How to Remove Noise With Audacity

Download Audacity

You’ve got your recording finished and realized there’s a hum or hiss on one half of the recording. This quick tutorial will walk you how to import your audio into Audacity, split the stereo track and remove the noise.

Start by downloading Audacity from audacityteam.org/download for your operating system (Mac, Linux or Windows).

Open up Your Stereo Recording in Audacity

In this case we have an mp3 that was recorded from Skype via Piezo from Rogue Amoeba. It records your mic on one channel, and the Skype caller on the other channel.

Open up Your Stereo Recording in Audacity

Single Stereo Track

When we start, we have a single stereo track. You can see in the silence sections on the second track that the center line is thick – that should be a thin line, instead it’s actually noise. We want to remove that noise but only affect the second track.

Single Stereo Track

Split Stereo Track

Tap on the disclosure triangle next to the track name and select Split Stereo Track. This does not exist as an option in the menus up above, only under this disclosure triangle.

Split Stereo Track

Two Mono Tracks

Now that we have two mono tracks, select the track with the noise.

Two Mono Tracks

Select a Region of Pure Noise

Hopefully you have a good sample area, but Audacity can do amazing things even if only with a few seconds of data. You can see in the bottom track a grey area that I’ve selected as our noise profile.

Select a Region of Pure Noise

Select Effect and Noise Removal…

Select Effect and Noise Removal...

Click Get Noise Profile

When you click this, the window will go away and it won’t look like Audacity did anything at all, but in fact you’ve just told it, “this is what noise looks like”.

Click Get Noise Profile

Select the Entire Track

Select entire track, or all of the area where the noise is you want to remove. You should see a yelow border around the track if you’ve selected it properly.

Select the Entire Track

Open Noise Removal Again

Open Noise Removal Again

Click OK

Now that you’ve taught Audacity what noise looks like, you can do Step 2 which is telling it to actually remove the noise. The tricky maneuver here is to simply push OK. If you want to go wild and play with the controls, have fun, or just click OK like I do.

Click OK

Window You’ll See During Noise Removal

Window You'll See During Noise Removal

Nice Clean Audio

Now you can see that in the same gap (and elsewhere) the line is thin, indicating visually that the noise is gone. If you find the audio is distorted as a result of the noise removal, you might want to go back and mess around with those controls.

Nice Clean Audio

76 thoughts on “How to Remove Noise With Audacity

  1. Anonymous - December 16, 2017

    I only seem to get a shorter version of sound remover. It has the 2 steps but non of the noise reduction, sensitivity, frequency smoothing, or attack/delay time, tags. All I can get is get noise and preview it and save. I am using a different Audacity or have I missed something. Would appriciate feed back on this subject

  2. browncharlie471@gmail.com - December 16, 2017

    I only seem to get a shorter version of sound remover. It has the 2 steps but non of the noise reduction, sensitivity, frequency smoothing, or attack/delay time, tags. All I can get is get noise and preview it and save. I am using a different Audacity or have I missed something. Would appriciate feed back on this subject

  3. bond007 - December 22, 2017

    Dear Podfeet,

    Thanks a lot for replying. All queries solved, just one major remaining. Yes the audio is being recorded from an Old Galaxy smartphone. When I split the track both mono tracks have the same graphical noises or bars. I selected them both using ctrl+a and followed the rest of the steps but the end track was just like the original. I selected one track and then followed the rest of the steps but the result unfortunately was the same. Any help?

    Thanks

  4. Orion - December 31, 2017

    Maybe because I have an old version of Audacity, but when I try noise removal I get less noise–but I also get a burbling kind of sound that’s just as annoying as the noise. Any ways to avoid this problem?

  5. May - January 5, 2018

    Thanks a ton! This really helped me out and the audio sounds so much more professional even though I am using all cheap equipment.

  6. Zin - January 10, 2018

    if I send you my flash drive, can some one do it for me ?
    I know nothing is free…………….

