iZotope RX 5 Review – A Large Step Forward For The Go-To Audio Repair Suite

De-noise – this module is fantastic for dialogue or field recordings that you want to remove room tone, hiss, any background ambience really. If you’ve recorded a vocal, only to find that the recording has been compromised by the room, and the ambience, this module will deal with it for you. De-noise is one of the main tools in RX 5, and this is reflected in the amount of parameters you can change. You can select several areas at once to increase the accuracy of the noise profile. You can select the noise color legend (e.g. white for regular noise across the spectrum) you can add a reduction curve with up to 26 edit points – that increases or decreases the amount of noise removal on specific areas of the frequency range. You can change the FFT size, choose from different algorithms, smooth over the digital artefacts that might appear, and even synthesize high freq content that might have been taken out with the process. There are two modes – dialogue and spectral. The dialogue is slightly lighter weight, and can be used real time to remove background noise. As the title suggests, it’s aimed at dialogue mostly, and the algorithm is designed to work around vocal sounds.

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De-plosive – I found this new module extremely helpful. No matter what pop shield you’re using, especially in more intimate sounding, or live recordings, you’re going to get some pops on the ‘p’ ‘b’ ’t’ and ‘k’ consonants. This module deals with those issues very efficiently. It’s better than just using a shelf EQ as it allows other material in that aren’t plosive. As with other modules, there’re a sensitivity and strength sliders to adjust and preview the work.

De-reverb – this module is new to RX 5. it gives you control over the reflective space in recordings. This module I found the most tricky to operate successfully. You have to find a sample of at least 5 seconds that contains noise, direct signal and a reverberant tail in it. If the reverb is at all complex (pre-delay, or begins of echoes of reflective surfaces) then I found it takes a lot of work to get some results that you’re pleased with. you have a lot of control over parameters, such as amount of reduction, tail length, smoothing, and a dry signal enhance. If you’re struggling to hear the work you’re doing, you can output the reverbed signal only, to hear what you’re removing. When this module works however, it’s really awesome, and can bring a sound from far back in the mix to right up front, with just a few tweaks.

Leveler – this is an interesting one. It’s kind of like a compressor, but works by raising and lowering volume rapidly, rather than squashing, to obtain a flatter dynamic signal. You set the required RMS volume level, and leveler moves the audio levels around to achieve that target. There are modes for music and dialogue, and you can adjust the responsiveness, and how much dynamics to preserve. There are also de-essing and breath controls for vocal/dialogue work. I found the breath control really useful. The de-esser I kept wanting more control over to be really pleased with. However, it was still useful to have judicious use of.

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EQ match – again this is perhaps more useful for post audio, when trying to match different mic types on the same source audio. It’s a simple process of choosing the source audio file, taking a sample, and applying that sample to a destination file. Once you’ve got the source file, you can save it as a preset to use on other destinations.

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