ROI Reviews: Izotope RX and RX Advanced
Spring Clean Your Audio Archives
iZotope, makers of finely crafted audio plug-ins and software, has a very cool forward-thinking application called RX, that they dub as the “Complete Audio Restoration” software. A pretty bold claim at first read, but one that I think the company has hit on the head quite realistically. I was one of the early beta testers and have watched it grow and improve since.
RX is ideal for audio restoration, mastering, forensics, broadcasting and archiving amongst other things; it is even good for cleaning up cell phone messages and recordings, which I find personally useful! It is a standalone audio cleaner/editor and opens standard audio files, even audio from video streams. The software itself has a streamlined, easy-to-use interface that feels productive and high-tech, with its spectral-view and waveform-view combination. These views also give you a better sense of where the audio sits sonically and visually and let you have more fun cleaning and repairing your recordings.
There are five modules built into a toolbar-like group of buttons at the bottom left. Declipper rebuilds clipped audio from overloaded A/D converters and analog gear, which as you know, is quite a common problem in digital recording environments. Declicker eliminates clicks, crackles and pops from recordings (vinyl) and other strange impulses. Hum Removal cleans up line noise and electric hum (useful for laptop recording and faulty wiring in buildings). Denoiser, my favorite, removes broadband noises quite superbly. And, finally, Spectral Repair fixes gaps in audio and corrupted intervals, among other things. Together these five modules pack enough power to get just about any audio cleansing job done. Each is included in RX and RX Advanced.
RX Advanced gives you several key extra features for the higher price. It has deeper settings and a few other interesting higher converters and tools. The normal RX app will be more than enough for most general users.
After using this software on a couple of new recordings, I found that it actually does everything it says it will do, and therefore I consider it the best of its class and type for the price. I used the software on a recent personal adventure, where I had a friend record an opera performance in a concert hall in Europe using a normal cell phone. Most normal cells, as you are probably aware, have bad microphones, horrible storage and really lame converters – imagine the noise! While applications like this cannot exactly work miracles, iZotope’s RX came pretty close. I was able to clean up the recording enough to hear the vocal performance, add reverb and re-compile into a newer, cleaner sounding stream. When I sent it back to the original performer, I was highly complimented as a miracle worker.
There is one other related tidbit worth mentioning: iZotope also sells a real-time plug-in version of RX for use with your standard DAW software.
If you’ve being frustrated with the common problems of digital recordings, having something like this in your arsenal is a powerful defense.