Removing "hiss" from audio clip - any experience? at
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Old September 20th, 2004, 04:53 PM   #1
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Removing "hiss" from audio clip - any experience?

Hello audio folk,
I shot a promotional video recently and had to shoot an interview on a windy day using a lav mic. The wind blowing through the trees nearby created a prominent static like hiss in the background that I would really like to remove or minimize. Anyone have any experience with this or hints to toning down the sound?? (I'm using FCP on the Mac for editing)

Many thanks,
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Old September 20th, 2004, 06:13 PM   #2
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The Art of Noise Reduction
By Douglas Spotted Eagle

That article gives an excellent overview to noise reduction techniques out there.

Sound Soap is a good NR plug-in if you're looking for something cost/time effective. If you're willing to spend more time and money then look at the plug-ins mentioned in DSE's article.

2- What version of FCP?
FCP3 and below: export audio into an audio app. peak DV LE is on FCP3 CDs.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 12:39 PM   #3
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I'm not sure what kind of plugins are available for FCP since I am a PC guy, but there are several options...

Some noise reduction plugins work great, but many work in a manner similar to Dolby Noise Reduction, which is horrible in my opinion. It just attenuates the highs. Hopefully any noise reduction plugins that you may use are tweakable instead of just attenuating a fixed frequency. Dolby NR reduces a fixed frequency, and it ends up removing a lot of highs from what you are SUPPOSED to hear!

If you cannot find an NR that works for you, I would go about it like this...

Get a compression/limiter plugin. For the quiet parts, tune the limiter so that the threshold is just above or at the hiss. IOW, during the quiet parts the hiss will be basically removed by not letting that audio signal pass through (like a band pass filter). You can also get a frequency analyzer plugin. RUn this during the quiet parts. You will see activity in the frequency spectrum that this hiss is occupying (higher end of the spectrum). Then during the quiet parts you can use and EQ (like a band pass filter) to basically turn everything in that frequency to a volume of 0, making it quiet.

Now for the parts where there is talking, etc. it is a little more tricky. First try the NR plugin, or a compressor/limiter and see how they do. If they don't cut it, then try the band pass filter. If neither of those works to your satisfaction that try applying an EQ (parametric EQ will be a little easier in this case, but graphic is certainly easier to use), and lower the EQ ONLY within the frequency range that the hiss occurs in. What this gives you over a bandpass filter is added granularity of control. You can tweak certain frequencies and more accurately get a better balance between what you want heard that occupies that frequency range, and what you don't want heard that occupies that frequency range.

Hope this helps,

Alex F
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Old September 21st, 2004, 07:14 PM   #4
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Hi again,
Great advice from all..thank you. I tried Glenn's suggestion of Soundsoap, and it works! Major hiss virtually removed. I'm new to the sound game (it was always someone else's problem) but soundsoap did the trick this time around.

Thanks again for the tips and guidance - another clip saved.

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Old September 21st, 2004, 08:32 PM   #5
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I use Adobe's Audition. You can actually select the sound you need to eliminate and use that as a filter for the entire track. I don't know if they have that for Mac, though. The previous editions were Cool Edit Pro before Adobe bought the technology.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 09:22 PM   #6
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it comes up a lot...but I'll say it again....
Other than WAVES and Sound Soap Pro, there is simply NOTHING, ESPECIALLY Audition's Noise Reduction plug, that work as well as Sony's Noise Reduction.

Cedar is better than Sony...who's got 10K to spend?
None of the better software noise reduction tools work on high frequencies, they all work on FFT technology and phasing which isn't any big secret. What makes it work is how the tool is designed and user knowledge.

Sony's is great for the PC, so is WAVES. Wave's X-Noise works on Mac. My fave Mac plug for noise is Sound Soap Pro, which is VERY new, just out at NAB this year. BIAS did it right with this tool. My only complaint is their dongle. On the PC side, it's as good as Sony, has a few more bells/whistles because they've got a smaller market there. XNoise is as good as Sony, no better. Just different workflow. Their X Hum is better than either Sony or Bias, IMO.
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
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