best way to improve old audio

Hi all

I’m new to Audacity and completely useless with computers, so bear with me.

I’ve got a lot of old foreign language material that I’m converting from cassettes to mp3s, as well as some audio I found on the internet that was recorded from LPs, and want to get some advice on how best to improve the recording. It is mainly vocal recordings without any music. Ideally, I want to try and minimise the “essing” and hiss and keep the volume fairly even and richer sounding - even if there is some loss of clarity - and would prefer to reduce the treble as I find higher pitches irritating when listening on headphones.

I have been able to reduce a lot of the surface noises, but have included a sample of the unedited recordings. As I have so much material, I’m trying to edit multiple tracks in one go rather than having to edit individual tracks.

Any tips you can give me to get started would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Attached is your sample with a little gentle Noise Removal applied (before and after). If this is enough improvement, I can tell you how I did it, but it’s my opinion you’re going to have to tune each show independently.

Noise removal works by giving Audacity a little taste of the noise (the profile step) and then when you run the tool again, you can tell it to remove that taste from the show. I drag-selected the brief noise-only sound between words at about 3-1/2 seconds. Then I selected the whole show and used that selection plus the settings in the attached picture.

If you apply Noise Reduction too aggressively, it will start to damage the announcers.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.06.41 AM.png

You can create a two-channel track, it’s very simple. There’s a straightforward guide here:

There may also be instructions somewhere on this site but I have no idea where to look.

It won’t be true stereo but you can get a richer sound with two tracks. Here’s a sample using Koz’s noise removal then converted to dual channel.

You can also play around with the Equalization effect to reduce treble. It has several presets to make it easier.

Applied Koz’s Noise Removal settings on a 2 channel version and applied additional Noise Removal by first sampling the area at 3.5-4.0 sec. with setting shown in the screengrab. Then I applied an EQ to add back some brightness and applied Audacity Reverb in Audacity 2.0.5 which I included screengrabs as well.

Hi all

Thanks for the advice. The recording was still a little high on the treble - my ears seem to be ultra-sensitive with headphones - but it does sound a lot cleaner.

I’ll also try the suggestions for the Equalisation and play around with it.

Thanks again.