utilizes solid state disks for processing speed together with large redundant disk arrays for reliable long-term storage of terabytes of projects.
We use several DAW platforms, including StudioOne 3.5, SONAR Platinum, and Cubase 9.5, and can deliver your project in any of those formats, in case you wish to do additional mixing on your own. Each of those DAW platforms comes with its own collection of plugins for the most common functions. If we are not constrained to the common set of plug-ins, there are additional plug-ins that we believe can give superior results. That list includes Izotope Neutron 2Neutron 2, Celemony Melodyne, Waves S1 Stereo Imager, and many more.
"Mastering" is a somewhat ambiguous term. At a high level, modern "mastering" can be thought of as two distinct functions:
For the final polish, we heavily rely on Izotope Ozone 8, which is a toolkit highly optimized for this purpose.
For product packaging, we prefer Presonus StudioOne's mastering module.