Price: $29.99 (50% Off)
Our Rating: 4.8/5
Swedish media innovators Klevgrand, have launched their latest plugin Brusfri, which aims to 'floor the noise' in your audio recordings.
Installation and Use
Installing Brusfri is straight forward, an installer package works rather quickly to generate the relevant AAX Native and VST versions. The product is activated via a serial number, from within your DAW, and the process is instant. A far cry from the monotonous experience offered by many other developers. We performed our tests and review within Pro Tools 12 running at 24Bit 48kHz on a Windows system, the plugin worked rather well in Audiosuite, without crashes or hogging CPU.
The interface is stunning, very engaging to watch and use, especially where other audio repair plugins feel rather clinical. The controls here offer an attack and release parameter, for adjusting the envelope of the noise reducer. There is also a threshold, which controls the amount of reduction taking place and a learn button, which must be held during playback of the noise only part of the signal, in order for the plugin to analyse its frequency content. Finally, we have an 'edge' control, which controls the intensity of the reduction, providing a smoother sound at low values, along with a high pass filter and high frequency boost, to enhance the resulting noise reduced signal.
It is worth noting, that when the user hovers over a parameter, a brief description is given, which is useful for beginners.
Floor That Noise
Brusfri, meaning 'Noise Free' in Swedish, sounds more like an IKEA shelf set than a noise reduction plugin! The Swedish minimalism in both the design and operation works rather well and is certainly a breath of fresh air.
The plugin uses finely tuned gates as a means of reducing noise, rather than the usual phase reversal found in other software. This was implemented to retain the quality of the original signal. A great concept, as some people are growing tired of Izotope RX6 Voice Denoiser's phase artefacts on challenging recordings.
The high pass filter and high frequency boost within Brusfri, are quite useful parameters for shaping the output signal and retaining the high frequency content present in the input signal.
Due to the exceptionally low price, we know that many Dialogue Editors will want to hear how Brusfri stacks up against industry leader RX6. So without further ado, let us hear some comparisons. We took both a classic recording, and a more modern location sound recording, both with extraneous noise to reduce. We matched both plugins reduction level as closely as possible when making comparisons, but left all other parameters at their default value. We also used the learn function on both plugins to capture the noise signal before processing with AudioSuite.
The type of processing you prefer depends on your subjective taste. We have to say that the results from Brusfri surprised us. For the low price they are offering, this plugin has an amazing sound, and is worth having as an alternative processing option to RX6.
If you listen closely to the comparison, you will notice that RX introduces phasing, even at the medium reduction level, which is not as present on the Brusfri samples. It is also apparent that RX6 works better when pushed to extreme levels of reduction, as it retains more intelligibility in the dialogue. The great news is, that you now have a new processing option (Brusfri) to include before or after your RX6 processing chain, for a slightly smoother noise solution.
Let's Push It Further
There are still a couple of ways Klevgrand can make this plugin work even smarter...
RX has a level of gain compensation built in to the plugin, which saves dialogue editors critical time when applying noise reduction. Klevgrand need to implement this with Brusfri.
The empty space on the interface is wasted on smaller screens - if someone is editing on a laptop, with both the video window and Brusfri open, there won't be much room left for the Pro Tools edit window. This can also be said about RX6, but the fact that there is 'dead space' in the top right leaves us wondering why the interface is not much smaller.
A really great addition, in either an update or 'Pro' version of the plugin would be to include 'RX style' phase processing as an extra module in the empty interface space. If the plugin has both processing methods, there is no reason to buy RX6 for voice denoising.
The Bottom Line
Noise reduction that is almost invisible at medium levels, and doesn't introduce phase issues. RX6 level quality at some settings. $30 introductory price tag. Go buy it, and join the revolution.