Join Jeff Sengstack for an in-depth discussion in this video Removing individual sounds, part of Soundbooth CS5 Essential Training.
If your audio has only a few click or pops, or you need to remove individual sounds like a bit of electric hum, or coughs, or squeaking chairs, use Soundbooth's Spectral Frequency Display to isolate and then remove those sounds, or at least reduce their volume level. Let me show you how to do that. Here we are in the Waveform display. I want to go to the Spectrum Frequency display, but before I go there, I want to show you something. There are three tools up here in the Tools panel, and they are all unavailable. They are unavailable because the Spectral Frequency Display is not open. Let's open it up by dragging this guy up.
The moment we get it open, and let go of the mouse, those tools will become available. Also, when I am working in this Spectral Frequency Display, when I am removing individual sounds, I want to go to this little Task called, oddly enough, Remove a Sound, and there are those three tools, plus the Time Selection tool. Now, the first tool I want to use is this the Frequency Selection tool. That selects an entire frequency, top to bottom, from here to here, for example, then allows me to remove it, or reduce the volume level on it. So, let's see how that works. I want to remove this, or at least reduce the volume level, on this hum that we've heard in other tutorials, (Male Speaker with hum: We hold these truths) and that is a 60 Hz frequency hum.
So, if I remove just the 60 Hz, that should go away using this tool. Right now, it's kind of hard to really nail that exactly with this tool. I want to zoom in a bit. So, let me show you some methodologies to do that. Inside the Remove a Sound task, you've got this Resolution thing. I have Medium selected, which is the one I am going to end up using, but let's look at Fast. You can see that expands the view here. It makes it maybe a little bit easier to select, but I don't like that particular view. If I go to Slow, it makes it narrower, but more clearly defined. I'm going to go with the Medium one and then I am going to zoom in further by using this little frequency ruler over here.
I am going to right-click in here and drag to define the area that I want to zoom in on. Now you can clearly see that 60 Hz hum. If you go over here, you see 60 right there, and just move across. There is that 60 Hz hum. So, I am going to highlight that by using by using the Frequency Selection tool, starting right there at the sort of outside edge of that hum, where it goes beyond the 60 a little bi,t and it goes below 60 right to there. Now I have isolated that little section, and I want to just drop the volume on this thing as far as I can. So, I am going to drop it to -96 Decibels, and you can see it's going to go away, except for this little vestige here at the start of the edit, which is what thing that happens when you use these tools. The beginning and the ends tend to hang on to whatever was there before.
You see a little bit here at the end and a little bit here at the beginning. But that's pretty good, and we can also isolate this so later, if you want to remove that, but we will just stick with this for now and listen to it. (Male Speaker: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.) You've just got to be amazed by that, that that tone is gone and the fidelity of my voice is basically in its original fidelity, which is remarkable. Just removing that whole thing made that tone go away and fixed the audio using this tool. I am going to hit the Backslash key, so you can see that. One little downside is that it removed 60 Hz across the entire clip, and we probably don't remove this audio level under everything, just that one will section where the offensive part was.
So that's probably a bit of overkill. I am going to press Ctrl+Z here in Windows, Command+Z on a Mac to undo that edit. I want to just isolate this section, just that part of the 60 Hz, and I can do that using the Marquee tool. If you've worked with Photoshop, you've seen this tool and the Lasso tool before where you have used these tools in image editing, and here they are in an audio editing tool. How cool is that? Because we are working with this visual editor to edit audio, and here are these visual editing tools that we can use to help us remove sounds.
So I want to use the Marquee tool to select this area, right there, just the rectangle, not the whole frequency, not the whole width of the clip. So, I am going to click away to get rid of the selection. I want to zoom in just on this area. So, I am going to go back here and right-click again and drag. There we are. I want to just marquee select this area. So, I am going to right-click and drag. Now we have selected just that area that we want to reduce the volume of that without reducing the volume all the way across the entire clip. Knock that baby down. Now there is a little vestige there, as I mentioned, the beginning and end.
