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Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

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Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Reuben Anstey » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:53 am

Hi,

Given an unsatisfactory recording environment, what is the best method/tool to remove unwanted background noise from recordings?

How much is the sound quality of the recorded material affected from the process?

I am using logic.

Many thanks!

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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Tim Gillett » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:05 am

A lot depends on what the background noise is. Different tools treat different sounds. Any chance of an audio sample? Failing that, can you describe the sound(s)?

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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:27 am

If you're serious about this then you'll probably need to pay for some additional software - either standalone or used as a plug-in.

The tools available in Magix Audio Lab (the cheaper version) are not at all bad, but bear in mind the price...

iZotope RX6 Elements might suit you... or the standard version of RX6 would suit even more!

I know that Adobe Audition has pretty good noise-reduction facilities - but I've no direct experience of that.

I use GoldWave as my audio editor... pretty cheap, but even that has reasonable noise-reduction facilities.

In the end, I guess it'll come down to what end-result you need and how much you want/can afford to spend...

... and not trying to be a smart****, but the best solution is to learn what caused the issue with THIS recording and to try not to do the same thing again when recording the source...
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:02 am

Reuben Anstey wrote:Given an unsatisfactory recording environment, what is the best method/tool to remove unwanted background noise from recordings?

Hard to give general advice without knowing the kind of unwanted noise you're faced with, but the leading noise-removal tools are made by CEDAR Audio. They are incredibly powerful, and incredibly expensive, but set the industry standard. Next down we have iZotope's RX tools, now in the RX6 generation. Very powerful, but with a steep learning curve, and a much more affordable price -- but still not cheap. Then there are various other simplified tools available in various DAWs and audio editors as has been mentioned.

How much is the sound quality of the recorded material affected from the process?

If the process is done right -- and with care and skill -- then not at all...

...but that might also mean that the unwanted noise is not completely removed, only reduced in some useful way. It's always a compromise between removing as much of the unwanted noise as possible and inflicting the least amount of damage to the wanted sound. All noise-removal processes have their limitations and will introduce artefacts if employed without sufficient skill or pushed too far.

Often is is just not possible or practical to remove some types of unwanted noise completely, bit at other times these tools really can perform magic and get rid of something unwanted without any audible trace of their work.

As I (and others) have said, it all depends on what the noise is and how it relates to the wanted signal.

As a general policy though, it would be very unwise to rely on advanced noise-removal tools to make up for recording in a poor acoustic environment on a regular basis. Sometimes stuff happens and we are left with no choice but to try and rescue a recording, but to deliberately and knowingly record in a poor location in the first place is really not a good idea! Not saying that's what's happened with you, but I do come across people all the time who think the computer can fix problems caused by their idiocy in selecting recording locations! Especially in low-budget TV productions! ;-)

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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Reuben Anstey » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:48 pm

Thanks for your responses, and advice so far. The context is sampling a pipe organ, where instruments are, even when well maintained, not silent. There will nearly always be, (however minor) wind leaks (hissing noise and/or roar of air escaping from various parts of the instrument) so this specifically is what I'm interested in being able to eradicate. Does this narrow it down?
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:04 pm

With a fairly constant and noise-based noise, the noise-fingerprint type de-noisers will probably work very well indeed, or the kind of de-noising tools designed to separate the tonal and noise-based elements of the sound.

iZotope's RX would be my go-to solution for this kind of processing (and it has tools for both the approaches I mention), and especially so thanks to its ability to batch process which would be very useful in a sampling application because of the number of files that would need to be processed, all with very similar background noises to remove.

Spectral editing would be the most obvious way of removing any unwanted cipher tones.

Just as an aside -- and I'm sure you've already thought of this -- in this situation, while it would be desirable to remove background noise from the pipe sounds to enable the samples to be played without obvious changes in background noise, the background wind noise is an intrinsic and essential part of the overall character of the organ, and so you will probably want to introduce some of the wind noise back in the final output -- along with the way that wind changes as different pipe ranks are introduced.

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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Reuben Anstey » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:22 pm

Many thanks for the info Hugh, will have a look... :)
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby CS70 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:28 pm

I've never had big de-noising needs, but for the occasional cleanup of a otherwise good track I've always had good success with the Waves noise reduction plugins, mostly X-noise. It surely can't compare to the more sophisticated products mentioned by Hugh but for 49 bucks (on sale) it's well worth its price.

For random clicks and hisses, which don't have a constant signature, there's X-click and X-crackle but I don't remember ever using them in anger so can't really say if they're suitable.
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Tim Gillett » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:54 pm

Reuben Anstey wrote:... wind leaks (hissing noise and/or roar of air escaping from various parts of the instrument) so this specifically is what I'm interested in being able to eradicate. Does this narrow it down?

Hissing could be tricky as it's often random and the software needs some sort of characteristic pattern to lock on to.

On lower notes with few harmonics, a straight low pass filter might be all that's required to lower the hiss acceptably without affecting the note.
The energy in some of the higher notes itself might be enough to mask the hiss so you only have to deal with any hiss which might remain in silences between such notes.

Are you recording the pipe organ notes with or without room reverb?
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Reuben Anstey » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:19 am

Thanks for continued interest in this...

I am sampling from the passage board inside the organ, so aiming for a dry/close sound that I can manipulate after, or use the natural acoustic of the building the samples would be used in.

The noise I'm experiencing is pretty much continuous, so shouldn't be a problem for the software.

