How to improve quiet recording with loud clicks

Hello, I do not understand much of audio and I have unsuccessfully already tried the usual methods of improving audio (trim, equalizer, noise reduction, compression) but i only made the audio worse.

The situation is as follows: I have a number of recording that are done 10-15 meters away from the speaker (university lecture) and are constantly interrupted by loud suonds of stuff hitting the table, couching, screeching, and so on. I would like to understand how could I improve those tracks so that I am able to hear them without pain (i have tens of hours to listen to).

I will attach a sample of one of the tracks so that you get an idea. Thank you very much.

I think we can suppress the clicks and pops, but that won’t do anything to make it easier to listen to. Most of the tools will take the voice with it when they suppress the loud noises. You get a lecture with little quiet, well-behaved holes in it.

We sometimes recommend Effect > Equalizer: Telephone Filter, but nobody really expects it to help very much.

All the work is already recorded, right? There’s tricks for how to shoot this stuff. Was this a phone in your pocket?


I didn’t download or listen to your file 'cause I’m at work…

Don’t bother with noise reduction… It’s designed to remove low-level background noise.

You can try the automatic Click Removal effect, or there are specialized applications for removing clicks & pops from digitized vinyl, such as [u]Wave Corrector[/u] (FREE!).

Or, there are some things you can do “manually” in Audacity… You can use the Repair effect, or if the noises are short-duration and/or there is no talking during the noise, you can just delete those parts. Or, you can try using the Draw Tool to re-draw the waveform. (All of these require zooming-in on each defect.)

As a “last resort” you can use the Limiter effect to bring-down the loudest parts. (Limiting with make-up gain will bring-up the overall loudness.) Limiting is a kind of fast dynamic compression that tends to bring everything toward the same loudness. (So, it actually makes background noise worse.) If you do use limiting, don’t use it before any other methods because it will make the loud noises harder to “find”.

Then of course, after you’ve reduced the loud noises you can Amplify or Normalize to bring-up the overall volume.

if the noises are short-duration and/or there is no talking during the noise

There are local microphone handling noises and everything happens at the same time. It would be swell if they were just spikes and we could attack them. But they’re not. See what you think when you get home.


Thank you for the replies, I will try to work on the audio when I have a little more time.

I think that the audio is clearer with the “bass cut” rather than “telephone” preset, but the problem of the loud sounds is still deafening. Most of the audio is already recorded (about 15 hours) and it was not done by me unfortunately and it was done by resting the phone on a wooden table. I personally place the phone on top of a book on top of a clot/tissue paper or something like that.

Please listen to the sample if you can, it is quite different from the usual audio recordings that people ask for help to improve. I already trid limiting but honestly i don’t know how to use the tool and it didn’t make a great difference even after I thinkered with all options. The draw tool is cool but there are so many sounds in the waveform that I can’t possibly correct them all.

I will try to acquire a better sounding recording but it won’t be dramatically better so please I would like more suggestions on how to fix these kind of recordings.