15 Replies Latest reply on May 12, 2010 4:56 PM by DaveVFS

    How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?


      I have some footage with terrible audio (due to how it was recorded), for some reason the mic settings were incorrect for a segment of the video and I ended up with a lot of background noise and minimal audible audio. Unfortunately, I cannot record this video again and I need to work with what I have. I read all the help and have tried multiple ways with premier and sounbooth to fix this problem (capturing a noise print, etc) but it just makes the audio sound worse (something I didn't know was possible).


      I was wondering if anyone can help me fix this audio, thank you!

        • 1. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          When you have been in a heads-on collision, where do you take the wreck of your car if it can be repaired: a car repair shop.


          When you have audio that is heavily damaged, bring it to an audio repair shop, if they exist. Otherwise you are out of luck and out of audio for that clip.

          Use headphones next time you shoot anything.

          • 2. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
            the_wine_snob Level 9

            Adobe Audition is good with Audio restoration, BUT it cannot work miracles. It will all depend on what your signal consists of. Extracting the desired part of the signal from the garbage might be either daunting, or impossible. Can you link to a short segment of your Audio, for us to listen to it?


            It might well be that you will need to "dub" the Audio, recording it in studio and just replacing the original.


            Good luck,




            [Edit] There is a little, inexpensive Audio 'cleaning" program, Magix Audio Cleaning Lab, that is as amazing, as it is cheap. I had it installed, but considered it a toy, until one day Audition was just not cutting it for me. Out of desperation, I used that program, and was astounded. With some additional work in Audition, things were very usable, though not quite perfect. Might be worth a look.


            Message was edited by: Bill Hunt - Added [Edit]

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
              SnobbyGurl Level 1

              Thank you so much for your prompt and very informative reply!


              I didn't think to use Adobe Audition because I am not familiar with it (as it is not in my master suite), but it sounds like something I should really look into!


              I don't think dubbing the audio is an option at this point, but I think with a combination of the programs you gave me I will have better luck fixing it.


              Here is 1 minute of the linked video, thanks again for looking and helping. I reall appreciate it!



              URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MhFVU8prqM

              • 4. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                the_wine_snob Level 9

                The Levels are pretty low, and it sounds like there is probably AC noise too. Luckily, you have (here) a female speaker, so might get lucky with some EQ work in the 250Hz - 500Hz range. You should be able to eliminate some of that ambient noise, without affecting the speaker's Audio that much - listen very, very carefully, and adjust slowly, as one side effect of Noise Reduction is a hollow, echoing sound, and with the pitch of her voice, do not think that would be desirable.


                Without having the WAV open, I can only guess, but here would be my anticipated workflow:


                Noise Reduction - first capture a sample Profile of the early part of the Clip (before the speaker with only ambient noise) that you posted, and then apply the Noise Reduction Process. Start below the default of ~ -7dB (think that's the default, but it's been so long that I saw the default, that, well my memory might be faulty - or defaulty??), and work up. Listen very closely for that echo, that I warned you about.


                Levels - I'd be looking at Amplitude>Amplify and probably around +6 to +9dB


                EQ - one could approach things from two directions here. I'd probably look at Graphic EQ and work in the 250Hz to 500Hz range, with an attenuation below ~ 120Hz. Or, one could look at a Notch Filter, doing similar. Or, a combo of the two.


                Low Pass - High Pass - probably a bit of both


                Compression - Multi-band Compressor


                VST - DeEsser


                Pitch Shifter - think that I'd lower her pitch, just a "skidgen" (highly technical term meaning just enough, but probably not very much...


                Audition is not THAT difficult program to use. However, it is extremely powerful, and tapping into that power is a different story completely. As I use it for Audio for my Video, I have to say that I am a "power beginner." I do a lot with it, but for a limited range of material and operations. I have never scratched the surface of the potential, that an audio engineer would just take for granted. Still, for what you need, I think that with the tools mentioned above, and a lot of very careful listening (good noise canceling headphones are a must here), you can knock this out pretty well.


                Now, if you have Soundbooth, you have some of those tools, but do not think that you have the Noise Reduction Process, and it's a biggie.


                Let me know how it goes, and if you get stuck, do not hesitate to PM, or e-mail me: info AT huntphoto DOT com. If you need for me to examine the Audio, I can accept pretty large attachments on the e-mail, or you could use a service, like YouSendIt. I'd be glad to give it a listen, and try my hand and shaping it up for you. I can make notes of what I do with the segment, and share those. If you like the result, it'd be easy (still some critical listening), to just go down the steps.


                Good luck,




                PS - I see why reshooting is not really an option, and dubbing a speaker, who's probably a VP with Del Webb, isn't ideal either I was hoping that you had a theatrical piece, and could just hire the actor/actress for an hour. So much for that idea.


