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 are able to 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 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 in a less harsh and artificial way. 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 obvious.
At 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 obviously 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 in order to detect and reduce unwanted noise from the source audio with the minimum of induced artefacts. It works by learning the character of the noise and creating the 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
Afterwards, 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.