Ever heard the expression “communication is key”? More importantly, have you ever pondered over the hidden meanings it conveys? Or how it applies to just about every facet of our lives as humans?
Communication is just as important in your work or business, as it is in your personal life and your relationships with your family, friends and loved ones. At any given point in time, it’s important that you’re passing the accurate messages across, it’s crucial that you’re not misunderstood. Hence, communication is key.
And in this day and age, you’ll have to agree with me that communication is majorly about phone calls (whether VoIP or otherwise), video conference calls, podcasts, video interviews, and whatnot.
But there’s one common thread that runs through every single one of these means of communication, and that is NOISE. Noise is like that vicious little mosquito that flies close to our ears and makes annoying hums that disrupt our focus. And just as we are about to squash it, it flies away only to return again and again and again.
There are countless tools, and noise cancelling software and apps that claim to be the best at noise canceling but in this post, let’s take a look at the top ones:
Right now, Krisp is one of the very few tools of its kind in the marketplace, how do I mean? There are tools that help you remove noise from recorded audio (after the video has been recorded), but there is a serious shortage of tools that help you to remove noise in real-time such as while you are making or receiving a call.
Here are a few features that set Krisp apart from others:
- It’s compatible with any conferencing, streaming, voice chat and recording apps that let you change audio devices. On the spot, it works with over 600 such apps, so you won’t have any trouble setting it up.
- With the help of machine learning, it identifies the voice of the person speaking into the phone, locks on to it and removes every other sound in the surrounding that is not the speaker’s voice.
- Krisp doesn’t just make you hear better by removing the noise from your caller’s end, it also removes the noise in your environment so that your caller can hear you better. So it works both ways your end and your caller’s end making it productive with bi-directional noise removal.
- It is currently available for download on Windows and Mac, a mobile version is in the works and will most likely be released before the end of the year.
- Krisp also guarantees that all their audio processing is done locally, meaning your voice and audio data aren’t stored in or sent to any servers.
- And in case you were wondering. Yes, it’s free for life. But there’s a catch, with the free option, you only get to mute the noise from your caller’s end allowing you to hear them as clearly and as noiselessly as possible even if they happen to be taking your call at an NBA game.
To be able to mute the noise from your own side as well, allowing your callers to also hear you clearly, you’d have to make a $8 per month or $3.33 per month if billed annually. It has a separate package for teams with up to 50 members (for an annual payment of $6.67/user/mo or $8 month-to-month).
2. IZOTOPE RX7
This is another noise cancelling software in the market, a lot of people go for it for its ability to pick up the most disturbing of audio recordings and transform them into clear and noiseless mirror images of what they once were.
It enjoys massive patronage from all across the board, from the newcomer to those who aren’t exactly newcomers but are also not veterans yet, to the industry veteran themselves.
It prides itself as being the tool of last resort, the one that solves the problems others could not.
The RX7 has an assortment of features that make it the foremost audio repair tool:
With dialogue contour, you literally can improve the intonation in a spoken dialogue in order to polish and refine the recording.
With the dialogue de-reverb, you can remove reverberant signal content from spoken dialogue thanks to a new machine learning-based algorithm that runs it.
As the name implies, de-rustle removes all forms of distracting rustle from your dialogue. An example of a rustle it removes is the noise from the body or clip-on microphone known as a lavalier microphone.
This helps you to eliminate the background noise and allows your dialogue to speak more clearly.
The Breath Control module
Sometimes while recording, our breath is picked up by the microphone and that’s heard as noise. The breath control feature identifies and removes such noises in vocal recordings and dialogue.
The de-bleed feature prevents your audio entertainment from leaking out of your headphones
There have been complaints that RX6 (the predecessor to RX7) might be problematic, in that it sometimes hangs when you click on quit and leaves you with no option than to force-quit it. There have been no such complaints about the RX7 (or at least not yet).
Audacity is a free, open-source, cross-platform noise cancelling software that is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux computers.
Once downloaded, this noise cancelling software can be used by anyone looking to do some of the most basic editing and refining of their audio files, so whether you’re an entrepreneur just starting out and looking to jumpstart your own podcast or you’re a spoken word artist who’s looking to make a decent break into the markets. Audacity is your guy.
A few features that make it appealing are:
Ease of use
Although the user interface might be considered old and clunky by some, you can certainly rest assured that locating its important editing tools at the main menu bar is a breeze, the learning curve for this tool is pretty mild and gentle, as it’s easy to understand the way most of the controls work.
