SL 7 Vs RX 7

I have recently got the RX7 elements whilst on offer, to do some noise clean up on some production dialogue tracks. The full RX 7 suite offers much more, but whilst looking at which audio repair suite to get yesterday, I came across Spectral Layers which is cheaper and also appears to integrate nicely into Cubase/Nuendo.

The videos I have watched on SL focusses on music / stems / unmixing etc, all funky stuff, but I am looking more at audio repair, removing background noise, cleaning up dialogue (de-ess / de-reverb / de-click /de-hum etc). Does SL 7 stand up against RX 7 in this respect and I assume it can be used as a VST plugin? Is there the equivalent to Contouring for changing inflection or is that something in the pipeline?

In term of restoration processes, SL7 offers the following:

  • Noise Reduction

  • Reverb Reduction

  • Hum Reduction

  • Click Repair

  • Clip Repair

  • De-Esser

  • Voice Denoiser

All available both in the stand-alone app, and within the VST ARA plugin.
It additionally supports VST3 plugins, which you can apply to specific spectral regions.
In term of pitch correction, you can select any part of your recording and use the transform tool to pitch it up or down (although in that case that would be rather for an entire word, but you can try using a smooth selection and see how it goes).

Thank Robin, very helpful indeed.

I have both - RX7 is much more capable at audio repair … the results are better and on the whole the workflow is faster.

I’m using RX7 advanced which I believe has extra cleanup features than elements. There are some great upgrade/crossgrade offers on izotope stuff at the moment…check out plugin boutique…you can even get RX elements for free

rx elements, this is the first time it is for free, 7. but i already have it. (and have also the free version, because of a plugin i wanted…).

RX7 is more a repair tool, me thinks. it seems to have more AI possibilities, i don’t know if the results are better. don’t have advanced, nor will i ever own it. not that it is bad tool, on the contrary i think. it is not the right one for me.

spectralayers pro that is more my thing, or completely my thing… (completely, there are always wishes, but pro 7 has given me more control, in another thread i already said, i am not a cleaner. although i have always in the back of my head, all the rules. and use them, and when it can be done, abuse them…)


I’m currently in the middle of this very topic, RX or SpectraLayers?

I read plenty of forums comments and I get that RX is easy, very well known and marketed, you trust a AI based back box, all tailored for very specific audio repair tasks. I also think it’s known that Izotope plugins are very CPU greedy, I myself just experienced it by putting roughly around 8 or maybe 10 (De-noise, De-Mouth, De-click, De-plosive…) instances on various track of my podcast, including a De-reverb as my guest was recorded through a Zoom call (which I think is the worse plugin in terms of CPU I think), and it was hell… I had to increase dramatically my buffer size to be able to playback anything. Izotope also raised a lot of money, it’s really a (probably) great american start-up willing to eat the world, but the more money you raise, the more aggressive you need to be, product / pricing / growth… many people will not care about the company profile when choosing to buy a software, but I do.

I am looking more and more at SpectraLayers, just downloaded the 30 day trial yesterday to play around with it. I understand that many people consider it as a capable audio repair (usually less efficient than RX), and as a great sound design / creativity tool. Also, I want to salute his creator Robin, that I know will read this as I see he is crazy active on this forum, very respectable thing to do, to be client facing and helping users using the product you designed and developer. I really like the story behind the tool, read some interviews where its creator told the story behind. I assume it didn’t help going through various owners and I hope / trust that Steinberg will be the right one to help the tool to grow and win more clients. And yes, everybody mentioned this already, but more demo video and tutorial is definitely needed, especially for a tool that is so different than other audio plugins (not everybody knows the photoshop way).

I have 2 questions:

  1. CPU: I am a Cubase and Wavelab user, no doubt that in terms of workflow, it make sense to go all in using 3 well integrated steinberg software. I wonder if this translate in terms of CPU, did you guys optimized things with this in mind as well? If not and if it’s technically doable, I think this would
    be an amazing selling point and user benefit, to build things in a way that using all steinberg ‘stock’ product make things faster and require less CPU than using third party plugin.

