Removing Background Noise from Zoom H4n with Adobe Audition CS6

In my previous post, I talked about how I was ditching the Zoom H4n for the juicedLink RA333 because of it's amazingly quiet preamps and gain that it provides. With that being said, I still want to get the most out of my Zoom H4n until I can throw down the cash for my new investment. So I've decided to show you my step-by-step tutorial in Adobe Audition on how to get clean, loud audio and removing all that unwanted hiss that's unavoidable when using this audio recorder.

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Here's the things I'll be covering in this Adobe Audition tutorial:

- Noise Reduction

-Parametric EQ

-Dynamics Processing

I'll be using version CS6, but I'm sure the same core concepts apply to older versions of Audition, as well other audio editors.

To preface, I was recording my subject with my Rode NTG-2 mic and the recording volume at 60. When I did this, I thought it would be best to try and find a "happy medium" with the gain levels and noise levels, but I've come to realize that it's best practice to record at the highest levels possible without peaking. There's definitely going to be a lot of hiss and background noise when you do this, but it will give you more data to work with the eliminate that hiss and you won't have to pump up the volume of your recording so much in post.

Here's my source audio. As you can see, it's really quiet! So, let's fix this and make this audio usable. First, I'm going to bump up the audio to give us more to work with. Our finished product is going to around -3dB, so that's where I want the majority of my wave lengths to be around. There's bound to be spikes in your audio, so make sure not to raise the volume up too high because you don't want those spikes to be too loud and peak.

Now you can start to see the background noise where there isn't any talking. You want those dead spaces to be flat-lined when it comes to narration or voice over. We're now going to highlight a section of the audio that has only the background hiss in it. This is going to give Adobe Audition a noise print to work with, so it can eliminate it throughout your entire clip.

Once you've highlighted the area to capture your noise print, go to your menu > Effects > Noise Reduction/Restoration > Noise Reduction (process). A dialog box will pop up and you'll want to press the 'Capture Noise Print' button that's on the left hand side, just above the graph. Once you've captured your noise print, adjust your settings until the hiss is eliminated. It's going to take a bit of tweaking to get your audio to sound like the person isn't a robot. Here are my settings that seemed to work for me pretty well. Also, make sure to highlight your entire clip to add the noise reduction to it. I was making this mistake in the past and getting extremely frustrated when I wasn't seeing any improvements. Once you have your audio where it sounds nice and clear, go ahead and click 'Apply' when your entire clip is selected.

Once I've eliminated the background noise in my audio, I like to apply a bit of EQ to make the subject's voice a little bit more appealing. For the example that I'm using, I'm using a female subject. A female's voice typical ranging in the 2K to 4K range, sonically. So I've brought it down a bit in that area to make it less pitchy. I've also dropped the highest frequency ranges just in case there was any buzz or hum that I missed.

Now I want to compress my audio. This will bring up the quieter parts, as well as make sure that the louder parts don't get past a certain volume. I put the knee of the compression from -20dB to -15db; The second screenshot is the settings I used to get everything just right on the 'Settings' tab. (I couldn't tell you what each option does specificially, I just kept messing with them until it sounded good, ha!)

I saved this as a preset so I can quickly apply it and am good to basically finish things up! Also, don't forget to add some make up gain like I did in the first screenshot. I added 6dB of gain because once you compress everything, it can quiet down your audio quite a bit. This will help combat that.

You can now see the waveforms are all around the same volume levels. To finish it off, I bring up the volume one last time to -3dB and I'm ready to export and move on to the next clip.

This whole process is a recent addition to my workflow and I have to say that it's done wonders for my audio. The noise reduction really is incredible and Adobe has made an outstanding program. I would recommend it to anyone.

Let me know if this works for your audio! I'm sure you could even get decent results using this process using the built-in audio with your DSLR. I'll have to do some tests and let you know how it turns out.

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Contributors - Thank you so much for the late-night efforts Rachel.

Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 04/07/2019






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