Trying to remove background hiss from Sony recorder

I’m using Windows 10 and this is my first post.

I have several files recorded on a Sony digital recorder that I am trying to remove background hiss from.

I know how to isolate the file in addition to a little bit of preceding silence, select the silence, get a noise profile… and then I’m stuck. It seems like I can hear the subject more clearly if I amplify the recording afterwards, because noise reduction seems to reduce the overall amplification of the recording… but when I amplify the overall clip, the noise gets louder again and interferes.

What am I missing?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!


Step one is find a portion of the performance with hiss-only. No other noises or sounds. This “profile” is the sound that Noise Reduction is going to hunt for. If you include any valuable sound in this step, that sound is going to be affected, too.

This might be rough to do if all your recordings are outside in the wild. Do your best.

Noise Reduction used to be called Noise Removal. It’s not any more because we can’t “remove” noise from a performance and too many people were expecting us to. We can suppress or reduce it.

After you make the profile, select the whole performance or file and Effect > Noise Reduction at the default settings 12, 6, 3 and see how it goes. It’s not open-ended. if the first number, reduction, is too high, the performance will start sounding like talking into a milk jug or wine glass. If it’s not high enough, the hiss will hang around, just quieter.

Under much more controlled conditions, it’s handy for audiobook voice readings to make good use of “noise reduction of the beast” 6, 6, 6. The reader might go all the way up to 12, 6, 6 before the distortion starts to become a problem.

This is the manual/wiki for Noise Reduction.

Now you know why it’s super-duper important to get the microphone close to the performer, and why sometimes birders will leave a recorder stuck in a tree.


I super want to thank you for taking the time to post your response, kozikowski.

I do noise profile. All of these recordings ARE in the wild, and I’m trying to remove noise/hiss from my Sony recorder. Unfortunately, I ended up getting awesome recordings that night. I have a TASCAM recorder now, which has a much lower noise profile. But this recording is what it is. I desperately need help with it.

My username is OregonBirder… but this recording is much more precious than that. 31 years of research… and this is the most amazing recording I’ve ever gotten. I REALLY want to clean it up, which is why I am reaching out. I can’t go backward.

I will try 12, 6, 3. Thank you. I know what you mean about the sound… it ends up being garbled or digitized. That’s what I’m trying, so hard, to avoid.

I end up removing the “hiss” and hearing the sounds more clearly, but softer… and then I amplify the recording and it almost feels like I’m back where I started.

I hope I have responded clearly and if you have anything else to offer, I’m all ears.

Again, thank you so much for your response.

Usually birdsong is high-pitched, so it’s possible to remove lower frequencies with a high-pass equalization as they just contain unwanted sounds.

this birdsong has nothing below 1000Hz.png
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if you have anything else to offer

Is Google any help here? You can’t be the only birder that’s ever had troubles making clear recordings. What do the others do?

I know we’re going into his with the idea that there is a path to success, but there may not be. You are in the same boat as the people who need to record next door neighbor’s annoying noises or rescue a live conversation buried in clothing noises. Sometimes you don’t, or at least maybe not with Audacity.


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Hey guys. I found this helpful regarding above Issue.

Per “forum rules”, I’m using Windows 10 and Audacity 2.1.0 (Thank you, Audacity forum bot or moderator!) I hope this helps.

Thanks, guys, for all your suggestions thus far. I guess I was a little too vague in my description. Through your suggestions and information, I learned from that. Please accept my apology.

I’m trying to keep my identity private for personal reasons. I’m sorry for the obfuscation. I know I mentioned “birds” and my username mentions that, but I don’t believe I recorded “birds”. What I’m recording in the field is not something people normally discuss, so I didn’t know how else to address it, and I cannot share the actual recording here.

What I recorded in the field sounded like an owl, but it is not an owl. I know enough to know that. I’m just trying to clean it up.

I hope that posting this image of my “owl” recording might help with specific suggestions from those of you who are experts with Audacity. I am not, though I use it frequently. There is a lower tonal sound, a higher occasional sound and a lot of background noise.

I’m truly sorry I wasn’t more specific in the first place.

Now… how do I upload an image? Can I upload it directly or must I link it from somewhere?

So when you are posting a reply, you will notice a tab immediately below the box you are typing in: Attachments. Click on this.

Thank you Jademan. Let’s see if this works… :slight_smile:

Also, my replies are not showing up immediately. I’m not sure why. (It says “You cannot make another post so soon after your last.”)

I guess that’s why.

There’s apps for that …
https ://www

https ://www

In the absence of other suggestions, I think you should try using a notch filter or Spectral Selection and Editing: See Spectral Selection and Editing - Audacity Manual