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Reducing Ambient Noise from Home Studio Recordings

May 1, 2017

Repair and restore your audio:

RX 7

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Description:

When recording at home, it can be hard to find a quiet space without background noise from kitchen appliances, computers, and air conditioners/HVAC. With the Dialogue De-noise plug-in, you can reduce these constant noises and clean up your tracks.

Sample:

This lead vocal was recorded in an apartment with an air conditioner running in a separate room.

Before RX:

After RX:

Plug-in Workflow:

  1. Open the Dialogue De-noise plug-in as an insert on the vocal track, or as a offline plug-in if you'd like to render the process clip-by-clip.
  2. We can set the De-noise algorithm to Auto, which is used for sounds that vary throughout the program, or Manual where we can learn a noise profile that the algorithm can use to reduce noise that remains constant across the track. Since this example has steady background noise throughout, we’ll start in Manual mode.
  3. Now we’ll Learn a noise profile by selecting a passage of at least one second of pure noise in your audio, clicking Learn inside the plug-in, and then playing back the audio so the plug-in can analyze the noise.
  4. This will automatically set the individual multiband thresholds to reduce the noise. Adjust the Reduction amount to remove more or less of the noise, just be careful not to overdo it.
  5. If you want to render your process in the offline plug-in, click Process or Render in the bottom right-hand corner of the plug-in window.

Tips: 

  • Use in moderation. Noise reduction artifacts can be more distracting than the noise itself! Be gentle and use multiple passes of the Dialogue De-noise plug-in if necessary. This will often lead to a better sonic result than one De-noise treatment with a very high reduction amount.
  • Use a High-Pass filter. Lots of noise and rumble exists below the vocal range, so placing a high-pass filter ahead of the noise reduction can cut the unused low frequencies and let the Dialogue De-noise plug-in focus on noise in the vocal range.
  • Reduce more in pauses. If you're battling a particularly stubborn background noise, you can avoid the 'watery' sound commonly associated with overuse of noise reduction by reducing pauses between lines separately with higher reduction settings.
  • Listen in context. When reducing noise on a single track that's part of a full band performance, remember that low level signals may not be audible once the rest of the instruments in the song are mixed in. Listen to your edits in the context of the mix to make sure you’re not overusing the noise reduction and affecting the character of the song.
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