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How can I clean up noise from audio recordings? I recorded on a laptop, using a mike that came with a pair of headsets. It's one person speaking, no instruments or echoes or anything, just one human voice. This is my first recording.

It's all fine, but I need to get rid of sounds like static, or the burst sound you get when you breathe too close to the mike.

I'm using Audacity, applied noise removal to smooth out the recording in general, and then managed to get rid of a couple of pops, using "repair", the draw tool, and equalization. But it's taking AGES, and in my 7 min audio I've still got about 15 more noises to fix. I'd like to just re-record, but it doesn't help because I can't avoid all these sounds, they always creep in. I don't know if I need a better mike?

The problem with the repair tool is that I need to zoom in to the sound so much that I lose track, if there were a repair tool that repaired the entire spike sound waves, that would be great.

Am I really doing whatever there is to be done? Or are there some plugin or tips on cleaning out the recording? When I listen to it on my laptop, it's actually quite decent, but when I put in earphones, the static and other sounds show up in some words.

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3 Answers

It's difficult to know how significant these unwanted sounds are - can you post them so we can hear the track (or at least a section of the track)?

You have got to keep your wits about you when editing - I use wavelab and sometimes I put markers around the problem areas so I don't forget which part of the track I'm working on. Also getting a section of track to loop around markers allows you to hear the effectiveness of edits.

A lot of times (on song vocals) I'm in cubase and it's easier because I can break a vocal pice up into lines and phrases - a DAW can help.

Your laptop will have a more limited bandwidth compared to your headset and this will make the pops seem less intrusive BUT filtering can be used on these so all is not lost.

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This depends on how high the quality of your recordings need to be. If you are looking to create a personal note library, or commentate on Multiplayer Gaming Videos, then I would just look at improving your recording technique. For example, moving the mic away from your mouth and speaking louder. You should be able to avoid plosives (pops) and your voice should be loud enough that you can use an expander to reduce the background noise (Presonus Studio One contains one as part of the channel strip plugin in the Free version)

If you really need the recordings you already have, I would suggest looking at a suite like Izotope RX (although this is at a serious price of around $300). More domestic alternatives are available by Izotope and MAGIX. Check out amazon's alternatives for research.

Again your circumstances are key here. If you think you'll be removing noise on a regular basis for quite a while, I'd suggest the RX suite. Again re-recording properly is ALWAYS the preferred option, especially when quality is important

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I can only recommend you Magix Audio Cleaning Lab

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