Do your vocals sound distorted? In the following video, iZotope shows you how to fix distorted vocals with RX De-Clip. This plugin is part of the RX Plugin Pack - a brand new set of audio restoration plugins curated from iZotope’s flagship RX audio restoration software.
What Causes Distortion in Vocals?
Distorted vocals are usually caused by:
- distance: the singer has been singing too close to the mic.
- bad gain-staging: the input level on the mic pre-amp was set too high during recording.
- bad gain-staging: the hardware based or software based input level of the audio interface that connects to your computer was set too high.
Note that if the distortion occurs occasionally, in the loudest parts of the recording for instance, the main cause is likely one of the above. If the vocals sound distorted throughout the entire recording, it could be you’re dealing with a bad microphone cable. To find out if that's the case, try a different XLR cable for the preamp and the microphone.
Fix Distorted Vocals with RX De-Clip
Dealing with clipped audio is something that used to be very difficult and typically meant throwing out what was sometimes the perfect take. Setting the gain too high on a mic pre-amp meant that you were distorting on the way in, and there was no way to fix that. The De-Clip plugin is designed to essentially redraw the waveform as it would have been before clipping occurred. Which means that now those takes can be rescued.
Take a look at how to use De-Clip to repair distorted vocals and remove the unpleasant harmonics that were brought out by the distortion:
Before and After Using De-Clip
Here's what this session could have looked like in Logic Pro X's Audio File editor.
The audio was extracted from iZotope's video. Notice that the clipping of the lead vocal occurs in the third and last burst in the audio waveform:
Notice how iZotope's audio distortion removal software eliminates the vocal distortion and makes the waveform more dynamic again - as if the vocals were recorded at proper levels like they should have been:
RX Plugin Pack
The RX Plugin Pack contains 4 audio cleaning tools derived from iZotope's RX 6 audio restoration software:
- De-click (for removing clicks, pops, vinyl restoration)
- Dialogue De-noise (to remove background noise from dialogue or voice-over recordings)
- De-hum (for removing audio hum and buzz)