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Review: MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX

14 February 2012, Software Publisher

Audio editing tools are almost on a par with video editing programs when it comes to the potential complexity you can expect to find in such software. But MAGIX is a company that is famous for producing software that is incredibly simple to use, making even complicated tasks accessible to the average computer user. Things are no different with MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX, the latest addition to the company’s MX range of titles. As you might expect from reading the software’s title, this is a program can be used to clean up audio recordings you have made.

The clean-up process is wizard driven and this helps to keep things as simple as possible. If you are unfamiliar with audio editing tools, there is no need to worry about looking for complicated options or wading through unintelligible terminology. As you would expect from wizards, those found in Audio Cleaning Lab MX are goal-oriented; if you have recorded a cassette that if suffering from unwanted hiss, just select the ‘Clean tape sound’ wizard, while selecting ‘Restore vinyl sound’ enables you to improve the sound quality of 12” and 7” you have recorded.

The process of digitizing your music collection – who doesn’t have a number of old LPs and cassettes lying around that are just begging to be popped onto an iPod? – is one that can be time-consuming.  MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX includes all of the tools you need to help keep things as simple and quick as possible. It does not matter whether you have already recorded the audio you want to work with to your computer as this is an option that is available from within the program.

There are then a number of options available to you.  You can use the automatic cleaning assistant to analyze your recording and it will quickly determine which clean-up filters need to be used – declicker, decrackler, denoiser and dehisser – before giving you the option of applying the necessary tweaks. Alternatively, you can manually work through the clean-up process step by step, choosing which filters should be put in place and to what extent. There are also a number of presets that you can choose from – such as restoring average quality vinyl recordings – but if you would like to get really hands-on, you can use the main program interface to choose between an even greater range of filters.

Noise removal

When it comes to removing clicks, crackles and tape noise, you can choose the level to which these effects should be applied – if you apply too strong a filter, it is possible that you will also filter out sounds that you actually want to keep, but at the very least it is likely that if applied too strongly, it will become obvious that effects have been applied. For the perfectionist, there is also the Spectral Cleaning tool. This enables you to remove one-off noises such as coughs, and while this can have some impressive results, it is a little fiddly to use and may be off-putting to those unfamiliar with audio editing.

Create the perfect sound for your recording with Audio Cleaning Lab MX

Create the perfect sound for your recording with Audio Cleaning Lab MX

In some respects, calling the app Audio Cleaning Lab is something of a misnomer. While it is true to say that the main function of the program is to enable you to remove unwanted sounds from your recordings and otherwise improve audio, it is also possible to use the software to add special effects such as echo and reverb. If you have not already recorded digital versions that you would like to work with, the program can be used for this task as well. When it comes to recording audio cassettes, you have the option of recording at double speed – this obviously assumes that you have the ability to play at double speed – to help reduce the time required to digitize your music.

You can also use the app to perform other forms of audio editing such as cutting out unwanted sections of sound, or rearranging clips into a different order. This has a number of uses. You may have used your phone or other equipment to record interviews on the street, only to discover that traffic noise or wind is a little distracting. MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX can be used to filter out unwanted noise, but it can then also be used to cut out lengthy pauses and remove other unwanted parts.

Whatever you use the program for, when you have finished with your editing, you can then save the resulting project as a .WAV or .MP3 file. Depending on how you intend to use the audio, you may prefer to export the audio track as a file in a different format, and you can choose from AAC, WMA, Ogg and more. MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX produces some very impressive results and there are plenty of touches that help to make this as accessible and as easy to use as possible. It is highly recommended tool if you have substandard audio that you would like to be able to make use of without having to spend hours with complex editing software.

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