  7. Grey - January 12, 2018

    @zin. Yes i can help. Send me your email.

  8. Mark - January 16, 2018

    Hey folks I’ve used this before and it’s great makes cheap audio sound pro. Small issue is I made a work video today and there’s cars going by in the background, can this same technique be used to get rid of that? I guess rather than select little bits/hissing and what to cut out, is there a way to select just what you want to keep?

  9. EricSound - January 18, 2018

    it work, thank you, was able to remove the noise

  10. Alison - January 25, 2018

    What if your split audio tracks are exactly the same?

  11. Dave Lessard - January 25, 2018

    Hello everyone. I just recorded a podcast using Audacity. During the playback, you can hear a cyclical swishing noise. Any thoughts about how to get rid of that?

  12. podfeet - January 25, 2018

    Do you have any silence where you can capture the noise to remove it?

    And as always the best way to get rid of noise is to figure out where it’s coming from before you do a once in a lifetime recording. Isolating the mic from desktop vibrations, turning off AC/Heat, etc. I monitor the audio (including my own voice which is ANNOYING) so when there’s noise I know about it immediately.

  13. podfeet - January 25, 2018

    The main reason I suggest splitting the tracks is if you have a true stereo recording with one person on one track and the other on a second track. Splitting will isolate the side where the noise was created and not affect the other track. If when you split the track they’re the same, just delete one of them and do your noise reduction on the maintained track. Does that make sense?

  14. Leslie - February 2, 2018

    I have a recording of a phone conversation while in the car. Is it possible to remove all of the road noise from the recording to be able to hear the other person (on the other end of the call) on the phone conversation as well?

  15. Allison Sheridan - February 2, 2018

    It’s worth a try!

  16. Leslie - February 2, 2018

    I’ve done that, but I still can’t hear the other person on the line. I tried to amplify the conversation but that did not work. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  17. Allison Sheridan - February 3, 2018

    I misunderstood your problem, Leslie. If the audio from the other person isn’t there, there isn’t a program in the world that can create it.

  18. Leslie - February 3, 2018

    Ok, thank you.

  19. Zach - February 3, 2018

    I only had a Noise Reduction option, and not a Noise Removal option. Any help would be appreciated, thanks

  20. matt - February 3, 2018

    what levels should i set the noise removal step 2 at?

  21. Allison Sheridan - February 4, 2018

    Matt. it all depends on how bad the noise is. I start with the defaults and if the resulting audio is too distorted, I undo and dial it down and try again. Perhaps someone else understands the controls better than me and can provide a more detailed answer.

  22. Anonymous - February 5, 2018

    Hello, I have an audio recording from a phone, however the contain include the conversation but also music, dogs barking, car and motocycles passing by, an electricale appliances kick starting every few minutes. i would like to know how to get a clear copy of the conversation with all the unwanted noise remove.

    Its very urgent and i thank you in advance.

    Regards

  23. Allison Sheridan - February 5, 2018

    That is going to be nearly impossible, I’m afraid. The noise removal tools require a consistent noise, like a hum or a hiss. Random noises like motorcyles and dogs are not possible to remove in any sort of automated way. If this is really crucial you might be able to have a professional audio editor work on it (and it will cost you a lot). I’m not even sure it’s possible.

  24. Anonymous - February 6, 2018

    Thank you for your response.

    i have been manipulating the audacity for a few days. I have manage to clear some noise however while manipulating the audio with various set up, i have notice that there are two kind of blue area, a light blue and slightly darker blue. Is there a possibility that I can erase one of the blue area. It just for a few minutes of the audio. I am convinced that i require only of blue area out of both and the audio will be perfect.

    Looking forward to your quick response.

    Thanking you

  25. Anonymous - February 6, 2018

    if i send you a voice some one can please remove the vibrating voice of that voice

  26. Ginga - February 12, 2018

    Thank you for the awesome tutorial.

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