High pitched laptop fan ruining my podcast

Hey there,

Newbie here, helping my wife edit her podcast which she records via zoom. I’m having a very difficult time with this week’s guest audio. Despite asking my wife to make sure the guests are not using their laptop mics, I’m pretty sure this was what happened this week. Sounds like the guest is leafblowing her apartment while talking.

Unfortunately, Noise Reduction has not been very helpful, as I believe Zoom’s inbuilt noise reducer eliminates non-speaking noise completely from recordings, so it’s difficult to get a quiet room sample. Wondering if anyone has tips for getting rid of this high pitched stuff that gave me a headache after 2 hours messing around in the effects, trying to find a solution.

Thanks in advance for any help that can be provided.

You have another variation in all this. I don’t hear any high-pitch interference—or at least nothing very serious, or nothing that shows up on the analysis tools. Maybe one of the other elves with better analysis can generate a notch filter to selectively suck out one or two single tones.

make sure the guests are not using their laptop mics

You would think, right? Actually, that gargley sound isn’t a microphone problem. Zoom goes to a lot of work to split the arriving sound from the departing sound. That’s the feedback thing. If the guest wears headphones, earphones, or earbuds, Zoom doesn’t have to work so hard to keep everything separate. Sound quality goes way up no matter which microphone they use.

Zoom is still using noise reduction so the laptop fan shouldn’t cause too many problems unless it’s extreme.

This was an engineering test I shot a while ago. It has pretty dreadful production values, but the voice quality is instructive.


The goal was to see how much I could get away with. Denise sounds like she’s on the sofa behind me, right? Actually, she’s four time zones away and using her laptop microphone. But. We’re both broadcast professionals and we’re both wearing good quality headphones. My voice never appears in her room and her voice never appears in mine.

Depending on your hair, you can hide earbuds under your locks and run the cable over the ear and down your back. Wired is best, but wireless can be used, too with the possibility of dropouts and delay problems.


There is a strong “whistle” at 1.35 KHz.
There are others but not as loud.

You can use a notch filter at that frequency (with a high Q, start at around 5)
so it attenuates it, but not too much else around it, as it’s bang in the middle of
human speech range.

The audio is also pretty poor and tinny, that unfortunately is Zoom.
Not much can be done about that.

good notes. Apparently the guest was wearing a headset, so it was picking up something, just not sure what.

Thanks! I’m going to lunch. when I get back I’ll give this a shot.

The audio can also benefit from some EQ.
Use a high pass filter (100 Hz, 24 dB/oct), followed by a
low pass filter (8 KHz, 24dB/oct).
Anything above and below, is not part of human speech range
so no need for it.

Notch out ringing, treble*-boost EQ, dynamic range compression …

[ * too much ? ]