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Topic: 'cleaning up' recordings (Read 3592 times) previous topic - next topic
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'cleaning up' recordings

Sorry, really embarassed to be dumb about this,  but I have no idea of the programs and tools used to clean up audio recordings of my numerous interviews.  I have many c90 cassettes of interviews while at college/university, all done with a crappy recorder and a static mono-mic.  I can make them out well enough to transcribe most of them, but others can't hear through the background noise, and my voice is usually louder than the responding interviewees,  due to proximity of the static mic.

I desperately need to clean these up.

I need a blow by blow account/help how to go about loading the audio to PC and how to manipulate the sound in 2 main ways
1)get all the sounds to the same level (voices mainly)
2)filter out the background racket.
2a) tweak specific parts of the 'track' to pull up certain comments.

Any help at all, before I pull out all my hair, would be much appreciated.

I need to know what programs, and how to use them to do the above. a brief de-jargon would also be useful as I don't even know the correct terms for what I want to do.

I read the FAQs, but they only made me go cross-eyed. 

Many thanks for your patience/help.


'cleaning up' recordings

Reply #1
Well, it's not so difficult. You need to get editing software. I suppose there aresome  good freeware packages around, but I don't know any.

For what you want, this might be handy:
I didn't try it yet, but it seems promising. It's mainly meant for vinyl restoration, actually. It has a free trial period.
If you don't mind getting blown away with lots of options, here's what many people like: Cool Edit by
It can do what you want, and more. This is what I use.
Many more programs are found at e.g.

Now, you need an analog input on your computer's sound card, a cable that fits and some free space on your harddrive; then you'll be set to go.

Just connect the tapemachine, press play, hit the record button in your software. Then, after recording, you'll see how easy editing the file will be; just click-select as in any windows program. If you don't like the result (you can play it from your pc-speakers at any time), just click undo...

'cleaning up' recordings

Reply #2
There's a great freeware recording program: Audacity.

It has a noise removal feature, which should help with the static in the background.

'cleaning up' recordings

Reply #3
I have cleaned up a number of cassette recordings with my computer.  Basically you need the following components to do this well:
1) Tape deck
2) Computer sound card
3) Audio editing software

Assuming you have the tape deck make sure you have a decent sound card.  You can search this site for many threads on recommended cards - for mono speech you don't need anything outrageously good or expensive.  The audio editing software will enable recording of the program to hard disk and any subsequent editing/processing.

I use Sound Forge by Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 6.0 with the noise reduction plugin to clean up my recordings and it works very well.

I've tried the Audacity program which also works pretty well and I've heard only good things about the Cool Edit programs.

Most of the programs are very powerful and can remove tape hiss, adjust volume levels, equalize to improve intelligibility, etc.
Was that a 1 or a 0?