Sonic Solutions developed one of the first high-end digital-audio workstations for the Mac in the late 1980s, and since the early 1990s this has been the system of choice for the world’s top audio-mastering studios. Although Sonic offered its SonicStudio system for general music production, it was only ever adopted for this by a few high-end facilities – the rest of the world ended up going for Pro Tools instead. The mastering studios went for SonicStudio because it incorporated Sonic’s proprietary NoNoise software. This could be used to isolate and eliminate audio artifacts, such as hiss, scratches, hum, and mechanical and impulsive noise. NoNoise has been used to restore countless old recordings, remove unwanted noises from field recordings, and repair audio materials that have suffered damage – it’s particularly useful for forensic audio applications.
NoNoise is now available as a suite of five TDM and AudioSuite plug-ins for Pro Tools|HD systems. The Broadband Denoising Processor and High-Res Filters are implemented as TDM plug-ins. The other processes – Broadband DeNoise Analysis, Decrackle, Manual Declick and Production Declick – are implemented as AudioSuite plug-ins.
Manual Declicking helps you remove clicks, pops and low-frequency artifacts. Any of its five algorithms can be used to analyze audio on either side of the anomaly, and, based on this, synthesize replacement sound for the original. Production Declicking lets you analyze and de-click sound files that contain multiple clicks.
Decrackling removes crackling by analyzing good audio and using this as the basis for resynthesis of the bad audio.
Most importantly, the Decrackle function can often lessen or remove distortion – using the good portions of the wave to reconstruct the portions that are distorted. Often, this approach is able to restore the distorted portions enough to reduce the audible distortion significantly. This is the only software tool I am aware of that can rescue clipped digital audio.
NoNoise supports high sample rate processing up to 96kHz or 192kHz, depending on the plug-in, and can be used to restore audio in all the multi-channel formats supported in Pro Tools.
The competition is mainly from the Waves Restoration Bundle, priced at £1,795 for the TDM version, and at £945 for the Native version. These provide easy-to-use – but effective – plug-ins to de-noise, de-click, de-crackle and de-hum. With its more advanced control parameters, Sonic’s NoNoise goes the extra mile, providing state-of-the-art audio restoration tools at a price that compares favourably with Waves Restoration or with anything you will find elsewhere.