Reducing Pick Noise and Attack from a Guitar Track

Description:

A classic trick for reducing the pick sound on an acoustic guitar part is to use a De-esser, but this can also take away some of the high frequency presence of the strings and cause pumping. Using the De-click module in iZotope’s RX audio repair software, we can reduce the pick sound and soften the attack of an acoustic guitar track subtly and without affecting the top end clarity of the instrument. This can also work well on picked electric bass, ride cymbals, hi-hats, and other drums and percussion.

Sample:

Here is a sample of an acoustic guitar track with a strong pick sound and then the audio after processing with the De-click module.

Before RX:

After RX: 

file
file

Standalone Workflow:

  1. Open an audio file in the RX Audio Editor or send it using RX Connect.

  2. Select the entire file and open the De-click module.

  3. Set the algorithm to M-band (random clicks) because the pick noises happen randomly, not in any sort of pattern.

  4. Set the Sensitivity to 4.0.

  5. Check the box marked Clicks Only.

  6. Click the Preview button to listen to the clicks that are being removed. If you hear any of the tonal components of the guitar, reduce the Sensitivity setting until they go away. With RX Advanced, you can also adjust the Frequency Skew setting to ensure you're removing the most distracting pick noises without affecting the body of the guitar. For this example, we used a Frequency Skew of 6.4.

  7. Uncheck the box marked Clicks Only and preview again to ensure your audio still sounds good.

  8. When you have a sound you like, click the Process button.

     

Plug-in Workflow:

  1. Select the audio file in your DAW or NLE.

  2. Open RX De-click as an offline plug-in.

  3. Set the algorithm to M-band (random clicks) because the pick noises happen randomly, not in any sort of pattern.

  4. Set the Sensitivity to 4.0.

  5. Check the box marked Clicks Only.

  6. Press the Preview button to listen to the clicks that are being removed. If you hear any of the tonal components of the guitar, reduce the Sensitivity setting until they go away. .

  7. Uncheck the box marked Clicks Only and preview again to ensure your audio still sounds good. Listen carefully to make sure that guitar doesn't start to sound watery, and continue to make subtle adjustments to the Sensitivity setting.

  8. Click the Process or Render button to render the processing.

Tips: 

  • Multiple Passes of De-click. Sometimes two passes of De-click with lower sensitivity settings work better than one pass of De-click with high sensitivity settings.

  • For Substantial Clicks. If you’re still hearing one or two substantial clicks, you can try zooming in on the click and removing it with more aggressive settings.

  • For Fret and String Noise. The Spectral Repair tool inside of the RX Audio Editor can be used to attenuate or replace additional distracting string noise.

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