  2. Putting the creativity aside, is it fast and easy to do all the things needed for voice repair for a podcast, particularly voice de-noise, in SpectraLayers than it is in RX? I really need to be able to clean a voice in a quick and easy way. By the way, is there a spectral repair feature, what RX8 just added, to make up for missing high frequency from Skype / zoom recordings? it’s a great feature I think.

Thanks all!

Hi, crazy active Robin speaking :slight_smile:

Yes, we’re well aware of the need for more videos and tutorials. More are coming, and will come on a regular basis, as well as live events.

  1. Compared to RX VST plugins, SL uses a different approach : ARA. It’s a very different approach, as SL then becomes fully integrated as an editor within Cubase.
    This means when you apply a process to your audio it’s CPU greedy for as long as the calculation happens, but it then no longer consume CPU resources after it’s been applied to your audio.
    The only regular CPU resources being used are for recalculating the display as you move through your spectrogram, or when you use a realtime spectral tool.

  2. SL7 is the first version to includes that many automated process for restoration. So it’s really just a couple parameters and one click for each of those new restoration processes introduced in version 7.
    There’s no missing high frequency repair right now, but you can expect more AI processes and improvements in the future, including as free updates. SL7 is here to stay, and the first improvements are coming this month :slight_smile:


Thanks for our reply! Sorry it’s a bit of long feedback, but I hope useful for you (client feedback always good, some people say!)

1.Marketing / demo video: I think everybody noticed that you guys accelerated on this front and that lots of official steinberg video about Spectralayers have been published since 10 month. And there are also a few made by users that are quite interesting, but I guess it’s all about making up for the past years, compared to some other software that have been really active and good and showing off their features in an engaging way.

2.CPU: I took the time to look at ARA, that I didn’t know about, i agree that it seems to be a massive move forward in terms of DAW / plugin integration. It is quite surprising though to see the little adoption so far, one can wonder why DAW didn’t jump on this new way to integrate with plugins years ago, knowing how CPU ressources is a massive blocker to creativity. At the same time it’s like any network effect related innovation, everybody wait that everybody adopt it to adopt it I guess. Anyway, it’s great news when it comes to using Cubase and Spectralayers and I’ve experience the seemless workflow since installing the trial version.


I played around with the tool since yesterday, mainly inside Cubase, I found it really easy to manipulate a very precise piece of the audio spectrum but it was way less obvious and easy to process a whole audio file. In general, a tool capable of being very very granular is expected to be great also for more top level processing, right? That is not my feeling so far. Sorry to bring RX again, but it seems that as RX is not focus on very granular and precise work on tiny bits of frequencies, all it does is apply processing to the whole audio event (like pretty much any insert), i found it way easier to try things, adjust the settings, and A/B reference with or without the audio, rather than with SpectraLayers, but I may miss something here. Hopefully the new processing tools that you are referring tool are going in this direction. Again, for podcast editing, yes sure it will happen to be willing deep correct one frequency, but the bulk of the need is to apply 3 or 4 basic processing to the whole audio file, easily. Hope that make sense.

I found the processing time quite long when applying a tool, even on a 2mn audio file, so for 30mn was really long. I guess it’s normal? Overall, I prefer that it takes time when I’m editing versus when having to suffer stuttering and lags when playing back a plugin. Only problem is that as was then very hesitant to try different level of settings on say the de-esser, as didn’t want to wait for a potential very little difference, if any.

When back to Cubase, I see that the audio event that have been edited, has the SpectraLayers logo on the top right corner, I guess as a reminder that some processing have been applied, is that correct? didn’t find anything on the manual about this. It would be really great actually to know what processing what applied (not the tiny little spectral changes someone could do, but at least the main ‘audio repair’ processing), somewhere (no idea where thin info could be, why not as an Inserts!?


In the Process / Tool window, would be great to preview the ‘effect’ / ‘processing’ only, like a de-esser, Soloing the sibilance only. I didn’t figure out how to do this. You mentioned more AI based / processing tools are coming, any chance to have a mouth de-click and de-plosive coming our way?

