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5 Essential Software Applications for Repairing Damaged Audio

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By Eva Gauley of Pirate Studios

Even if you’ve taken all the preliminary steps to make your recording as high quality as possible, more often than not, you’ll have to do some sort of audio fix. That’s where audio repair software comes in.

Accidental noises, double recordings, bad equipment, too much background noise, and more can all ruin a recording. The good news is that these are all common problems and with the right audio repair software, they’re not that difficult to fix. When tackling how to repair a damaged audio file, all you need is your computer, the files themselves, and your preferred audio software — Mac and PC will be compatible with most plugins used for audio repair.

In the article below, we’ve put together a list of audio repair tools which will help you repair audio files online. From simple things like background noise to more complicated things such as someone talking over the top of your production, we’ve got you covered.

1. Cedar Audio Studio Complete

Cedar Audio Studio Complete is a complete suite of tools for audio repair, restoration, and enhancement. As well as containing everything you need to fix audio in one convenient package, it also comes with several tutorials to help you learn how to record, edit, and fix audio.

Some of the stand-out features of this audio enhancement solution are the spectral editing and tools for vinyl restoration, de-clip, de-buzz, de-click, de-hiss, de-crackle, de-noise, and de-hum. Below are three of the most popular features in more detail:

  • Noise Gate — The first step in audio repair is to isolate the problem. With Cedar Audio Studio Complete, you can use a noise gate to filter out unwanted sounds. The noise gate allows you to set the threshold of what makes a noise and what doesn’t — so if your voice is quiet, but there’s still background noise, the noise gate will close during quiet moments.
  • Noise Reduction — Another feature that helps with audio repair is Cedar’s Noise Reduction feature. Noise reduction works by identifying the “sound” of your voice and removing other noises from the track that aren’t part of your voice — like breathing or swallowing sounds — so that they don’t interfere with your speech or other sounds.
  • De-hummer — Cedar Audio Studio Complete also comes with a de-hummer tool that automatically removes hums and other background noises caused by electrical interference.

This tool works best when you’re recording in an environment with little or no electrical interference, like a professional sound booth. While you probably don’t have a booth at home, you can book professional recording studios by the hour in cities across the UK, US, and Europe with Pirate — they’re open 24/7.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “Modern Vocal Production: De-ess, De-breath, De-click!.”

2. iZotope RX 9 Advanced

iZotope RX 9 Advanced is a premium suite of audio repair and enhancement tools. It’s the first program on this list that can be used with video, and it’s also one of the most powerful software packages available for fixing audio. The interface is intuitive and easy to understand, making it easy for beginners to get started quickly without much guidance from an experienced technician.

iZotope RX 9 Advanced features many of the same tools found in its predecessors: Spectral Repair, De-noise, De-clip and more. However, iZotope has also added several new tools to help you make your audio sound as good as possible. These include:

  • Dialogue De-noiser and Dialogue Isolate — These will help you to reduce noise from dialogue tracks.
  • Pitch Fix — You’ll use this for tuning out flat or sharp audio.
  • Dialogue Exporter — This tool is necessary for creating a separate track for dialogue (which can be edited in a nonlinear editor).
  • Stereo Imaging — This allows you to create a wider stereo image.
  • Speech Tuner — A feature that does what it says on the tin; you’ll use it for correcting pitch issues.
  • Vocal Tune — This tool is extremely handy for treating vocals, it automatically fixes pitch without changing timbre or tone quality.

3. Sonnox Restore Bundle

Sonnox Restore is a comprehensive suite of restoration tools that enable you to remove clicks, crackles, pops and other undesirable artefacts from your recordings. With the bundle, you get three highly advanced and intuitive audio repair plugins: DeNoiser Pro, DeBuzzer Pro and DeClicker Pro. These applications provide a simple way of cleaning up your tracks without having to combine multiple plugins or expensive hardware.

  • Noise Reduction — This tool allows you to remove unwanted noise from an audio file, making it easier for listeners to enjoy the music without any distractions from background noises.
  • Clicks Removal — If there are any clicks or pops in your songs, this tool will help you get rid of them by using advanced algorithms that scan through the entire song and identify where these sounds are located so they can be removed easily without affecting other parts of the song.
  • Clipping Removal — This tool detects clipping in your songs and automatically corrects it so that all levels are maintained properly throughout each track without any distortion caused by clipping issues.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “Our 10 Favorite Free Plugins for Logic Pro.”

4. Zynaptiq REPAIR Bundle

Zynaptiq is a software company that has been around since 2005. Much of their work is based on the science of psychoacoustics; the study of how humans perceive sounds. This allows them to create software solutions for music production issues like distortion or unwanted noise.

The Zynaptiq Repair Bundle features three products: Unveil, Unfilter, and Unchirp. Each product has different capabilities but the overall goal is to improve audio quality by removing noise or fixing distortions in your recordings.

  • Unveil — This is a unique signal processing tool that allows you to remove unwanted room ambience and reverb from source material by using a set of frequency dependent filters. It also allows you to enhance or emphasize the frequencies that are present in the original signal but hidden behind reverberant mains hum and other unwanted noise.
  • Unfilter — This is an adaptive linearizer that allows you to capture the tonal characteristics of your audio material and apply them to other parts of the same recording or even other recordings. This is particularly useful when trying to restore damaged audio material after a loudness war, as it allows you to restore some of the original punchy dynamics while still keeping it sounding natural.
  • Unchirp — This is an innovative tool designed specifically for removing artefacts caused by digital compression. It can be used on individual tracks or entire mixes, providing a simple yet powerful interface that allows you to quickly remove unwanted artefacts such as clicks and pops (especially those caused by vinyl rips) and sibilance.

5. Oeksound Soothe

Oeksound Soothe isn’t exactly a repair tool but it’s an extremely useful plugin used for solving issues around the mid-to-high frequency range that might irk your listeners ears. Say goodbye to overtly aggressive cymbals, fingerboard noise, sibilance and the like.

Oeksound Soothe is easy to use, so you don’t need any previous experience in working with audio editing software. The program allows you to easily preview the changes before applying them to your files, which makes it easier to see what’s happening with your music tracks during the repair process. The interface is simple and intuitive so that even those who aren’t familiar with such programs can easily begin using Oeksound Soothe right away.

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Once you get started with any of the plugins listed above, you’ll quickly learn, more and more, how audio restoration works and how easily sound can be restored and repaired despite this sounding like a complicated process.

When choosing the best plugins for your specific needs, it really comes down to personal preference. There are a variety of audio repair software options available for anyone trying to clean up, restore, and edit their audio tracks. Talking about the technical side of things, there are many similarities between the different offerings from company to company, with differences emerging in the kind of features offered and how easy the programs are to use.

The key is finding a program that balances the two for you — a program with plenty of power but also one that isn’t too difficult to understand. If you find yourself struggling with one editing software application after another, try changing things up by trying a new program (it’s easier than ever thanks to free trials being so readily available). You may just find that you have a better time working with a new suite.

Don’t stop here!

Continue learning with hundreds of lessons on songwriting, mixing, recording and production, composing, beat making, and more on Soundfly, with artist-led courses like: Kimbra: Vocal Creativity, Arranging, & ProductionRJD2: From Samples to Songsand Com Truise: Mid-Fi Synthwave Slow-Motion Funk.

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