iZotope RX is not the only game in town (Alternatives list)

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Uncle E wrote: Tue Jan 31, 2023 10:59 amI can see how it's perfect for takes that would otherwise be ruined (as you described), as well as for podcasts and videos where vocal quality is secondary.
I wouldn’t say quality is secondary, but it is a very different mindset from creative music production. It’s functional audio, not creative audio, where clarity and ease of listening are the only criteria that matters.

When you think about it, perfect radio or podcast audio is close vocal mics in a dead room, everyone on cans, all pushed through heavy compression to even out any quiet or loud bits. All that feels wrong creatively if that’s your background, but I know it’s EXACTLY what I want when I’m doing the washing up, driving down the motorway or cooking a stir fry while listening to someone talking. I want zero dynamic range, and nice crisp and full audio spectrum, so whether I’m listening through a phone speaker, car radio or Bluetooth I can hear everything clearly.

Which is precisely what this amazing tool does. I just put a phone recording through it from a podcast and it sounds SO much nicer to listen to now, not ultra HQ but a natural sounding full range, no longer with that classic restricted telephonic quality. C’est incroyable.
http://www.guyrowland.co.uk
http://www.sound-on-screen.com
W11, Ryzen 7900, 64gb RAM, RME Babyface, 1050ti, PT 2024 Ultimate, Cubase Pro 13
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I generally agree with you noiseboyuk that clarity and ease of listening are critical with certain types of audio more than others. Wouldn't go so far as to say they are the only criteria that matter. As Youtube and podcasts have become more ubiquitous, the bar on spoken word audio quality has seemed to go down, but I'm gobsmacked that more "creators" don't take the small extra effort to put out better sounding product ... and that audiences (in comments) don't protest shoddy audio more than they do. Audiences do vote with their feet, and I'm sure better quality audio can only help build and keep engagement.

Here's my question.

It's one thing to adjust the room tone to match different recording environments or gate some background noise but has anyone tried this tool with audio vocals recorded via Skype or Zoom that contain digital artifacts? I'm still looking for a standard method to improve those. I know. Record using higher quality at origination, but sometimes that's not what is done and sometimes people die before you can get better audio interviews.

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noiseboyuk wrote: Tue Jan 31, 2023 1:17 pm I wouldn’t say quality is secondary, but it is a very different mindset from creative music production. It’s functional audio, not creative audio, where clarity and ease of listening are the only criteria that matters.
Yes, we're on the same page. Content and intelligibility are more important than vocal quality in those contexts. Vocal quality is still important, just not the primary focus (thus, secondary). OTOH, if it's music and you're tracking a real diva or divo, they might not love AI adding formants added to their voice.

Anyway, I like it and plan to use it. I make product videos and it'll be a huge time saver if I can simply record my voice with the phone.

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Calagan wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 1:16 pm Thanks a lot Marina for this thread and your research.
It helps, and I'm sure many of use are searching for good alternatives.
iZotope truly sucks as a company IMHO and I'm not impressed by their technology...

I bought RX9 recently, and I'm truly disappointed by the audio quality and by the workflow.
I'm quite surprised this is considered a standard in audio restoration and post-production (but maybe it's even worst elsewhere).

The de-click and mouth de-click features are quite nice. It's almost my only use of RX9. Sometimes noise reduction, de-plosive or adaptative phase rotation, but rarely something else (I must admit I need to learn spectral repair)...

The alternatives I have for some tasks that works good or better (and are much easier to use) are :
- Brusfri (Klevgrand) for noise reduction. Workflow of Brusfri is much better. Soundwise, when comparing to RX9, it depends from the source. But it's easier to use and it's million times cheaper !
- Waves Sibilance as a de-esser. It's the best de-esser I know, and this was a free gift (I'm not a Waves user). I never use RX9 for de-essing because I'm covered with Sibilance...

Right now I need a de-reverb plugin for badly recorded dialogues : I can't use RX9 for that. It doesn't sound good and workflow is horrible (for exemple, the rendered file never sounds like the preview : how can you work like that)...
I often use transient shapers that sound better than RX and it's just one setting to tweak. But I doubt it exists a convincing plugin for that task...
Sibilance is a great deesser, especially for the price of FREE. I also picked it up, I believe it was a Black Friday gift a few years back.

