RX by iZotope is now, in my opinion, the standard all-in-one post production clean up software. I’ve had it since version 3, and it gets better each new upgrade. If I’m working in any post situation and there is something in the audio that needs treating, RX is first port of call every time, without question.
Version 7 is another substantial step up from the previous iteration, with a host of very useful new modules and systems. Our last review was RX5, back in 2016 so please refer to that if you have no previous experience of RX as a full-featured audio repair suite. This article will be taking a look at the improvements that have been implemented since then.
RX7 is a nice UI refresh from the last version, with brighter, cleaner text and icons across the board. It was already well presented, I thought, but this is a nice step up, with light graphics overlaying a dark background. The blend of spectrum and wave pops nicely, making it very easy to find where you are in the sound.
Several modules have been tweaked to improve the algorithm, or add extra features. I feel like there’s been good attention paid to Dialogue repair – De-rustle and Dialogue-isolate algorithms have been tweaked to great effect, and a couple of new modules have been introduced – more on that in a bit. I love using the module chain, and saving presets of modules that I use frequently in my work. A fantastic addition has been the introduction of frequency banding throughout the chain – so you can now focus more specifically without affecting the audio entirely. A small but really useful addition.
Anyway, onto the big new additions to the RX suite. Firstly…..
In my limited experience of using AI to help out with all things audio processing, I’ve avoided like the plague as they’re mainly rubbish, but also will one day end my career.
However, I was super impressed by this little robot. It works on specific types of audio; Dialogue, music and, er, ‘Other’. Highlight the problem area, and it gives you 3 preview-able options as to how to fix it. You can go ahead and one-click fix it there and then, or if you want to dive a little deeper and tweak the settings the AI made, you can open it as a module chain, and tweak until you’re happy. I found it worked fantastically well on the more common issues in post – clips clicks noise and hum. Usually one of the 3 options was close if not bang on to what you were looking for. I’m all about speeding up the process, and this ‘assistant’ was definitely more of a help than a hindrance. I will be utilising this moving forward!!
Utilising the pitch and time variation algorithms, iZotope have applied this to Dialogue audio – so you can effectively change the inflections in pitch within speech, to alter the tone of the words. The thing that impressed me most about this is the way the formants are shifted as the pitch is changed – to keep the voice sounding natural and real. It’s really effective, As you can see from my initial tweaking in the video above. I would say you would find it hard to tell it had been changed even when isolated, most of the time. Super effective.
This is a cool module. Upon analysing the music, you’re presented with 4 faders – Vocals, Bass, Percussion and Other. You can then change the levels of each of those elements to the music. Obviously as soon as you start going extreme, you start getting more artefacts. Considering what it’s doing – you can get a long way before you encounter severe artefacts. I can’t see this being used as a mastering tool, but I can see this being really creatively used – to take out various instruments, or take out vocals for a remix. It’s relatively successful at isolating instruments also – want to hear just the drums? I can see this being used to drop sounds back in the mix that are interfering with dialogue – if the musical vocals are just all up in the dialogue’s business, dropping them without losing the power of the track behind would be really useful.
Wow, this one is really useful. You get a thump or click across a multi mic’ed drum kit – with the composite view you can surgically remove a sound across the whole track selection. Someone sneeze in your live band recording? No probs.
When you compress a vocal – all the breaths taken in-between phrases come right up in volume. Sometimes it sounds awesome. Mostly they start to get to a level that is at best distracting. This module isn’t new, but it is Awesome, so I wanted to include it here. It automagically finds the breath sounds in a vocal take, and brings the volume down naturally (or removes them completely). Saves SO much time.
RX7 now provides some modules as native plugins in Audiosuite. (AU and VST versions have been around for a long while now) In the Advanced version of RX, you can now use any of the modules within surround sound up to 7.1
Here’s a vid walking you through some of the new stuff:
Price and Availability
RX7 has 3 versions. Elements is great for the complete beginner, but I would say most of the useful tools are in Standard and Advanced, with Advanced containing all of the new modules. You can currently purchase RX7 on sale starting at $99 for elements, through to $799 for the Advanced series. If you already own a version, there are generous upgrade offers – see your own account for those.
Composer/Producer, and keyboard player. He has written and recorded soundtracks for a wide variety of media and co-owns DOsounds.com with Jake Owen, a music production company that gives him an excuse to buy more analog gear.