Izotope Rx Breath Control

Sep 05, 2018 RX by iZotope has long been a top application for audio restoration and noise reduction. In addition to being a staple in post-production houses, RX’s feature set is also quite useful for music production. In this article, I’ll look at ways in which you can use it to help eliminate sonic issues on your recordings.

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Demonstrating Commonly Used Modules

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In our 2nd tutorial on iZotope’s audio repair tool RX7, we will be looking at editing using various modules.
Though many modules are included, we decided to focus on what we feel are the most commonly used ones.

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Breath Control

You can find the RX7 modules in the menu on the right.

You can choose what to use from here, so lets try out Breath Control first.

We have a sample here with obvious breath noise so lets hear how it sounds.

We will be applying Breath Control to this sample.
Its controls are simple; use Sensitivity to setup the sensitivity for breath detection, and use Target level to determine how loud the breath will be.
We’ll start by setting the target level to -inf and adjust the sensitivity. Press the Preview button and play to hear the effect in use.


For this sample, even when the Sensitivity is set to the the breath part and normal talking voice manage to be analyzed separately.

If volume reduction is heard on non-breath parts as well, adjust the sensitivity to where it just barely mutes the breath.
If you don’t want to completely remove the breath, adjust the Target level to determine the volume. Though the target level will give you the level shown, you can switch to Gain to get a reduction in level/volume relative to the volume of the breath sound as well.
If the preview sounds good, click the Render button.


Next please give this sample listen.


There is lots of various noise here. Lets try cleaning up this audio sample.

First off, that loud zap sounding noise was troublesome. We’ll use De-click to get rid of this kind of sound.

  • Algorithm:The type of analysis used to remove clicks. We recommend previewing the sound while choosing which type to use.
  • Frequency skew:Determines frequency band for click detection. Lower frequencies are detected on the left, high frequencies on the right.
  • Sensitivity:Determines click detection sensitivity. Raising it too high leads to unnatural results. It’s best to find a balanced point.
  • Click Widening:Determines the time of removal applied to a detected click sound. To fix rapid click sounds and other issues from digital waveforms, etc. we would set this setting a little higher, but this will also cause issues when set too high. Find the best point for this setting as well.

For this sample, we used MULTIBAND (RANDOM CLICKS) with a focus on lower frequencies to get a clean result.

Spectral De-noise

Next lets try getting rid of the white noise in this sample.
We will be using Spectral De-noise to do this.

Spectral De-noise analyses unpleasant frequencies and subtracts them from the frequency to remove noise.
It’s best to select a portion containing just noise to analyse the sound.

  • Threshold:Lowering it gives a more natural reduction but may often result in plenty of left over noise. Raising it gets rid of more noise but it can also get rid of the sounds you want to keep in the process.
  • Reduction:Refers to the amount of noise reduced, and works hand in hand with threshold, making a balance between the two parameters crucial.
  • Quality:You can keep the Quality at Best if your CPU can handle it.
  • Artifact Control:The lower its set, the better the separation between the noise and the voice. However, it can result in a loss in vocal quality. Raise it to the right up until a point where the vocal quality loss is not noticeable.
  • Reduction curve:By ticking the box, a blue line will be displayed in the center of the analyser. You can adjust the strength of noise reduction by frequency using this curve. Click to create a new point, and raising it will lower the noise reduction on that frequency, while lowering it will raise the noise reduction.
  • Smoothing:Move this slider to the right to smooth out the Reduction curve.

The noise has been greatly reduced.


Next, we will look at the first “sa” sound, where we have an explosive air sound and try to remove it.
To do so, we will look at the De-plosive module.

  • Frequency Limit:Determines the highest point for plosive sound removal. Move to the left if it begins to cut into the low frequencies on your audio.
  • Sensitivity:Determines the sensitivity of plosive sound analysis. The higher its set the better it can detect plosive sound, but can interfere with the vocal sound.
  • Strength:Determines how strong the removal effect of the plosive sounds are. If set too low you won’t remove any plosive sound, and the higher its set the more reduction on the plosive sounds. However, if set too high the overall performance will lose it’s low end.

By adjusting accordingly, we are able to remove the plosive sounds without cutting into the low-end of the voice.


As a final touch lets remove the Ess sounds. We will be using De-ess.

  • Algorithm:Classic reduces the volume of all frequencies on an Ess sound, while Spectral reduces the frequency of the band most associated with Ess sounds.
  • Threshold:This helps set the threshold point and will help reduce Ess sounds that go over the volume. Of course lowering it makes the effect more obvious. Though we can look at the gain reduction meter for reference, but by ticking the Output Ess only box here, we can hear just the sounds that are being detected. Adjust it to try and remove just the “Ess” sounds.
  • Cutoff Frequency:Determines the cutoff point for what is analysed as an Ess sound and all other sounds, and raising it narrows down the target frequencies, while lowering it applies the effect to include lower frequency Ess sounds. We can use Output Ess only in this instance as well.
  • Speed:Determines the attack/release of the De-esser, with a Fast or Slow setting. Though Fast will most likely work in most situations, we can use Slow if the effect doesn’t work well with fast. If Slow makes the reduction too obvious with a pumping effect, use Fast.
  • Spectral shaping:Can be considered a detailed adjuster for the strength of the De-esser effect. If the de-esser sounds too strong, lower this fader.
  • Spectral tilt:Determine the noise profile of the Ess sounds. Default at 0 is Pink noise which is a natural sound with more midrange. Pulling it to the left targets Brown noise which contains more low frequencies. Pulling it to the right targets White noise which contains more high frequencies.

