Turn Low Volume into Silence


I am having a hard timing finding a utility that can automatically turn the low volume sections of my audio into complete silence.

I want to be able to specify a lead time and a minimum volume threshold – anything that fails to meet that will be reduced to complete silence. Much like the silence finder, except instead of bookmarking “silent” areas, it reduces them to actual silence.

I’m not sure if I am being clear. Does anyone know of anything that can accomplish this? (short of highlighting the low volume parts of my track one by one and turning them into silence)

Thank You,

don’t think audacity has that plug in but wouldn’t a noise gate do what you want. you set the level, and below that nada but silence is the result. usually used for noise blanking but you could use it to remove anything below a set level. dont think any of them have a lead time though. alternative would be a vox/squelch like plug in. when you get over a threshold you get the signal and below it nada.

Wow, thanks! It helps so much to know the name of what you are searching for.

If anyone else is having this issue, I am currently having some luck with this plugin:



Steve wrote Noise Gate to do something like that.




This is one of the not quite perfect tools used to rescue a noisy performance. This one falls apart if you have music with graceful, trailing notes that fall below the threshold. They get abruptly wacked off and can sound funny if you don’t pay attention.

We were able to apply this tool to Bruno’s guitar work and it came out pretty well – but his stuff was very well shot in the first place, we had access to the perfect, uncompressed audio files (not MP3s), and the tools didn’t have to do very much work.

You may find that absolute zero in the silent segments isn’t natural and can sound really strange and alien. You may also find that nothing works very well on highly compressed internet MP3s.


Thanks Kozi, I will try that out tonight.

The plugin I was working with ended up having a built in fade-out (once the drop below the gate threshold is detected), which had a negative effect on the audio. I will need to find one that has something like a “grace period” before fading out (or just dropping off).

I’m actually using this for a podcast talk radio type of project. We have four tracks of recording, and as you can probably guess, there is some bleeding happening that causes a discreet echo. The plugin I was working with silenced the silence very well, but it was also fading out the ends of peoples sentences.


True for music,
but for communications including voice it is probably the less bad option. often used in emergency radio communications with handytalkys so the loud noise periods waiting for a short voice message doesnt wear out the person’s ears. sometimes when the signal is weak you have to tolerate it to be sure the incoming transmission does not get blocked too. its all a trade off between what you need and what you can do and what you can accept.

You can adjust how rapidly it drops off by adjusting the Attack/Decay setting. For a fast drop off, reduce the number (minimum is 10 milliseconds = 1/100th of a second). For a more gradual decay, increase the Attack/Decay (maximum 1000 milliseconds = 1 second).

You need to set the “Threshold” lower. Note that the threshold is in -dB (minus dB), so a more negative number is a lower threshold.

The “Level Reduction” control will adjust how much to reduce the level of the “silence”. If you want the silence to be really silent, adjust it all the way to -96 dB. If you only want a small reduction in volume, move it to the right.

To avoid them being “wacked off”, the Threshold should be set as low as possible but still catching all the low level noise, then the Attack/Decay setting can be adjusted to create a “fade out” rather than an abrupt stop.

There is an updated version of the Noise Gate available here: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/noise-gate/14017/3

It also contains a tool to help determine a suitable level for the Threshold setting.

For anyone with the same problem, I have resolved this issue, but not with gates.

I stumbled upon the lapsda gate plugin, which was exactly what I wanted. It perfectly silenced the low volume areas on each track. As I kind of expected though, whenever two people were talking at the same time, the echo would flare back up and then down again. I almost think this is more jarring than a constant echo to be honest.

It is then that I realized the reason behind the echo… the tracks were slightly unaligned. I aligned the tracks, and the echo now fits un-noticeably under the main track. Everything sounds great… its the simple things i guess. :stuck_out_tongue:

Thank you everyone for all your help. This is a wonderful community. :slight_smile: