Poor audio quality is one of the most frustrating experiences for a content creator. We all know recording your clip once and again just because of lousy audio is not an easy task. Most of the time, you might not even have the option to re-record the video. In most scenarios, the quality of your audio is just as important as the visuals, if not more. Good audio quality helps your audience and viewers immerse themselves in the experience.
Audio distortion can be a result of a wide variety of factors. A terrible microphone may cause it. Or you might be recording in a noisy environment. Perhaps you have set the gain of your recording device way too high. Sometimes even the slightest audio input produces too high an output or a shorter distance between you, and the microphone can cause heavily distorted audio.
If you are a YouTuber, content creator, vlogger, or singer, this article could be of great help to you. Suppose you are ready to edit and realize all your recordings, on which you have been working for hours, were messed up. Disappointing, isn’t it? Don’t worry; we have got you covered. There are ways to repair damaged audios. Also, if DIYseems complicated, you can always ask for a professional service to make your recordings noise-free. This article will show you ways to solve these issues with the help of free software.
The software we are going to focus on in this article is one of the best to improve audio clarity. Audacity is the best audio-related software nowadays for content creators and YouTubers. First of all, it is free. Secondly, it is open-source digital software available on various operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, UNIX, etc. Audacity is an all-in-one software that allows users to record conveniently, edit, save, import, and export recordings.
You can also perform various analyses on your recordings. Detailed frequency analysis using a spectrum window is the most commonly used analysis tool. Audacity can also apply various effects to audio inputs like amplification, creating, and removing distortion. Furthermore, it ensures higher sound quality by supporting 16-bit, 32-bit, and 64-bit samples. The higher the bit rate, the better the audio quality.
Editing in Audacity is easy with cut, copy and paste commands with simple keyboard shortcuts. Even though the software is easy to learn, there are plenty of advanced options for power users and professionals. These advanced options can help you take your audio from good to great. Nevertheless, if you’re short on time, you can always turn to a professional media restoration service like Media Medic to clear up your recordings.
Step 1. Downloading and Installing Audacity
The first thing you need to do is open a web browser and search for “Audacity,” and click the first link that appears on google. Now navigate yourself to the download option and click “Download Audacity for Windows, Mac, and Linux.” The next thing you need to do is choose the latest installer file according to your operating system. For example, if you are using Windows, you should select the zip file or go for the .exe file that will directly install Audacity in your system. Now close the browser, go to “This PC,” and select “Downloads.”
The downloaded .exe file will appear in the latest downloaded files. Right-click on this file and run it as administrator. Select the language as “English” and click OK. Click next and choose storage location, click OK, and click Next. Click install and within a few minutes. The installer will automatically install your required software.
Every time you wish to launch Audacity, you can search in the Windows search bar or run it directly from the shortcut on your desktop. Now that you have installed the software let us move on to the real purpose of this article. Let’s see how you can open Audacity and start fixing the distortion in your audio recordings.
Step 2. Analyzing Your Audio in Audacity
You can either record new audio or open an existing audio file in Audacity. To record a new audio clip, use the red record button. Make sure you have the correct input device selected. If you want to open a recorded audio file in Audacity, click on “File,” then open and locate your file in the file explorer.
To analyze your audio file, click “View” and then “show clipping.” Doing so will enable us to identify the areas of audio where distortion is present. The red lines scattered throughout the track will represent the distorted part of the audio signal. These indicators show that data has been significantly lost in this section and is very difficult to recover. However, we can still attempt to improve the quality of the signal using some built-in functions in Audacity or through third-party plugins.
Step 3. Removing the Distortion
The easiest method to remove distortion from your audio clip is the Clip Fix function. Firstly, you need to select the entire signal. Navigate to the effects tab in the top menu, then select “Amplify.” Here, you need to lower the amplitude to -15 dB, allowing the clip fix to work efficiently. Go to Effects again and select clip fix. Hit OK on default threshold setting, i.e., 95.
Since the audio is very low, you need to amplify the audio again to 10dB and click OK. This amplification will allow you to see a noticeable change, and now the clipping in your audio will be gone entirely.
If your system is slow, use clip fix by selecting small regions one by one instead of choosing the entire track at once. Your system could get slow because clip fix takes up a lot of system resources when handling bigger files. A drawback of clip fix is audio with a tremendous amount of clipping/distortions. After following all these steps, your audio-only will now be completely distortion-free. However, if your audio still has some distortion, the better option would be to record your clip once again. Another option is to consult professionals for audio and video restoration. These experts will clean your material yet keep the content intact. If you do not wish to re-record your audio, try reducing the noise in the audio signal. For that, we have provided a simple method below.
Noise reduction is a valuable tool that allows you to select a blank portion of your audio to identify a noise floor and then remove that from the entire audio clip. It would be best if you had a basic understanding of noise reduction factors and sensitivity to make it work to your advantage.
Noise Reduction Factor
For noise reduction, you need to select the section of the track where voice activity is almost zero. Click on the “Effects” tab from the top menu. Now select “Noise Reduction” from the drop-down menu. You can choose noise reduction factors in different values. For your purpose, you can choose anything between 8dB-12dB. Values greater than this will affect the valuable part of the signal. Instead of improving the quality of your audio, it will end up chopping it and making it hard to understand
This factor helps us regulate parts of the signal that we consider noise. Greater sensitivity will filter out more noisy components, but the drawback here is some valuable parts of the voice signal might also get filtered out. Loss of the voice part of the signal is why high sensitivity levels are not generally desirable. Setting sensitivity levels low will allow us to remove a small proportion of unwanted frequencies. While setting the desired sensitivity level, try setting it to lower values. Slowly increase it until you feel like your audio is the way you want it to be. Sensitivity and noise reduction go hand in hand. Noise reduction decides how much noise will get filtered, and sensitivity allows us to control what we want to keep as audio and what to filter out as noise.
We hope that we have helped fix your damaged and distorted audio through this quick and easy guide. Additionally, we hope you learned something new about managing, editing, and handling audio.
Sometimes the equipment does not allow for a lot of correction to be applied to the audio you record. Make sure to choose an excellent surrounding to record audio with minimum wind and background noise. Using the techniques we discussed on already well-recorded audio can make it sound highly professional. Not only that, but it will also help attract a lot of viewers because of your seemingly high production quality. Finally, if you can’t solve distortion on your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to a media restoration service to clear out your recordings.