Audacity: How to mute all silent periods?

curiouswebster used Ask the Experts™
Audacity: How to mute all silent periods?

I have pauses between my speech, but sometimes I hear breathing and other small sounds which forces me to edit each one. Or, even a jet overhead which could not be heard as I spoke.

Is there a way to fix all these silent periods at once? Is there a feature (like Amplify) where I could reduce them all by about 10 Db?

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You could use Effect > Noise Reduction. Use "Get Noise Profile" while selecting only the noise on your track. Then, adjust the settings in step 2 and it should work.
Mind that you should make sure if the effect removed the silent periods only.

I assume you mean other than having to edit the recording, right?

You might try being a bit further away from the mic and taking the gain down a bit. Sadly, noises between speaking are going to happen, and reducing them will cause some, albeit small, alteration to the speech you want to keep.  VOX devices for the mic may cause clipping of actual speech. Moving away and turning down gain may drop the level of breathing, but at a cost of clarity because you are not as close to the mic. Editing, obviously, takes a lot of time,

A more expensive mic might help, and a wind guard on the mic itself (to help stop “wind” noise against the mic) might also help cut down the breathing sound.

Lastly, you could consider a push to talk mic so that it cuts off when not talking. But that too may introduce noise as the switch opens and closes.

I do not believe Audacity has a threshold setting to kill sounds below a certain noise floor. If you do a lot of recording, you may want to consider a small sound mixer with features to help with low noise level problems.
Are your audio files MP3s?

I have used a few command line programs in the past to actually REMOVE sections of the audio file that contain content below a certain threshold.  Remember you should only be testing out tools on COPIES OF your originals.

From memory I believe that I used a command line program that allowed you to specify a level threshold (in decibels) and time period, and it then detected these, removed the period of quiet, and split the MP3 into as many separate MP3s as periods of silence that it detected.  These were easily combined in the correct order again using another command line program.  This was run from a simple batch file.  It required some experimentation, but there was an option to "pretend" to process the file and display what would have been executed.

I will look at my old hard drive where I saved such audio utilities and try to find some that would work, however it is possible that some of the older programs may not work depending on what version of Windows you are using.

What version of Windows are you using?
Do you have access to any functional computers with other Windows versions installed?
curiouswebsterSoftware Engineer



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