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ohfourohnine's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 7:41pm
There Lies the whoosh of the vacuum cleaner.

Given the pitfalls faced by both pros and amateurs, Wes is correct in observing that it's a miracle that recordings get made at all. As a rank amateur, I'm fascinated that even with twenty first century technology, putting together any sort of acceptable recording is still so much an art. While my copy of "There Lies the Home" is still en route to me, I'm willing to believe Wes that I'll neither be able to hear the whoosh of the vacuum cleaners in it nor will I be aware of the passages where John filtered it out.

The use of filters is, for me, an exercise of iterative "guess and try". Sure, in addition to hearing it, I can get a spectrum analysis of the piece of the file that contains the noise, but the final decision regarding the range of operation and the slope of the filter is based on what "sounds right" to me. I preview one setting after another until I settle on what I decide is the best combination of noise elimination and preservation of the continuity of the musical content. Given the limitations of my own knowledge and experience and those of the tools I have, that really is the only approach available to me. Since I'm a devout subjectivist, I have no problem with it. JA, on the other hand, is certainly an adept practitioner of measurement - usually armed with data to help define what he hears. Some of the rest of you, I'm sure, are also better at measurement than I and more likely to rely on it. I wonder, when you are forced into filtering, do you also end up with "guess and try" and what "sounds right" or do you have some other - perhaps better - answers to dealing with unwanted noise?

Elk's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: There Lies the whoosh of the vacuum cleaner.

To remove unwanted sounds in a recording I use Sonic Foundry's (now Sony) noise reduction plug-in. It analyzes the noise spectrum and attempts to remove just this sound.

I find that listening to the residual noise (that is, just the sound that is being removed from the recording) tremendously helpful in setting the parameters of the plug-in.

Unless there is a distracting noise throughout the entire recording (such as a horribly noisy fan or other noise that could not be turned off in the venue) I process as little of the file as possible.

I think it does come down to subjective evaluation once one has the tools to do the job. It can be very frustrating at times.

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