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Tutorial: Removing Pops and Clicks and Background Noise in Adobe Audition CS6

Two types of noises degrade the audio you shoot with your video: random noises like microphone clicks and pops, and consistent noises like white noise or air conditioning hum. This tutorial demonstrates how to remove both of them in Adobe Audition CS6.

Addressing the Overall Low-Volume Audio

Now we've taken care of all the pops and clicks, but as you can see in the waveform, the audio is way too low. We can fix that in the Favorites menu by choosing Favorites > Normalize to -0.1 dB (Figure 11, below). This boosts the entire audio file so that the loudest region is just under 0 dB, which is as loud as you can get without introducing distortion into the audio file.

Adobe Audition CS6
Figure 11. Increasing the volume of the clip by normalizing to -0.1 dB

After applying this filter, as you can see in Figure 12 (below), the audio file looks pretty healthy.

Adobe Audition CS6
Figure 12. Clicks are gone, and overall volume looks good.

Dealing with Gain Noise

But we've got one problem and that problem is the gain noise I talked about earlier. If you zero in on quiet (or near-silent) regions of the waveform and it looks bushy (see Figure 13, below), this bushiness typically means you're going to have some audible noise that resulted from the boost you gave to your audio when you normalized to -.01 dB. In this clip we can hear background noise that we just couldn't hear before.

Adobe Audition CS6
Figure 13. Bushiness in quiet regions of the waveform (such as the area highlighted here) means gain noise introduced when we boosted the audio.

There are two ways to address this. As with pops and clicks, the first thing you want to try is the automated approach. Double-click in the waveform to select the entire waveform, and then choose Effects > Noise Reduction Restoration > Adaptive Noise Reduction, as shown in Figure 14 (below).

Adobe Audition CS6
Figure 14. Choosing the automated Noise Reduction approach

I recommend starting with Light Noise Reduction (Figure 15, below).

Adobe Audition CS6
Figure 15. Try Light Noise Reduction first.

You can see in Figure 16 (below) that most of the bushy lines between the waveforms are gone. There's still a bit of noise, but it's vastly reduced.

Adobe Audition CS6
Figure 16. Most of the bushy lines are gone, which means we've removed most of the gain noise.

In most instances, I would probably say that's okay and move onto the next edit. But if it's not adequate in the project you're working on, there's something else you can try. To undo the last filter and try a more precise approach, go to Edit > Undo Adaptive Noise Reduction, as shown in Figure 17 (below).

Adobe Audition CS6
Figure 17. Undoing the Adaptive Noise Reduction

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