Their Clarity VX works great if its voice tracks too need to clear up.

It doesn't do too well with intermittent tonal pitches thigh, like phone rings and alarms. Though RX didn't fair well here either. Although, it might do better manually going through the file and manually selecting the frequency and harmonics and attenuating it to fair degree.

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Spectral editing in RX will handle phone rings and alarms.

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Anyone did compare RX and Spectralayers in real life use ?
There's a huge promo on Spectralayers crossgrade (from RX) at the moment, and I find the workflow much better than RX, but I'm not sure I need to spend an additional 120€ for an app with such similar features...
At the moment I can't edit anything in the RX view (I only use the RX features on large portions of audio) : I hate the workflow and the fact it's so cumbersome (preview is horrible to use for exemple). And I've got some issues on a new mac : sometimes the preview is different from the post-FX, sometimes the audio doesn't play, sometimes the mouth click feature doesn't work anymore (just after it worked perfectly)... etc. etc.
But maybe I'm just lazy and dumb...

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Great post, and the amount of time & research and careful attention to presentation is much appreciated. I've been avoiding RX because it's expensive, but if it's as capable as everything you list --- all in one --- maybe it's worth it.

As an alternative I picked up Sound Forge 16 after remembering Sound Forge fondly so many years ago. The batch processing serves my needs, but overall I wouldn't recommend it. Worst of all, the UI is TINY on a 4k monitor, and if you use any kind of UI scaling many of the UIs don't function because the buttons appear outside of the non-scalable UI windows. There's really no excuse for that in 2023.

Also, by the time I purchase that many alternatives I might as well just get RX. But still, the post is appreciated.

I wish there was more competition in the wave editor market. Adobe dropped the ball with Audition and refuses to acknowledge or fix the dithering bugs (many processes add dithering to 16bit WAVs, but the dithering isn't there until you re-open the file, making it hard to realize what you've done until it's too late.) Sound Forge is a mess. Ocen Audio is pretty cool for a free product, but I need something more powerful like RX.

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Cyanide Lovesong wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 3:28 amSound Forge is a mess. Ocen Audio is pretty cool for a free product, but I need something more powerful like RX.
I think the full version of Acon Acoustica is probably the closest in terms of a broad swathe of tools.
http://www.guyrowland.co.uk
http://www.sound-on-screen.com
W11, Ryzen 7900, 64gb RAM, RME Babyface, 1050ti, PT 2024 Ultimate, Cubase Pro 13
Macbook Air M2 OSX 10.15

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Cyanide Lovesong wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 3:28 am I've been avoiding RX because it's expensive, but if it's as capable as everything you list --- all in one --- maybe it's worth it.
iZotope had several good sales recently. Music Production Suite Crossgrade (with RX Standard) for $199 and Everything Bundle Crossgrade from Advanced (including RX Advanced). If you need a product to Crossgrade from, I can give you a license.

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Cyanide Lovesong wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 3:28 am Great post, and the amount of time & research and careful attention to presentation is much appreciated. I've been avoiding RX because it's expensive, but if it's as capable as everything you list --- all in one --- maybe it's worth it.
I’m very happy to see that my post was at leas a little bit helpful.

Yes, RX Advanced is a very useful Swiss Army knife of post processing utilities. According to some user comments not all of its functions work as well as with some of the alternatives, bit overall it’s a good tool. The only downside- it’s development had stalled since somewhere around version 7.

It seems to me that SpectraLayers Pro and Acoustica Premium + DeVerberate cover some huge part of RX Advanced features.

SoundForge Pro is a good wave editor, maybe not as good as WaveLab Pro, but it has only little feature overlap with the post features of RX and Magix basically offered a free copy of Ozone and RX elements as well as SpectraLayers Pro 6/7 (it could be cheaply upgraded to version 9) with their SF Pro Suite licenses for a while.

