Though I did not attend the NAMM show, I am feeling the impact of it. Lots of new toys and gadgets were announced. One thing that has my interest piqued is the new NX plugin from Waves. I have briefly tried the demo of this plugin and here are my initial thoughts:
The point of this plugin is to be a psychoacoustic studio monitor emulator. To put it plainly, it is designed to make listening on headphones similar to the experience of listening on studio monitors. There is an inherent difference in the sound field of the two environments, especially with the stereo image. Without thinking about the concept too much, the stereo field is different when the speakers (of headphones) are basically strapped to the side of your head. Something like this can be helpful when you have the late-night mixing bug and don't want to wake your significant other or roommate or if you find yourself mixing on your lunch break on your laptop.
There are a few other plugins and technologies that do this. I am aware of the focus rite VRM box but have not used it. However, I have used the Redline Monitor by 112db plugin. I recommend the 112db plugin fully. It is a nifty little beast. After A/B testing NX against Redline Monitor I am leaning toward NX just a little bit.
NX is a little more transparent than the 112db plugin whereas it doesn't add any gain to the output signal. I had previously experienced the 112db plug seemed to add sometimes up to 1.5db of gain in both Pro Tools 12 and Logic Pro X. I learned to live with it. NX didn't do that, at least not yet that I have seen. NX also offers a little more control to the "ambience", which seems to mostly add a bit of control room reverb. I kept the dial on this setting very low, if not all the way down. But, wait, here is the coolest thing:
NX can follow you head movements and adjust the stereo field in your headphones as if you were actually moving your head between your studio monitors. At first it seemed a bit gimmicky (but really neat!). After playing with some panning I found myself turning my head a bit like I sometimes do to focus on a left or right side from my monitors. Neat! NX can follow your head movements via your webcam and use the data to manipulate your headphones' stereo field. These feature is easy to turn off for when it is not needed. Waves warns of peaking CPUs in Pro Tools on MacBook Pro's with PCIe based cameras, but I didn't experience anything detrimental. Caveat Emptor on that for MacBook Pro users.
Currently this plugin is dirt cheap and super useful. I think I am gonna have to pull the trigger on this one while it is still at the introductory price... High Five to Waves!