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Removing Audio Background Noise with Audacity

Scott from Colorado writes:

I’m recording cassettes with Audacity on a laptop using dual mics. My recordings not only pick up the music, they also pick up the ambient sound from the room. Disabling the mics provided the sound I wanted, but I’m looking for an easier solution.

Hi, Scott, what a great question!  Audacity makes editing audio files really easy.  I think you’ll get the results you want quickly by doing the steps below.

1) In Audacity, open the file from which you want to remove the background noise. 

2) Begin playing the track but stop it when you reach an area which includes only the noise you want to remove.

3) Once you stop the track, highlight the area that includes only the undesirable noise.  Your track will look something like the image below.


4)  Once you have the background noise highlighted…

a)  click the Effect button.

b) then click Noise Removal.


5)  The following Noise Removal screen will appear.  On this screen, click only the Get Noise Profile button.   What this feature does is learn the noise you do not want.


6)  Now that Audacity knows the noise you want to remove, select the entire track by clicking on the following:


a)  Edit

b)  Select…

c)  All

7)  Now that your entire track is selected, let’s remove the noise!  Open the Noise Removal window again by

a)  clicking the Effect button

b) then clicking Noise Removal


8)  Now click on the Remove Noise button as shown in the picture below.



That’s it!  Listen to your track and see if there is any other noise that you need to remove.  I wouldn’t recommend doing this too many times to one track, but a couple of times is usually sufficient to get rid of the background noise.

Hope this helps!  If you have any further questions or issues, just post a comment below!

~Karen Powers Liebhaber