Watching a 2018 youtube demo, the guy was very excited by the Cast to layer feature, in Edit (youtube video is called: Magix SpectraLayers Pro 5 | For Producers & Audio Engineers | Extreme Mixing Hacks & Magic), I thought it was amazing as well, but didn’t find it in SpectraLayers 7, was it removed or it’s there but with another name.

  1. Zooming: I struggled quite a bit to understand how I was able to navigate / zoom when dealing with a long piece of audio (30mn of podcast), and I’m not sure I’m quite there where I can navigate easily without struggle, zooming in / out, navigate left / right. Would really make sense to adopt the exact same commands than Cubase, ‘command / trackpad or mouse’ on Mac. When I do this in SpectraLayers, it moves the 3D image…which is great but not what I want. And it’s really hard to change habits, when i zoom & navigate a million time per day on Cubase with always the same shortkey, and have to think about it and change when moving to SL 7.

  2. Manual: I read it, it’s only 70 pages, i see sometimes manual of 200 pages for less complex tools! Some things are not explained in details, and would have love to have bit more in-depth explanations in some areas. I feel that there are lot of things not in there. I guess nothing is perfect! But as there are not hundreds on demo video on youtube, that doesn’t help!

  3. UX:

I don’t know the most used features of course, and I’m biased by my own usage of Spectralayers, but I feel a lot of people are interested in audio repair / audio processing, and it would be relevant to try to bring these tools forward, maybe on the bottom left, below the selection tools?

I was confused by the amount of space / pixel taken for nothing when opening the Cubase Audio Editor, so basically SpectraLayers, and clicking on the arrow (Open in Seperate Window), beween the menu (Edit / Select / Layer / Process / transport / View / help), and the top of the window! Both when fully open or when editor is below the tracks inside Cubase. Not a big deal, but as we always say, screen real estate is precious! But also somehow, it confused me when I was trying to go either the Cubase top menu bar or the SpectraLayer menu bar.

Question: what’s the best way to A/B test a processing?
A/B test, before or after applying it by the way.

  1. before: i know there is the preview button, but it act a bit weird i feel. And I noticed that when your trying to understand / tweak a setting, in a processing tool, you have to clic preview each time you want to reference or A/B test with the ‘by pass’ button, which is a bit annoying. Also, I noticed that when you are with this processing window, you cannot access anymore the Transport panel, which is very annoying. I had to cancel what i was doing, recalibrate where i wanted to listen in the track, reopen the tool and do the settings.
  2. after: at first, my instinct was to take advantage of the layers, and I was trying to put processing (de-voice, de-noise)… so I could mute and unmute to see the impact and therefore be able to adjut the settings of an effect / processing tool. But I didn’t manage to.
    What I ended up doing was to duplicate my track in cubase, apply an effect on the audio event of one of the two tracks, in the Spectralayers editor, went back in Cubase to mute / solo them and understand what Spectralayers did, I’m sure there is a more efficient way. And if I realise i have push to far a specific settings, i have to go back, delete and redo the processing. would be great to be able to just edit the existing processing.

But overall, I think I really like the software, so great job since 10 years to create and develop it!

Have a nice day!

If it helps, I have both SL7 and RX 7 and am currently demoing RX 8 and wondering about the upgrade, but the following are the primary things that I find are the decisive factors in favour of SL7 and making an upgrade to RX 8 redundant for me:

  • I’ve compared stem (specifically vocal) seperation and with my material, SL7 is far superior to even RX 8

  • the ease with which I can use ARA2 from within Cubase to edit clips in SL7 is a game-changer for me

  • the RX VSTs are not officially supported when using WaveLab as the host; I can round-trip WL-SL-WL with ease

that will crazy great (???).

One other thing I like in SL7, as opposed to RX8, is that after the ‘Unmix Stem’ process in SL7, I can move further spectral information (by any number of selection options) to the layer below the active layer. Or even make a new layer out of it. That way I dont loose any information (or much) information from the overall mix. For example, when looking at the vocal stem from SL7, there is occasionally some higher pitched non-vocal sounds, which to me are coming from, say, the piano. I can select these and ‘move’ and add the information to the piano stem. Right now, I dont think I can do this directly in RX8.