Deep documentation of SpectraLayers for audio repair?

Can someone point me to deeper documentation and or videos/classes on audio repair with Spectra Layers Pro? I have the manual, but there is not a lot of info. Youtube “tutorials” are scant on details. Is there anything ‘out there’ that ‘goes deep’ on the topic?


How experienced are you using NR software? Advice given to an experienced mastering engineer would be completely different from that given to a complete novice.

I have an old copy of iZotope RX5 and an old copy of Acoustica by Acon Digital with older plugins. SLP was in a Sound Forge Pro bundle that I got more recently. While I have used noise reduction in Audacity going back to 2005/6 and Adobe Audition starting in 2013 when I attended multimedia school, I have not done anything deeper. As is pointed out before, SLP is a forensics level tool. While I can do some basic de-noising techniques, SFP can go further. And yes, I know full time audio engineers but they point out that audio repair/restoration is a different animal from engineering/mastering/recording. It really is a separate discipline hence why they could not really advise me. The audio work I want to do is sort of forensics level and it is a good skill to have I think…

The most experience I have would be when doing audio post for video work in Adobe Audition. For instance, I would record a shop owner who cannot leave his/her business and they have industrial freezers and refrigerators running in the background (this is generally mains hum removal). Then I try to eq/noise reduce. There were some interviews in church rooms where I learned the wonders of ‘deverberate’. Or record interviews in the street and later I try to filter out the city noises. Not extensive experience, but some experience.

I’ll tell ya, an audio engineer who is flummoxed by the topic of NR is not much of an engineer, IMO. He should go into another line of work. :laughing:

The engineer, Dave Lau, who operates the studio down the road from me, does location recording for symphony orchestras, mastering, and audio restoration work. So, to say that “audio repair/restoration” is a “different animal from engineering/mastering/recording” is pretty ridiculous. Dave handles all of the tasks without too much difficulty.

At any rate, Spectralayers is about the most intuitive NR program I’ve used, given its capabilities. I don’t know that it “goes deeper” than other programs you’ve used, RX, for instance. I can’t do everything I need just with SL; I have to supplement it with Waves NR plugs to overcome some S/N issues.

Still, if you’ve used RX, I’m kind of surprised you can’t just jump into SL. In mean, in a lot of ways, the two programs are very similar.

@anon4 Indeed, an audio engineer who records rock legends in highly controlled environs with high-end mics and the best recording gear money can buy or a pro sound mixer for top TV shows who mixes audio brought in by full-time pro sound recordists who work only with pristine audio. How is that not exactly the same as forensic audio, culling voices from cassette in harsh environs with noises that creep in around the vocal audio range. Or trying to pull voices out of wide-band noise? How is this not intuitively known?

It’s like, if someone can hold a bass, why can they not play like Geddy Lee when it is so damned obvious? If you ever sat in front of a drum kit, why can you not just play like Neal Peart? A guitar, why not do prog rock solos like Alex Lifeson, intuitively?

While it is documented that some can play an instrument perfectly, out of the womb, like you, most need lessons and simply having the instrument is not enough. So, if there is a great piece of software and no adequate documentation, it is useless. Wait, you have the cure for cancer? Great! But hold on, you cannot communicate the cure to another person though it is painfully, laughably obvious to you? Then that knowledge is useless.

So if someone who can communicate the painfully obvious, that is documentation to properly use Spectra Layers Pro, this mere mortal would only be too delighted to access it. Is there a Prometheus out there…?

Yes, you are kind of right. I have a background in “Dsp” and “Source separation” and most professional recording engineers would probably have no idea how to remove/separate a complicated synth that is being modulated (with heavy processing and lots of noise/effects) from s recording unless they have knowledge on “source separation” or basic algorithms or a basic understanding of “phase”.

If you would like to go deeper and learn more about this stuff I would highly recommend learning “dsp” (as it’s the fundamental to everything in the digital domain) that way you can learn how signal works and how signal flows and then from there you can pretty much apply it to anything.

As far as expertise, I could do an in-depth tutorial on spectralayers but I would have to charge for expertise :wink:

Yes, and you are an expert because you say so, right? Well, Poinzy knows more than you, or any of us. So why even bother.

