How do I get rid of the static or white noise?

My daughter and I were trying to record songs, but we keep getting static and white noise and we don’t know how to get rid of it without screwing up the song itself. Please help.

Are you wanting to remove the noise, or make the recordings without the noise in the first place?

What are you recording and how? Is it you singing into a microphone? What sort of microphone?
Which version of Audacity and what operating system?

<<<we don’t know how to get rid of it without screwing up the song itself>>>

Neither do we. As talented as the noise reduction tools are, the music at the end is always going to sound a little “funny” compared to the original performance. The noise tools in Audacity 1.2 are tragic compared to the ones in 1.3. Audacity 1.3.12 is highly recommended.

And Noise Reduction isn’t always the best way to go anyway. Sometimes you can use Noise Gates. Any music below a certain volume is probably noise and you can get rid of it. If the noise is too loud, that’s going to fail.

We almost always drag you back kicking and screaming to making a good recording in the first place. Where did you plug the microphone? What kind of microphone is it?


They say nothing is for free and that everything comes at a cost… This is particularly true when it comes to noise reduction…

You have two ways of reducing noise in your recordings:

  1. buy better recording equipment (costs money)
  2. use software noise reduction filters such as the ones in audacity (costs details and sound quality… it’s impossible to remove noise, specially white noise, without removing something else that isn’t noise…)

The hard part here is to find out the benefit/cost sweet point… In the case of point 2 it’s a matter of finding the amount of noise you can remove without loosing too much detail from the original recording…

And all that is assuming you’re listening on really good speakers or headphones. “Computer Speakers” don’t qualify as sound devices – noise makers perhaps – and can’t be relied on for mixdown and special effects. Good headphones are almost always indicated if you’re on a budget.

More than one sound producer has wanted to show off his show to someone who has a killer sound system and walked away wondering how that many errors and problems managed to escape the editing process. Maybe because the editing was done on a pair of HiQwality Studio Computer Speakers.

Accept no substitutes.


Sometimes finding a good headphones/soundcard combination can be tricky to achieve…

I have 3 pairs of good/decent headphones all in different kinds and shapes: Sennheiser HD595 (circumaural), Sennheiser PX100 (supra-aural), Radiopaq Jazz (in-ear monitors).

On my laptop (macbook pro) I can only get good noise-free sound from the PX100… The Radiopaq are incredibly noisy when connected to the mac… even without playing anything and with the sound muted I can hear a loud ‘sssshh’. When I use my portable mp3 player (sandisk sansa clip+) as source the radiopaq are my favourite… very quiet and much more detailed than the px100…

The HD595 are my best headphones but they sound crappy in any source not capable of driving its 120 ohm impedance…