Behind the scenes: Why we made VEA, plus Q&A

Lance_NI
Lance_NI Product Team Posts: 4 mod
edited February 13 in Other Software & Hardware

Hi my name is Lance Riley, I’m a product designer here at iZotope. I’ve been with the company for 6 years and have worked on a variety of products including RX, Dialogue Match, and Vocal Doubler. I wanted to share some information and insights about VEA, from where the initial motivations came from, to what makes it different, and a bit about how it works. Here we’ll explore why we made this new creator-focused product from iZotope and Native Instruments.

Meet VEA

VEA stands for Voice Enhancement Assistant and features an assist-first approach that is different from other audio plugins and tools. Designed around simplicity, VEA aims to inspire content creators to approach audio with confidence. 


Designing for creators

Over the years there have been vast improvements in the overall quality of content (from podcasts to video essays to short form Tik Toks/Reels). Creators today are often responsible for meeting those high-level quality benchmarks for audio & video entirely on their own by utilizing tools that span a wide array of disciplines. Most of the time when a creator is starting out, they are doing everything, and when it comes to professional sounding audio in content creation this usually means setting up complex chains of plugins for each voice. Most modern audio software comes with tools to enhance a voice, but often requires prior knowledge to determine which of these tools are the right ones to use, what order to arrange them in, and how to set each one up correctly. We’re starting to see more tools help make this side of audio production easier, but often these tools for creators only handle noise or other specific types of processing, and if that is not the case, you have to fully buy into an all-in-one service. VEA was created to make the audio side of creating easier by delivering great results that are catered to the audio you are working with. VEA has everything you’ll need all within one plugin which can be used in any DAW, NLE or app of your choice (as long as it supports VST3, AU, or AAX plugins).


No ordinary plugin

Think of VEA as a universal voice enhancement tool that works in real-time and can be used in the app of your choice. We designed VEA to make relevant suggestions without harming the voice, since all voices can be at least a little bit different. These unpredictable differences are why presets in other plugins can be hit or miss if the voice doesn’t perfectly match what the preset is expecting.

Similar to the “Learn” functionality found in other iZotope products, VEA dials in the right settings to enhance the qualities of your unique voice. If your audio is relatively clean, only a small amount of the “Clean” knob would be initially suggested. The “Shape” knob finds the difference between your raw incoming audio and a target EQ setting, applying only the EQ adjustments needed to specifically reach your target. The “Boost” knob utilizes automatic leveling to ensure consistent real-time dynamics, eliminating the need to manually adjust dialogue volumes. All of this comes together in a plugin you can confidently “set-and-forget” on your track and that even at maxed out settings won’t destroy your audio. 


iZotope’s Greatest Hits

VEA is not just a fancy noise remover, since not all issues creators face are noise related. VEA is able to deal with a variety of voice recording issues related to EQ, dynamics, and loudness, in addition to de-noising. VEA is also the first iZotope plugin to feature technology from all four of our most popular products (Nectar, Neutron, Ozone, and RX). Additionally, VEA’s “Shape” control connects to iZotope’s AudioLens, to help match the EQ curve of your favorite sounding content (or your own previous work).


Professional quality priced for everyone

Many professional tools today are still prohibitively expensive for many creators starting out. Even recurring subscription payments may be hard to justify if they are not making money yet from their channel or podcast. Today, just starting out in content creation can often mean making a large initial investment in a variety of hardware, software, and (if they’re also shooting videos) the space they are working in. This usually means creators are spending their money on hardware first and then using free or affordable tools for their audio software, which can make getting professional results even harder. This can result in having great looking video without the polished audio to back it up. We built VEA with the exact same technology used in the highest tier of our professional software, but we packaged it in a form factor that is much easier to use. We’re selling this professional-yet-simple tool at a one-time price that aims to fit within the budget of any and every creator that wants to sound their best. We hope VEA inspires more creators to start creating content with confidence in their audio and helps their voices to stand out regardless of their skill level, budget, or professional background. 

Thanks for your interest in VEA and we hope you enjoy this new type of product from iZotope and Native Instruments.

If you have any questions we’ll have this thread open for Q&A until January 29.

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Comments

  • PK The DJ
    PK The DJ Member Posts: 820 Guru

    There is an option to try it free - but you have to go to the iZotope site for some reason. No trial via NI.

  • noflycyberzone
    noflycyberzone Member Posts: 3 Newcomer
    1. what is the difference between RX Voice Enhancement Assistant and RX10 Audio cleanup assistant? I don't like the Noise Gate used in RX10 Audio Cleanup Assistant, I hope RX Voice Enhancement Assistant uses a noise suppressor like generating a cosine wave of the noise. Even better if you combine these two into one software.
    2. I listened again to the clean function and it reduces the body of the audio. I think I still need to add some harmonic frequencies to make the audio sound full-bodied. I think Ill wait for an improved version.
    3. I think this still need plenty of improvements to defeat the Accusonus ERA that is no longer available and defeat the BorisFX Crample Pop that is extremely expensive.


  • Lance_NI
    Lance_NI Product Team Posts: 4 mod

    Thanks for the question, There are a few differences and similarities between VEA and RX Repair Assistant. Both listen to your audio and make suggestions. Both offer clean up possibilities and both can be used as a real-time plug-in. Now for the differences. Probably the biggest difference for folks not familiar with iZotope products or RX, VEA has mixing features within Shape and Boost controls that are not in RX's Repair Assistant. Shape features tech from both Neutron (Sculptor) and Ozone (Parametric Match EQ) , while Boost features tech from both Nectar (ALM) and Ozone (IRC-LL).

