Cleaning audio using Chains

I have a lot of one word recordings (1,000’s) that I would like to clean up …

  1. pad/trim a specific amount of silence on front and end of each word
  2. remove common noise
  3. remove any DC offset
  4. make them all the same loudness
  5. export to MP3

Which of these following chain commands are needed to accomplish these tasks? Did I leave one out? I am most confused about how to make them all the same loudness… and how Leveler/Normalize/Amplify might help or not toward that end. :



Noise Removal isn’t fuzzy/generic. At the start of the filter, you point it at a sample of the one exact noise you want to remove. Then the tool removes that one exact noise from the show. It’s not a tool that removes “everything I don’t like.”

Leveler creates sound distortion. The only reason Leveler is still in the effects list is we like the distortion it makes under certain processing conditions like “aircraft pilot” or “two-way radio.”

Limiter and Compressor are much better at changing volume while keeping the quality of the audio. You can also use Chris’s Compressor, although I’m not sure how that would work with single word performances. It likes to level out whole operas.

Managing the silence at the top and bottom could be interesting. For that to really work well, you would need sound detection or silence detection, deletion, and then some way to add some silence back in. But not just any silence. “Silence” only sounds right if you recorded your performance in a studio. If not, you edit-in Room Tone instead of dead silence. Room Tone is the room noises that were present during the performance. It’s a metaphor for a room being a musical instrument. Of course that will change with the performance conditions.

So solve those problems and you could be good to go. I don’t know that there is a way to do all those jobs in a chain.


One note. Noise Removal doesn’t exist any more. Audacity 2.1.0 and on has Noise Reduction. Everybody kept expecting Noise Removal to remove noise and I don’t think it ever did that. Noise Reduction does actually reduce noise and does it much better that Removal ever did.


Noise Reduction still only removes on specific constant noise from a performance and you have to tell it what that noise is at the beginning at the profile step.


Thanks Koz!

If you mean make them all “sound” equally loud, as opposed to having the same peak level, you can add Steve’s ReplayGain Nyquist plugin to your Chain: