Spectral editing tools such as RX7 and Acoustica have emerged as very powerful utilities for correcting and manipulating audio. Combined with technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, it has been ever closer to the reaching the point of “black magic”.
Priced out of RX7?
The unofficial leader in the segment is iZotope’s RX software. Version 7 of the spectral editing suite introduced the novel “Music Rebalance” feature, which lets you isolate or re-balance the vocals, bass, drums and musical content of any track. I have used it for isolating acapellas with very good results. Done right, the result sounds like a vocal track with minimum headphone bleed – certainly very usable for remixing.
However, RX7 is not cheap. It’s software for professionals, coming in at USD 399 for the Standard version and a pricey USD 1199 for the Advanced suite. Certainly a big investment unless you are making a living with spectral editing.
Enter Acon Digital Acoustica 7.2
Then again, software is an extremely competitive market, thus viable alternatives to iZotope’s RX have emerged. Among them is Acon Digital’s Acoustica audio editor. Version 7.2, its latest release, comes with a very interesting stem splitting functionality that’s also AI-driven. According to the developer, Acoustica 7.2 is capable of isolating up to five stems from a complete mix. It is also possible to import a mix inside a multi-track session and the editor will automatically create new tracks for the stems.
Furthermore, the Premium edition includes an Extract Dialogue tool, a competing solution to RX7 Advanced’s dialogue isolation. It features parameters such as threshold, soft-knee level and an emphasis curve so you can dig into dialogue isolation with reasonable ease.
Is it good?
I haven’t tested the software yet, but initial feedback on Gearslutz is quite positive. Some users claim they get better results than they do with RX7 and laud Acon Digital for implementing user-requested changes in Acoustica. Since spectral editing and AI technology have become quite refined over the last couple of years, I see no reason why Acoustica won’t do a great job – unless it’s dealing with a very dense, crowded mix. The more intense the music, the more difficult it gets to isolate the needed frequencies due to extreme overlap.
In addition to these tools, the Acoustica 7.2 update improves the spectograms’ visual fidelity, adds a new color scheme that’s easier on the eyes and features automated editing tools for common tasks like trimming and silence removal.
Price and availability
Acon Digital products have been polished, yet affordable, and Acoustica is no different. The Premium Edition costs a reasonable USD 200, while the Standard Edition (which is tailored for beginners) costs USD 60. Bear in mind that Spectral Editing functionality is exclusive to the Premium Edition. That, and the inclusion of Acon’s mastering suite and Verberate 2 plug-in – all of which can be used within your preferred DAW in the form of VST, AAX, and AU – make for very good value, indeed.