PRODUCT: RX5 Advanced Post Production Suite
PRICE: $1,499. Upgrades: From Advanced RX1-4: $399; From Standard RX1-4: $1,149
- works within media composer (or as standalone)
- makes fixing major audio problems fun
- new instant process tool allows you to visually “paint out” unwanted audio artifacts
Editors are constantly running into audio problems that seem almost impossible to solve in the edit room. Lack of room tone can make frankenbites sound atrocious. Plosives and bad mics force us to find alternate takes. And background sound can ruin good dialogue. In addition, crackles, line noise, reverberation, clicks and pops can all conspire to force us to rely on the post sound mixer or dumping material altogether.
As a result, we make lots of compromises, big and small. We accept bad audio quality, we reject audio that — but for one problem — would have been great, or we skip VOs, NATSOTs and music that would have made the cut better.
With RX5 — not any more. When I first heard its predecessor, RX4 demoed at NAB a few years ago, I was thoroughly blown away. I heard loud, background fan noise completely removed from dialogue without affecting the dynamics of the voices. I heard it synthesize room tone to allow great frankenbiting when no apparent ambiance was recorded. I heard VOs recorded with an awful mike, full of ‘plosives turned to good, usable audio within the Avid editor. It was like magic.
RX5 PPS: TOTAL AUDIO MAGICIAN
iZoptope has revamped RX4 into the new RX5 Post Production Suite, that includes four different products: Advanced Audio Editor, Final Mix, Loudness Control and Insight (for loudness metering). This is a true toolkit. It will address virtually any audio problem you can think of. RX5 is to audio what Photoshop is to the visual image. In fact, like Photoshop, you actually can “paint out” offending audio problems.
Additionally, it allows full audio finishing, including peak limiting, dynamic EQ, mastering, resampling, signal generation and more. It allows you to get passable audio from run & gun field audio, including bad or marginal mics, noisy locations, bad recordings, etc.
Because most RX5 filters are integrated into Media Composer’s Audiosuite menu, the operation couldn’t be simpler. Dropping filters onto your problem audio track on Avid’s timeline and clicking the plug-in icon opens up that particular module, giving you access to its many controls. Of course there’s a learning curve, but because of advanced automation in most cases, it’s slight.
THE TOOLSET WITHIN MEDIA COMPOSER
Ambience Match lets you sample and synthesize room tone to make frankenbiting almost flawless. De-Click, De-Clip and De-Crackle removes impulse noise from bad transfers, overmodulation from oversaturated magnetic tape, digital artifacts, cell phone and other interference. De-Hum removes hum and other line noise automatically. De-Noise is one of the coolest modules, almost supernatural in its ability to eliminate background noise, like street traffic. De-Reverb removes reverberation. Dialogue De-Noise specifically targets noise in the voice’s frequency range.
These tools almost all have some degree of automation, making the learning curve easier, and all have a number of additional controls, allowing you to fine tune all aspects of audio processing.
Not all of RX5’s power is operational within Media Composer, but dropping the RX Connect icon clip onto an audio track will automatically roundtrip that clip into the standalone app for processing, then easily return it back to Media Composer processed.
TOOLS AVAILABLE IN STANDALONE MODE
EQ Match will allow you to automatically match within reason, various mismatched mics to each other. Obviously this not cure-all for bad mics, but it helps. Leveller will automatically match levels on your selected clips, applying various compression and makeup gain in a well thought-out algorithm to prevent pumping and artifacts. Time & Pitch provide additional alternatives outside Avid’s native choices to control those parameters.
Arguably, the most impressive tool is Spectral Repair. (I have no doubt iZotope engineering employed Merlin the Wizard to come up with this one.) With this tool, and using RX5’s informative audio spectrogram display as a guide, you lasso an area of problem sound (ie: bells in the background, dogs barking or an airplane engine) and the app will remove that sound completely. You have to hear this to believe it.
If you’re an editor that likes playing with visual effects filters, I think you’ll love working with this.
There are many, many more features built into the RX5 standalone app, too numerous to explain here.
The most impressive thing about RX5 was not just its sheer power, but it’s simplicity of use. It actually made fixing audio problems fun. And that says a lot.
Jonathan Moser is a staff editor at Jupiter Entertainment. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.