Can a pro help me please?


I am trying to restore two old VHS’s to DVD/PC quality. I’ve done the picture, but the audio is bad quality. I have isolated the audio as a wav file.

Please would someone be willing to try and make my two files good quality sounding?

reply or email [moderator note: please do not post your email address, or anyone else’s email address in the public forum as it is likely to attract huge amounts of spam.]

Thank you!

Perhaps you could post a 10 second extract (in WAV format) so that we can see what you are working with and asses how much improvement, if any, is possible.
See here for how to post an audio sample:

Also, I’m wondering why you posted on the macOS forum when your profile says that you are using Windows 10. :confused:

In most cases just 3 or 4 seconds of audio in WAV format is sufficient.

5 to 8 seconds for damaged audio. We need enough damage to be able to tell what happened. The forum will cut you off at about 10 seconds.

What are the shows? If they’re home videos, you may have the guaranteed lost cause. Can we assume the tapes are not VHS HI-FI?

Extended play? 6-hour?

If they’re EP VHS, it’s worse than AM radio quality with pitch errors and tape dropouts mixed in. And all that is before we get to the home microphone and echoey, noisy room. A friend of mine was going to interview his mum about her experiences in the American dust bowl and he eventually gave up. I have his recorder and microphones.

It’s true early adopters of Standard Play with VHS Hi-Fi did very well with care and good quality tape. That was the poor-man’s / desperation method pro sound recorder. But most home recordings need not apply.

How old are the tapes? Do you have the ability to duplicate them? Older tapes may play once…

It’s not unusual for older tape binder layers to fail putting your show in a reddish dust cloud at the bottom of the machine and giving you a see-through tape and no show.

We can’t fix most or all of those errors. Are you depressed yet?


Thank you both! So…it’s 3 videos. Each with a different problem. Samples here:

vid1 clip:
what i call “air noise” all the way through. Voices need amplifying but that only amplifies the airnoise. I wonder if removing noise also muffles the voices, which are already slightly unclear?

vid2 clip:
peaking, already inbuilt into the original recording. Peaking doesn’t show on audacity.

vid3 clip:
what i call the “helicopter” - there throughout but comes and goes at different times.

This one can be improved:

  1. Amplify
  2. Notch Filter: Frequency = 2695, Q = 20
  3. Noise Reduction

Note that Noise Reduction will introduce nasty metallic bubbly sounds if overused.
In this example I took a noise profile from around the 3 second mark and used settings of: 12, 6, 3

I think this one is beyond repair.

Noise Reduction can help with this one, but don’t expect miracles :wink:

For clip 1, (air noise), you could try noise removal, then some EQ (attenuate everything below 60Hz and above 6KHz),
then compress slightly (around 2.5:1), then a bit more noise removal.
Just ensure the second pass at noise removal, you get a new profile as it has changed since the first one due to the EQ and compression.
Once done, gate the audio with a fast attack and release time so it does not remove any wanted speech.
This way, you can get the noise floor down to around -60dB.

For the second clip, (peaking), the distortion is “baked” in so you can’t completely remove it but you can drop the level at the frequency
range that it’s worst at, around 3.5 - 4.5 KHz.
This will make it slightly less jarring.
Just keep in mind that if you drop too much, the audio will start to sound very dull.
You will have to settle on an acceptable compromise.

As for the third clip, (helicopter), a lot happening there.
Noise, fading in and out, etc.
Here again, de-noise, EQ and gate and per clip 1.
The “helicopter” sound is also “baked” in so you can only drop it slightly and not completely remove it.
Use the graphic equalizer to adjust for best sounding results.

As a side note, when doing audio restoration, sometimes sections of audio are beyond repair, the applause is one such example.
You can always replace it with similar sounding applause from the many SFX libraries available on the web.
Just fade in and out at the right times to make it fit your original clip.

Examples of each, attached below.
The name of each, describes what was done.

Hope it helps.

Hi both,

Thank you so much for your time.

So much of what you said is beyond what I can understand. I WILL find someone to help work through what you said with me, and it’s entirely on me. BUT…before I find someone, may I ask…would you be willing to do it and reattach as a dropbox link? Don’t worry about clip 3, the helicotper one. But if you’re willing:

here is the entire clip 1: (air noise, and needing amplifying)

and entire clip 2: (peaking in final song)

Then all i need to do if reattach it to the video.

Even if you can’t help, thanks anyway!

As much as I would like to be able to do the complete clips, it seems like a great project,
but free time is something I don’t have much of.
Working in live broadcast means that very often, deadlines have already passed by the time I get involved, nature of the beast.

Myself and others I’m sure, will be able to help you with hints and tips based on small sections of the clips, but you will
have to do the complete clips yourself by applying those tips and techniques.

I’m assuming it’s for a home project, so you can take as long as required, thus not taking the fun out of it by putting yourself
under unnecessary pressure.
The added benefit is that you learn as you go and improve your knowledge and skills.

Good luck.

Hi - still working on this. What does ‘attenuate’ mean in this context? “then some EQ (attenuate everything below 60Hz and above 6KHz),”

And also this: “gate the audio with a fast attack and release time so it does not remove any wanted speech.”


“Attenuate” means to reduce the level.
In this context, it means to reduce the level of frequencies below 60 Hz, and reduce the level of frequencies above 6000 Hz (6kHz).

Example: These settings with the “Graphic EQ” effect (see: will reduce (“attenuate”) frequencies below 60 Hz, and above 60 kHz, by about 20 dB.


Re. Noise Gate, see: