I moved into this 2 BR apartment on the 5th floor in a building residing in a main street (didn't think about it when I got it ), and even at night (even after 1-3 AM) there's always a car or a truck that moves in front of our building every minute or two.

I need to record some software tutorials for community channel and for possible commercial production offer as well.

With the noise coming from the street, and not being constant noise that I can isolate with an audio editor, I'm unable to make these recordings.

I have tried Acoustic Foam, making a box around me and the laptop, but this didn't seem to make a difference. I have tried going into a room with closed window and door but the window is only glass and the noise still comes (lower, but obvious) when closed. I also tried going to toilet, but the echo was so strong even with foam.

Any other ideas to try? I cannot replace the windows / balcony etc. as I'm only renting.

  • 1
    Would lowering the mic's gain and getting really close to it help? Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 1:40
  • In general it does help yeah (thanks), but the cars sometimes are very loud that they still get well into the recording.
    – Meligy
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 1:43
  • 1
    Ok, as you're not doing the tutorial live (right?) you can record the sentence that got interrupted by a car again and cut that into your tutorial with a fast transition. Also, if the vehicles make a sound that differs very much from your voice in terms of frequency you can cut it out with a notch filter. Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 1:52
  • The cars are annoying because they keep coming. Even late at night it takes about 5 minutes for that next single odd very loud car to come in. That's why I'm trying to avoid the obvious option of just re-doing the step/talk.
    – Meligy
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 2:24
  • I didn't know about notch filter before, just noise filter. Will check that. Thanks!
    – Meligy
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 2:24

2 Answers 2


Acoustic foam won't do much when you're using the laptop's microphone (almost certainly omni-directional). Using a decent directional microphone (eg: http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SM58-LC-Cardioid-Microphone-without/dp/B000CZ0R42) will kill most 'outside' environmental noise, and anything exceptional like a really loud truck horn which slips through can be easily removed with any half decent audio editor.

If you don't want to spend the money on a decent microphone and insist on recording in the presence of significant environment noise, try using something like Adobe Audition. It's not as good as not having the noise picked up to begin with but its "Capture Noise Reduction Profile" tool will do a much better job than applying generic EQ or hi/lo pass filters.

  • I'm using a USB microphone not laptop microphone. My editing is usually done using Camtasia and sometimes Audacity for better noise filters.
    – Meligy
    Commented Nov 29, 2013 at 5:09

Unfortunately the only option is to prevent the noise from getting captured in the first place. Better mics that are more directional and better sound insulation is the only real option. If it is very loud noise though, it is going to be very hard to prevent entirely and it might actually be cheaper to rent a studio for doing your recording than trying to fix the problem within your apartment.

So in order of things to try, I'd try putting a heavy blanket on the floor beneath your box. Next, try a microphone that is more highly directional and localized and experiment with angles to try to reduce the noise, but it's likely going to bounce around a fair bit, so it probably won't fix it entirely. You also will have a problem that if air can get in your box, so can sound, so you could try a box in a box to help prevent the noise from getting, but that starts getting costly to build two soundproof boxes and it still won't necessarily fix it depending on how loud it is.

  • The box is not going from the ground. I put it on my desk surrounding the laptop, microphone, and my own head. Do you think I need to make some sort of box from ground up? Any tips on how to make that if so? Thanks.
    – Meligy
    Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 5:01
  • @Meligy - as a general rule, if air can get in, so can sound. In a small room, sound is going to bounce off of everything, so any loud noise is going to easily make it through if it isn't an entire enclosure.
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 17:09

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