Recording and noise cleanup/quality enhancement ?

Hello, I’m running 1.2.6 and recording from some old tape casettes that I have.
These are NOT music, but rather speech, lectures that I have, so all the
various issues that might be a concern if you had music don’t apply here.

However, some of them are scratchy/fuzzy whatever, low quality…
I’m wondering if there is some sort of setting I can use that will enhance
or cleanup the recording ?

You fell into a standing joke both the audio and video forum people have. “Where is the ‘Make My Recording Professional’ filter?”
As part of that same joke, there is a very good programmer on the forums and when he gets a little too uppity, we ask him for that filter.

Enough jokes.

You can’t do anything about the quality, but you might be able to make good use of the Noise Reduction filter. I would start with Audacity 1.3 because that filter is very much improved as compared with Audacity 1.2.

As long as the background hiss more or less stays the same throughout the recording, this should work. Expose the filter to a sample of tape noise without the voices. The software then tries to subtract that sound from the rest of the performance. The process works best when you have the recording in very high quality WAV format. If you already compressed the work into MP3, you wacked yourself in both knees before you even start.

See if any of that helps.


I’m not sure what the format is, these are standard cassette tapes, lectures and such,
that you would purchase at a store or wherever.

As for playing the tape before, thats not to practical in that I have quite a few of these to
do, so I assume I would have to do each one individually.

I was just thinking that there might be something that would remove the gross noise, fuzz whatever…


<<<As for playing the tape before, thats not to practical in that I have quite a few of these to
do, so I assume I would have to do each one individually. >>>

You seem to have contradictory information in succeeding postings. That’s what threw me.

OK, so, yes. You have to digitize the tape in whatever condition is available. All the usual rules. Don’t overload, pick the best quality playback deck you can, Try to choose the right Dolby–that can make a big difference.

Then, after you have captured the tape, Export As WAV… to get a safety copy and then save the Project. Put the WAV copy away somewhere safe, go back to Audacity and dig into the filters. Export at the end to whatever sound file you want. iPod? MP3 player? iTunes, Windows Media Player?

Repeat for each tape.

You do it this way because if, during production, you completely flush your project down the toilet by accident, you can always go back to the WAV file and start over without recapturing the tape.

If the tapes all came from the same manufacturing batch with the same age and the same type of performance, then you might be able to apply one noise correction to all of them, but don’t bet the ranch on that. The safest thing to do is sample the noise for each tape and process that individual tape with it.

I do get the feeling that you want me to tell you some simple thing to do so you can capture all your tapes and have all the noise magically go away.

I wish.


Hello, yes you guessed it I was looking for a magical answer …

Although I didn’t think that it was really that far out, I mean with
technology being what it is and all.

To repeat: these aren’t music so It’s not like I’m trying to get all the various
levels of sound, base treble etc.
Basically just voice, yet trying to clean up some of the background noise,
or hissing etc…

What I was thinking of was like if you were to put the noise on a graph
chart, similar to what you see on a visual of an equalizer, you would have
the baseline of the speaking voice , and then you might have these spikes
or lows, that were obviously something else, (extremes) and that the
software could eliminate these, thus eliminating some of th noise, obviously
not all but some.

OK so enough about that,
back to your suggestions, why save the backup as a WAV vs MP3 ?

If you have to use the backup copy, you will be glad that it is in WAV format. If your backup copy is an MP3, then you have lost a bit of sound quality before you have done anything.