Managing audio recording quality the same all the time is a problem for all the sound engineers and the music producers. The gadgets that we use to record music and capture them are not always of top quality. So to enhance the audio recording quality you may search for ways. In studios, you can get the enhanced audio recording quality with audio restoration tools if you are depressed with bad quality recordings.
Here we will discuss a few software options. These are all plugins but quite different in their working ability. But all of these offer the solution to the problem of cleaning up and restoring audios. It depends upon the amount of work you need to do and how you need to do it. But we will begin with the problem areas that are to be covered by these plugins. Also, we will put in some preventive measures to work with.
If the quality of the audio is poor, then definitely the final outcome of your song, voice-over, podcast or mix will get deteriorated. A very mild disturbance may create a huge problem at the end of the job and the outcome will be dissatisfying. So, we will begin with the audio restoration which is a form of audio enhancement. We clean up the audio part and thus make it suitable or the whole production.
In this process, the damaged or disturbed audios are turned into a clear crispy sounded one. There can be a crackle, or hum or a hiss to disrupt the smoothness of the audio file. Maybe you are doing a recording in your home studio and you know that this is a marvellous piece of audio which will be a great job at the end, and after finishing the process you find there is numerous number of noise, popping, clipping or hums. Thus audio restoration done by software plugins in your DAW is very useful. Also, it can work on a stand-alone app. This will get you a desirable end product with your audio files.
How to prevent the issue
- The source of the problem is many times the gear or the room where you do the recording. So before you start recording, do check every gadget and piece of kit you are going to use for the recording. This means testing your microphone, cable, jack, and audio interface must be free from all issues. If there is crackle, snaps or pop is heard, then maybe it is the time that you need to change some of your equipment.
- If you are getting a crackling sound, then it is not always necessary to throw the studio cable into the garbage bin. Rather you can fix it on your own. Unscrew the jack of either end of the studio cable. If you see the dust or grim filled up inside then you have found the reason for the crackling sound. Now use a dry piece of cloth to open this. After opening this, you can try the cables. If the cables are still making that crackling sound then maybe you need the help of a better quality studio cable.
- The microphone is a breakable thing. It can also start working badly. There are so many times when you accidentally drop or bump it, that it can get damaged quite easily. The small-diaphragm or the wire in the head of the mic can get damaged. If you are an adventurer, you can try your hand at it by unscrewing the head and watch carefully. If it is actually and fully damaged, then you cannot get it to work again. All you can do is to take it to a repair shop and wait for its betterment. You cannot fix a microphone without any special equipment or knowledge.
- The room where you record can cause a problem often. It is recommended to have a dry room where you record usually. Now dry actually does not mean it will be without any water vapour or something. What this means is the room should be free from any kind of reverb or echo. If you get too much of this disturbing sound then you will end up with slopping audio which will sound like you have recorded it in a bathroom or somewhere. After recording you can add some reverb, but the previous issue cannot be sorted clearly. If you get the driest track, it will be easy to mix and work on. If your room cannot be changed or fixed, then you need to buy some acoustic foam panels for your room. These foam tiles can absorb all kind of noises and does not let those sounds bounce off on wall or ceiling. Thus no echo is created. Even if you still have been satisfied with the recording in your room, still you can check the professional studios, all of them have acoustic foam installed in their walls. Sometimes the whole room is covered with foam.
- There are more useful things though. The bass traps are again, foam panels but they are designed in such a way that even the low-frequency sounds are also trapped in every corner of the room. The bass or drum live recording can be done with this bass trap smoothly. Two variations of the bass trap are there, porous absorber and resonance absorber. Both of these prevent the echo so that it does not bleed to your microphone. You need to properly place the traps and then you will be able to see how useful they are for your recording.
- Clipping is a problem which, without the help of some software plugins, are absolutely impossible to remove. The audio recording needs to be recorded in an audio interface or a mixing board, and you must ensure that the signal level is just right. There should be enough headroom too. If the room is too quiet you will not be able to record a good audio track. And if you record too loudly some of the audio signals will be cut off. Before you start recording you need to check the signal level by recording a short piece. Check the levels and if that is red, then you are going into clippings. Now you need to turn the audio level down a few scales.
- During a vocal recording when the vocalist utters the word ‘p’ then suddenly you may hear something very unpleasant. This happens when with the uttering of ‘p’ a blast of air and sometimes spit comes out from the mouth of the vocalist, and it hits the diaphragm and thus a sudden spike is caused. To fix it, a pop filter can be used. This is a circle made by some material which absorbs the fast-moving air that can cause popping. When the problem occurs with ‘p’ then it is called plosives and when the sound ‘s’ causes some issue then it is called sibilant. A de-esser can be used. This is a compressor that controls the frequency of the sibilant sounds.
Best restoration/enhancement tools
- ERA bundle by Accusonus
This is a comparatively new plugin. It has some powerful features focussed on good music production. There are four plugins available in this bundle- De-Esser, Plosive remover, Noise remover and Reverb remover.
The De-esser removes the sibilant sounds from vocal audio. This is a one-knob solution which will help you record your audio without the plosives or sibilants with its pop filter. You can just turn and dial it down to get the most exquisite audio or vocal recording. Not only it does work as a noise remover, but also it helps to clean up the background noises. With the help of ERA, you can turn a ridiculously wet recording into a dry one due to this plugin. An ERA is recommended for its simple solutions and a very good price for this bunch of plugins. This one is also compatible with all the major DAWs so any producer or music maker can use it efficiently.
- iZotope RX
If you are working on some vinyl recording or trying to fix a clipping of your audio recording, then you may seek the help of this plugin. Also, the work on film, dialogue or TV can be done by this RX plugin. This actually acts as a fully-fledged audio enhancement and restoration software. It can be operated both as a plugin or in standalone mode. Thus the toolset of it is slightly different than regular plugin. Not only that, but the price tag is also a kind of professional level.
RX can fix audio levels, restore vinyl recordings, phone audio recordings, mic bleeds can be abandoned, and plosives or sibilants can be removed along with other unwanted noises. This is versatile software which is a gemstone for the music engineers. In short, there are plenty of things it can do for your audio recordings and not much is left for “cannot do” list. Most major DAWs are adaptable for RX. You can use this plugin for editing, and you can definitely get praise from your favourite editor without creating a mess. The RX elements will provide you with stunning flexibility while working for film or TV post-production. This is a great software for producing world-class audio anytime and anywhere.