Software company enter the hardware domain
Izotope will be known to many as software designers. Their range of plug-in effects are used in studios around the world, and their noise-reduction processors get used in many applications, from audio restoration to album re-mastering. But they’ve just made the leap into the world of hardware, with the introduction of the ANR-B noise-reduction processor.
The ANR-B is a two-channel device that can work in dual mono or stereo mode. It scans its audio inputs for broadband noise, hum and other unwanted artefacts, and suppresses them in real time, improving the intelligibility of the source. Front panel controls are simple: each channel has a single suppression knob (ranging from minimum to maximum), which allows the user to vary the amount of noise reduction taking place.
Surrounding buttons enable the user to bypass the noise-reduction circuitry, preview the noise that’s being removed, and command the unit to learn and suppress unwanted sounds according to a ‘noise profile’. A final button marked ‘adapt’ puts into operation Izotope’s acclaimed adaptive noise-reduction algorithm, which reacts to changing noise over time, allowing for automatic operation with little to no input from the user.
The Izotope ANR-B is designed mainly for the broadcast market, where live-to-air telephone feeds, for example, (such as those used in radio talk shows) need to be clean and intelligible. But it has uses in the recording studio. For example, imagine you get the perfect vocal take, but the booth air conditioning was left on, and there’s hum, whine and hiss all over the audio. Simply run the vocal through the device and hey presto: take restored!
Unfortunately, as you’d expect, it comes at a price. Izotope’s ANR-B costs just under $5000 in the US (just over £2500 in the UK at the time of writing). It is due to become available later this summer.
In other news, Izotope have ported their iDrum virtual drum machine, until now a Mac-only application, to the PC platform. The latest revision (version 1.6) is compatible with Vista- and XP-based machines, and works as a stand-alone virtual instrument or as a plug-in in a VST or RTAS host.
A library of samples is included with iDrum, along with a number of preset drum kits. What’s more, users can import their own samples into iDrum, allowing for custom kit-creation.
Distribution for iDrum will be through M-Audio (www.maudio.co.uk), while the ANR-B will be handled by Izotope themselves.