cancelling random noise

Is there a way to cancel out random noise? I have a recording that I downloaded from this website, but it’s really old and has a lot of static in it - the speaker’s voice is drowned out by it. Can audacity remove the static somehow?

Maybe. I have used the noise removal tool to get rid of noises in recordings I have done.

The first step is to get a noise sample. I only listened to the 15 second clip. You have about 3/4 of a second of noise at the beginning (there may be sections in the long clip that have longer noise periods when the speaker is not talking). Once you put the recording into Audacity, highlight only a section that is the noise you want to remove, then click the noise removal tool to identify the noise. The select all, click the noise removal tool and remove noise.

Remember though, that Audacity will remove those frequencies it initially identified throughout the entire recording. Thus, you will lose fidelity. Since the noise I hear is in the upper range, you may end up with the noise gone, but the speaker’s voice will not be as distinct. Therefore, you may need to use the EQ effect to brighten the voice by enhancing the frequencies removed.

Also remember, you can undo anything you do as long as you do not save the project. Ergo, try it a few times until you are satisfied with the results.

I hope this helps. See the tutorial for more pointers on noise removal.

Actually, you can undo past a saved point. But only until you close down that instance of Audacity. So make sure you’re happy with your results before you close the program (after saving one last time, of course).

Also, I recommend using 1.3.3, the Noise Removal effect is quite a bit nicer.

Thanks, Dr. Latham -

Would you recommend that I upgrade to the new version? If I do so, what happens to the hours of recording I’ve done in the stable version? Do I create a totally new program, or just upgrade what I have? It scares me when they call it “unstable.”

It depends on what you’re using it for.

1.3.3 seems to upgrade a lot of editing related things such as: Nicer markers, easier Cut/Paste, and better noise removal.

But you and I seem to use Audacity mostly for multi-track recording. Most of the upgrades in 1.3.3 haven’t helped me much with my recordings, so I haven’t started using it to record (though I’m currently between recording projects, I’ve got to write more before I start recording again).

There’s no harm in trying it out (as long as you back up your old projects by saving them using 1.2.6 under a different name). But for me the upgrades haven’t been useful enough to put my trust in using it for really important recordings yet. So I still record using 1.2.6, and if I need to, I move to 1.3.3 for editing.

I have had 1.3.3 crash a few times. Once while working on something I hadn’t saved yet (though it recovered perfectly, always a good sign).

To answer your question, I recommend 1.3.3 for people focused on editing, and 1.2.6 for people focused on recording.