                Message was edited by: Bill Hunt - Added PS

                • 5. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                  SnobbyGurl Level 1

                  Thank you for your rapid reply, Bill.  I, too, am a wine snob!  I will give it a go this week and see what happens based on your recommendations.  Thanks again for your help!  I should hopefully post back to you by this Friday evening.  I have many things on my to do list.



                  • 6. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                    the_wine_snob Level 9

                    Good luck with the Project, and remember, if I do any more "work" on it, you will owe me some favorite wine recs. of yours! Unfortunately, I am in Arizona, USA, so we're a bit limited here. At least we do not have to buy from a "state store," or from the national co-op, like Canada. Still, we do not get the offerings, that many other states do.


                    Let us know how it goes,



                    • 7. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                      SnobbyGurl Level 1

                      I have been working on the audio over the past two weeks and no matter what combination of editing techniques I use, I keep ending up with an annoying background noise that is probably due to the noise reduction in the first place. Can I send you a sample to see what you think? Thank you.

                      • 8. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                        the_wine_snob Level 9

                        No problem. I'll be glad to give it a listen. I can handle pretty large attachments at info AT huntphoto DOT com. (Obviously, the AT = @ and DOT = .)


                        Now, I leave for Washington DC at 5:30AM on Sunday, April 25, and will not be back to Phoenix, until late on Wednesday, April 28. As soon as I get back, and unpacked, I'll give your Clip a good listen, and let you know. Hope that this will not be too big a delay.


                        Good luck,



                        • 9. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                          SnobbyGurl Level 1

                          You are a life saver, I will email you a sample! Thanks again!

                          • 10. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                            shooternz Level 6

                            With no disrespect to Bill  and what he may or may not be able to do for you

                            ..can I suggest it may also be worth taking the clip to a professional  Audio Studio near you.


                            TGhese  engineers have access to such an array of hardware, plugins and techniques that not many of us would ever have in our desktop systems.


                            I have been saved on a number of occassions by the audio pros.


                            Can I also say...dont expect miracles from badly damaged audio.  The oft repeated saying in audio circles is "you can not polish a turd".

                            • 11. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                              Chuck A. McIntyre Level 3

                              The condition of your clip reminds me of a small staging event we recorded a few years back.  The in-house staging guys had something "off" that didn't appear until mid, live show.  We have an audio "guru" friend at a local radio station that told us; "sorry, I can't do anything with your audio".  I ended up spending hours after selecting and alternating the best of 5 audio feeds.  In Audition, a combination of filters rendered a semi-acceptable audio track.  I remember as part of the processing, I used hard limiting which effectively caused the voice to dominate the background noise.  It was a pain, but the client was happy in the end.

                              • 12. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                                the_wine_snob Level 9

                                I have my best attempt ready to upload to YouSendIt. I sent a PM, so that I can get a notification e-dress, so that you can download the WAV file. Just let me know. I will be in town through Friday, May 14, but then gone for 2 weeks with no Internet connection.


                                Hope that this gives you something to work with.



                                • 13. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?

                                  Another tactic if a program can show a sonogram view (Soundbooth can) is to look at the individual frequencies, lasso the frequencies with the speaking voice and see if it improves the clarity without missing too many of the other frequencies.  It won't sound perfect but maybe that, in combination with (or before or after), noise reduction may help.


                                  I removed a lawnmower's sound behind a speaker in the old days with Cool  Edit 2000 for a home movie but the noise was still pretty bad.  Adobe  bought out Cool Edit and turned it into Audition so I presume it has  many more tools in the toolbox since then.

                                  • 14. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                                    the_wine_snob Level 9

                                    When I return to the Mainland, I will look at doing that. Mostly, I used both a Parametric EQ and a Graphic EQ, plus some Low-pass, High-pass and Gating, after addressing the equipment noise with Noise Reduction from the Restoration Effects. I needed a bit of Pitch Shift, and a few other similar Effects.


                                    The speakers Levels were so low, at about the same as for what sounded like both AC rumble and also air flow. There were some really odd noises, that could have been chairs being moved on a hard surfed floor, plus the room was very live, so there were tons of reflected signals.


                                    The OP actually used the same gear, with the same setup and settings on a later event and the Audio was good. This was a really messed up Audio stream. Only thing that it did not have was a bunch of Transients, but hey, Audition makes their elimination just a click away.


                                    I just have my fingers X'ed, that the work will help the OP.


                                    Will give your method a go, thanks!



                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 15. Re: How to fix badly damaged damaged audio?
                                      DaveVFS Level 1

                                      I'm glad it sounds useful. It just occurred to me that the OPPOSITE of

                                      my idea could also work. Find the noise's frequencies, lasso them, and

                                      delete that.  Let me know how it works!