As a sound designer for independent film, I look for tools that get the job done quickly while not hindering the creative workflow that is at the core of what I do.
With Iris 2, iZotope has improved upon what was already one of my favorite tools for sound design. There are a number of reasons why I use Iris in almost all of my sound design projects:
1. It’s intuitive.
While the elements of Iris are not unique (I was already doing spectral filtering in RX and sampling in Structure when Iris came along), the fact that it brings together so many tools into one very approachable and simple package makes it one of the most useful sound design tools on the market. Iris is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s very easy to get started (and has some very nice presets), yet it’s incredibly powerful and flexible.
2. It allows for rapid experimentation.
Once I’ve loaded a few sounds from my sound effects library, I can quickly audition how the sounds work together. I can hear what it’s like to isolate the low frequencies from one sound effect and blend it together with the mids and highs from several others with just a few clicks. Getting the same results in a traditional DAW is much more time-consuming, but I can take a “rapid-prototyping” approach with Iris. Once I find sounds and parameters that are in the ballpark of what I’m looking for, I begin recording the Iris output in Pro Tools. This allows me to play with parameters with my MIDI controller in real time. It’s a very hands on and satisfying way to design sounds.
3. Most importantly, it sounds incredible!
No matter what I throw at Iris, I can sculpt the sounds into something unique and interesting. In fact, one of my favorite exercises when I’m looking for inspiration is to choose four random sound effects from my library and sculpt them into something unique with Iris. The built-in distortion, chorus, reverb, and delay effects returns are simple, yet flexible and very high quality. 99% of the time I can get exactly what I’m looking for directly from the built-in effects.
While Iris can produce incredible results with nearly any sounds you throw at it (including some really nice presets), Iris truly shines with a sound library like the Pro Sound Effects Hybrid Library.
Full disclosure, I’m probably a little biased, but the Hybrid Library has been my go-to resource and the best library for its depth (56,047 sound effects) and price ($2,500). No matter what the sound design challenge, with the Hybrid Library and Iris 2, I have a massive block of sounds and an ideal sonic hammer and chisel to sculpt some really unique and amazing sounds.
I'm a sound designer/editor and long-time Pro Tools user living and working in New York City. I'm also the sound effects librarian and curator of the Pro Sound Effects library.