i have this clip that a friend sent me to ask if i could reduce the noise on it. im still new to all this stuff, but to me it seems the noise is more background sound than noise if that makes sense, is it even possible to reduce it?

anyway heres the sample, if anyone could give some advice it would be much appreciated.


i have access to soundtrack pro's noise removal, logic and some waves noise removal plugs at school.


3 Answers 3


Sorry dude, that's a lot of noise! Mostly broadband, but there are some fast/repeating transients in there, which will make things difficult.

You can try to use a little bit of broadband noise reduction (izotope RX, Waves X-Noise or whatever), but you'll only be able to drop a few dB before you start getting artifacts. If you have access to Waves C4, you can put that after what i just mentioned, using the noise reduction preset, and tuning the thresholds to optimise it.

Then you could do some basic eq stuff: hi-pass at around 80Hz; low pass around 16-17kHz; and i've found that you can cut 800Hz-1kHz by a couple of dB without affecting the voice noticeably.

Unfortunately, all this will most likely just bring it up from horrible to not-so-horrible. Still, it'll be a good exercise. Just play around and see how far you can push things before you start damaging the voice.

Side note: If this is against picture, the noise will be more acceptable if you can see what's causing it.

  • If you have Soundtrack Pro, try making a noise print of the background sound around 0:12-0:14 and use its noise reduction feature. I agree with Roger that the signal:noise ratio is sch that using noise reduction could cause "swimminess"-type artifacts if you push it too far. +1 on the EQ recommendations, too! Jun 23, 2011 at 2:16
  • thanks! ill get to testing this in the morning. i dont have the footage, but i assume a lot of it is the machinery behind the person talking. Jun 23, 2011 at 11:52

Hi Jamie I listened to your sample clip and believe I understand what you are trying to say - that the noise is most likely inherent to the environment. However, in its current state it is too much in the foreground and is actually obscuring the dialogue. The bad news is that there is one specific whining noise that is right in the frequency range of the dialogue and any noise reduction you do is going to bring that forward along with the dialogue. The good news is that you should be able to push most of the broadband noise back enough to make the dialogue intelligible.

I ran your sample through iZotope RX and was able to run 2 passes reducing the noise by 8dB each pass without creating noticeable artifacting. You should be able to achieve much better results using Waves Z-Noise, as you will be working directly from the WAV file.

Start by capturing a noise profile from a portion of the recording where there is no dialogue using the "Learn" function. Then, once you have pushed the environmental noise back sufficiently, capture another noise profile, this time of the dialogue, using the "Extract" function. You should, with a bit of experimentation, be able to reduce that whine sufficiently that it is not intrusive.

A few important things to remember: 1) You will achieve more natural results using 2 passes reducing the noise by around 8dB each pass, rather than 1 pass reducing the noise by 16dB. 2) When running multiple passes, either use the "Adaptive" function in Z-Noise or obtain a new noise profile before each pass. 2) Listen to the difference before running each pass to ensure that you are not removing dialogue and, if you are, try reducing the threshold slightly until it goes away. 2) There is always the temptation to reduce the noise by too much. Listen carefully to your results after each process and when it starts to sound artificial you've gone too far and need to undo your last process.

Hope this helps!

  • thanks guys, ill give a try to all these in the morning. goodnight. Jun 23, 2011 at 11:53

Your going to have to process that audio A LOT to remove the noise resulting in degradation of the voice quality. To the point where it wouldn't be usable in any professional manner. I would either record it again or apply a high pass filter somewhere around 80-100 hz. Additionally you might be able to apply a notch filter somewhere between 100-400 hz.

When I have to try and save something with noise reduction techniques I usually give myself a few versions then work on something else for a little while. It's important to come back to it and see if any of it sounds better than the original. Sometimes it's easy to fall into the "i worked on it for 40 minutes so it must sound good."

  • I'd be very careful notching in the range of 100-400 Hz, as you're talking about an area that contains the fundamental frequency range of the human voice. Those are the base frequencies of all of the vowel sounds in speech; and while perhaps not always as critical as the consonant sounds for intelligibility, important none the less Jun 23, 2011 at 14:37
  • @ Shaun Careful is always the name of the game for noise reduction! Thanks for explaining elegantly.
    – Leyland
    Jun 24, 2011 at 1:14

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