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How to Remove Low-end Noise from Sound Effects for Video

Jul 1, 2008
The audio side of video is often not well recorded due to small production budgets and short time frames. Therefore, during post-production, producers can be assaulted by a series of previous sonic missteps. An annoying rumble or hum in the low end is a common problem in audio recorded for video.

Software plugins that remove noise from audio abound and some function very well. However, under a fast approaching deadline, one may not have the time to find, purchase, and learn the nuances of a new plugin. For these situations, simply turn to the default equalization and reverbs provided in your audio or video editing software.

Use standard package plugins and the following tips to eradicate nasty noise from the bottom end of your audio recordings:

First, use a Single Band EQ to try and cut out the offensive hum. This type of EQ will cut out all sound below or above a certain frequency. For example, since low rumbles generally occur around 60 Hz, you can use a Single Band EQ to cut out everything below 80 Hz which will remove the hum without adversely affecting the dialog.

Second, use a Parametric EQ to "notch" targeted areas by using a very small width of the sound spectrum to decrease a specific tone and its octaves, such as 60 Hz, 120 Hz, and 240 Hz. By targeting only small areas of sound one hopes to rid the offensive noise while preserving the surrounding frequencies.

Secondly, you can boost the desired audio also by using a Parametric EQ. This will give the wanted audio prominence over the unwanted audio. Once can boost the dialog at 5 hz slightly, for example, to give it prominence over a low rumble.

Finally, one can use reverb on the entire mix once the lower rumble has been cut out. This can reduce the "tin can" effect that might result from minimizing the lower end.

Following the above strategies may not completely erase all problems associated with bad audio, but they can improve the quality of the product when unwanted noise and dialog are competing for attention in the mix.
About the Author
Check out SFXsource's sound effect library and demo excellent sound effects and production tracks at Sound Effects Library and get free sound effects and musical loops at Free Sound Effects and Loops
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