Lifestyle, Money Smarts

The Power of Noise Suppression

Most general-purpose image and audio editing software will have one or more noise reduction functions. The reason is that these functions reduce noise by operating on a signal while it is in the frequency domain.


For some people, hearing voices can be distressing, especially when the voices are unkind or threatening. Noise suppression techniques help remove unwanted background noise. Acoustic foam barriers can also help reduce noise in recording environments.

A key consideration for any voice recording is to ensure that the listener only hears your clean, clear voice and nothing else. A voice-only recording can be challenging to understand if there is too much background noise and even more challenging if the audio is inconsistent (such as the sound of a car engine or air conditioning).

A simple solution is to use voice-only audio software such as for consistent background noise reduction. This software uses a cutting-edge algorithm to separate your voice from other sounds. It can be used in real-time, making it ideal for quick turnaround productions, previews on set, interruptible foldback (IFB) feeds, rough guide mixes, and more. The software can be set to remove up to 20 dB of background noise, although 3-6 dB of attenuation is often more than enough to achieve a professional result.

Background Noise

Background noise can feel protective and soothing or distracting and grating, depending on its source. Ambient noises such as the hum of a coffee shop or the gentle crashing of waves are a familiar and often welcome backdrop to many activities. At the same time, other types of designed background sounds may be used to help people concentrate in specific settings.

Regardless of origin, most background noise can be reduced by eliminating the sound source or using an audio filter. A high-pass filter that mutes frequencies below a set minimum in a recording studio is commonly used when recording dialog. This technique is also helpful for reducing the effect of unwanted resonances on a voice.

Background noise in the workplace can cause distractions, reduce productivity, and increase stress. It can also be problematic in private conversations and make it difficult to hear the person talking. Various studies have shown that moderate background noise can be beneficial and encourage productive conversations while not disturbing others nearby.

A good starting point when designing an environment with ambient noise is the recommended background sound pressure level (SPP) for speech or dialog of 33 dB or lower. This value is based on average background noise levels measured in different locations and adjusted for specific conditions.

Ambient Noise

A steady ambient noise that masks more distracting sounds. Ambient noise varies in frequency, volume, and direction, so humans can identify it (as opposed to white noise that’s constant, repetitive, and sounds like static on some broken electronics).

It’s useful when listening to music because it can mask other frequencies so you can focus more on your favorite songs. But it can also cover and block your music, forcing you to crank up the volume of your headphones or earbuds to hear what’s happening around you — which can damage your hearing over time.

It can also veil fine details of your music and make it duller and less vibrant, so it’s best to keep ambient noise mode off when listening to music. Some audio effects can remove ambient noise. It lowers the amplitude of any frequencies above a certain threshold, called the noise floor, leaving audio above that threshold untouched. This helps reduce the hiss from sources such as tapes, vinyl records, and microphone preamps while maintaining high audio quality.


The listener and the physical environment can influence the quality of music and background noise. From tire screeches to public transit beeps, there’s a lot of noise in the world that can distract from your favorite song—or any recording, for that matter.

Musical noise is often a challenge for mixing engineers because it can be difficult to know how much to remove without impacting the character of the sound. It’s possible to over-process audio to the point of robbing a performance of its natural character—which, for many musicians, is an undesirable outcome.

A click or pop is defined as a short period of high-frequency energy that appears random and unrelated in a spectrogram. By default, this setting is set to a low threshold and a high detection range to detect small clicks while avoiding false positives such as loud drum hits.

You can increase the detection range to a higher value for more sensitive work or decrease it for less sensitive settings, such as eliminating significant, noticeable clicks that your threshold might miss. You can also choose whether to display frequency and amplitude values on a linear or logarithmic scale—the latter more closely approximates how humans hear sounds.