See! That is why I pointed you to “source separation” as it deals more with separating sources rather than “denoising” or (as you say/mentioned “denoising techniques”). Removing noises using “denoising” kind of does work however (because it’s a quick fix) you lose a lot of details and the sources start to sound thin (and unnatural), which is why I dont “denoise” nor recommend “denoising” (that is if you’re serious about quality of course).

So again, if you really want a deeper dive into this stuff, I would highly recommend you learn “source separation”, however you might need to learn “dsp” first (otherwise you want understand the basics of signal flow and how signal works).

Let’s say I (or someone else) were to do an in-depth tutorial, what is it exactly you want to learn and what exactly would you want to learn how to do?

Say if you are a surgeon or hairdresser, experienced and well-versed in your chosen field. Surgeons still read journals and watch other surgeons work so that s/he can be apprised in the latest developments in technique. Same for hair dressers, who may have decades of experience, they still go to hair shows. If you are less experienced, watching and attending becomes even more valuable.

Like any sort of restoration, there is technique, craft and even a form of artistry to it. It helps to watch others perform a complex task, even if you have experience, to perhaps see some new way to achieve an objective. Particularly if there are new tools available. Perhaps others may watch and comment, “well, I do things a bit differently…” and then some sort of sharing of ideas might transpire and we all can be better off.

Unless of course, you are Poinzy, then it all gets very boring because you then already know everything so you just jeer at the mortals.

Okay, I might do something and put something together. Give me a couple of weeks(maybe 2 months the most).

However (just a warning) I will be doing something along the lines of “source separation” (advanced reverse engineering). Be on the lookout.

I am puzzled about this as well & don’t see how any of the comments here respond to the OP. Having just paid for Spectralayers Pro 8 and installed for the first time - am very surprised to find that i) the ‘manual’ is very light indeed and ii) similarly for the online videos that the manual links to.

I find this in stark comparision to (say) the Nuendo & Wavelab manuals which allow one to study certain sections when required, or let’s say the significant DaVinci Resolve Studio manual which indeed provides so much information this can be overwhelming, but still, this supports targetted use for certain contexts, when needed. Ditto for video training. Resolve pricing is also about the same as for Spectralayers.

Given that Steinberg techncial support is amlost impossible to access in recent years (many posts about this elsewhere), the lack of professional documentation is IMO unnacceptable. Take ‘Unmix Stems’ as another example. Really? That’s the best Steinberg can do? - all music breaks down into ‘vocals, piano, bass, drums & other’? How should one understand to approch this manually and take far greater control than the so-called ‘AI’?

A better manual required, for sure.

As I said before “source separation”(removing background noises, reverse engineering, separating/isolating sources) is a completely different subject altogether. The op is talking about removing background noises and I dont believe the op realizes that is a completely different thing altogether. For the documentation to include “how to remove background noises and restoration techniques/tips/tricks” is like the scenario of installing a light fixture directly into a electrical car battery.

Lets says for example you have food in the refrigerator and there was a blackout and the electricity went out in your area (where you live), technically you can (in theory) run a low wattage household appliance directly from a car battery, however in order to do that, you would need to know the fundamentals/basics of how electricity works (otherwise you could fry your appliance or worst get yourself killed). You can basically run anything on a car battery, however there are no clear instructions on how to hotwire a car battery to an appliance. When you purchase a car, it comes with instructions on how to operate the vehicle (and all the caveats) however the manual doesn’t show you how to manually hotwire the car battery to function as a temporary generator (just in case the electrify goes out).

Ahh, and let us not forget that engineer, Dave Lau, knows about audio restoration, and as long as he is in business, there is no need for any documentation nor tutorials. Further, if one does not know the fundamentals of music theory, there is no point in making music at all. And yes, in the event of a power outage, simply do nothing and wait for the professionals. Don’t bother cooking until you finished culinary school. Don’t try to make clothing until you have graduated fashion school. Very clear.

With that clarity, there really is no need for videos that demonstrate workflow from the real pros. Go back to school, get a PhD in physics and then maybe you might be ready for Spectra Layers pro. Otherwise, its sole purpose is decorating your desktop. The icon is pretty, though.

I plan on answering this, and I will explain why “source separation” is a difficult thing to do (in terms of achieving good quality) and why “source separation” (in terms of A.I. and algorithms) would probably never be perfect.

I too would like to see more in-depth documentation regarding audio repair or improving poorly recorded material . Steinberg is a pretty big company, you’d think they could handle this. Robin_Lobel , do you think this might be possible ?
Cheers Al.