This completes our noise removal edits.
Here’s how it sounds before and after editing and removing noise.



The sound has been substantially improved and cleaned up.

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This completes our look at the most commonly used modules in RX7.
Try these out to bring your troubled recordings back to life!

Mixing plugins

Prepare your vocal for mixing

The first stage is preparing the vocal for mixing by combing through the tracked vocal with our eyes and ears, paying special attention for clicks, pops, hum; any number of sonic anomalies that should be dealt with before we start mixing. The best environment for this kind of work is the standalone editor in RX 7 Standard. This unique visual environment gives me way more information than a waveform display would in a typical digital audio workstation.

To import audio into RX, open the application, head to file, open and choose the file you want to import. Maybe the issue that stands out is some breathiness in a specific section and wind-rustling on the mic. We should take care of it before it hits a compressor or limiter in the mixing stage, which will certainly bring attention to it.

Clean Up

I’m going to turn on instant process mode and choose gain as my processor. Choosing gain as my processor means that when I set the gain module’s parameter to, let’s say, -30 dB, anything I select with one of the tools here will go down by -30 dB. Now that I’ve chosen on my settings, I’m going to start brushing away at where I think the breathiness is.

Because RX is a bit like an image editor for your audio, I can choose the brush tool and start painting away the breathiness.

As a tip, if you encounter an issue like this in your tracked vocal, it’s well worth it to shuttle over to similar parts of the vocal performance (say, other choruses in this song), where this problem could be repeating, so you can tackle it.

Breath Control

To take care of breaths, I’m going to use RX 7 Breath Control, which intelligently detects breaths in dialogue or vocal recordings and suppresses them. Removing and reducing breaths in recordings can be a time-consuming process for music producers, but more often than not it’s a procedure that has to be done. Luckily, Breath Control can help reduce the time spent on repetitive editing without sacrificing the quality of your dialogue or vocal recordings. I should mention that included in Nectar 3 is the plug-in version of this module, so if you want to use Breath Control in real-time on your track, simply head to your plug-in folder in your DAW of choice, navigate to the iZotope plug-ins and look for RX 7 Breath Control.

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Let's use Breath Control to identify and attenuate breaths. The parameters here are really simple: Sensitivity dictates how aggressively the plug-in is looking for breaths, the target level is how hard we’re pushing the identified breaths down.

You’ll have to find some settings that work for you, and the vocal your working on, but a great way to check and make sure that the module is only picking up the sound of breaths, and that you have your parameters in place, is to use the ‘output breaths only’ function, you'll only hear what the module is detecting. It’s always a good idea to go back and listen once you’ve rendered the file, so make sure everything’s sounds great.

Mouth De-click

Mouth clicks and pops are very common, especially when a singer is delivering an intimate performance where words are slowly and carefully articulated. It can also be the case that the singer has performed a number of takes and might be slightly dehydrated as a result. Let’s use Mouth De-click to tackle this problem. I’ll find it over here on the right. And you’ll notice a familiar feature: 'output clicks only.'

Just like Breath Control, if you want to use this module across the entire audio file to remove all the mouth clicks, just make sure to have a listen post-processing to double check that all the clicks have been removed as sometimes loud clicks mask quieter clicks and the quieter clicks will need an extra rendering to be removed.

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Melodyne 4 essential


I’ve imported my vocal track into my session, and now I need to do a little tuning work.

Tuning a vocal is a common step in preparing just about any track featuring vocals for the market, and lucky, Melodyne 4 essential is bundled with Nectar 3, meaning Nectar 3 owners get access to industry-standard time and pitch correction software used by pros the world over.

Thanks to ARA which stands for Audio Random Access, Melodyne and in this case, Logic, work more closely and efficiently together. All I have to do to start tuning this vocal is open Melodyne on my vocal track.

Note Location

A great way to see where the notes should be according to the scale Melodyne automatically detected when you played audio, is to go to Options, Note Editor and then click 'Show Intended Notes.' When you’re doing your tuning work, this feature can be a helpful visual guide, in addition to using your ears, of course.

To correct the pitch of the sung notes, the one way for me to do this is to select some notes that I feel are out of pitch with the rest of the track by clicking and dragging them to the correct position using my eyes and ears.

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I’m going to go through the rest of the vocal track, using my eyes and ears to determine what else needs to be tuned, but the great thing about ARA is that when I’m finished with my tuning work I don’t have to bounce or print the track before I can keep mixing, I can keep Melodyne ARA parked on the track with no latency. Let’s started mixing with Nectar 3.

Nectar 3

Now that your track is prepped and tuned, it’s time for mixing. I’m going to open Nectar 3 on the insert below the Melodyne ARA, and jumpstart the mixing process using Vocal Assistant. It’s always a good idea to run a pass of Vocal Assistant over a portion of the vocal that has a lot of energy.


We can eliminate the EQ guesswork and use the new Unmask feature in Nectar 3 to help automatically create a pocket for the vocal.

For unmask to work, it requires a source of masking. Unmask can hear where masking is occurring between the vocal and the source and introduce an EQ curve.

Unmask listens to the selected source and the current vocal track and compares them to detect the presence of masking. If masking is detected, a static EQ curve will be applied to the instance selected in the Unmask dropdown.

Insight 2

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Insight 2 is a comprehensive metering suite that’s included in Music Production Suite 2. If you click on the Layout tab you can see that you've added.

This layout is ideal if you’re keeping an eye on loudness patterns in your track, and if you want to keep an eye on the overall frequency composition of your track.

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Insight 2 is totally modular and resizable, so if I want to add a few different modules to this layout, I can simply click. I can even resize the whole module or the modules contained within the main window.