Field Report: iZotope RX3 Advanced

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Each summer growing up I worked with my dad on every type of construction job, where I learned an invaluable lesson: A man is only as good as his tools. This is also true in audio production. With the advent of pocket-sized broadcast-quality recording devices, radio staff can go anywhere and gather actualities and natural sound. This, however, lends itself to capturing noises of all sorts. Additionally, the archived analog recordings of yesteryear sometimes make their way back onto the air. These old reels and cassettes, or vinyl discs by today's standards usually need some cleaning up. With all of that in mind, what tool do you pull out of your box to prepare your audio for broadcast? RX3 Advanced from iZotope is a great gadget to have on the job.

iZotope RX3 Advanced

The overview

The RX3 Advanced can be used as a standalone application or a VST3 plugin for most DAWs and audio editing platforms. The primary goal of RX3 is to restore audio and eliminate problems. Several preloaded modules tackle popular audio problems. Namely, RX3 will declip, declick, decrackle, denoise, deconstruct, dereverb, remove hum, equalize, attenuate and amplify, change phase, change pitch, resample and dither. It also provides a high-resolution spectrum analyzer and virtual space to use extra plugins. Most impressive is the spectral view and repair features that allow the user to find noises and other anomalies on a frequency-specific basis. Spectral editing offers a more defined sonic "picture" of the audio file and a better opportunity to find and diagnose problems.

RX3 Advanced boasts extremely accurate and precise algorithms. Most of the default presents are spot-on solutions to everyday noise problems. However, it gives the user very wide parameters for experimenting and testing. But, improper use of those parameters can cause unwanted results. Machinery cannot replace the discernment of the human ear. So use it with deft precision and apply just enough correction, but no more!

What's cool

Sometimes radio talent sound as if they have plastic wrap in their mouths. The Declick & Decrackle module is designed to clean the effects of scratches on grooves during vinyl disc restoration and vinyl recordings, but it also works for de-drymouthing a voiceover.

  Performance at a glance  
  ■ Standalone or plug-in use
■ Spectral editing for frequency-specific troubleshooting
■ Learn feature for adaptive correction
■ Default presets for everyday problems
■ Resampling and dithering for final mastering

RX3 Advanced also sports the Remove Hum module. Each module has a "learn" function that examines the fingerprint of the problem noises and attempts to covertly eliminate them. The hum remover allows the selection of up to eight harmonics, which means for example, that 60Hz and its associated colorations will be attenuated. Default setting work wonders, but several adjustments can be made to fine-tune the hum removal.

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