Help fixing a defective audio recording


I’m trying to fix the audio of a recorded Skype meeting. One of the guests had a bad audio connection, as you can hear. How can I try to fix it in Audacity, or any other FOSS tools?

Thank you.

It’s a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing …

pieces missing (dropouts).png

No way to fix it, you can’t reproduce voice (data) that is not there.
Best that you can do is clean up as best as possible with some EQ, it won’t bring back the missing bits,
but at least what is there will sound a bit better.

If you know what’s being said, sometimes the best solution is a written transcript or subtitles if there is video.

Thank you. I wasn’t familiar with the technical term.

Isn’t there an Audacity effect or plug-in to make it sound better?

Isn’t there an Audacity effect or plug-in to make it sound better?

No single plugin that is a “fix-all”.
You will have to try some EQ and maybe some compression but there is no exact recipe.
Best you can achieve is just to make it sound “warmer” by reducing any frequencies that are harsh to the ears.

DVDdoug’s idea is the best, make a video then add subtitles.
For the actual video, no fancy stuff needed, just a still image of the person that is talking.
When the person changes, change the pic as well.

To spice it up a bit, add a company logo too.

A de-click plugin can, (clue in the title), reduce the clicks when the audio cuts out/in …

but no software can fill the gaps where the dropouts occur.

Well, I’m still a beginner and unfortunately not versed with proper EQ adjusting or compression. Also, the audio is much longer, and it wouldn’t be convenient to manually try to fix all the instances of dropouts.

That sounds better, thank you.
What de-click plugin did you use, or what do you recommend?
Since the dropout lengths are short and therefore removing them doesn’t negatively affect the intelligibility of the speech, is it possible to automatically remove the gaps and apply an effect or plugin to smoothen (de-click?) the transition between the parts just before and after each dropout?

EDIT: Someone (not in this forum) recommended me using RX - an audio restoration suite - from iZotope, but unfortunately I can’t afford it. Is there any way to try to mimic the same effects of using RX to remove dropouts/gaps?

RX is good (and expensive), but it’s not magic. The best it can do to “fix” dropouts is to smear the audio from before and after the missing bit to fill the gap. The obvious limitations of this are:

  1. It will only be useful if the dropout occurs where the sound should be fairly constant across the missing section.
  2. It is extremely time consuming if you need to fix more than a few dropouts. (Each dropout has to be repaired one at a time).

For very short glitches / dropouts (less than 128 samples long), you can use Audacity’s “Repair” effect. See: Repair - Audacity Manual
Unfortunately the damage in your audio sample has much bigger dropouts than Audacity’s Repair effect can handle.

Audacity’s own-brand de-clicker can help,

but at the settings shown it’s slow: processing time ≈ playback time, (on my computer, YMMV)

That works well, however, trimming out the parts in which the dropouts occur would make it sound better IMO. Is there any way to automatically remove those parts?

Truncate silence, but you’d have to process each broken word individually :open_mouth:
otherwise the normal gaps between words would also be truncated.
truncate 'silence'.gif
Plus there will probably be a click where audio was truncated.

It works, thanks again!
Just out of curiosity and maybe also perfectionism, is it possible to get rid of the afterward clicks? Do I have to tweak the De-Clicker’s settings and play with them for this purpose?
The attached audio has the “fixed” audio at the beginning and the original audio at the end.