Noise Removal of 78RPM

We have just recover a 78RMP record of one of my wife’s relatives. This is a radio audition done on November 3, 1940. It was transferred from the recorded disc to a CD

I’ve tried to clean up some of the scratching and popping with the noise removal tool and wasn’t very successful. Perhaps I don’t know how to use the tool properly or this recording may not be able to be cleaned up. I have included part of the original in the attachment. Take a listen and tell me if anything can be done.



I like a challenge but sadly, the noise and pops are louder than the actual talking. I could remove most of the crackling. but it made the gentleman’s voice sound like he was under water. Not exactly the sultry 1940’s look we are after :wink:.

Hopefully someone else can chime in


This workflow tutorial from the manual will be a good place to start:

It may be better if you have access to the original 78 to start over with that (noting the initial steps on the workflow on cleaning the record and using the correct cartridge).

There is also a ton of information on t’interweb from serious archivists of 78s on how to deal with such recordings.


There’s not a huge amount you can do without drastically changing the voice.
To make the voice more intelligible through the pops and crackles, you could use the Pop Mute effect to lower some of those really big pops, and then apply some fairly brutal Equalization to bring out the voice and cut the rumble and hiss.

Here’s a before/after example:

This was the Equalization curve that I used:
The Pop Mute effect is available here:

You might want to try the tools that Brian Davies provides: ClickRepair and De-Noise. See:

They are not free but he does give you a 14-day free-trial so if you only have the one 78 to fix then you should get that done in a fortnight.

With ClickRepair I would run it to do Click removal forst and then do a second pass to experiment with crackle removal. The great thing about these tools is that you can optionally listen to:

  1. the raw input signal
  2. the cleaned output signal
  3. the “noise” that is being removed
  4. silence (this gives the fastest processing)

3 is very useful as you can ascertain whether you are removing too much of the required signal. You can swap between the 4 modes while the audio is processing.

The DeNoise is a little trickier to get right, I have used on an old blues LP that was obviously transcriptions of 78s done long before digital cleanup tools. It gave quite good results after a bit of experimentation.


Transferring old media to digital format was one of the many jobs my dad once had in the industry, and he told me of some of the painstaking steps it took, to get something recorded well enough to attempt digital cleanup.

I haven’t updated to the latest version of Audacity yet, but from the various versions I’ve worked on, I can tell you it’s a daunting task.

If the noise is consistent, the the cleanup can be consistent (like magnetic tape). Highlight a noisy section without music or voice, Effect/Noise Removal/Get Noise Profile, highlight the entire track, and then Effect/Noise Removal/adjust settings and Preview until you’re satisfied/OK.

In the case of an old disc, the noise level fluctuates, depending on how often the record was played and how well it was cared for. Let’s assume the cleanest possible copy was obtained, and the transfer was as tight as a TAG-Heuer watch.

Chasing down individual clicks is a detailed process (we’re talking on a scale of a few milleseconds, here): expand the tracks (left click+hold on the bottom of the tracks, pull down), highlight the noisy area of the waveform, press the Fit Selection toolbar key (upper right corner; magnifying glass -<–>- ), zoom in (magnifying glass+) and highlight the actual click, Edit/Find Zero Crossings, and hit the Del key on your keyboard.

Caution: removing too many ticks and clicks would eat into the program material (the stuff you want to hear), so after a certain point you have to say, 'Well, it’s from 1940-something, that’s what it sounded like back then."

Thanks for the input, but before you get too enthusiastic, have a listen to the posted sample. It is far beyond many of the usual restoration techniques :wink:

Heard it; that’s pretty fried. Yowch! :frowning:

Let’s call it an “archival recording” and leave it at that.