How to clean up your guitar recordings with iZotope’s RX 8

iZotope’s RX 8 includes a de-noising module specifically designed for removing the various noises you might encounter when recording a guitar.

We recently used this Guitar De-noise module to clean up three samples from an upcoming Sonic Collective sample pack, using its three main sub-modules: Amp, Pick, and Squeak. In this blog post, let’s take a look at the common audio repair needs of guitar performances, and listen to how RX 8 performed in the face of them.

A screenshot of the Guitar Denoise module in iZotope's RX 8

RX 8’s new Guitar De-noise module


Let’s begin with Amp, which removes amp noise from your audio. Here’s what the original recording sounds like:

The amp noise sticks out like a sore thumb at the beginning of the recording. Although it’s not too bad throughout the rest of the performance, we can improve the quality of the sample by cleaning out this noise. With RX 8, this process is simple – all we need to do is highlight the section with isolated noise and click Learn to train the module to remove the noise contained in the area. Once the de-noiser is trained, we simply adjust the Sensitivity (how much of the audio will be classified as noise) and Resolution (the number of notch filters applied to the signal during processing) to taste. Here’s the final result:

For comparison, we also tried using the Spectral De-noise module, as we would’ve done before RX 8 was released. Here’s what that module produced:

This module also does a great job at removing the amp noise, but it comes with a slight trade-off. It’s a subtle difference, but to my ears the Spectral De-noise module does take away some of the higher harmonics, diminishing the brightness of the guitar’s tone. In my opinion, the Guitar De-noise module’s performance compares favorably to the spectral de-noiser in this instance.


Squeaking sounds can be notoriously finicky. While they’re a natural part of a guitar performance, lending character to a recording and differentiating it from a VST guitar, squeaks can also easily become too loud and unpleasant to listen to. Here’s a recording of a hollow-body guitar that we captured using an AKG C414:

Using the Squeak module couldn’t be easier – just highlight the section you’re interested in focusing on, and adjust the Sensitivity and Reduction to your liking. Here’s what the recording sounds like after one pass:

I still hear some small amount of squeaking, but to my ear it sounds much more musical and warranted for inclusion in the final sample, as opposed to the original recording. For reference, this is what the squeaks that RX processed out of the audio sound like:


The last module we’ll look at is Pick – it’s (predictably) intended to remove picking noises from guitar recordings. Here’s the audio we processed:

The emphasis on the picked note is certainly intentional in the performance. We’re looking to use the pick de-noiser in a very subtle way here because we don’t want to lose the intentionality of the motif; instead, we want to leave the melodic, pleasant part of the performance intact while removing some of the harsher, more percussive sounds. Again, RX 8 makes this very simple: just adjust the Sensitivity, Reduction, and Attack parameters. Here’s our final result:

…And to really illustrate the difference, here’s what only the picking sounds like:


Once again, we’ve been blown away by iZotope’s sonic magic. Traditional de-noising tools can work for specialized tasks like this, but since RX 8 has an entire module focused on just one instrument, it’s easier than ever for users to edit their recordings to sound professional – even without deep knowledge of how de-noising is accomplished. It’s basically point-and-shoot; just highlight and apply the processing you want. While normally we would’ve spent hours painstakingly trying to EQ out issues like these from our recordings, RX 8 makes it easy to remove common problems from our guitars. If you’re a guitarist or frequently record guitar performances, RX 8’s new Guitar De-noise module will save you a ton of time, especially if you’re editing lots of files like I am.

Finally, we’d like to say a big thank you to Rotem Sivan for graciously letting us use this behind-the-scenes audio! If you like the guitar playing you heard in this post, check out his last pack here and be on the lookout for the next one in December.

Try RX 8 for free, and then Rent-to-Own the plugin for $15.99/mo until you own it outright:

September 22, 2020

Max Rewak Max Rewak is a record producer, audio engineer, and music writer, based in New York and currently working in Sounds content at Splice.