IDC or Instant Dialogue Cleaner is a plug-in that runs in host DAWs in VST2, VST3, AU or AAX Native and/or AudioSuite formats for both Mac and Windows PCS. The plug-in version of IDC automatically separates speech (non-melodic voice) from background noise in real-time. Dialog editors and music mixers alike will like the simple and intuitive interface with its minimal four controls for fast and easy clean up.
Background noise is the bane of the post-production mixer and getting clean dialog on location video shoots usually means less dialog replacement (ADR) later and lower production costs. The goal with Instant Dialogue Cleaner is to separate out dialog from street noise, wind noise, seaside wave noise, rain noise, AC rumble, airplane intrusions and more. Cleaned up dialog audio means it can be more easily intermixed with other dialog recorded in other locations.
I tried out IDC (ver 1.01) in Pro Tools HDX 2018.7 on a variety of audio sources. Instant Dialogue Cleaner comes up with all four controls in a default position ready to tweak to taste or need.
There is a large knob called Background that controls the level of the background noise--in cases where you wanted to match other dialog recorded with the same (or similar) background noise but higher or lower in volume--such as matching disparate takes of street scene dialog recorded on different days.
The Speech slider independently adjusts the gain of the separated speech while the Strength control sets the overall amount of reduction; the tradeoff is that with greater noise reduction comes diminished dialog audio quality. The Background, Speech and Strength controls each have +/-24dB of range.
I found the best sounding dialog still had some noise and that is the "art and craft" of using IDC: deciding what is going to work and where. With all the controls automatable, it would be easy to tailor this tradeoff specifically for each moment. It also works the same as an AudioSuite processor--which I found very useful in my music mixing for cleaning up a Rap track flooded with street noise.
The bottom of the interface houses the output controls. The Output fader controls the overall output level of the plug-in and there is a stereo meter with a 3 second peak hold indicator when the plug-in is overloaded and clipping.
I found by juggling between the Background, Strength and Speech and Output controls to arrive at the best compromise of noise versus speech intelligibility. Depending on where the dialog sits in the overall mix and how well it is to be understood and the nature and strength of the noise, will dictate how these four controls are set.
Instant Dialogue Cleaner is a great tool to have in my plug-in folder for all sorts of cleanup problems I encounter in my music mixing work. IDC supports sample rates from 44.1kHz to 192kHz and 16 to 32-bit depths. It is currently available for the retail price of $199.
Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com