Make Your Audio Sound Better


In the world of the sound recording, whether it’s about recording guitar, voice or another instrument, we often encounter various obstacles. They come in the form of unwanted environmental noise that is picked up by microphones while recording the audio. In previous decades it was difficult to create a controlled environment where the background noise is not present. With the constant development of technology in all directions in recent times, we can process problematic recordings with advanced tools. They allow us to reduce the background noise to a minimum.

The tool that most people reach for is the Noise Gate effect. However, this effect is kind of harsh and can quickly become destructive. Alternatively, there are some more sophisticated tools available that, when used properly, can clean the recording less harshly and artificially. To sum up, the best noise reduction is always the minimum amount you can get away with.


Removing Background Noise


In the next tutorial, I will demonstrate how to clean up a noisy movie dialogue using a VST plugin called X-Noise by Waves audio. This particular tool always works great for me when I am dealing with messy guitar recordings or similar material. In this case, I have chosen a movie voice recording because I think that the effect will be most apparent.

In the beginning, let me play you a short movie dialogue recording that I chose and imported into a newly made audio channel within SoundBridge.



~Voice with X-Noise off


As you can hear, there is a lot of background noise that dominates the whole recording. To fix this, I will apply an X-Noise plug into the channel. The magic behind X-Noise is that it uses a frequency domain analysis to detect and reduce unwanted noise from the source audio with the minimum of induced artifacts. It works by learning the character of the noise and creating a noise profile. This helps to distinguish the noise from the audio signal.

Consequently, I will loop the part of the recording in which only the noise can be heard and let it play for a few seconds. Engaging the Learn button will help the plugin learn the noise profile so that it could distinguish it from the voice.



Tweaking The Values


Afterward, with the Learn button disengaged, we have an insight of what is going on. First, we see different curves that are representing the Noise Profile, Input, and Output. On the right side, there are Threshold and Reduction faders. They are in charge of the amount of the applied effect. In addition, there are Attack and Release values that can be tweaked. Nevertheless, I like to keep them as they are. In my opinion, to get the best result you should use the High-resolution profile.

After having everything set, let’s hear the difference between unprocessed and the processed recording. In the end, by clicking the “Difference“ button in the lower right corner of the X-Noise GUI, we will hear how much of the background noise we got rid of.



Voice with X-Noise off


Voice with X-Noise on


~ Eliminated background noise


Download the patch here.