    1) For the Clean control we used a slightly different technique for De-noiseing between Repair Assistant and VEA. VEA features 2 stages of low latency Static and Adaptive de-noising while Repair Assistant currently uses 1 or the other. So while they could sound similar in low amounts VEA can go a bit further than RX 10's Repair Assistant. Feel free to try VEA out and see if you are still hearing the gating or if you think VEA sounds better.

    2) As for getting less body in the voice, my guess is this is actually coming from the Shape control. Try dialing that back to the 10 - 20% range if you are hearing too much low-end removed or try using a different preset. I personally like the Beautiful Planet preset. You can also create your own preset using AudioLens. This is free product from the iZotope website that can make a really nice companion to VEA.

    3) I appreciate the feedback on the current quality of VEA and will share that with the team!

  • msld_sound
    msld_sound Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

    Hi Lance et al. I have a question which remains as yet unanswered — the copy for VEA says it's included in the iZotope Everything Bundle, but … is it really? I mean to say, VEA doesn't show up in my loyalty offers, though I own literally every other current iZotope product.

    I'm aware that it might sound petty that I'm asking for a discount on something already so cheap. But I've given iZotope quite a substantial sum of money in exchange for the products I do have. But iZotope has released what seems to be an orphan product, i.e. it's not included in RX Advanced nor any of the non-Everything bundles, and there's no discount available for an Everything Bundle owner to boot. This leaves me concerned about iZotope's retention practice. If they disregard customer loyalty for a small software title, they'll surely do it for a flagship title too, etc.

  • noflycyberzone
    noflycyberzone Member Posts: 3 Newcomer

    Thanks for the reply Lance. I will test VEA and try the settings you suggested. I made a typo-error when I said "RX Voice Enhancement Assistant and RX10 Audio cleanup assistant" I mean VEA Voice Enhancement Assistant and RX10 Audio cleanup assistant, so I will not confuse other readers of the post.

  • noflycyberzone
    noflycyberzone Member Posts: 3 Newcomer

    I got to know about iZotope because my first audio editing software is SoundForge and iZotope plugins came with it. Now I see VEA does not include Soundforge, ACID, Samplitude and Vegas in the supported Hosts. Why?

  • Kaiwan_NI
    Kaiwan_NI Administrator Posts: 2,525 admin

    Hi @msld_sound we understand your frustrations. Could you please get in touch with our support team directly here? We'll see what we can do!

  • Ojustaboo
    Ojustaboo Member Posts: 138 Helper

    My £22 voucher I just got with my NI S88 mk3 worked with this, so got Vea for £7

    Very happy

  • aidenstunes
    aidenstunes Member Posts: 162 Advisor
    edited January 20

    Dear @Lance_NI,

    My question is about Hi-Dpi compatibility. It's been a few years since you started to promise customers that your plugins will become resizable, it was way before iZotope was a part of NI. Ever since then, you only keep on releasing new products that cannot be used on 1440p-4K monitors. As a company, do you really do something about that issue? Are you aware of it?

    -

    Thanks,

    Idan

  • Simon A. Billington
    Simon A. Billington Member Posts: 26 Member

    VEA empowers people and helps them to make better audio for their content, which is desperately needed in many cases.

    Great plugin.

  • popguru
    popguru Member Posts: 2 Member

    One of the biggest hurdles content creators face is recording in spaces with poor acoustics. Why wasn’t this addressed in VEA?

    Why does the plugin add so much volume? Since there’s no volume/gain control it’s almost impossible to A/B test VEA’s processed audio against the unprocessed to hear the differences. When I gain matched them, I don’t hear much difference aside from less noise at the suggested settings.

    The marketing for this claim it’s for beginners or seasoned pros. As a podcast editor, I’m struggling to see the usefulness of this plugin. How do you envision pros using it? Now, if you created a plugin with noise reduction, reverb reduction, mouth de-click, and some sort of EQ to address responses and sibilance, you’d have a solid plugin for content creators.

  • Simon A. Billington
    Simon A. Billington Member Posts: 26 Member

    It's not as easy as you think to address this. This kind of operation induces latencies too big to work with live. So it wouldn't work to throw this kind of thing into VEA.

    They'd be more likely to release a seperate plugin that tackles this during a post-production phase, after the fact. RX already has this capability, but iZotope/NI could stand to release a more intuitive, AI centric plugin that will make treating room acoustics simpler for most.

  • popguru
    popguru Member Posts: 2 Member

    I'm not talking about using the plugin live. Creating a plugin for content creators that doesn't tackle reverb reduction is a big miss. The two biggest issues content creators face is noise and reverb. Those issues are going to lose audience members more than EQ or compression.

    RX already has De-reverb in plugin form. I've been using reverb reduction plugins for a couple years that do a better job than either of the de-reverb modules in RX. Last year alone saw 3 plugins that do both noise and reverb reduction in a single plugin. Those have replaced my need for the standalone editor in my workflow.

  • Lance_NI
    Lance_NI Product Team Posts: 4 mod

    Thanks for the input! Removing reverb is something we hope to handle better in VEA in the future. Being able to gain match is also something we've heard from others and we'll look at ways we might incorporate this in VEA for the future.

    Thanks again for checking out the article and for the feedback.

  • Lance_NI
    Lance_NI Product Team Posts: 4 mod

    Thanks for the feedback. I'll share this with the RX team. They are aware of the need for better reverb reduction in RX as well as VEA and are looking at ways to make this better for iZotope products in the future.

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