Field Report: iZotope RX3 Advanced
The most comprehensive RX3 Advanced noise reduction tool is found in the Denoise module. Denoise allows for manual control or adaptive learning of the noise characteristics and attempts to suppress hums, hisses or buzzes to an acceptable level. As with any type of noise reduction, there is a fine line between reducing noise and introducing digital artifacts. Denoise gives plenty of manual control for the user to fine-tune. A color-coded real-time graph represents input levels, noise suppression and output levels for accurate frequency monitoring.
RX3 Advanced is comprised of other modules that include Declip, which repairs clipped waveforms that were victims of analog overmodulation and sloppy analog to digital conversion. "Deconstruct" is one of the more interesting modules in that it can locate noisy components and tonal components of an audio file. Then by amplifying those components, the user can choose to purposefully destroy the audio file. This is a great effect for making a recording sound older. "Dereverb" lives up to its name by compressing reverberant material recorded in a poor acoustic environment. This reverb profile can be augmented on a four-band processor and the tail length of the reverb can be reduced.
RX3 comes loaded with modules for gain control, normalization and parametric equalization. The Channel Operations module is great for correcting stereo imaging, phase and other problems that crop up where stereo audio is involved. Time delay on a per channel basis, channel mixer and a center channel extractor are also available. The Time and Pitch module is where file length is adjusted or pitch correction is applied to musical selections. Musicians, especially singers, will appreciate the presets that correct flat and sharp pitches and help with tuning.
The Spectrum Analyzer module is a tried and true graphic representation of real-time frequency amplitude. For locating problem frequencies or getting a good look at equalization, the spectrum analyzer is a must. For even more fine-tuning, users can also add AU, VST and DirectX plugins to RX3 Advanced. This feature lets the user analyze and diagnose the effects of his or her favorite plugins. The Resample module displays the audio frequency bandwidth available per sampling rate. If the user chooses to resample the audio file at 44.1kHz, the graph shows the sample rate converter response curve as well as aliasing or artifacting involved. Finally, the Dither module allows for bit rate adjustment and noise shaping that effectively reduces artifacts resulting from copies of copies of digital material.
The spectral display
Day-to-day audio editing is primarily represented by the familiar waveform. Waveforms indicate amplitude over time, but are not able to give a frequency-specific analysis of audio files. The spectral view is a snazzy representation of the audio material that shows frequency response and amplitude over time. The brighter the color, the louder it is. The higher it is stacked in the graph, the higher the frequency. RX3 Advanced includes tools such as paintbrushes, lassos and time and frequency selection marquees to select and remove anomalies from the audio material. As an example, a 60Hz hum and its harmonics appear as straight bars along the bottom of the display. A bird chirping during a bassoon solo would clearly appear in the upper register of the display and could be easily isolated and erased from the audio clip without destroying the frequency response of the bassoon. During a voiceover, a dropped pencil or slammed door can be isolated and removed. "Spectral Repair" is a tool that allows the user to pick a section of audio material, remove it and then intuitively replace it. This transparently allows a noise or instant of noise to be unnoticeably removed. Spectral editing is clearly a perfect tool for critical audio editing and is a crowning feature of RX3 Advanced.
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In a world where digital signal chains and improved audio systems leave little room for marginal audio quality, extra work is a must. Good producers and engineers use every means possible to provide excellent quality to their audience. Keeping RX3 Advanced handy in the audio editing environment will ensure top-quality audio production every time.
Wygal is the programmer and engineer for Victory FM at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.
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