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iZotope RX 3 vs. Adobe Audition, Part 1: Declipping and Crackle-and-Pop Removal--UPDATED with iZotope Tutorial!

In this first installment of a two-part series, Jan Ozer compares the declipping and crackle and pop-removal features in iZotope's new RX 3 pro audio editor to the parallel features in Adobe Audition CC.

Declicking/Manual Pop-and-Click Removal

Declicking is an automated function designed to remove periodic clicks typically created during analog-to-digital conversion. Manual pop-and-click removal removes more dramatic noises that aren’t addressed by the automated function, which can be noises from adjusting controls on the camera body, or random recording or other noises from the location. Audition calls manual pop-and-click removal Auto Heal, while iZotope calls this Spectral Repair.

I tested declicking on a file recorded on audio cassette, which has lots of tiny A-to-D clicks and several major pops. Both programs offer a declicking function; iZotope’s was more powerful and more functional. Specifically, working with controls like Clip widening and Frequency skew, I was able to configure the program to remove all but the most severe audible clicks, which potentially could save a lot of time on longer jobs.

I was confident that the automated function didn’t remove the speech I was attempting to preserve because iZotope offers a Clicks-only preview, shown in Figure 2 (below). This is similar to the “output noise only” option offered by many noise reduction filters, where you can hear only the audio being removed. Since I heard only pops and clicks when previewing in this mode in RX 3, I knew I wasn’t removing any speech. Audition doesn’t have a similar function, though it does show you the timecode of the problem areas.

Figure 2. iZotope’s Declicker function in Click-only mode, showing the clicks being removed. (Click on the image to see a full-rez version of the screenshot.)

Neither program’s Declick function removed the most noticeable clicks in the audio file, which I had to pursue manually. Some of the clicks sit alone in the waveform, like the small bump near the start of the file in Figure 3 (below). These were easy pickings for both programs. The harder pops to eliminate were those integrated into the actual speech, as you can see most noticeably in the largest chunk that’s second from the extreme right. These are tough because the program has to eliminate the pop and fill in the gap with audio consistent with the remaining audio.

Figure 3. Notice the pops in the last two waveform humps. These were the tough ones. (Click on the image above to see a full-rez version of the screenshot.)

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