noise removal issue - feeling desperate!

Hi all,

I know absolutely nothing about audio processing. I’m doing interviews for a study, some of which take place via Skype. I record the interviews on a hand-held mp3 audio recorder. I cannot overemphasize how important these recordings are to me.

I did an interview yesterday under really terrible Skype conditions. There were problems on the other end that neither the participant nor I could figure out how to solve. There were three different sounds coming from the computer connection that were interfering intermittently, sometimes together, sometimes not. But the most problematic one has proved to be this sound that to me was like a really intense windstorm and to the person on the other end sounded like a highway running through her computer. I’ve spent hours frigging around with this, and I’m getting a headache.

I’ve had some success with the sound-removal utility in reducing the static sort of sound and the wheel of fortune sound, but I can’t do anything with the windstorm. And that’s really the noise that’s making it impossible for me to understand sections of my recording. I can hear the voice under there, so the recording did pick it up. Any suggestions (in as plain language as possible, if you can) for how I could reduce the wind noise or boost the voice, or do whatever might make it so I can hear my participant?

I would be eternally grateful.

The fuzzy rule is Audacity will not make trash into a voice. If you can already understand the voice clearly, sometimes Audacity can make it a little clearer. The tools are intended to take a good voice and make it into a broadcast presentation.

You compounded the problem with an MP3 recorder to capture the show. MP3 adds a layer of distortion no matter how you use it.

See Private Message.


Alright, thanks for your response. I’ll check my inbox.

Here’s the clip.

I’m at work, but I want to sit in the corner and listen to this with headphones. I don’t think we can do anything with this show, but we may be able to help you with the next one.

The user has declined the offer of posting and this clip has been removed.


Just to cover the bases, when you play this clip, it sounds just like the damage in the real show, right?

Thanks so much for your generous help and sorry for being a bit of a weirdo about this. Professional regulations require me to be a weirdo.

A quick note about the clip (which I did hear), I think the clicking sound is coming from your computer or system. I don’t think that’s part of the transmission or the Skype servers.

Skype has speed and quality tests you can do. If you’re on a Windows PC, it’s very highly recommended that you error test your hard drive and defragment regularly. It’s also very highly recommended that you maintain at least 20% free space. If the computer routinely runs out of resources, it could produce the clicking sounds.

The background oceany sound is perfectly normal Skype compression.

– Right Click Start > Explore > Right Click Local Drive C: > Properties (Used, Remaining)
– Tools > Error Checking & Defragmentation

There are speed tests that you can do to get an idea what the connection speed is between you and the internet.

Internet Speed Tests
2011 01 24
Most need Javascript

Most home internet connects are designed to download music, videos and only have a very wimpy upstream speed. Conference connections, video or audio, tend to need really good connections going both ways and can have problems if the disparity is too high.


One more. Don’t force the computer and connection to do anything else while you’re trying to connect. Shut down the email, YouTube, and New York Times. Maybe restart the machine before you try to connect.

If on a Windows machine, it’s possible that the virus protection is helping you too much. A vigorous virus protection service will destroy video or audio editing and production.


Okay, thanks very much. In terms of the state of my system, things look pretty good. And I have recorded Skype conversations since this crappy recording without any trouble, if that means anything. I’ll make sure to follow up on your suggestions about not demanding too much from my computer while Skype is running, etc. Cheers!