I love helping people craft the kinds of audio tracks they actually want to make.
Background Noise Reduction Is Possible With Plugins and Software
When you record a song, song parts, or even just some audio, it can be really great, obviously. Sometimes though your audio is ruined by background noise. It is even more annoying when it happens outside of your control, and this will be made even worse after normalizing your audio, as it turns everything up.
But fear not! You can remove audio hiss! You can filter audio noise! It can all be solved, and fixed, and sorted!
How to Reduce Noise in Audio: The Guide
To apply a noise filter, or even remove this background noise from your audio completely, we cannot just press a key on the keyboard and fix everything. We will have to download some noise reduction software.
I think this is the best noise reduction software available. Do not worry though, it is small and it is free and it is safe. Let's start!
1. Download a program called Reaper. Reaper is a free DAW (digital audio workstation), which is basically what songs and other things are combined on to make a song. There are many around, but Reaper has a trial basis that does not lock you out.
2. Once you have installed the program, be sure to agree to set your audio setting when it first launches. This is quite simple, you just select the only option on the drop down menu—your audio card. If you do not know what it is, it is simple, just select whatever is there. Press apply or/and then OK.
3. Right-click in the other left side of Reaper—below the icons but above the play and record icons—and select 'Insert new track'.
4. If you have audio already recorded, then drag and drop your audio into the track.
(This is the perfect way to extract clear voice from a noisy audio file.)
5. In the top bar, left-click and hold, and select a part of your audio that ONLY has the background noise (or other unimportant noise) in it. It is good to leave the mic running before or after you record so you can do this. Something to remember for the future!
If the noise you want to remove is running throughout the audio you have, find at least a few sounds when there is a break from the audio you want and select the time it lasts for.
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6. Select 'Track Insert FX' by left-clicking under the record button/on the track in the mixer.
7. A pop-up will appear. Click on the top left, selecting 'All Plugins'. Then, click on the bottom left 'Filter:' box and type 'reafir'. Before you finish the word, something called 'VST: ReaFir' should be the only option in the main box, click it to highlight it and then click OK.
8. The VST/Plugin will open up. Go to 'Mode:' and from the drop down menu select 'Subtract' right at the bottom of the list.
9. Click the 'Automatically build noise profile' box and make sure it is clicked/checked.
10. Make sure you have ONLY the background noise within your audio selected.
11. Play the audio through once in the selected area.
12. Then BE SURE to uncheck/click the 'Automatically build noise profile' box.
Have a listen to your audio now. It should now be the same as ever, but without the annoying background noise. If you are unsure on anything, feel free to watch these steps "live" in the video above.
If you want, you can drag the FX Plugin onto other tracks you have where it has the same background noise and the FX Plugin should do the same thing: remove it. Or, you could simply do what I have just described on the other tracks with the same background noise, for fine tuning.
David Marquez on February 03, 2018:
Thank you for this article. I found it while searching for background noise reduction. This is certainly fascinating, I did not know I had a plugin in my Reaper for this. However, this does introduce some effect in the sounds, particularly in low volume parts of the recording. I tried it with a vocal recording I did in my home where the air conditioner noise is in the background. It removed the air conditioner noise however it also affects the quality of low volume parts of the recording, it sounds a bit like when you are in a phone call, it's difficult to describe, it's not too bad though, for some it might be hardly noticeable But this approach does the job when you have no other option.