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Is RTX Voice good?

The following is my personal experience with RTX Voice and may not represent the opinions of Antlion Audio or its staff.

So it came to my attention today that Nvidia had released an AI driven program to reduce background noise, RTX Voice. So, we put it to the test.

Before I go TOO far, I will say that this is A) In beta(!) and B) tested it on a GTX, not RTX card. From my brief research this actually doesn't seem to impact performance, but maybe it does and I suck at research, or maybe it will in the future. For those on GTX cards, here's a tutorial on installing the RTX voice on a GTX card.

I neither guarantee this will continue to work nor that it is safe.

Bottom Line at the Top

So, TL;DR - Is it worth using? Maybe. First, to be clear, I found it significantly better than Krisp.AI, which does a similar thing. If you want a one-click solution, have a lot of unexpected noises, and have plenty of spare system RAM and especially if your friends have terrible mic noise, there's some real value here. However, if all you're looking for is some regular noise reduction on your mic line, there are better solutions out there. For instance our tutorial on ReaFir and LightHost.

What does it do?

As far as I can tell the RTX program does identify ongoing noises and work to subtract them from the line while trying to maintain voice quality. It also adds a noise gate and appears to monitor and manipulate the gate and line settings for optimal use. The result is a solid noise reduction and noise gate with zero work after install.

What's wrong?

First, it's not perfect. It does generate some false positives when set to 100% noise reduction, causing your voice to "blip" (you'll hear at least one example of this in the tests below). 

Maybe more important, it occupies a massive memory footprint. Here we see RTX Voice

And here we see Light Host:

Yeah... ok so maybe you've got 32gb+ of RAM and a gig here or there is no problem. If you don't care about the impact to system memory, what's the verdict?

It's Pretty Good!

This program is NOT perfect, but it appears to have three improvements over using something like Light Host and Reafir.

1) The delay appears to be lower. I had a HELL of a time testing this because there's no way to manually control the noise gate, but my best estimate puts it at about 50ms faster than Light Host at default settings. That's not a huge advantage, but it is worth mentioning.
Light Host / Reafir: 200ms

RTX Voice: 145ms.

2) It's a LOT easier to setup. Even if you have to follow a tutorial on installing it to a GTX card, it's still easier than Light Host and ReaFir despite my best attempt to make that tutorial as clear as possible.

3) It adjusts your mic on the fly, meaning if someone starts making a lot of background noise (A vacuum, dishwasher, AC unit, etc), it may reduce that without having to redo any settings.

But maybe most important of all, it allows you to reduce background noise on INCOMING audio as well. Maybe your friend doesn't have a ModMic? Use this and you can reduce or eliminate their EMI and line noise. That's pretty cool! BUT make sure you don't set the RTX Voice as your default speakers or it will also noise-reduce your game audio... and funny as it is, it's not a good experience.

Enough Text, how does it sound!?

Before I go too far into my tests, I didn't subject RTX Voice to some of the crazier things I have seen people do with it. I think its awesome that it can eliminate the noise of leaf blower in (yes in, not outside) your office... but I felt I'd stick to a more routine "Using it in my home office" approach, where leaf blowers are rather rare.

First, I tested how RTX Voice performed with our 3.5mm mic plugged into our USB sound card. The results are... well, basically RTX doesn't add anything and actually created a small issue here.

 

Next I tested the RTX voice vs. a motherboard with medium levels of EMI. The results were very positive for the RTX program, minus a little hiccup while the AI adjusted to how much EMI there was:

 

Finally, I tested the Light Host + ReaFir solution vs. RTX Voice. The results were basically the same between them.

 

Conclusion:

Probably the most useful feature of RTX Voice is if your teammates have a lot of line noise. This is something RTX Voice does that no other program I can think of emulates. Removing bad incoming audio is really quite unique!

Second, if something like our tutorial on ReaFir and LightHost terrifies you, this is a super easy way to reduce line noise. However, I don't think the RAM footprint is worth it if all you're doing is filtering EMI.

That said, if you're in a house with a lot of unexpected, loud, and ongoing noise issues, I once again think there is some real value here. 

So to wrap it up: If all you need is basic noise removal, stick with non-AI driven apps. If your teammates have crappy mics or if your house is a circus of unexpected noise, pick up RTX Voice. Oh, and if you have an AMD card I guess you're out of luck for now.


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