There are now some impressive offline source separation tools — but this one works in real time!
Source separation sometimes seems like a technology in search of an application. It’s remarkable that we can now unbake the audio cake, extracting individual sounds from within a mixed recording — but how useful is this in a real‑world music‑production context? The results can be impressive, but they’re never completely free of artefacts so, where they’re available, it’s always better to go back to the original multitracks. And where the multitracks aren’t available, that’s often for a very good reason!
Such applications as there are have also perhaps been restricted by existing implementations of the technology. Apart from AudioSourceRe’s RePan, none of the tools I’ve tried has operated in real time, and many require audio to be uploaded to a server before it can be separated. Moreover, user interface design hasn’t always made it easy to fully exploit the possibilities. So I was intrigued by Acon Digital’s new Remix, which operates as a real‑time plug‑in in AAX Native, VST and AU formats, and which promises an extremely simple, streamlined interface.
Both promises are undeniably fulfilled, and once you instantiate Remix on a track or bus, you’ll be greeted with a freely resizable mixer window containing five channels labelled...