Test Drive: iZotope RX 3 Noise Reduction Software Redux

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BRING ON THE APP

As with previous versions, the standalone application is dominated by a spectral display. This shows both the waveform of the sound you’re working on, along with a representation in shades of white to orange of the frequency spectrum intensity at any location (the colors can be reset to your liking, if at all seems too Halloween-like for you). There’s a waveform overview above the spectral display, and as you play the sound a new Seek handle will walk its way across the overview. In version 3 you can grab that Seek handle and scrub your audio; that’s a new feature that has been missing for a long time.

At the very top are tabs corresponding to each of the sounds you have loaded, and it should be noted that this is another first within version 3. Previous versions only allowed you to load one audio clip at a time in the app. Having the ability to copy and paste between audio files as your making noise corrections within the app is significant. Equally significant is the ability to then process multiple individual files using a process that you set up, and knowing that each individual file will be processed in precisely the same way without having to save a processor preset and recall it for each file.

Along the bottom of the spectral display is a full toolbar of icons for identifying and selecting various regions in your sound file. A number of selector cursors are available, depending on whether you want to select a block of contiguous audio or use a brush tool to select small, freeform and/or discontiguous patches of sound. That section of the icon toolbar actually looks more like it came from Photoshop, with a magic wand tool, a paintbrush tool, and a lasso tool joining the previous selectors which tended toward selecting square regions.

At the very bottom of the window is a full transport, along with various information boxes that tell you where your cursor is at the moment, the duration of selected region, and so forth.

Just to the right of the display, a full complement of meters measuring amplitude in dB and frequency in Hertz helps get a handle on what’s going on in the frequency and amplitude domains of your sound. Both domains can be calibrated to show you a particular segment of either the frequency or amplitude spectrum in a magnified view.

On the far right of the window is a redesigned function selector interface, which is far simpler to use than the previous versions. Here, in a collapse-able module list, you will see all the modules available for noise reduction processing. Clicking any one of these will generally bring up a small window containing the necessary controls to set up that specific type of processing. Again, it’s a vast improvement and simplifies what is in the end geeky list of processors into something that’s not hard to use.

Best yet, there are tooltips that appear all over the place. And they’re not short three word phrases that give you only a hint about what a particular slider will do. The tooltips tend to come up in full sentences, such as “set whether the zoom slider controls the waveform amplitude scale or the spectrograph frequency scale.” That’s clear, isn’t it?

One of the standout new features of RX version 3 regular is that you can now add either VST or AU plug-ins into the application window (this feature was previously available only in the Advanced version). This of course means that when you render to a new file from the app, you not only have the benefit of the noise processing but also whatever effects processes you’ve chosen to add to the mix.

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