Easier way to patch with room tone?

Here’s something I do very frequently, editing spoken word:

I want to patch over a noisy pause with room tone but leave its length unchanged. I have nice room tone ctrl-c’d into my clipboard, I have selected the bad pause – but what I want to do is paste ONLY the initial part of my clipboard, equal in duration to the selection. So Paste alone doesn’t do what I want.

What I do is:
Ctrl-I (makes clip boundaries around selection)
Ctrl-v (paste)
Ctrl-I (another clip boundary after the paste)
double click in the second clip
then merge the clip boundaries, either picking both, or click-drag and Ctrl-j

Is there a simpler way to do this? I’d love to make it just one keystroke!

I had hope that unchecking “Editing clips can move other clips” in Tracks Preferences would do what I wanted, but, sadly no.

Traditionally, we create a second track under the first one and put the insert material there. Then use the Time Shift Tool to move the work into position and then the envelope tool to customize the transitions. You can do all these jobs at great length without seriously disturbing the original work.

Trying to do it all on one timeline is a recipe for shifting time points and other accidental damage.


Thanks for the suggestion, but I’m not sure how that simplifies the operation… I tried to find a convenient way to do this when I was learning to edit narration, I tried some methods using other tracks and time shift, but I found this least bothersome, but still not as convenient as I’d like.

It’s not “sound” that I’m pasting in, but it’s not silence either (ctrl-L would be easy but not acceptable), it’s room tone, just patching over breaths and mouth smacks. Transitioning in and out of it is not so important, I don’t find the need for adjusting envelope.

I do typically repeat this procedure many, many, many times while editing even a few minutes of speech.

Assuming that the “room tone” is very low level, you probably don’t need to cross-fade.
Assuming that nothing “stands out” in a room tone sample you can probably get away with using the same room tone sample over and over.

Starting with one audio track, select a short section of room tone, press the “Z” key to snap to zero crossings (will help to avoid clicks) and then Ctrl+D to duplicate to a new track. The new track I’ll call the “room tone track”.

F5 key (time shift tool) and slide it to the start of the track (or cut and paste it there).
Double click the room tone clip to select it, then Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard

Locate the part where you want to insert the room tone and select that region in the “room tone track”. The size and position of the selection do not need to be exact, just get it reasonably close and you will probably not need to use the time shift tool for positioning.

Ctrl+V to paste the room tone clip into the room tone track. (this is all much quicker to do than to type :wink:)

While the room tone clip is selected, press:
Up arrow

That part should now be patched.

There is still a copy of the room sound clip on the clipboard, so you can now select the next position and Ctrl+V. Enter, Up, Enter, Ctrl+L.

When you have finished, silence the room tone clip that is at the start of the room tone track (Ctrl+L).

Steve has recently written a prototype plug-in that replaces the selection with a previously stored clip. The clip is truncated if the selection is shorter and looped if the selection is longer.
Please join the discussion if you have any advice.

I have now posted a “release version” of these plug-ins: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/punch-copy-paste/28906/1

Thank you for this fantastic plugin.

Now just need a plugin which highlights all silent sections (with tweakable parameters) and then automatically fills them with the copied room tone. I’m working on what will be a 7-hour audiobook which is taking about 3 weeks to edit. I guess with such a plugin it would take a couple of days.

I’m working on what will be a 7-hour audiobook which is taking about 3 weeks to edit.

It’s not unusual for people to be horrified that it takes five times the length of the production or longer to edit it. That’s a rule, but it borders on being a gold-plated law. If you find yourself greatly violating that rule/law—taking weeks to edit a relatively simple production—you should start worrying about your shooting process.

What is in the silent stretches you’re trying to cover up? Reasonably well behaved recording environments, even those with badly behaving USB microphones usually respond to Mastering 4, maybe Noise Reduction of the Beast (6, 6, 6) and possibly DeEssing. All one-pass tools. Surgically remove mouth ticking here and there and you’re done. Export your WAV archive and produce the ACX MP3 submission.

We should note that this process can get greatly more complicated if you’re using the Compressor or the Chris’s Compressor mastering method. Both of these processes produce “pumping noise” where the background noise doesn’t stay put over the course of the presentation, but bumps up and down making it a nightmare to fix. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but in these cases you need to do all processing before mastering, not after. Mastering 4 allows corrections either before or after.

Is that what you’re doing? There is a sister posting from someone struggling with traffic noise outside their shooting space (studio). Mechanical steps can be taken to avoid an increase in background noise. That’s far more desirable than trying to fix it in post production.

We should also note that ACX will bounce you if they can hear your processing. That’s distracting and ACX’s goal is to make the presentation as clean and natural as possible.

Did you save your raw readings as WAV backups? Post 20 seconds of one of the mono readings on the forum…


Or cut a new test clip according to this recipe.


We may be able to save you a lot of work.


I’m sure I can improve my workflow, recording environment and vocal performance, but covering unwanted noises with room tone is always going to be a labour-intensive part of audiobook editing, (especially for people with mouths and tongues as unruly as mine are!). If the plugin I suggested is feasible, it would be a great boon.

Yes it would. This thread has thousands of followers. Post back if you get anything to work.

So you’re not going to post a sound test?


So you’re not going to post a sound test?

No, I’m OK, thank you.

Hey All

I’m relatively new to Audacity and have a question. I submitted a sample and one of the comments was to fix overall flow of the reading by inserting room tone or room noise to either increase the time or decrease the time between sentences, commas, paragraphs, etc. Can I simply record room tone and cut and paste as much or as little as I need, if I need to add space between a sentence or paragraph? Are room tone and room noise interchangeable?


I think you really want to hear from either koz or DVDdoug. I’ll look around for them… :sunglasses:

I thought I saw a fleeting glimpse of them earlier today, but I don’t see them now, so I must be mistaken.

In the meantime, let me offer this:

There is a comment related to this from Trebor on this thread: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/insert-room-tone-plugin-what-was-it-called/65063/1

Perhaps you’ll find what you are looking for there.

I submitted a sample and one of the comments was to fix overall flow of the reading by inserting room tone or room noise to either increase the time or decrease the time between sentences

What were the other comments?

There was one recent poster who was producing audiobook-like material for English-as-a-second-language people. It was almost unlistenable if you do speak English because of—the long pauses—he left ----between words—and phrases. Is that what you did? I said there was a difference between reading slowly and deliberately and leaving holes you could drive a truck through.

If you submitted to ACX, their current process is to make you announce the whole book—wrong—and only then review it and describe the damage.

When I did it, they allowed me to submit a paragraph or short segment for Quality Control. That’s when I found out about my tongue ticks, lip smacks and epiglottal noises. So then the choice was to get in there with the Audacity tools and fix everything over years (cringe), or learn to record my voice without tongue ticks, lip smacks, and epiglottal noises.

We call that learning to be a voice actor. There’s a third choice. I did not give up the day job.

It’s still a choice for you. If your damage is going to take centuries to fix, it might be good to polish your style and read it again.

There is another First Time Reader observation. You start the book a rank amateur and finish it a seasoned professional. You listen to the first few chapters and really, really want to read them again.

Audiobooks are supposed to sound like natural, pleasant speech with no distractions. They said so. If your natural speaking style is nothing like that, creating an audiobook can be a retirement project.

There are exceptions. I have almost all of Sarah Vowell’s audiobooks. She does not have a natural speaking style, but she’s an entertainer and terrific writer and you quickly get used to the work.