To get this app to do your bidding, all you need do is highlight the portion of the audio that you need to polish or edit, the tool then inspects the highlighted part and automatically eliminates any unwanted sounds or other distracting noises and just before it affects those edits, it allows you to check them with the preview function and decide whether or not you are satisfied with the edits as they are.
It’s free and requires no financial investment whatsoever down the road. So if you’re a newcomer and you’re confused by all the information about the so many different editing software you can potentially choose from, so much so, that you can’t seem to settle for one, then you might want to give Audacity a try first.
As it will get you familiar with the basics of audio editing and equip you with the knowledge that will enable you to make an informed decision about which audio editing software you should transition to when the time comes. Think of it as learning to drive a car, at a free driving school.
The tool does have its downsides, you might be unable to boot it up sometimes or it may crash while you’re using it at other times.
Also the recording you’ll get from this tool might not be as high-fidelity as those from other paid software in its category.
4. NOISE GATE
Why do we have gates? Pretty straightforward if you ask me, it is to restrict entry or exit. And in the case of Noise Gate, as the name implies, it does restrict entry or exit of noise.
It is a light-weight noise cancelling software which when used with VoIPs like Skype can eliminate background noise, creating a much better calling experience for you whenever you make calls.
The idea is for you to be able to call from just about anywhere. Even if that be on a matchday beside noisy NFL cheerleaders.
- To work, this software routes audio through an audio input to an audio output, why? To be able to analyze the level of the audio and determine whether its average level is higher or lower than a certain threshold.
If the audio level is found to be higher than the threshold, it is bypassed (allowed entry) however if it is found to be lower then the gate closes and the audio is cut (entry is restricted) all of these happens in real-time.
- To get more functionality you can decide to use the software with a virtual audio cable, as that enables it to act as a noise gate for either a sound input like a microphone or a sound output like speakers.
- Tools such as this can be used by people from all across the spectrum, whether they be the average Joe down the street who just wants to call his buddies and bring them up to speed with the latest happenings over the week, or the one who runs a call center with a lot of employees and noise is starting to become an issue.
One major drawback some users have complained about this noise cancelling software is that there are times when all of a sudden the software just stops working and then generates a pop-up, next thing you know it exits you from the page and leaves you wondering where you went wrong.
This is an excellent free noise cancelling software that runs on Mac, Linux, and Windows. It is suitable for podcasters, spoken word artists or just about anyone looking to create audio entertainment from home.
It helps them to eliminate unwanted noise from their recordings.
Ease of use
It’s easy to make and edit recordings with Ocenaudio and unlike other tools, large files do not cause the application to hang, or crash.
Ocenaudio has a pretty intuitive user interface that has a mild learning curve, all open files are arranged in a list on the lefthand side of the screen and you can click any one of the files to reveal its waveform.
Just like Audacity, it allows you to left-click and highlight the parts of an audio file that you want to edit, once highlighted you can click on the noise removal option to immediately eliminate all the noise from that section.
Also if you need to effect a similar change across different sections of the same audio file instead of doing it one after the other, Ocenaudio allows you to select all the affected parts at once and edit them all at the same time. It also allows you to work on different audio files at the same time.
The major drawbacks of this tool are that it is not open source, and for a free tool of its stature, it’s better for it to be open source just so that more hands can tweak the codes and deliver even more powerful outcomes.
It also doesn’t currently support effect stacks.
6. ACCUSONUS ERA BUNDLE
This is another stellar noise reduction tool that runs well on Windows and Mac. It includes a set of excellent noise reduction plugins that helps you, in surgical terms, to take a scalpel and remove the numerous “bad cells” in your audio recording.
A few features that stand this tool out are:
With ERA noise remover you can easily reduce or outrightly remove unwanted noise from the air conditioner, fan, refrigerator or even the wall clock.
Reverb makes your audio sound as though it’s bathed in echoes. These echoes are usually caused by room acoustics. Reverb remover quickly removes the excess echo and put the spotlight back in the audio.
Sometimes during voice recording some gain inconsistencies appear, these are usually caused by the movement of the speaker or microphone or both but thanks to vice leveler you can remedy all that with a single turn of the knob.
Sibilant consonants (like “ch”, “z”, “s”, “sh” and “j”) are not very welcoming when heard in dialogues or audio recording but not to worry, with the de-esser you can polish the audio and rid it of any signs of sibilance whatsoever.
OVER TO YOU
There is no perfect tool for the job, the tool to use depends largely on the nature of the job, and the budget you’re looking to work with. Sometimes you might need more than one tool to get the job done and at other times you might just need one. So the key question is, what’s the job?
Have you ever used any of these pieces of software before? If yes, what was your experience with them? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.