How to Reduce Audio Noise in Your Recordings

When you’re taking professional audio recordings, you need them to be as crisp and intelligible as possible. When audio noise interferes, your recordings might sound fuzzy, scratchy or as if there’s a hissing in the background. That makes it harder to understand the speaker, which means your transcription software (or human transcriptionist) will have a more difficult time creating an accurate written record. Here’s how to reduce noise in your audio recording software and equipment in Seattle, WA.

Get familiar with the “room tone”

Before you start an audio recording, record at least 10 seconds of the “room tone”—the ambient noise in a room when no one is talking, shuffling papers or otherwise creating noise. Professional microphones are sensitive, and can pick up innocuous noises like computer fans, air conditioner hums and other sounds we often don’t consciously register. They often sound a lot louder on the recording than they do in real life, which will interfere with your playback and transcription process.

Having a recording with the room tone will help you edit out these noises in post-recording software. It creates a baseline so that editing software, like Audacity, will be able to remove the sound and produce a clearer recording.

Reducing noise in Audacity

Audacity is a free audio editing program. Your digital audio recording equipment may already come with a feature to remove background noise, but if not, Audacity is an excellent option. This is where the room tone recording comes in handy.

First, load your recording into the program. Select the part of the recording that’s “silent,” then select “Effect” in the top menu. Click “Noise Reduction.” Next, hit “Get Noise Profile.” The box should disappear.

Now you can select the entire recording. Go to the “Select” menu and click “All.” Click “Effect” and “Repeat Noise Reduction.” This should remove the background noise from the recording—listen to the clip to make sure it doesn’t sound muffled.

If you do encounter problems, you can use the sliders to make adjustments to noise reduction, sensitivity, frequency smoothing and more. Make tiny changes at first—a little goes a long way.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of reducing the ambient background noise, you’ll enjoy crisp, clear recordings with very little effort.

Don’t forget to maintain your equipment

There’s one more way to reduce noise in your recordings: by regularly cleaning and maintaining your equipment. Like all electronics, audio recorders are sensitive pieces of technology. Dirt, dust, grime and other buildup can result in scratchy, fuzzy recordings. Be sure to clean all metal plates and plugs with contact cleaner. Store your equipment in a carrying case to protect it from dust, and every month, screw the grills to your microphones and wash them with warm soapy water.

If you’re looking for professional-quality audio recording software and equipment in Seattle, WA, reach out to Efficiency, Inc. today. We can help you select the right tools for your job, then train you and your staff on how to use them.

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