How to Use Noise Reduction in Audacity

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If you perform any kind of audio editing or sweetening on your computer, you need a reliable program that can perform some basic improvements. One program that is readily available is Audacity. It's easy to access and, no matter your platform can be accessed for audio editing.

How to use noise reduction in Audacity? Audacity is a free software that works on both Windows and Mac computer systems. The program allows you to record and edit some basic features on your audio track. In order to reduce noise you'll need to alter some recording settings or implement software filters, depending on if you've recorded the audio yet or not. 

The method for how to use noise reduction in Audacity depends on if you already have an audio file on your computer, or whether you're looking to reduce noise during the recording session. Each will require something a little different but neither are difficult to do. The software is user-friendly, even if you haven't used an audio sweetening or recording program before. For your basic audio improvement and recording needs, Audacity is able to help.

How to Use Noise Reduction in Audacity

Your computer likely has some kind of basic audio recording software already installed. Whether on a Windows or Mac computer, there are audio recording features built in. Now, you also likely have some kind of microphone built into the system as well. However, the microphone, much like the pre-installed program, is less than desirable. If you are going to be doing any kind of recording in the future you'll want to invest in an improved mic. There are high-end microphones out there that will set you back a few hundred dollars, but even a $20 microphone will provide you substantial improvements.


In order to reduce noise in Audacity you will need to know how to improve the audio recording of your microphone, how to adjust the settings during the recording, and how to sweeten the audio post recording.

Downloading Audacity


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Audacity is a free software that is available through download. The software is open source and works as a cross-platform program (including Linux). The software can be downloaded by heading over to the AudacityTeam.org website (there are also third-party links from a number of sources you can follow for the download link).


Once on the website, there is a "Download Audacity" link right in the middle of the page. You will be asked to select which kind of operating system you're running (Windows, macOS or Linux). Once you select the operating system, you can download the software directly to your computer.


With the software installed on your computer, open the downloaded file and follow the installation prompts to complete the application setup.

How to Use Noise Reduction in Audacity When Recording?


The best way to improve the quality of your audio is to remove noise prior to recording. With your microphone and other equipment all set up you'll want to now follow these how to use noise reduction in Audacity steps.

In general, the default settings are usually good, but you may need to perform a few tweaks. First, connect your microphone to the computer and then click on the "Input" option from the main screen and choose your connected mic from the pull-down menu.


Now, click on "Edit," followed by "Preferences," then "Quality" (if you're using a Mac you'll need to click "Audacity," "Preferences," then "Quality."

Set the default recording value to 44100 Hz. If you're using the built-in microphone on your computer you may need to reduce these sample rate. This is because the built-in microphone may not be able to handle the higher recording rate, which is what causes the distortion.


When you are done with the audio recording you will need to export in a quality file. The best audio file to export it as is a .WAV file. Now, you may want to export it as an MP3 as well, as this is a smaller file format and some programs will require you to upload an MP3 because of that. The MP3 file does not have the same quality, but in most cases, it should be okay.


After you select the export file format a new pop-up window will appear, asking about export settings. Set the settings to the maximum quality level and save the file. If you don't select the highest quality level some distortion may be applied, giving you unwanted clipping sounds and other noise.

How to Use Noise Reduction in Audacity Post Recording


recording in audacity

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If you find your audio is inferior after recording, or if you have an audio file that suffers from noise and you need to do something with it, Audacity can help. Now, when looking over how to use noise reduction in Audacity, you'll find that while Audacity does have some nice features, it isn't designed for extreme audio sweetening. You can follow the basics but, if these noise removal steps fail to deliver the desired results you may need to either re-record the audio file or invest in a higher level audio editing program.


When you need to remove noises after you have recorded the audio you'll need to follow these How to use noise reduction in Audacity steps. First, open the audio file. Then select a "silent" area of your audio. This is a portion of the track that is quiet and that doesn't have the noise.


Now, choose "Effect" from the top of the software screen and choose "Noise Removal." Select "Get Noise Profile" from the new window that appears. This tells Audacity what the background noise should sound like. Now, select the area you want to remove noise from. You can click and drag over the entire file if needed. Click on "Effect" and then "Noise Removal" once again.

Finally, chose "OK" and Audacity will adjust the audio file to remove unwanted noise. Make sure to listen through this though to see if it hasn't muted or muffled your main audio information. This is possible if the background noise is on a similar wavelength of the audio you want to keep.

Additional Ways to Reduce Noise When Recording


Most of the noise your microphone picks up during recording can be removed prior to recording. For starters, you should consider turning off fans and the HVAC system in your home during recording. The furnace or AC kicking on will both cause audio issues during recording.


You may also experience some audio pick-up with the computer fan. You'll want to go into the system settings and turn the microphone off while you record. Or, at the very least, you should move the microphone as far away from the computer as possible. Most systems that now use a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a traditional hard drive will not make as much noise as there are fewer moving parts and less of a need for a fan. Either way, the computer fan can make a considerable amount of noise and you'll want to reduce this prior to recording.


Lastly, you can always cut down on the gain and move closer to the microphone. A higher gain allows you to move away from the microphone. This might be a bit more comfortable but it will also increase the sensitivity of the mic, which means it will record other audio you might not want it to record. To avoid this you should cut down on the gain of the microphone and move in closer. This will help improve audio quality while reducing the amount of unwanted noise the mic picks up.

Related Questions

I'm Recording on a Separate Audio Device. How Do I Run the Audio Both through the Computer and to the Audio Device?

If Audacity Can't Handle the Kind of Audio Editing I Need to Perform What Should I Consider Instead?

The Audio Pops When I Say “T” or “P” Words. How Do I Fix This?

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