How to Remove Background Noise In Audacity

Make your podcasts sound professional

What to Know

  • Highlight 1 to 2 second clip with no sound > select Effect > Noise Reduction > Get Noise Profile.
  • Next: Select entire recording with Ctrl + A on keyboard > select Effect > Noise Reduction > OK.

This article explains how to remove ambient (background) noise from Audacity recordings in version 2.2.2 and later.

Before you download and use Audacity, be sure to review its privacy policy to ensure you’re comfortable with its terms.

How to Get Rid of Background Noise

You should remove background noise before converting the file from .aup (Audacity's file format) to .mp3, .wav, or another format.

The process for removing background noise goes like this:

  1. Highlight a section of the recording (about 1-2 seconds minimum) that doesn’t have any intentional voices or sounds (in other words, blank space).

    Screenshot of the selected region in Audacity.
  2. Click Effect and then click Noise Reduction.

    Screenshot of the Audacity Effects menu.
  3. Click Get Noise Profile.

    Screenshot of the Noise Reduction window.
  4. Select your entire recording by clicking Ctrl + A on your keyboard.

    Screenshot of the entire recording selected.
  5. Click Effect and then click Noise Reduction.

    Screenshot of the Audacity Effects menu.
  6. Click OK.

    Screenshot of the Noise Reduction window.
  7. Allow Audacity to complete the process.

At this point, Audacity removes the noise using your Noise Profile, which is a sample of ambient noise picked up by your microphone. Depending on how long your recording is, this can take seconds or minutes.

When the process completes, give your recording a listen, and it should sound exponentially better. With all that background noise removed, your podcast should have cleaner and much more professional-sounding audio.

What Is Background Noise?

Background or ambient noise is the constant hum of the world around you. You may not notice it, because you hear it all the time. It’s your AC, your refrigerator, the aquarium in your office, the hum of lights, or computer fans. In other words, it’s a steady stream of noise. To get an ideal recording environment, you need to get rid of those sounds. However, you don't have to shut off your AC or refrigerator to get your recording up to professional levels.

Background noise is not random sounds, like barking dogs, trains, footsteps on the floor above you, a doorbell, or the clicking of keyboard keys. These sounds must be removed manually (and can take significant time to extract).

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