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This article was originally published in issue #65
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An all in one hardware solution for metering audio, monitoring loudness and true peaks.
Features a variety of library presets, multiple connections.
No screen space on your computer needed for metering.
None. This has changed my workflow and is an irreplaceable addition to my studio.
7” high-resolution LCD display
Stereo 96 kHz
TC Electronic introduces an all in one portable hardware solution for your audio metering needs. Ideally suited to stereo mixing, mastering and post-production, the Clarity M Stereo Audio Meter's 7" high-resolution display provides a wealth of monitoring information at-a-glance via a single LCD screen. Sounds ideal, here's what Jamie Humphries with the full rundown.
When recording, mixing and mastering there are many important factors to consider, one of which is reliable, accurate and clear metering. Being able to monitor your true peaks, loudness, balance, stereo image and phase correlation is a vital part of keeping up with the standards and requirements of today's audio expectations. Whilst your DAW will provide you with such metering, as well as third-party metering plugins, using a hardware solution can have huge benefits when it comes to saving screen real estate and computer processing power. The Clarity M Stereo is capable of both stereo and 5.1 metering.
The TC Electronic have played a big part in the development of the international loudness and normalisation standards; they also invented the unique radar loudness display. The Clarity M Stereo is a fantastic hardware metring system, that includes a 7” high-resolution screen, making it a great desktop and portable metering solution for both studio and live application. Conforming with the latest loudness and normalisation standards, the Clarity M Stereo can be connected to your system in a variety of ways. The basic connection is with USB, with you opening the Clarity M plugin within your DAW and inserting it on the master channel to monitor the entire mix, on individual instrument tracks. You can also use the USB to update the firmware. Other connections include AES/D-Sub connections for connecting to digital S/PDIF. You can also connect to an external mixing desk for with unbalanced AES outputs. There is also an optical TOS cable input, which is how I have the Clarity M stereo connected to my audio interface. You can easily switch between the digital and USB connections by switching the inputs by pressing the “Sys” button and turning the adjustment knob. The USB connection is a micro USB port. There is a built-in stand that stores flush against the back of the unit for transportation, which can easily be attached and unattached. There are two holes for mounting with a RAM stand.
The unit boasts a 7” High-resolution TFT display, with a variety of user presets for different metering scenarios. This is also fully customizable to suit the user's needs. The main display window includes the momentary loudness radar, displaying the target loudness, with the outer sweep displays loudness above the target level, whilst the inner radar sweep displays current and historical short term loudness readings. We also have detailed statistics overview of all the loudness measuring parameters. We have true peak meter, with red peak lights displaying clipping, a mono/stereo meter and correlation meter to display the phase relationship[ of the stereo field. Pushing the RTA button enters us into the frequency analyser screen, with zoom and 1/3 octave resolution. Push the same button, now labelled “V scope” to enter into the vector scope for viewing the stereo imaging. We have a reset button, a library button to enter into preset and user configurations for different operation scenarios, as well as presets conforming to industry standards. We also have a “sys” button, which allows further modification to the display as well as switching between digital and USB inputs.
When operating in plugin mode, a dedicated plugin must be downloaded from the TC Electronic website. The plugin offers either 32/64 bit versions and supports VST 2.4, VST3, and AAX formats.
This is a fantastic addition to any studio, be it for the professional, the semi-pro or the home recording enthusiast, and let us not forget its live applications. I love that space is saved on my system, especially if I’m working away on just a laptop; I don’t have to use up valuable screen space for metering. I have gained a much better understating of loudness since using the Clarity M Stereo, which is important when uploading tunes onto streaming services or YouTube. The RTA display has also really sorted out my masters, with me being able to see frequencies that I can't hear, but will build up in the low end, causing a muddy mix or master. I have been using this unit for about four months now, and whilst I’m still getting a greater understanding of its applications, it really has changed my workflow. I couldn’t be without it now in my project studio.