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