Asbjoern Andersen


iZotope has just released RX5, the latest version of their popular solution for repairing and enhancing problematic production audio. With RX5, iZotope introduces a couple of industry-firsts, like their De-plosive and Leveler modules – and something described as a Magic Eraser. All that got me intrigued, so I got in touch with Matt Hines, product manager for Post Production at iZotope, for the story behind RX5.
Oh, and I’ve also got two copies of RX5 to give away – find out how to win them below, too!
 

Hi Matt, congrats on the release of RX5! The last time we spoke, you had just released RX4. What feature did you get the most positive feedback on in that version – and what would you highlight as must-have features for RX4 users considering an upgrade to RX5?

With the launch of RX 4, a few of the flagship highlights included RX Connect, used to integrate RX as an Audio Editor with your DAW/NLE timeline, and in RX 4 Advanced, Ambience Match, used to automatically extract an ambient noise profile that can then be used to fill any gaps or edit points in a scene, in addition to EQ Match, Loudness and the first arrival of the Leveler. Looking at our opt-in analytics, it’s astounding to see how many people rely on RX Connect.

For users upgrading to RX 5, the new Instant Process tool mentioned below is fantastic, as is Module Chain (an effects rack allowing you to load up and fire off as many different RX module processes as you require with a single mouse click, saving the custom chain for reapplication at any time).

Looking at our opt-in analytics, it’s astounding to see how many people rely on RX Connect

There’s also the new Ambience Match AudioSuite plug-in for Pro Tools, the brand new Leveler with de-ess and de-breath technologies, as well as the flagship De-plosive module, a new EQ, and also smaller but significant workflow enhancements like clip-by-clip and handles support for plug-in processing (including RX Connect) in Pro Tools.
 

You’re describing the De-plosive module as an industry-first. How’s it different from what else is out there – and how did you come up with a solution for the plosives issue?

Rather than use traditional equalization and dynamics processing techniques, we use some advanced spectral processing techniques. To quote Alexey Lukin, the DSP Engineer who researched and built the De-plosive algorithm, “De-plosive is more than a low-band limiter. It is more like a de-clicker coupled with spectral repair. This kind of processing is gentler toward useful dialogue and can, in many cases, preserve harmonics of the voice while cleaning thumps between them.”
 
 

The giveaway is now over – winners will be announced soon. Thanks a lot to all of you taking part!

 

You’ve also got a new leveler module in there – how does that work, and what kind of usage scenarios is it designed for?

The Leveler module automatically rides the gain in your file to even out the variations of the signal level. It creates a transparent, non-destructive Clip Gain envelope, without the color or artifacts of a traditional compressor. It’s particularly useful on dialogue tracks, where certain syllables or words may be too loud or too quite, and it also offers the ability to intelligently de-ess and de-breath while performing the overall volume smoothing. Once it’s created the Clip Gain envelope, your dialogue is consistent in volume and may be adjusted in any other more conventional way (EQ, Compression, etc.).
 

The Instant Process tool – aka the magic eraser – also stands out as a very clever feature. Just how does it work?

Instant Process allows any user to paint away any audio problem with one mouse click. With Instant Process enabled, any selection the user makes will be instantly processed by one of five modes (Attenuate, De-click, Fade, Gain, Replace). These modes correspond to whatever the settings in that particular module tab are.

Instant Process allows any user to paint away any audio problem with one mouse click

It’s smart too… if a user’s trying to de-click a very narrow selection of audio, Instant Process will automatically process using Interpolate, which is the best De-click algorithm for those kinds of edits. On the flip side, if a user selects a wider band, it will automatically process using the regular De-click algorithm. All in all, it’s a pretty intuitive, smart workflow enhancer, and it removes one layer of abstraction between the user and the spectrogram, as they can see a sound, and erase it instantly.
 


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What are some of the other tweaks and improvements you’ve made that people may not notice off the bat?

There’s always a ton of improvements that don’t get as much love. In RX 5, the Corrective EQ is a complete overhaul of the EQ module, both visually and sonically speaking, and we’ve also added a Signal Generator module, useful for scientifically accurate test tones and production tones, along with the ability to search Markers and Regions (useful for long files and huge edits), some faster statistics calculations, retina support and more.
 

With RX being as ubiquitous as it is in the audio industry, do you see a risk of people overusing it – ie. skimping on the recording quality earlier in the production chain and then relying on RX to fix it?

Unfortunately, yes. We’ll always advocate for obtaining the cleanest, best sounding recording possible at the time of recording. However, there are times where the producer or director will rely heavily on the skills of the audio post production team and the tools they use, with that infamous phrase “let’s fix it in post”.

At the end of the day, the audio team is stuck with the audio they receive, particularly if there’s no time for ADR.

The most we can do is make our tools as transparent as possible, and educate our users on best practices, but at the end of the day, the audio team is stuck with the audio they receive, particularly if there’s no time for ADR.
 

Overall, when you look at the audio post production landscape in general, what trends are you noticing? And what excites you the most?

One of the more positive trends I see is that the adoption of loudness standards over the past 5 years has really begun to result in much more creative, dynamic mixes, because there’s no longer any advantage to competitively cranking up the levels. Though mixing for the various loudness standards, and the network specific deliver specs can still be a headache, these days a lot of the conversation is less about the pain points and more about “how can we be more creative while meeting the standard?”.

I’ve met many audio engineers who take great pride in their work, and feel that the pendulum has swung too far towards efficiency in the quality/efficiency compromise in the content creation process.

