Best way to edit squeaks from live music recording

Audacity 2.0.5, Windows 7 sp1

The title pretty much says it. I’m a new user and I record myself playing musical instruments. I’m looking for the best way remove a squeak or other unwanted sound from a recording. I tried “repair”, but that’s not very practical due to the sample size limitations.

If you’re referring to piano tool squeaks, then I’d recommend a can of WD40. It’s much more effective at eliminating squeaks than any amount of post-processing.

Guitar, right?

Anything you do with the conventional Audacity tools is going to seriously compromise the show — if you make it through the process.

The first obvious solution is to cut or silence the squeaks. One leaves little holes in the show and the other shortens the duration and louses up the rhythm.

You can magnify the problem area and cut and paste a tiny portion of clear sound over the squeak. You have to do that to each one, so it’s a hit and miss proposition with a couple of passes at each one. Can’t take you any more than a month or so to clear a recording.

There’s an exotic method with Noise Removal. Noise Removal tries to remove its profile sound from the show. That’s the one-sentence version. In this case, creating the profile will be a challenge. Carefully copy and paste six or eight squeaks and paste them into their own track. It’s critically important that you don’t include any valuable music or notes in with the squeaks. The more squeaks, the better.

Then Select the Squeak Collection and run Effect > Noise Removal > Get Profile.

Then select the whole song and run it again > OK. I’m not expecting the default reduction values to work well, but write back and tell us what happened. The goal is not to squeeze the squeaks out of existence, but to quiet them.


3-in-1 rather than WD40. We don’t need Water Displacement at this step, nor do we need a material that leaves a gummy residue that can only be removed by… more WD40. It has been described as the perfect product. It naturally ages and it locks you in.

I wonder if Steinway or Yamaha makes a bench lubricant.


No, we’re not talking about piano stool squeaks, we’re talking saxophone in this case. Looking for a way to save an otherwise perfect 3 minute take. The noise removal looks like a good trick to try.

Could you post an example squeak? About 5 or 6 seconds in WAV or FLAC format (not MP3).
See here for how to post audio samples to the forum:

Bench Vocalization Suppression Fluid? Spray, fine nose applicator or gel.

Start with gentle 9db - 12dB removal numbers. Listen to the squeaks and make sure none of the other notes are damaged. You are listening for honking and bubbling and playing in a barrel sound. That’s what happens when you overdo it.

I don’t remember what the default numbers are or how to derive them.


Are the numbers in the instruction illustration the default values? I would start Reduction Values at a lower number. 24 is likely to cause other damage.


If you are referring to the manual, then yes, the illustrations show default settings (unless context dictates otherwise).

“Silicon oil” - not cheap, but highly recommended (excellent anti-stick and slip properties. Safe to use on wood, glass, fabrics, metals, most plastics, rubbers and hard surfaces) Can work wonders on the mechanism for adjusting the height, and does not age or attract dust.

I tried several approaches, starting with the noise removal. The problem with that was that was that after removing the squeak, there was nothing left. What I finally did was determine the exact length of the squeak, copied the same length of the sound immediately after the squeak, and pasted it over the squeak. There’s still a glitch if you listen close, but not noticeable if you’re not looking for it. I could probably make it even better using fade in to soften the attack.
Thanks to you all - I appreciate the help.

If the squeak only occupies a small part of the sound-spectrum you may be able to notch each instance out.
( you may then need to use “repair” on either end of the notched section to avoid clicks ).

“Silicon oil” - not cheap, but highly recommended…

Writing that down…

after removing the squeak, there was nothing left.

Then you may have done it wrong. That’s not one of the common adjustment errors. Did you make the collection of squeaks and make sure there were no other sounds in the collection? In my experience “free-run” instrument sounds tend to have the same pitch and character. But if yours didn’t, then yes, Noise Removal could have run amuck.

We receive many postings from people wanting a “one-button” solution to repairing hundreds of different songs or many hours of performances. If you need to patch together a two-minute performance, then yes, fixing one note at a time is the way to go.