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Disappointed - prefer earlier versions
on 19 July 2013
I have been a long term user of Magix Audio Cleaning Lab, going right back to Audio Cleaning Lab 10.
The main reason for being disappointed with this new version of Audio Cleaning Lab is because the spectral cleaning facility is far less effective than previous versions.
The addition of the Spectral Cleaning Editor in past versions was a real benefit for anyone wanting to clean up problematic recordings. For example, LPs sometimes have thumps and bumps that declicking software cannot remove entirely. The Spectral Cleaner would successfully remove all but the very largest of thumps and was thus a remarkably powerful feature, even more so considering the relatively low price of Audio Cleaning Lab.
In Audio Cleaning Lab 2013, spectral cleaning is no longer a stand alone feature in the Cleaning menu. It is now only available in a much less flexible form in the main window. With previous versions one could refine the spectral editing by choosing crossfading, damping and other noise reduction types in the Spectral Cleaning Editor. All these functions - and others - are missing in the 2013 version. As a result, the spectral cleaning does not work as well, and in fact several large clicks and thumps I tried to process were only partly removed, whereas in previous versions they were fully removed.
The new simplified spectral cleaner is certainly easier to use, and may therefore appeal to some users, but why remove the more powerful Spectral Cleaning Editor? Why not offer both facilities? In fact, Audio Cleaning Lab 17 DID have both!
Another way I feel this product has taken a step backwards concerns the denoiser. The denoiser in earlier versions was a very powerful and useful tool that did not produce unwanted artifacts so long as it was used properly. However, in the 2013 version the denoiser starts to produce a slight pumping sound even when applied at very low levels, and it also sounds as if it is overly damping the music in a way that previous versions didn't. With some forms of heavily processed electronic music this may not be noticed, but it is noticeable when applying it to early classical and jazz LP tracks.
Magix also claim that Audio Cleaning Lab 2013 is much faster at processing files than earlier versions, but that has not been my experience.