Noise Gate Question

My Audacity is on my MacBook, macOS Mojave, version 10.14.6. My Audacity version is 3.0.2.

I was told by ACX that I have a noise issue with my audio book. They said I should run it through the noise gate on Audacity. When I do, what should these be set at:
Gate threshold
Gate frequencies above (kHz)
Level reduction (dB)
Attack (ms)
Hold (ms)
Decay (ms)

I know the gate threshold should be -60, but I don’t know what the others should be. I’d appreciate some help with this.

Sara Bartlett

That’s very surprising, Previously they wrote about Noise Gates:

We don’t recommend them. While a noise gate and even noise removal software could be helpful, if used incorrectly, it will heavily degrade the audio. If you have a section that is an hour or two long, one noise gate preset will not work for the entire section. If you put more time and resources into your home studio setup and recording techniques, you shouldn’t need noise gating/removal.

It’s not possible to recommend settings without knowing what the audio is like.

Please post two short samples (about 10 seconds each) in WAV or FLAC format. One sample should be from a raw, unprocessed recording (directly after recording, before applying any effects), and the other should be a section from the “mastered” recording that you submitted to ACX.

I’ve attached 2 samples of before and after noise gating. I frankly don’t notice any difference between the two. The settings I used in the gate are:
Select Function Gate
Stereo Linking Don’t Link Stereo
Gate Threshold (dB) -60.10
Gate frequencies above (kHz) 0.00
Level reduction (dB) -24.0
Attack (ms) 10.0
Hold (ms) 50.00
Decay (ms) 100.0


No, you won’t do, because the noise floor in your audio is above the noise floor that you’ve set in the Noise Gate effect.
(The noise floor in that recording is around -55 dB, which is higher / louder than -60 dB, so the Noise Gate will treat it as “sound that you want to keep”).

I’m not convinced that the Noise Gate is the correct effect to use.
What exactly did ACX say to you?

I’m hearing better results using the “Filter Curve EQ” and “Noise Reduction” as described here:

with noise reduction then noise gate, (and EQ & Compression), it is possible to pummel it to meet nominal ACX standards …

But I don’t think it can be made into profe$$ional quality: the microphone has a rattle, e.g. particularly during “three when the” which is going to be really annoying in a long-form like an audiobook.

A stand-alone audio recorder device is a possible solution.
They can be had new for as little as ~$100, (or hired by the week).

I’m glad you asked me what ACX said. I went back to my email from them. I read it wrong. ACX, in their email, said, “it could be a gain staging Issue with your recording equipment.” But someone did tell me where to find noise gate in Audacity, so I got sent there somehow. Anyway, I see that was wrong. I appreciate your suggestion of, and I will try that right now.

Thanks so much,

That’s possible.
What equipment are you using, and how close to the microphone are you?

I was told by ACX that I have a noise issue with my audio book.

Home performers never pass noise. Audacity Audiobook Mastering will easily push your voice into loudness conformance, but noise is the college course. There’s no way out if you live on a busy street, a crowded complex, or near an airport. Some performers record in a closet at midnight…or in their car.

It’s normal to announce so your noise is either just passing or right on the edge. Many houses or apartments/flats can manage that. Then apply very gentle noise reduction that nobody can hear working. As I posted in another message, the goal is not -60dB. That’s their cutoff standard and it’s the cutoff for Audacity ACX Check. The goal is -65dB, or even quieter.

That and there are some electronic noises that sound piercing and gritty. We designed custom tools for them.

Noise gates are really hard to get working gently and gracefully. Upcut words, noise tails, and noise pumping are all features of misadjusted noise gates. Those are better used for aircraft controllers than audiobooks.

The audiobook goal is someone telling you a fascinating story over cups of tea. Highly processed cellphone voice is not welcome.