iZotope RX 2 Advanced Review

Jan 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Michael Cooper

WORLD-CLASS RESTORATION SOFTWARE BECOMES TURBOCHARGED

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Figure 1: The stand-alone version of iZotope RX 2 Advanced. The right side of the GUI provides access to processing modules. Clicks in the audio file are displayed as three vertical lines in the center of the golden spectrogram, in which the floating waveform overlay is disabled.

Figure 1: The stand-alone version of iZotope RX 2 Advanced. The right side of the GUI provides access to processing modules. Clicks in the audio file are displayed as three vertical lines in the center of the golden spectrogram, in which the floating waveform overlay is disabled.

iZotope’s critically acclaimed RX 1 restoration software offered impressive processing for removing clicks, hum, broadband noise and even isolated events such as chair squeaks from audio files. Two updated versions of the software, RX 2 and the more-powerful RX 2 Advanced, add a multitude of features for even more effective restoration and easier archiving.

The software comes in both stand-alone and plug-in versions. The stand-alone version includes a world-class spectrogram with floating waveform overlays and several processing modules that can be used either independently or in combination (see Fig. 1). The Declipper, Declicker & Decrackler, Hum Remover, Denoiser and Spectral Repair processing modules included in the stand-alone version can also be instantiated as separate DAW plug-ins in RTAS, AudioSuite, VST, MAS, AU and DirectX formats. (The Spectral Repair plug-in includes essentially the same spectrogram as the stand-alone software; the plug-in provides offline processing and is not compatible with some hosts.) The stand-alone versions of RX 2 and RX 2 Advanced also offer a 6-band equalizer, gain adjustments (including four types of fades), L/R channel-balancing controls (including phase rotation) and a real-time spectrum analyzer.

NEW TOOLS
Why upgrade from RX 1? RX 2 includes new freehand (paint-brush and lasso) and automatic (Magic Wand) tools for selecting unwanted events (clicks, dog barks, fret buzz and so on) for attenuation or removal in its spectrogram. You can adjust pre- and post-roll around selections in the spectrogram. The new Decrackler is indispensable for restoring vinyl recordings. The Hum Remover can automatically find the base frequency in need of processing, and the Denoiser and Declicker algorithms have been improved since RX 1’s release. You can chain multiple processing modules together when batch-processing files. Your edit history is automatically saved when you quit, and it’s restored after a crash.

RX 2 Advanced includes all of RX 2’s features and more. An adaptive Denoiser mode removes background noise that changes over time, a lifesaver for video post. A new Deconstruct module lets you accentuate or attenuate noisy and pitched components of sound independently. (Imagine making a vocal track sound more breathy.) RX 2 Advanced features third-party plug-in hosting (one AU, VST or DirectX plug-in at a time) for processing spectrogram selections and batch processing. Other features include proprietary 64-bit SRC sample-rate conversion, MBIT+ dithering, Radius pitch-shifting and time-stretching, automatic azimuth re-alignment (for tape restoration) and a time-stamped log (invaluable for forensics and archival work).

The SRC, Time/Pitch and Spectral Repair processors work only offline in both RX 2 and RX 2 Advanced. All the other modules work in real time. I reviewed RX 2 Advanced in stand-alone mode and its plug-in versions in Digital Performer Version 7.21 (DP) using an 8-core Mac Pro running OS X 10.5.8.






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