Remove background speakers

Hi folks,
New here and new to audacity. I have an audio file, and it is an interview with someone, however there are people speaking in the background. Because of them, I cannot properly hear the interview.

Attached is a screenshot.

I already removed background noise with Effect-Noise reduction.

How can I accomplish this ?

Any help would be appreciated thanks.

Start planning what you will do if we can’t fix it.

Post ten seconds of the original interview—before you did anything to it.

Select a typical ten second portion and File > Export > Export Selected Audio. Scroll down from a forum text window > Attachments > Add Files.

Is it a stereo show because you shot it with two microphones, or it’s just stereo because that’s how you’re editing it. You should post as close to the original sound as possible.

What were the conditions of the interview? Cafe? Office? On The Street? On-Line-Connection?


Left out a piece. Export the sample as WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit. It’s perfect quality and will just about fit on the forum.

Have you thought about what’s going to happen if we can’t fix it?

There is a Hollywood Fix. Write down all the words and have someone with a similar voice read it to a microphone in a quiet room. No, I’m not joshing.

Screen Shot 2021-07-11 at 4.55.49 PM.png

Thank you for your replies.

Here is the interview, to get a better sense.

I just converted it to an mp3. For my own personal use of course.

You will notice there’s a few people speaking in the background. This was at an convention. Hearing the person being interviewed and the interviewer is really difficult.

The sound on that is mono, so stereo-tricks to reduce off-camera voices will not work :cry:

Right. Comic-Con 30 years ago in some Mexico border town.

As you noticed by now, Noise Reduction can’t help with sounds that are constantly changing, like voices. Sometimes you can get the background murmur to dip like that because on average, it doesn’t change.

Noise Gate isn’t going to help because some of those voices are as loud as he is. Even if you do get marginal improvement, it’s going to butcher his voice.

I think there are some expensive AI techniques in the works which can “learn” his voice and suppress everything else. It’s a cousin to environment suppression on cellphones. The down side is sounding like a bad cellphone.

There’s a fuzzy rule that Audacity can’t be used to split apart individual voices, instruments, or sounds from a mixed performance. That’s pretty much exactly what your job is.

That was then. Now, we’d be using a narrow acceptance shotgun on the camera.

Screen Shot 2021-07-12 at 8.03.50 AM.png
…or hand-hold an even more narrow shotgun.

We need to thank Ira Glass for that last one. Everybody was horrified when he started doing close interviews with a “distance” microphone. They stopped being horrified when his interviews worked out repeatedly in noisy environments.


Thanks for all the replies and advice. Much obliged.