Noise in audio recordings is the most common problem in online video and podcasts. Better equipment makes the audio sound great, but the knowledge of audio and audio editors may have an even larger impact on the professionalism of your audio recording. These steps help you reduce the background noise in audio recordings and create more professional and clear content.
To reduce the background noise in audio recordings, you need to find the source of the sounds and eliminate them as best as you can. Air conditionings, computers and other electronic devices create background noise in your audio recordings. Turning these devices off may reduce the level of background noise.
Reduce the computer noise
For livestreamers, podcasters and content creators, the largest source of background noise is the computer used in the setup. To reduce the level of noise in the audio recording created by your computer, you better change the location of the computer. Move the computer as far away from the microphone as possible.
To minimise the background noise from the electronic components inside the computer and the fans, it is preferred to move the computer to the other side of the room with the fans pointing away from the microphone used to record the audio. This reduces the computer noise in audio recordings. However, this is not the only step you should take to reduce background noise.
A condenser microphone
Most microphones available in stores are condenser microphones. These types of devices use a condictive membrane to record a wide range of audio frequencies. When an audio wave hits the diaphragm, it moves back and forth relative to a solid backplate to record the frequencies.
The diaphragm of a condenser microphone is more sensitive compared to the one in a dynamic microphone. It can record the different audio frequencies better with more details, but is also more sensitive to background noise. To make audio recordings in environments with more background noise, a dynamic microhone may be the best choice. These microphones record less sources located farther from the microphone.
Change the audio settings
Most standalone microphones or audio mixers make it possible to change the recording levels of the equipment used in the setup. Less sensitive settings reduce the level of background noise, but make the recorded audio quieter. This means you have to get closer to the microphone to be audible.
Some more advanced microphones have different recording patterns. As an example, the HyperX QuadCast features four selectable polar patterns: stereo, omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional. As a content creator, you better use the cardioid pattern to record the audio sources in front of the microphone. This reduces the background noises behind and near the sides of the microphone.
Choose a different room
If your audio recordings still show high levels of background noise after changing the microphone and reducing the number of sources of background noise, it is best to make the next audio recording in a more quiet room. You can consider different types of rooms or compare different room designs, but steer clear of smaller rooms. Audio recordings in these smaller rooms often feature an echo.
An echo in an audio recording is as unpleasant, or even more of a problem, than the background noise for most listeners. It is also more difficult to remove an echo from an audio recording than a stable background sound. In a quiet environment, you can even make the microphone of a basic headset sound comparable to a more professional standalone microphone.
Use accoustical panels
A more cost-efficient solution to reduce the background noise or echoes in audio recordings is the use of accoustical panels. You can fasten these soft panels made of accoustic foam or sound absorbing fabrics to the walls of the room to reduce the reverb of background noise. Because of the shape and the soft material they absorb the vibrations of the sound and prevent them from reaching to recording device.
Remove the background noise
Sometimes you do not notice the presence of background noise in time and you hear these audible sounds after making and replaying the audio recording. In that case, you need to filter out these audible sounds in the background to prepare the recording for upload. That can be quite a task.
Most audio editors have a built-in feature to remove the background noise present throughout the entire recording. To make it easier to remove the background noise, it is best to leave a silence of a few seconds at the beginning or ending of the audio recording. This provides you a sample of the background sound that you can use to filter the recorded audio in an audio editor.
Of course there are other solutions to prevent background noise in audio recordings. However, for beginners and more advanced users these are the easiest to implement with more limited budgets. Also, the presence of background noise is difficult to explain in detail seen it can have many different causes and solutions. If you have more tips, mention them in the comments so you can help other users.
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Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from the HyperX QuadCast, a standalone condenser microphone developed and produced by HyperX. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.