How to remove background audio noise
in your recordings for free

A step-by-step guide for using Audacity to remove background audio noise

Background noise is annoying 🔈

Getting clean audio recordings can be really hard, especially in noisy environments. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid it.

So, what can you do? The good news is that there’s a free way to remove background noise from audio using Audacity. Using the tool, you can cut unwanted background sounds from your clip and improve the track quality in no time.

Audacity is a free audio editing program created by a community of audio experts. Audacity accepts almost any audio file type and has a noise removal tool specifically designed to solve the problem you are trying to solve. It is a robust piece of software, but also very easy to use. You shouldn't have issues figuring out how to remove background noise in audio files, even without prior experience with similar apps.

Removing Background Noise Step-by-step 📋

Step 1

Open Audacity, click “File” and “Open” and locate the file you want to fix

Step 2

Select your “Room Tone” by dragging your mouse over a section where there is little or no audio sound

Step 3

Select the “Effect” menu and then select “Noise Reduction”

Step 4

Click “Get Noise Profile” and wait for the modal to disappear

Step 5

Click back to your timeline of audio to clear your selection

Step 6

Select the “Effect” menu again and select “Noise Reduction” again

Step 7

Click “Preview” to hear the default noise removal settings. You can select one of these defaults to see if they work

Step 8

If you still hear noise, then simply adjust the Sliders (see descriptions below) and then click “Preview” again

Sliders in Audacity 🔦

When discovering how to extract a clear voice from a noisy audio file, note that any movement to the sliders in Audacity can create a big change to the sound of the audio. It is recommended that you ‘go easy’ as you adjust the sliders. Otherwise, you may remove background noise from the audio and lose vital data in your audio recording, which can become an issue.

  1. Noise reduction slider:
    This controls the amount of volume reduction that is applied to the identified noise. Use the lowest amount of noise reduction that will keep the noise to an acceptable level. Don't go overboard with this.
  2. Sensitivity slider:
    This slider controls how much of the audio is considered as noise. The higher the sensitivity, the larger the range of noise - be careful because more your audio will be affected.
  3. Frequency smoothing slider:
    This controls how much the noise reduction spreads to other adjacent frequencies. The default setting is 3. Higher settings favor spoken word whereas lower settings are better for music background noise removal.

Reduce background noise for accurate transcription 🚀

Sonix automatically transcribes and translates your audio/video files in 38+ languages. Easily search, edit, and share your media files. Remove background noise from audio files so that you get the most accurate transcriptions with Sonix. Fast, accurate, and affordable. Millions of users from all over the world.

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Capturing great audio 🎤

Figuring out how to remove background noise from audio can be a pain, so it’s always best to do everything you can to reduce the noise before you record. If you follow the steps in this How to Capture Great Audio article, it's very possible that you won't need to remove any noise afterward.

What about removing background noise in video? 🎬

Audacity is great for cleaning up audio associated with radio, podcasts, or music. For spoken-word video, it’s not as simple. You’ll need to export the audio from the video and then once you are done removing the background noise in Audacity you’ll need to re-sync the audio to the video.

Technically it’s not impossible, but it’s certainly not the most efficient way to remove noise especially if you’ve already edited your clips.

Audacity works best with audio. If you are working with video, then you should read our other article: How to remove background noise from video.

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