I wonder if it is the de noising software that makes some of the commercial electronic pipe organ manufactures' samples sound, to my ears, slightly artificial. This is the reason why I wanted to experiment with sampling myself, and early experimentation seemed to confirm my theory..... I have perhaps more realistic natural sounding samples, but accompanied with too much extraneous noise.

These opinions are coming from, in terms of electronic sound engineering, an enthusiastic amateur....so will now await the pros to shoot me down in flames!
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby The Elf » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:51 am

The problem with sampling single notes is that you are multiplying up background noise with every sample. When you play back a three-note chord you are getting three times the background noise - which is not what would happen with the instrument in the real world. This is why you do have to make every effort to reduce the noise, ideally at source, even if it is part of the 'charm' of the instrument.
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:41 am

Reuben Anstey wrote:I wonder if it is the de noising software that makes some of the commercial electronic pipe organ manufactures' samples sound, to my ears, slightly artificial.

Possibly, but only if it has been done really badly! A lot of novices to noise-reduction software try and remove all the noise in one heavy-handed hit, and that can leave very obvious artefacts and an 'artificial' character. Usually, far better results can be obtained by employing several much more light-handed passes, each reducing the noise a bit, or by using several different tools each approaching the problem in a slightly different way.

The Elf is obviously quite right about the reasons de-noising is so important in a sample-player application, but I reiterate the fact that the background noise is an essential component of the overall sound, so that should also be sampled and added back in for the organ to sound real.

Another possibility for the 'artificiality' may well come from sampling the pipes up close in the first place. It's obvious why it's done that way but no one normally hears an organ being played that way -- the large physical distance to the typical listener, as well as all the woodwork and other pipes in between, have an enormous effect on the overall tonality.

As an amateur organist myself I've played around with several Hauptwerk sample sets, and quite a few sound like you're playing inside the loft, rather than sounding as you'd expect from the floor... which I found rather disappointing!

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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby The Elf » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:00 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The Elf is obviously quite right about the reasons de-noising is so important in a sample-player application, but I reiterate the fact that the background noise is an essential component of the overall sound, so that should also be sampled and added back in for the organ to sound real.
I agree. I didn't mean to suggest not sampling the noise, but having it recorded separately with the option to mix it in.
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby codeblue00761 » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:04 am

There are many different plugins that I have used to reduce unwanted background noise. The plug-in that I have used the most is called Instant Dialogue Cleaner by Audionamix. They use a special algorithm that can uses deep learning and neural networks integrated into their plugin so that it focuses on preserving speech rather than focusing on noise. You can watch a video about it on YouTube here: I think Not!

This newly registered forum poster is actually an employee of Audionamix, who has dug up a year-old thread purely to make a disingenuous promotional post...

Poster banned for two weeks: We value manufacturers' constructive contributions to this forum, Brian, but this tactic isn't constructive or acceptable!
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby ef37a » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:20 am

Almost all the major DAWs allow you to download a fully functioning trial, usually for 30 days.

MAGIX now own Sound Forge so that is worth a try, if you only have a "once off" need, a month's intensive work could get it done for free!

However, you mentioned Logic? Isn't that on macs? If so that limits your choices somewhat I think.

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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Forum Admin » Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:28 pm

codeblue00761 wrote:There are many different plugins that I have used to reduce unwanted background noise. The plug-in that I have used the most is called Instant Dialogue Cleaner by Audionamix. They use a special algorithm that can uses deep learning and neural networks integrated into their plugin so that it focuses on preserving speech rather than focusing on noise. You can watch a video about it on YouTube here: I think Not!

This newly registered forum poster is actually an employee of Audionamix, who has dug up a year-old thread purely to make a disingenuous promotional post...

Poster banned for two weeks: We value manufacturers' constructive contributions to this forum, Brian, but this tactic isn't constructive or acceptable!

Hi Brian,

If you had introduced yourself and then suggested your company's product as an appropriate solution, your post would have been fine... but to pretend to be a member of the public just to recommend your own product is wrong on so many levels.

SOS welcomes manufacturer contributions to topics, provided you make it plain as day that you are a connected party.

cheers,
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby resistorman » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:15 am

Well now... y’all are on it! Thanks for the moderation! That said, I’d prefer the samples to include the sound of the physical space and the mechanicals...
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Argiletonne » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:30 am

One of my favorite topics, noise.

I see a lot of people mentioned software.

Gates.

Also to note in my research of software noise removal tools they do well on software based recordings such as those made with a DAW and plugins but not so well with real world recordings like an acoustic guitar and microphone.

Basically noise removal software is snake oil and usually only destroys the original sound quality in some manner.


Noise is a matter of constructing sound into a physical medium with relevant standard. The higher the standard the better the quality.


I would avoid depending on noise removal tools to solve your problems and think of real world techniques first and save yourself the time and money of using or learning software noise removal.


I don't even care about that anymore, huh, noise removal...what noise? You mean noise.
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:02 pm

I think that nice lady in the white uniform has your medication ready now... :D
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Re: Getting rid of unwanted background noise from recordings

Postby blinddrew » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:17 pm

Argiletonne wrote:I would avoid depending on noise removal tools to solve your problems and think of real world techniques first.
Always good advice.

Argiletonne wrote:Basically noise removal software is snake oil.
Aaand we're getting a bit carried away there. Depending on what you're trying to achieve there are some very effective noise removal tools out there.
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