Noise Removal - Pls help -removing hiss beyond default setti

I’m trying to remove a background hiss that occurs in all of my recordings. I’m using the Noise Removal tool in Audacity.
On version 2.1.1 (default settings) nothing happens at all when I use the noise removal tool; same for 2.1.0.
On version 2.0.6 I can remove noise, creating perfect silence during the silent parts of the track but my voice still contains the hiss, it becomes even more noticeable after applying the filter, a woosh/hiss as I begin and end my speaking, like talking on a CB radio.
I’m a total rookie, and have no idea what this means; but here’s the settings I’m using.
Noise reduction: 24
Sensitivity: 0.00
Frequency Smoothing: 150
Attack/decay: 0.15
Any ideas?

I’ve changed these a bit a few times to match settings used in YouTube videos on the subject but with no luck.

Any help would be very much appreciated, I’m very new to all this.

Have you tried getting a Noise Profile (AKA “noise fingerprint”) as described [u]here[/u]?

Sometimes noise reduction works, but sometimes “the cure is worse than the disease.” It’s best if you can prevent noise… Even with pro software, the pros still record in soundproof studios with low-noise equipment and with the mic close to the sound source (for a strong signal-to-noise ratio).

A strong signal (i.e. speaking/singing close to the mic) will give you a better signal-to-noise ratio.

Tell us about your hardware setup. The mic or the mic built into your laptop or the mic input on a soundcard on a laptop or desktop computer is usually not great quality.

Noise is an analog problem. But, noise can get into a the “analog side” of a USB mic or USB interface through the USB power. So, a USB interface (digital) doesn’t always solve your noise problems. And of course, any acoustic noise hitting the mic will be picked-up and digitized just like any other sounds.

For good quality recording, you generally need a [u]studio style[/u] or (or “stage”) microphone and an [u]audio interface[/u] with the appropriate low-impedance balanced XLR connection (with phantom power if you’re using a studio condenser mic).

An alternative is a [u]studio style USB mic[/u] (AKA “podcast mic”). These have a “soundcard” built-in so you are bypassing your regular soundcard. But, some people have noise problems with these too. And, there are limitations such as only being able to use one USB mic at a time, and if the mic doesn’t have a headphone jack built-in for zero-latency monitoring you can get latency (delay) issues when monitoring yourself with headphones (same issue with a regular soundcard, or if your interface doesn’t have zero-latency monitoring).

And of course, a quiet “studio” with good acoustics helps too.

Your dialog describing how you’re working doesn’t describe at all how Noise Reduction works.

First step. Noise Removal never worked all that well in Audacity versions before 2.1.0. The noise tool in Audacity 2.1.0 and 2.1.1 is Noise Reduction and it works head and shoulders better than Noise Removal ever did.

What’s the performance? If you’re speaking or reading, there are known good working Noise Reduction settings. If you’re singing, then it’s harder.

Let’s assume you’re reading a book. There’s a lot of that going around.

Noise Reduction
– Drag-select Room Tone, silence or the flat area between spoken phrases.
– Effect > Noise Reduction: Profile
– Select the whole clip or show by clicking just above MUTE.
– Effect > Noise Reduction: Settings 6, 6, 6 > OK

I expect the hiss level to decrease if you do that. It may not turn into a studio performance, but it will help. Let us know.

Also, Please prepare a test clip so we an hear what you’re doing. Do this before you apply any effects, filters or tools.


Audacity does not make YouTube videos. Generally we discourage users looking at YouTube videos for help. Many YouTube videos are either factually wrong, or don’t say what version of Audacity they relate to and may actually relate to long obsolete Audacity versions.

We only occasionally link to known good videos.


Thank you so much for your assistance!

Yes, I have, tried the noise profile, but I was doing it wrong, I think I have it corrected now.

Strong Signal
This helped alot thanks DVDdoug! I had been keeping the mics at a boost level where they would not register on the monitor during silence, now they do show the bars at silence, but it works better in post. The noise is higher when boosted, but Audacity’s Noise Removal filter does do a much better job on a strong signal. Kozikowski’s setting worked well here; Thank you! I had been using some 2.0.6 settings I found on YouTube, but your 2.1.1 settings worked MUCH better.

I am still having problems with my primary mic; but the problem I originally posted has been addressed.

