Two weeks ago, we went out to record some SFX at the airport Stuttgart – thanks to the Stuttgart airport team for making that possible! It was not that easy to capture clean and constant sound on location, so we used the award-winning RX3 by iZotope to improve our recordings. Check out this amazing noise reduction and restoration tool and how it takes your SFX to another level…
You can choose between the standard RX3 version (around $349) and the advanced version (around $1199), depending on which functions you need (We used the standard RX3 version to improve our audio).
There are different ways to work with RX3. One way would be to use it as standalone version. The features match to each other and give you a good overview thanks to the elementary use of the spectrogram with less CPU usage than the plugins. On the other hand it is possible to use the single features of RX3 as plugins in your DAW. This way, you have a nice combination between editing and cleaning up your audio without leaving your environment.
So here we go and take a closer look at some of the core features of RX3 with examples from our SFX recordings:
DeClipping is really an emergency tool and you should always avoid letting your audio clip.
In our case the microphone capsule (not the preamp!) clipped caused by the immensely low end of take-off aircraft in combination with a narrow microphone pattern.
The only way to fix this problem was to use this DeClipper module. It’s quite easy: With the threshold you match your signal level to get the plugin to start to work. The quality control lets you choose between different quality settings, but with this noisy material, we didn’t recognize any sound difference. There is probably a more noticeable difference in audio like voices or more precise material. The Make-Up Gain allows you to bring backlost volume.
We were really amazed how great this plugin worked: it removed the distortion without worsening the audio. Nice!
Denoising is a general term to remove constant noises and leave the useful signal as unprocessed as possible. But this perception is nearly impossible to convert, so you always have to enter a compromise between noise reduction and a loss of sound. In this case we tried to reduce the inherent noise of the microphone/preamp combination.
The best way to reduce noise is to show the plugin the pure noise profile via the Learn button. The higher the value of the noise reduction is, the more you will hear unsightly artifacts. „Artifact Control“ helps you to fit these artifacts to your material, so that they remain as unheard. Another nice function is, that you can set a „Reduction Curve“. This makes it possible to raise or lower the threshold at certain frequencies.
We recorded an interior terminal ambience. The problem was, that a constant, high buzz ran through our recordings and we were not able to locate and eliminate it. The Spectral Repair tool was a nice option to fix this problem. It is applied to the selected area and tries to remove the disturbing sound without just deleting it. To select the unwanted sound you can choose between various selection tools. Because it was a constant tone we used the vertical selection tool and selected „vertical“ in the „Attenuate“ algorithm.
Spectral repair is a really nice feature to remove unwanted sounds without interfering too much in the base material like an equalizer. The history tab helps you to check different settings.
In this screenshots you can see how we started to mark the buzz including its harmonics and removed it.
Our Conclusion: iZotope RX3 is a high quality restoration suite which really helps you to get the best out of your recordings in a fast, efficient and logical way.
But: Some of the plugin-features might work with limitations, such as the spectral repair plugin which is not available in all sequencers (like Studio One).
And beware: The degree of improvement depends on how much you are using and understanding the functions of your modules and material. And don’t let your concentration slip during the recording process – even the magic RX3 won’t be able to help you!