Very quiet muffled talking in background...Can I get rid of it in post?

Hello again all!

I received great advice last time I posted here and, since then, have upgraded to “renting out a professional studio” (AKA free local library facility). It’s a real sound isolation booth, but unfortunately you can still juuust hear it when people are talking loudly. I’ve provided a sample below.

I’m only really familiar with the standard effects chain I’m already using, and “noise reduction” didn’t do any good, as I suspected it wouldn’t. What do I do?

(I know I can cut and paste room tone, but I’m worried it’s still a bit audible even underneath my voice.)

Thanks in advance!

As you found, Noise Reduction isn’t going to do a bit of good. the only possibility (besides point by point editing) is Noise Gate.
Re-post a new sound sample. Noise gate is adjusted to avoid choppy speech. Your sample is (drum roll) choppy speech.

It’s also in MP3 which is not the best idea.

So reshoot something and post it in WAV, The forum will support 20 seconds if you do that. I hope you’re not doing all your work in MP3. That is totally a terrible idea.

Pick a theatrical segment with gaps in it (or make one) so we can hear the background sound voices.

“So Joan and I sneaked through the underbrush. [brief pause] There, behind the trees was the missing Umbrella! [pause] What are the chances??”

You get the idea.

Noise Gate is one of those “drive you nuts” tools because the adjustments interact and they interact with the performance volume. That means it could work on chapter 1 and 3 but not 2. What fun.


Many thanks, Koz! I’ll be sure to use WAV from now on to avoid that quality loss. Oops.

I attached a new sample!

Messing with this sample more after posting it on here…I got rid of the background noises by cranking the threshold in Noise Gate up to a whopping -16 dB, which did of course mess with other parts of the audio. So right now I’m just punch copy/pasting room tone in, whenever I’m hearing funny noises.

(Also, I think my last post is still pending mod approval, but here is a better audio sample where you can actually hear a background voice.)

Moderator note: yes indeed it was, thanks for your patience

I’ve been in a university library type sound isolation room. They work very questionably for keeping noise out. Depending on where it is and where people are talking, you could try to block out some extra noise if your library is cool with it. You could try hanging some big heavy blankets in the way, or choosing a time to record where the library is less busy. I would personally look into some kind of alternative solution before trying to resort to using a noise gate. For one, they can really make your audio sound awkward. When noise falls below a certain volume, it basically mutes the audio. The sudden silence is, in my opinion, worse than background noise (which is still bad). Even worse, it’ll do nothing to hide the fact that people are talking when -you’re- talking.

Kitchen Table Sound Studio