Hardware - This is a video interview setup
I’m recording audio directly to a TASCAM DR60d-Mk2 (syncing in Audacity, not inputting to camera)

I’m using a Vidpro XM-55 Unidirectional Condenser Microphone with XLR input.
I think this mic may be the source of most of my problems; it’s flat and noisy and needs to be VERY close; too close to be useful for out-of-frame video work.

I tested using the settings of strong signal and 6,6,6 successfully using a cheap lapel mic, but I still need a solution for when a lapel mic isn’t feasible.

I think I need two new mics, my TASCAM recorder only has one 3.5 jack and 2 XLR inputs (which I think are mono only or can be combined into one stereo).

I’d like one mic that can pick up ambient sounds during the interview, preferably stereo. And one mic that focuses on the speaker for the dialog. Any suggestions? My budget is very limited.

DVDdoug - you mentioned a “studio style” mic. I see a MXL990 and an TASCAM TM-80 that would be in my price range. Would this be the ambient + voice solution?
Also do I need the “audio interface” if I’m using the TASCAM recorder? Or can I get decent results without additional hardware?

Any suggestions for a very focused mic (Shotgun I’m guessing) that can be further out of frame for noisy environments?

Thanks again for your help!

one 3.5 jack and 2 XLR

XLRs are mono unless you have a non-standard microphone or mixer.

XLR Pins: 2 is the main sound signal, 3 is another special copy of the sound and 1 is the protective shield and ground. It’s this little dance between pins 2 and 3 (and other tricks) that allows XLR microphones to be used 100 feet away from the mixer, for example on a concert stage.

The 3.5mm socket could be anything. Consult your instructions, but whatever it is, you’re not going to be using long cables. Microphones with 3.5mm plugs are typically home recording with very short cable runs. Somehow Sony manages to jam stereo signals down that connection. Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited.

Most interviewers go to very great lengths to avoid ambient sound in their recording. If it was up to them, they would drag the performer back to the quiet studio and shoot there. If you insist on stereo ambient sound to enhance your recordings, then you will need someone to shoot it. The minute you turn the microphone or jostle it for any reason, the track will be useless.

“Wait, at the start of the interview, the airport was on the left…”

Did I send you off to Transom? Those people have some really good ideas about how to shoot radio and field recordings.

This American Life developed the technique of using long-distance, shotgun microphones in close arrangement for interviews. It would seem that would fall apart really fast, but it actually works famously well.

I used to know what those were. I have it written here somewhere.

It’s impossible to get a pictuere of this technique in action. Who’s going to shoot it? Not the camera operator. The interviewer isn’t going to do it. Somebody who happens to be passing by? Get their name, quick.

I have a microphone intended to be used for interviews. Beyer M58. With the XLR connection, it’s 13 inches long. You are intended to jam it into a performer’s face for the interview kinda like the above pix. It doesn’t matter if you get recorded or not because you can put your own voice in back at the station. You have it with you at all times.

…who made the shotguns…? They’re not cheap.


Oh, yes. Record on the Tascam and transfer the files.

The movie people use the Schoeps series. That’s what’s in his dead cat.

A friend of mine uses the Sennheiser MK series. There’s one that comes apart for different directional characteristics. I don’t see it in the current product line. He shoots in Florida and the last time I talked to him, it was rusting out. He did a successful sound shoot on one of these in Biscayne Bay (attached).

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 22.27.02.png

Here’s a comparison between the Sennheiser ME80 and the ME66.

The other microphones in question were the MKH-70 and the microphone that came apart was the AKG, long since out of print.

News Gathering where I used to work went to the Sennheiser MKH-416.

Shotgun microphones have oddball failure modes. Most of them actually work, they refuse most sound from the sides in favor of the front, but you need to know how sensitive they are to mechanical handling and what happens to the sound on the sides. Yes, it’s low, but does the side sound like it’s in a barrel or other wine glass effects?


Thank you so much for the info!

I think a good shotgun mic will need to be my next purchase, I’ll research the ones mentioned.
Right now I’m using the Vidpro XM-55. It needs to be boosted a lot, needs to be very close, and I’m getting hiss plus a hollow sound indoors; it does a bit better outdoors.

hollow sound indoors

You do need to pay attention. The microphone will pick up a person talking in interview and the wall behind them. The wall behind them is bouncing echoes from the rest of the room. A room with bare walls and floor is still regarded as an aggressively hostile recording environment. Blowing even more money on a microphone isn’t going to help with those.