Best settings to reduce noise and breaths

Hello lovely Audacity community! I am doing voice overs but have no idea about audio editing. So I am trying to find the best settings to reduce the background noise from my voice recordings and have a hard time with it, because it tends to distort the sound sometimes. Also I read on this forum about the noisegate plugin and I just downloaded it, so that it removes my breaths in between the sentences. How should I proceed if I want to use both of those tools? First noise reduction, then noisegate, or vice versa? And could someone suggest the best settings? I am not an audio engineer and all the parameters are totally overwhelming. Could I upload a very short audacity project file here on this post? Thanks!

Noise Reduction isn’t going to help a bit with breathing, gasping and mouth noises. That’s for reducing constant noises such as refrigerator, air conditioning or computer fans. Badly adjusted Noise Reduction can also affect natural speech, so you are urged strongly to get rid of the air conditioning, refrigerator and computer noises in real life.

Noise Gate may not help either. That’s where you set a volume and the gate only passes sound louder than that. While that would seem to be a gift from the angels, it also whacks off the delicate sibilants and expressions of normal words giving you a harsh, clipped vocal presentation or pumping sound.

The sellers of computer microphones make it appear that you can sit down at the kitchen table and crank out professional results one after the other, but maybe not.

Could I upload a very short audacity project file here on this post?

You can do that. You can’t go much over about 20 seconds of good quality mono WAV. MP3 is not recommended because MP3 has distortions of its own. Scroll down from a forum text window > Attachments > Add Files.

Also see:


Thank you very much for your tips. I started a new topic and posted a link to an unprocessed project. :slight_smile:

Maybe you can use a noise cancelling headset, or you can choose a more peaceful environment to work into.

I don’t think the noise cancelling headset will work with the breathing sounds… And external, mechanical noises already have a solution with the noise reduction tool.
Now that’s a hard one; the low tech, difficult option is to try to control it while re-doing the recording, but I understand that it’s far from being optimal. Another option could be to manually target the breathing sounds one by one, not with a “blanket” tool, but by accurately editing them out.

Microphone positioning can help to avoid excessive breath sounds, and a “pop shield” helps to minimise “wind blast” from your breath. For voice recording, positioning the mic around 20cm, directly in front of your nose is quite common, and avoids breathing directly onto the mic.

A small amount of breath noise is normal. A total absence of breath sounds can sound quite disturbing.