How to remove typewriter noise in voice background

Using MacBook with OS El Capitan and Audacity 2.1.0

I have an old audio file that has a conversation of some ancestors who were born in 1885 and the conversation possibly occurred in the 1950s or 1960s. I recovered it from a VHS tape with many other old relics of slides taken by these people and their children. Even pieces of film that were old 8 mm films from the 1940s. I have several uses for it and for those uses I need at least 2 minutes of each voice that is as clear as possible so I can understand the words and make a voice print from it (someone else is going to do this) so it can be fed text and speaks it in the voice of that person.

The first problem is: Someone is typing on a typewriter while this conversation is going on. I do not know how to extract this noise. I have tried all kinds of filters and noise removal and voice extraction, but the noise goes with the voice. The voices are about 400-1300 Hz and the typewriter seems to cover most of that and more. This is my first experience with something like this so audio or video editing is altogether foreign to me. The voice extraction took the typewriter sounds with the voice as if they were the same thing. If someone has any ideas, I’d like to hear them. I have tried many things and I am really getting tired of this person plinking away on the typewriter.

If I resolve that it seems like they are talking in a room that has a little echo in it – like they are in a tunnel or something. What tool would I use to attack that problem?

Thanks for all suggestions.


I doubt that you can. Loud clicks will completely mask the sound that is behind the click. If you remove the click, i will almost certainly leave an audible hole in the sound. What you would need to do is to silence the click, then “smudge” the sound from either side of the click to fill the hole. There’s no automated way to do that, so it requires precise manual editing for each individual click, which will take forever and unless you are already an expert will probably still sound bad.

Yes, that’s exactly the problem.

A time machine and a vocal recording booth.
Alternatively, a couple of effects that may give some improvement, though I’ve not tried them myself: (non-free commercial)
zynaptiq: UNVEIL (expensive commercial)