I am a complete noob at audio editing.
I understand what a track is, what a sound wave is but not much more than that.
So, I have a clip where the recording device was very close to a turned on TV.
Now, there are people talking, but the TV is taking over totally and I can’t hear what they are saying.
I have already extracted the sounds as a sound clip (I am a noob at editing, but I know a fair bit
So, I need help in understanding how to do this.
My first thought was to remove the background noise, but then it occurred to me that - actually - the TV might be the foreground noise,
so that is what I would probably have to do.
As you can see, I am not even sure what is the right approach and I need some schooling
Anybody’s got the patience to walk me through the process please? I am not even quite sure what are the
right questions to ask or what information is really important, which is why I am being generic and not providing a lot of information.
No, can’t be done with conventional audio software.
If it’s for a court case, you should use your favourite search engine to look for “audio forensics”. Only a forensics practitioner recognised by the legal system would be regarded as able to provide legally admissible audio evidence.
I hate it when things can’t be done without the help of special software but, alas, I am software
developer so I know exactly what you mean there.
Heh. For users who may look to do something like this: NO means no. This is not like “no it’s a long process”,
this is more like “No, the bloody sounds overlap so to extract the exact ones you need you would have to have a
much more powerful machine with completely different algorithms and selling a software that does this may
even be illegal”. So think about that before throwing a tantrum.
Anyway, with the help of a fellow user who’s been using Audacity for quite some time, we went through the
motions: reduce noise, equalise, etc. So I was looking to see whether it was legal to buy forensics software for
personal use and I found a company which sells a “Speech clarification processor”. It has a really complicated
download form (I suppose, to ensure that no rapist, blackmailer or otherwise bad guy gets his hands on it) but I
thought “hey, this could be the thing for me: if I cannot remove the TV, maybe I can clarify what is being said”.
So I needed to find where in Audacity you would load the VST plug ins. Since this, to me, sounds like an effect,
I tried browsing down to see whether I’d find some “Load effect” or “Load plug-in” kind of thing.
I was met, instead, with a “Vocal Reduction and Isolation” effect - BANG!
I tried it on a clean copy and it’s almost identical to all the work I’d done together with the more
advanced user. Bingo! This does not turn the TV down or mute it, but it helps tremendously to
clarify what is being said.
So… I have a much better understanding of Audacity now and also a much better sound
Now, the only thing that remains to do is: how do I put this new sound file in the clip?
The Four Horsemen of Audio Recording (reliable, time-tested ways to kill your show)
– 1. Echoes and room reverberation (Don’t record the show in your mum’s kitchen.)
– 2. Overload and Clipping (Sound that’s recorded too loud is permanently trashed.)
– 3. Compression Damage (Never do production in MP3.)
– 4. Background Sound (Don’t leave the TV on in the next room.)
From your description, which sounded as if the TV and the inaudible voices were both spread across the stereo spectrum, with no audio sample to listen to, and nothing about how the intended audio came to be like that, the answer did seem to be no, using Audacity.
Almost always the answer really is “no”, if it’s a covert recording, which many of these requests are.
Yes, the TV and the voices overlap, there are not multiple tracks. If there had been, I’d have just muted the right one
There are some moments where there is no talk and the TV is still “talking”, but my fear is that, if I use that, I will end up
muting the voices as well.
The software demo didn’t come through yet, so I have no idea how it works.
I don’t think it’ll come before Monday - if all. I don’t even know if it’s legal to have something like that.
Voice Isolation works quite well actually, I was able to distinguish clearly a lot of the conversation - not all of it though.
Also, Voice Isolation did a lot of the work that I had done with the other user, but I would not advise other people to do the
same unless what they want to obtain is just that: isolating voices.
If you have a different kind of audio (say, nature or mixed) and it has lots of noises, the only way is taking a
sample and use Noise Reduction.
I do not think a lot more can be done. It is a real bummer that the TV and the voices overlap on the same track.
However, I had been trying to do this for a while now, so I am relatively happy with the results
As for Audacity: man, there’s a lot of work that has gone into it and it shows (to me, at least).
I think in some areas there are way too many clicks, but it’s generally a great program.
The most clear example where there are too many clicks is noise reduction: you first have to get a
noise profile, then you have to select the whole track (or the bit you’re interested into) and then
click again to actually do it. It’s a lot of clicks. I am not sure how you can reduce them without
creating a lot more problems for yourself in normal usage, but I would suggest looking into it.