What are your top tips and best practices for reducing background noise?

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MarinaT
Community Manager
Community Manager

What are your top tips and best practices for reducing background noise?

Hey there, instructors! ๐Ÿ‘‹

 

Let's talk about a common challenge we all face: background noise in our course audio. It's often the unwelcome guest that can distract learners and diminish the quality of our content. While we can't always control external noise, we do have power over our recording environments.

 

So, I'm reaching out to all of you for some shared wisdom! What are your top tips and best practices for reducing background noise in your videos?

 

 Whether it's through equipment choices, setup tweaks, or innovative solutions, I'm eager to learn from your experiences.

 

Drop your insights in the comments below! Let's collaborate and help each other create clearer, more professional audio for our courses.

18 Replies

As someone with a dog that loves attention when he knows I am recording, I have a few steps.

A good microphone will help, don't have it on the desk. Close to your face to remove the need for boosting the volume in the post

I use the adobe suite, they have some great tools to remove background rumble and noise.

Multiple takes really help, when you feel a take is ruined do another take, and splice together them in post, having options is great! If you have a decent PC there is a NVIDIA Broadcast which does wonders for me in live learns

If I'm recording in a coworking place (private office): go to the office on Sunday morning, or record between 6am-8am ๐Ÿ™ƒ. If there is noise (door smashing somewhere, etc), pause, start talking again, and cut when editing.

 

If there are dogs in the background, wait (and sometimes swear) while the dogs are barking, and of course, cut all that when editing.

 

If it happens that there will be construction nearby and it's just too noisy, take the day off or do something else.

 

Then on top of that, to remove unwanted reverb, I use pillows, blankets, clothes, or acoustic panels. (although this doesn't remove background noises, it's only for reverb and getting a cleaner voice)

Don't the private cabins at coworking spaces lead to echoes as they have less furniture (that typically absorbs echoes) and are not geared for recording? Any specific action you take to have a good recording experience in such a space?

Yes, most cabins and spaces in coworking are awefully designed for echo/reverb/noise reduction. I once had a small private office in a coworking (most walls being windows, it was quite bad), I added acoustic panels myself. There was still some reverb but it didn't seem to affect the course performance that much. And also, to avoid any noise made by others, I had to record on Sunday morning haha.

Ok, got it. Thanks for sharing. 

I use Auphonic.com to remove background noises. 

See https://auphonic.com/blog/2023/11/29/eliminate-breathing-sounds-and-mouth-noises/ for details.

Phillip

Thanks for sharing! I will probably try on my next course.

IanLJ
Storyteller Storyteller
Storyteller

Thanks Philip! Just done some testing - works great.

Hello MarinaT,

First you should always record in a quiet environment as good as it can be. Then in post production you can clean it more without damaging the audio quality by not over doing it. Personally through my experience in sound, i use Edison in fl studio to track the nouse profile and reduce it so its not audible. Other option is to use the Izotope RX denoise plugin. In most DAW you will find plugins for nouse reduction. 

FrankKane
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Using a directional, dynamic microphone instead of a condenser can help too. They are less sensitive, and pick up less background noise as a result.

 

Also getting the mic as close to you as possible (without clipping the input) will ensure it picks up more of you, and less of everything else. A boom arm can help a lot with this. For most mics, if you extend your thumb and pinky fingers from each other, that's about the right distance. But for some dynamic mics (like the Shure SM7B I use) you want to be pretty much on top of it, which helps even more.

Anonymous
Not applicable

I use OBS and a gaming headset to record a window capture of my material. When I use PowerPoint, I can use my headset to record my audio. It isn't pristine studio quality, but every training video I've ever watched at work that was supplied by a $1Billion+ company definitely wasn't pristine studio quality.

 

I would say a general effort to minimize background noise will suffice in most cases.

 

Using a directional mic will do wonders, but will limit how much you can move around. Reducing the level of the mic will also make it pick up less. If you are right in front of it where you should be, it shouldn't create an issue.

 

I was a professional musician in the studio and on the stage for twenty years. Perfection really is the enemy of execution. Do a good job, but don't make courses for the quality of your sound.

A good microphone, pillows and blankets, recording at a quiet time of day and running noise reduction on the footage when editing.

How do you apply the pillows and blankets. Directly to the mic? 

I let my dogs come into the office I record in.  But they know when the door is closed they can only come in if they are absolutely quiet.  My Sheepdog has no problem following this rule, unless I sneeze.  Sneezing sets her off.  But if I sneeze I would likely reshoot that section anyway.  My Jack Russell is having a harder time following that rule but if he can snuggle at the door and catch some sun rays he is content.  The office I use is in a far corner of the house and is very quiet.  Now if I could train m chickens......

(Yes I live rural!)

 

I use a hardware expander/gate, but you can do the same thing with software. I like the hardware option because it can save a step in or even eliminate the need for audio editing.

By the way, a noise gate mutes a signal if it falls below a set threshold. For example, you can set the gate to block background noise from an air conditioner. However, when you speak while the air conditioner is running, its noise will still be recorded. This is where an expander comes in, as it can reduce the volume of the air conditioner noise.

The DBX 286s pre-amp (usually paired with a Scarlett 2i2 interface) is awesome and relatively low cost if you can't be bothered messing around with software after recording and/or if you want to eliminate background noise in live meetings or streams.

You'll need a decent microphone with it as others have commented.

I have a reasonably cheap Hyperx mic which has a "sensitivity" setting knob.  And it works.  I have extremely loud children, and this mic picks up my voice only.  

For keyboard typing noises ( I know this is not what was asked), I use a folded towel underneath my keyboard to absorb the keystroke noises.

 

Reducing background noise in course audio is crucial for maintaining professionalism and keeping learners engaged. Here are some tips:

 

1. Choose the right recording environment: Opt for a quiet room with minimal external noise. Use carpeting, curtains, or soundproofing panels to minimize reverberations.

 

2. Invest in quality equipment: A good microphone can make a significant difference. Consider using a directional microphone or a lavalier mic to focus on capturing your voice and reducing background noise.

 

3. Use pop filters and windshields: These accessories help minimize plosive sounds (like "p" and "b" sounds) and wind noise, improving overall audio quality.

 

4. Set up your recording space strategically: Position your microphone away from noise sources like air vents, appliances, or busy streets. Experiment with microphone placement to find the optimal position for capturing clear audio.

 

5. Consider noise reduction software: If you still have background noise after recording, use noise reduction tools in audio editing software to clean up the audio. Be cautious not to overdo it, as it can affect the quality of your voice.

 

6. Record during quiet times: Schedule your recording sessions during times when background noise is minimal, such as early mornings or late evenings.

 

7. Educate yourself on audio editing techniques: Learn how to use equalization, compression, and other audio processing tools to enhance the clarity of your voice and reduce background noise during post-production.

 

Remember, a little effort in reducing background noise can go a long way in improving the overall quality of your course audio.

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