I often divide music production into a fun, creative, and illuminating part and a tedious, technical, and time-consuming part. The first consists of songwriting, sound design, and composition. The second deals with audio engineering, mixing, and in general, getting things to sound like they’re supposed to. The goal of a digital restoration software suite is to make large chunks of the latter part easier and more accessible to the novice producer. Acon Digital’s Restoration Suite 2 makes a strong case for software that delivers a lot of content for a reasonable price. So we are going to take a look at that in this review.
So, what’s included? The software bundle comes with four different tools for audio restoration:
- DeNoise 2, which aims at dealing with different noise scenarios, such as hiss, wind noise, or recording buzz
- DeHum 2, also for removing noise, specifically electrical buzz resulting from bad electrics in audio equipment
- DeClick 2, for dealing with impulsive noise such as click and crackle sounds
- DeClip 2, for dealing with distortion caused by analog or digital overdriving or clipping.
In the following paragraphs, I am going over each of these tools to show what they do and what the features and strengths of them are.
The DeNoise tool is a universal tool combating all sorts of noises in your recordings. These can range from wind or environmental noises to hisses, hums, or other types of noise. The software adapts to the incoming signal and filters out the unwanted noisy bits.
The way this is achieved: You can choose between automatic detection and/or learning of the noise profile or adaptive parameters. You can even drop in a sample of the pure noise signal which is then filtered out. Additionally, there are new Dynamic Noise Profiles, which are specialized for noise levels rapidly changing over time. The plugin has built-in transient detection, which ensures that the transients of the original signal remain intact. You can even divide the signal into Mid/Side content, and apply filters for optimal results.
DeHum is – as already said above – more geared towards the noise that stems from faulty electrical equipment. If your cables aren’t well-isolated or your recording got corrupted because of radio waves nearby, this is the right tool for you.
It features a new algorithm working with ‘sinusoidal resynthesis’, which ensures that the original signal is left untouched. The plugin works by setting or detecting the frequency of the fundamental and removing it as well as all the audible overtones. Like DeNoise, you can also work in Mid/Side Mode and listen to the removed signal.
DeClick serves the purpose of removing those nasty click sounds, for example from recording vinyl or restoring from tape. In general, these can stem from many sources, and the randomness in the time axis makes them a difficult thing to deal with. DeClick solves the problem with ease.
The plugin looks for spikes in the transients of the noise. It can detect brighter clicks, lower frequency pops, and continuous crackles separately. Even on rather heavily damaged audio, it gets usable results, while keeping artifacts at a minimum. It is also really light on the CPU, which is always a good thing to have.
The last plugin in the suite, DeClip, solves a common recording problem: Accidentally overdriven preamps, harsh digital noise, and clipping. It is relatively simple compared to the other ones, but just as effective. DeClip works by reconstructing the peaks of distorted audio without damaging the part which isn’t distorted. That is, from a programmer’s perspective, a difficult task. You can set the thresholds one by one or link them if your signal is symmetrically distorted. It does its job well, although it is remarkable that there is no possibility, in theory, to fully get rid of the clipping.
If you need a good program suite for working with restoring audio from older mediums or repairing damaged recordings, you should consider getting a hand on the Digital Restoration Suite 2 by Acon Digital. It delivers great plugins for dealing with all sorts of artifacts, noises, and distortions. With a price of $99, it is priced reasonably and well below other, similar software by the competition. I can only recommend checking the suite out, even if you only need one or two plugins from it. It is that great of a deal.
Learn more about the Restoration Suite via acondigital.com.