neophyte recording on laptop with built-in mike - loud fan

hi - i am hoping that someone can help - i am new to audacity and I am recording my voice using the built in mike on my vaio laptop running vista. i have an insanely loud laptop fan completely overshadowing my voice when I am trying to record. i would love any advice you can give. i tried to do the noise removal effect but i am left with a loud buzz or robotic voice. i would love direction on how to overcome this loud noise…THANK YOU!!!

The noise removal tools in Audacity 1.3 work pretty good, but I don’t think they’re any match for fan noise louder than you are.

It is a little unusual for a laptop to run at full cooling all the time. Mine cycle on and off. Record during the quiet interludes.

Past that you’re looking at an external microphone. Can you connect a microphone to your machine? Does it claim to have a Mic-In connection? Many PC laptops do. Maybe a little microphone symbol with an arrow pointing in.

If it does, you can plug one of these into it and clip it to your shirt. I use these all over the company for training videos.

It has its own little battery, so it doesn’t have problems with laptop battery noise. You do have to remember to turn it off when you’re not using it. Even if you forget, the battery goes forever.

If it’s still too noisy, you may need to put the laptop in a different room and carefully close the door without pinching the cable. You can extend the cable with one of these…


Most PC laptops have one - usually near the headphone socket. Most PC microphone inputs also supply “phantom” power for PC computer microphones, so the battery versions are not required. Any computer shop should be able to supply a suitable microphone at a reasonably low price.

Note however that the sound quality of standard PC microphones, and PC microphone inputs are not great quality, though they should sound considerably better than the microphone built into the laptop.

hi - thank you fo the rsponse - i did order an external mic, but it hasn’t yet arrived - the fan being louder than me is really strange and makes me think that there is a setting that i have missed for my built in mic. the noise reduction is makng a loud tone instead of the fan or it makes me sound like a robot - i don’t have the fan issue on skype - i am mystified…thank you!

If the fan noise is insanely loud on the recording, then Audacities Noise Removal effect will not be able to deal with it. Noise Removal is designed to handle low level continuous noise, such as background hiss on an otherwise good cassette recording.

Skype may be using some kind of noise suppression so that the noise is less noticeable, or perhaps it is not fan noise at all, but just sounds like a fan. We have so far assumed that it is mechanical noise from the fan, since that’s how you described it.

Do you have Skype running at the same time as Audacity? Sometimes other audio programs can interfere with the sound that Audacity receives. It’s best to close all other programs when running Audacity (Audio recording is quite demanding on the computer - especially on the sound system and hard drive access).

Let us know how you get on with an external microphone, and we can take it from there if necessary.

<<<i don’t have the fan issue on skype>>>

How do you know? Skype doesn’t have sidetone so the only person hearing the trash would be the other end. Most Skype users are delighted to get it to work at all and don’t notice the noise.


Which microphone did you buy?