Hofa, my new favorite plug-in maker, first grabbed me with their absolutely thorough—and crazily affordable—CD Burn and DDP software that sublimely put my disc mastering issues to rest. Now they’ve done it again with the 4U+ BlindTest plug-in (AU as tested plus AAX, VST and RTAS), a truly objective processor comparison software tool.
How does it work? Upon Hofa’s familiar, “easy on the eyes” gray, black and gold color scheme, 4U+ BlindTest neatly lays out the battlefield. First, instantiate 4U+ BlindTest as the last insert of every track or source needing evaluation. Name them within 4U+ BlindTest (and don’t worry, names are hidden during testing). Adjust gain for closer matching. Resize and/or position the 4U+ BlindTest window to cover meters or indicators that reveal the source then roll/loop playback; click the Dice icon to randomize their order and switch around between the choices; rate them with stars or make notes (or both); measure EBU average level and compensate if desired; drag unwanted choices into the discard area; and, finally, results with names will be revealed. Unconvinced? Simply shuffle the choices (once again using the Dice icon), re-roll and make new ratings and notes until a definitive choice has been made.
My description of 4U+ BlindTest may seem a little complicated, but it’s all quite simple; it’s easy to get the hang of quickly. Once adept at the process, users will find that 4U+ BlindTest simplifies tough decisions quickly; educates difficult clients efficiently without time-wasting persuasion massages; and is a natural choice in mastering applications where level-independent comparisons are crucial head-checks for very loud expectations and often maxed-out processors.
I really can’t think of a single improvement that could be made to 4U+ BlindTest. And, at about $45 for an online download, it just can’t be beat.