One of the less positive trends I’m seeing, and this is nothing new, is the increasing push for more content in less time, inevitably resulting in lower quality content being produced. This sucks for the audio teams who have oppressively tight deadlines, and I’ve met many audio engineers who take great pride in their work, and feel that the pendulum has swung too far towards efficiency in the quality/efficiency compromise in the content creation process. Certainly, it’s possible to deliver high quality in a short amount of time, but people aren’t always given the freedom to do so. This is something I wrote about here.

A big thanks to Matt Hines for the insights on RX5! If you’re looking to get yourself a copy of RX5, you’ll find both the regular and Advanced versions right here.
 

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    All sounds were recorded using various sources and processed meticulously using high-end gear. These sound effects have been layered to give you ready-to-use elements. You can easily pitch, modulate, mangle and stretch these sounds to create thousands of variations. 'Organic Lifeform Textures' has been designed to enhance science fiction, mystery, suspense and fantasy video game and scoring projects. Note: The background ambience in the demo is not part of the product but is added free of charge.

  • Space Cargo Play Track 138 sounds included $22

    Bluezone Corporation presents 'Cargo – Spaceship Sound Effects', a new sci-fi sample library covering a wide range of elements including cockpit and interior ambiences, interface and beep sounds, reactor rumbles, spaceship passby sounds and more. Created with a large selection of high quality recordings and then meticulously layered, this downloadable sample pack will enhance your creative potential with as many as 138 highly usable sounds.

    All sound files are named according to their content and sorted thematically. WAV files are provided as 24 Bit / 96 kHz and sorted in 11 folders. In order to give you ready-to-use sounds for your productions, all samples are royalty-free for all your commercial projects.

  • Whooshes Cinematic Metal – Titan Play Track Up to 4600 sounds included From: $119 From: $95.20

    CINEMATIC METAL – TITAN pushes big screen sound design beyond its comfort zone. New and unheard HITS, BRAAMS, BOOMS, IMPACTS, STINGERS and much more await you in the comprehensive Construction Kit and devastating Designed edition. Get over 12GB worth of clean, dazzling sound effects – available as individual components as well as layered, processed and ready to use.

    The library is available in two versions & a special bundle:

    CINEMATIC METAL – TITAN CONSTRUCTION KIT

    CINEMATIC METAL – TITAN sounds massive from start to finish. This Construction Kit in particular starts off with an unusual amount of kick. While foley and other, more meticulous applications are certainly possible, the main purpose here is to bring out the big guns and stomp any hint of moderation into the ground.

    LOCK AND LOAD
    Supplement your designs with detailed, high-end metallic sounds. The Construction Kit allows you to build unique, multi-accent effects that not only impress in scale, but also in fidelity, rhythm and character. This library particularly shines in situations, where the visible picture doesn’t necessarily produce the envisioned sound, but warrants its own supernatural emphasis.


    Files: 700 • Sounds: 4200 • Size: 10.9 GB


    CINEMATIC METAL – TITAN DESIGNED:

    Optimized for trailers, action scenes, in-game cinematics and special effects, the Designed edition brings fresh and exciting sounds to the table.

    Discover the force of aggressive, low, soft, processed, clean and tonal HITS, BRAAMS, IMPACTS, SCREECHES, STINGERS and SLAMS.

    DARK AND POWERFUL
    Paint a sense of dread and awe – CINEMATIC METAL – TITAN Designed can evoke fear of the unknown but just as easily kick into rampage mode: Empowered, ready for battle and thirsty for revenge. Find your perfect blend of haunting thriller and jacked, gritty anti-hero.
    Files: 100 • Sounds: 400 • Size: 1.5 GB


    CINEMATIC METAL – TITAN BUNDLE:

    THE BUNDLE – The best of both worlds at a discounted price.
    The Bundle gives you the full sound design power as it contains both – the DESIGNED and the CONSTRUCTION KIT edition at a discounted price.


    Files: 800 • Sounds: 4600 • Size: 12.4 GB
    Included sounds – keywords:

    Braam, impact, rattle, squeak, rumble, clang, crunch, bell, groan, squeak, creak, cymbal, stinger, rusty, gate, container, flam, click, chain, dragging, thwack, bolt, door, train, metallic, iron, sliding, pole, oil drum, scrap, nail, gutter, break, steel, rim, scaffold, crowbar, swell, brass, hook, grate
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1563487200
  • Environments New Zealand Ambiences Play Track 27 sounds included, 88 minutes mins total $30

    New Zealand Ambiences is a beautifully crafted ambience library exploring the incredible country and sounds of New Zealand (mainly focusing on the South Island). This library will take you on a sonic adventure exploring the many unique birds and creatures ranging from locations such as: Haast, Queenstown, Lake Paringa, Lake Wakatipu, Te Anau, the Clay Cliffs and Pukaki!

    Recorded at 24 bit/192 kHz you’ll have the flexibility to pitch these ambiences and bird songs to create some truly amazing other worldly atmospheres!

  • City Life Jamaican Vibrations Vol. 2 Play Track 90 sounds included, 702 mins total From: $30

    Get the sounds and ambiences of Jamaica in this very special sound effects library, featuring almost 12 hours of authentic recordings.

    An Additional Library of Vol 1. the Jamaican Vibrations SFX library includes Walla sounds of Jamaican Patois chatting, urban and village ambiences, high mountain atmospheres, forest sounds, car rides, coffee farm working sounds, wooden house sounds, roomtones, beaches, as well as a luxury hotel visit. So if you're looking for the real sounds of Jamaica, here they are:

 
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