With any sophisticated program like SL, one needs to learn not just the details of the various commands/progesses, but also the underlying philosophy. Over the years, there have been many tools that do some/many of the things that SL does. But I find that SL’s philosophy is quite different from others. Once I was able to get oriented with that philosophy, I was more comfortable.
A common problem with many complex applications is that those closest to the development tend to take many of the basics for granted, But these basics may not be obvious to new users, and they stand to lose potential customers for lack of a proper orientation.
I find that, in order to be productive with any of these tools, it is very helpful for me to write my own personal guide, basically a compilation of all the things I am likely to forget if I don’t use the program every day. I am doing that for SL. This is written for an audience of one (me), but others newcomers might find my brief orientation useful. Because the SL philosophy is quite different from other products, I wrote myself a summation of how I see that philosophy. It will probably sound very superficial to those familiar with the product.
This is a spectrum editing tool, with capabilities similar to Izotope RX. The big difference is that many of the SL operations divide a sound clip into 2 or more layers. In most cases, the layers are lossless, meaning that if you mix them together with no gain or effects changes, you end up with the original exactly.
You can then edit and process the layers individually. You can recombine them within SpectraLayers, or you can send the individual layers to the DAW to become individual tracks in the mix.
A major focus of SL is “unmixing”. This began with noise removal, separating useful material and noise into two different layers. But later versions of the product offer many different forms of unmixing. These unmix processes are heavily AI-based, and the training data is biased toward commercial pop/rock music. In those genres, the unmixing is quite impressive – less so in other genres, but still useful.
In contrast to RX and other programs, each of the unmix processes has few parameters. Nonetheless, the default results are often very good. The philosophy is that, because the splitting is normally non-destructive (all the content is somewhere in one of the layers,) you can make adjustments using manual editing, and possibly merge some of the layers, and run the unmix process again on the transformed layer.
SL operates as a stand-alone application or as an ARA-capable VSTplug-in.