Background noise on original cassette

I’m converting cassette tapes using a Tascam cassette deck and Tascam handheld digital converter to WAV. Only one side of one original source cassettes has a high frequency “whistle” prominent during the low passages. NOT a tape hiss, it sounds like an old steam kettle whistle. What Audacity filter (if any) can be helpful to minimize or eliminate this annoyance?

Plot the spectrum to see if you can identify the frequency of the whistle.

Click the drop-down arrow and select Split Stereo Track so you can edit the bad channel without touching the good channel.

Run the Notch Filter to see if you can kill the problem frequency. If it’s multiple frequencies you may need to do it again.

If the notch filter is too narrow there is an optional Band Stop Filter.

Worst case you may have to delete the bad channel and make a mono file (which will play out of both sides).

Or if you want to take the time & effort, maybe you can make a mono track (or a dual-stereo track) and cross-fade between the stereo & mono when the background whistle is noticeable.

Thanks for the reply. I believe the noise is on both channels. but I’ll make sure. Being new to Audacity, there’s a lot to take in but I’ll do the step-by-step (plotting, notch filter etc.) as you suggested.

When you said “one side” I thought you meant one channel. If it’s on both channels, of course you don’t have to split the stereo and you can process both channels together.

You can also try some regular Noise Reduction, It’s a two-step process (you need a noise-only sample) but otherwise it’s pretty easy to use.

But usually when the noise is bad you get artifacts/side effects and, “the cure can be worse than the disease”. Noise reduction works best when you have a tiny-constant background noise… When you don’t really need it.

There’s only so-much you can do and even with the latest professional software, pros still record in soundproof studios with good equipment. Maybe that will change soon with AI.

Yes, the physical A side of the old cassette. Funny on the misunderstanding! The noise was actually a tiny background noise which my hypercritical ears was annoying to maybe only me, so I followed you steps, isolated the noise around 9.8 K CPS applied the notch filter and a SIGNIFICANT noise reduction without the cure being worse, as you say Thanks so much! So far, I’m liking Audacity a lot.

Or use spectrogram display & spectral edit tools …

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