If you’re looking for a Swiss Army knife sort of audio editor and post processing tool RX might be the best, but as Uncle E suggested, make sure that you’re getting a copy of it during some of the big sales.
Monitors: HS7 / Mixing: Cubase Pro 13 / Mastering: WaveLab Pro 11.2 / Sound Design: Live 12 Suite

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I'd like to add another alternative: HitnMix RipX/DeepAudio. It's mainly a stem separation tool (at which it was much better than RX last time I checked) but the full version has many features that are similar to all the contenders already named in this thread. You can even tune vocals with it and sometimes I prefer it to Melodyne.

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I find this software less optimal for a post processing environment, because it needs constant Internet connectivity in order to run. Some post processing machines work offline only.

As found on: https://hitnmix.com/buy-ripx/
In order to check for a valid license, an internet connection is required to activate RipX for the first time, and at least once every five times it is run. If you work in a post production environment or similar and do not have access to an internet connection, please contact us regarding offline activation.
Of course I could highly recommend Demucs, which is a free open source software and the software mentioned by you is using Demucs for its stem components unmix.
Last edited by equisonus on Sat Mar 04, 2023 7:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
Monitors: HS7 / Mixing: Cubase Pro 13 / Mastering: WaveLab Pro 11.2 / Sound Design: Live 12 Suite

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marina wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 10:39 am Yes, RX Advanced is a very useful Swiss Army knife of post processing utilities. According to some user comments not all of its functions work as well as with some of the alternatives, bit overall it’s a good tool. The only downside- it’s development had stalled since somewhere around version 7.
Yes. I often recommend people skip updates for that reason. There have been some good additions since 7 but a lot of people don't need more than what 7 provides, which is already a lot! Anyway, here's a summary of what's been added since 7. As you can see, a lot of the additions are fairly specialized:

RX 8 Standard & Advanced
Guitar De-noise
Loudness Control
Music Rebalance 2.0

RX 8 Advanced only
Spectral Recovery
Wow & Flutter

RX 9 Standard & Advanced
Dynamic De-Hum
Spectral Editor in Logic

RX 9 Advanced only
Complex Ambience Match

RX 10 Standard & Advanced
Repair Assistant
Dynamic Adaptive De-Hum

RX 10 Advanced only
Multiple Speaker Detection
Improved Spectral Recovery

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marina wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 2:40 pm Deep Remix was added as an alternative to Music Rebalance which is basically the way stem separation is named in RX. However I can hardly recommend it, because compared to many other software RipX can’t run without active Internet connection.

As found on: https://hitnmix.com/buy-ripx/
In order to check for a valid license, an internet connection is required to activate RipX for the first time, and at least once every five times it is run. If you work in a post production environment or similar and do not have access to an internet connection, please contact us regarding offline activation.
After contacting them they will let you know that offline activation is only available for DeepAudio and for the Mac

I have the Win version of DeepRemix. With deactivated Internet connection RipX prompts me to get back online after the 4th restart of the application. Then deactivates my license until I get back online.
It’s plain stupid from their side to punish their legit customers this way.
Many of my plug-ins require an active internet connection or at least very frequent "check-ins" and it's not a huge problem to me fortunately, albeit annoying.

What I was referring to is not DeepRemix though, but DeepAudio which is basically the full version of DeepRemix. DeepAudio is billed as "Photoshop for Audio" and has many of the functions that RX and others mentioned here have. It's good value for money, especially if you regularly need to do stem separation in addition to more tradition repair jobs.

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Uncle E wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 3:53 pm
marina wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 10:39 am Yes, RX Advanced is a very useful Swiss Army knife of post processing utilities. According to some user comments not all of its functions work as well as with some of the alternatives, bit overall it’s a good tool. The only downside- it’s development had stalled since somewhere around version 7.
Yes. I often recommend people skip updates for that reason. There have been some good additions since 7 but a lot of people don't need more than what 7 provides, which is already a lot! Anyway, here's a summary of what's been added since 7. As you can see, a lot of the additions are fairly specialized:
Yeah, I'm still on 7 'Standard'. Burned-out on upgrading every-other version release, just like with SoundForge Pro, and Live... and Kontakt. and... and... and.

I would like this though: 'Complex Ambience Match'. But not for the price of advanced.
I'm not a musician, but I've designed sounds that others use to make music. http://soundcloud.com/obsidiananvil

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