Help with fixing noise

Hi all, I’m new to audacity. I’m a writer for newspapers and I’m starting off real basic, just narrating my articles into my iphone, sending that file to audacity, cleaning it up and then planning to upload the audio to soundcloud, where readers can then have the option of listening to an article rather than reading - somewhat like a podcast.

I’ve noticed I’m getting a lot of handheld artifact noise, loud P-pops and D’s with using the iphone’s mic. I’m not about to spend a bunch of money getting a pro mic setup, and just want to continue with my current method. I’m wondering if anyone can help me clean things up, and at a minimum soften the blows of the problematic P’s, B’s and D’s, along with lessening the ranging high/low volume of my voice from moving the mic around while talking.

Some stuff is great - talk quieter, not as close to the mic and other stuff is not. It’s not always going to be consistent so I want to know how to fix it - if I can.

Just from looking around briefly on youtube, there’s some clipping fixes, and reducing of decibel levels in the amplifier effect which have helped a little, but the problems are still there and quite noticeable. I’ve also seen the 100Hz rumble fix, but this did nothing for me.

Link to demo file:

Screenshot attached of problem bit of waveform.
Screen Shot 2018-11-22 at 12.27.23 AM.png

The good news: plosive thuds can be fixed with a free plugin made for Audacity called Paul-L’s De-Clicker

Before-After De-Thud, (Audacity spectrogram).gif
Now the bad news: on the De-Thud settings it takes 10x playback-time to process audio :open_mouth:
e.g. selecting a ½ second interval , (with the thud in the middle), will take ~5 seconds to remove the thud, ( on my computer, YMMV).

If you angle the phone so you’re talking across the mic, not square-on into it, that will reduce the incidence of plosive thuds.

Another plugin can fix that : LevelSpeech2.NY , (that plugin is much faster: processes audio in ~1/10th of playback-time).

People got spoiled rotten by talking into their phone at chest level whlle they charge down the street. That depends on the phone’s ability to straighten out all the errors as you go and the person at the other end being not any too particular how it sounds.

Production announcing isn’t like that. Now you’re producing a marketable product and nobody is going to pay for bad cellphone sound.

That is a clothespin clip microphone mount and a cheap On Stage Stands mic stand. Put the microphone slightly off center to the left or right—not straight on—and many of the pops will vanish and you should be able to increase the volume. Not hand-holding it means most of the volume variations should vanish and all the hand noises should, too.

If your product concept doesn’t allow that, then you will need to solve all your errors in post production which is already saddled with editing tasks. Post takes five times the length the show and that’s a minimum. Rescuing your sound is in addition to that. Some of the errors will not be fixable and your audience will always struggle to hear the work.

I recently ran across a lavalier (chest) microphone that’s designed for use with a smartphone. This is me looking for it.


This was a hardware review which mentions a Rode SmartLav+ at around £40.

The “+” is important as the original SmartLav had problems.

That’s the little microphone (lavalier) you clip to your shirt. The way they use it is to plug it into a Zoom H1 and shoot videos Separate Sound. The H1 is small enough to fit into your trouser pocket. Apparently, the original design has it plugged into a SmartPhone.


production which is already saddled with editing tasks.

You don’t have editing tasks? Then you are almost certainly doing it wrong. Very few people can read an article with no errors, slips, mispronounced words or outright fluffs. Errors should never appear in the finished product.

People have developed techniques to make editing easier such as ringing a bell or clapping when they make a mistake, start the sentence over and cut out all the trash later in editing. The clap makes the fluff easier to find.

I drop presentations like a hot rock the instant I find that they haven’t discovered editing yet and they are going to force me to sit through all their errors. Sorry. Maybe later.


Thanks to both posters for your replies…

Trebor, I appreciate you taking the time to provide the example, that plugin really helped. Seems like a lot of post-process work for issues that could simply be removed by doing things the correct way initially.

kozikowski, you’ve made your point and I’m going to then look into a cheap, yet effective setup which should help solve these problems. I also have great libraries in my area which offer sound recording studios and equipment, so I’m going to look into that first.

Like I said, I’m just experimenting with this to see if it’s something I can offer readers. The New Yorker has someone narrate their articles and I love listening through on the app while doing other stuff, so I wanted to see how difficult it would be to replicate.

kozikowski, also appreciate the tips on the claps. I definitely fuck up while reading, even my own words haha

Thanks for the input. Cheers :slight_smile:

I hope you’re not bleeding too much.

Seems like a lot of post-process work for issues that could simply be removed by doing things the correct way initially.


The red flag goes up whenever some one posts with the phrase “Help me clean up.”

It doesn’t have to be rocket surgery, either. I was able to pass the strict ACX Audiobook technical standards with a stand-alone recorder, furniture moving blanket and roll of paper towels.

I have a quiet bedroom. You can’t do this on the avenue while waiting for a bus. One producer did her production announcing in her office after hours when they turned the air conditioners off. A large open-plan office is not the worse place to record sound. I have done that (raising hand).

I was never able to get good quality with the iPod although it has the same sound services as some of the iPhones. But I did really well speaking into my MacBook Air. Any second I’m going to find that sound clip.

You should try that microphone for some completely selfish reasons. Report back how it goes. The grownups (New York Times, New Yorker, etc) went through a brief period when their videos appeared like some kid did them. They quickly figured out the best way to appear professional was produce real sound.

I also have great libraries in my area which offer sound recording studios and equipment, so I’m going to look into that first

This is me writing that down. Los Angeles has terrific libraries.

I can’t tell how married you are to your production techniques. If you can go to a quiet room, go to a quiet room. I was eating a hamburger at a favorite restaurant and watched someone shoot sound in the next table. After he got done with the interview, I interviewed him how he got away with it.

That’s not trick photography. “How the !@#$% did you shoot sound?”

Let us know. You can post sample voice clips and we’ll do analysis for you.


I know this seems like a Help Desk, but it is a forum. Users helping each other. If you get the library thing to work, Write It Down. Take pictures.


One note as you get into this. Do Not use MP3 for anything. MP3 sound format creates sound damage and you can’t stop it. Export all your work in WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit. Raw announcing and final Edit Masters.

Way at the end of the process, if you need to for posting to the internet or if the client insists, then you can make the MP3.


I like the voice if nobody said that yet.