So, I'll fix that before I finish this process, maybe reduce the volume on that guy. Now, we got it. So, let's listen. (Male Speaker: hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.) How about that? We just affected just this area. That's how cool that little Marquee tool is. Another place where you'd think it work, but it's going to turn out that it's not going to work that great. Here is that cellphone ring over here in the right-hand side. Let's zoom in on that by pressing the plus key a couple of times. Now it seems like if you just took the Marque Selection tool here and just go there and reduce that volume, that should take care of that noise.
Let's listen to it first. (Cell phone ringing) You think, "Well, gosh, that's easy to see. I can easily isolate that with the Marquee tool and knock the volume down." But notice that the little ringing sound kind of drifts down here into the frequency range, into the voice, and it would really be difficult to rid of all that stuff. Let's at least get rid of the obvious noise here by reducing that volume level to nothing, and now let's here what that sounds like. (muted cell phone noise) Still got a little bit of noise there. So, at least we have taken care of the most obtrusive part of it. But if we want to get rid of this stuff, if we use the Marquee tool for that for moving down here into the voice range and it's obviously going to effect the voice range.
We'll just knock it down though and see what's that like. I will knock it down maybe not quite as dramatically, like maybe around 10 Decibels or so and here we go. 11 Decibels. Let's hear how it sounds like now. (Male Speaker: from the consent of the governed) (muted cell phone ring) So, we can see that obviously, we got rid of most of the cellphone, but not all of it, and started damaging the voice. So, there are some limitations to what you can do with the Marquee tool like that. There is another cool tool inside of your collection of tools here called Auto Heal. To use that, you select an area that's less than 25,000 samples wide.
This little thing here is about two seconds, which means it's about 88,000 samples wide. So, it's too big to use the Auto Heal, too wide. But there are some areas that are much narrower where that little tool can come into play. So let's go over to that sound where we have the clicking on the vinyl record. Zoom out a little bit here. Click the old Time Selection tool. I think that was right here. (Male Speaker: that to secure these rights) Now there are these little clicks and pops. We are going to try to isolate those guys using either of the Marquee tool or this Lasso tool. So, let's zoom in on that a bit. These are narrow.
These are much, much narrower than 25,000 samples. 25,000 samples when you have got a 44.1 kHz sampled piece of audio, that's a little bit more than half a second. These little clips are obviously just brief moments in time. So, you can use that the Auto Heal on these guys. Let's just see where you can find a click. Right there it looks like a click, right about here, play that again. Right there, looks like a click. Let's work on that one right there. I am going to zoom in a bit. You can see the click up here and down into here.
We are going to try to work on the top part first. So, I am going to take the marquee up here, so you can select that, expand it a little bit by dragging this. If I just drop the audio on it, like that, still the click is still clearly there. So, we will try to again make it larger, drop the audio. Now you can see that affects my audio too. So, it's not necessarily a good solution. Let's try a different approach. We'll take the Lasso tool, which is a little more clearly defined.
You can sort of widdle around a bit to get a clearer definition of what you are trying to remove. Now we are going to use the Auto Heal, instead of just dropping the volume to 0. What happens with Auto Heal is that it takes whatever audio came before and whatever audio came after and cross dissolve those two pieces of audio and removes whatever was there before. So, it tries to fill the silence with sound that came before and after, and we'll see how that works. Again, it has to be less than about a half a second. It still got a little bit of click there, but it's little bit better than the most obvious one before. Try one more here.
There is one more. Let's isolate that one with Lasso tool. We will try Auto Heal in that one. Then we watch this to see if it gets any better. (Male Speaker: that to secure-) A little bit of click. It's not a perfect process. Let's try that again. You can see a little bit disappeared there. (Male Speaker: that to secure) So, we are just trying to take the edge of the click, but it's hard to get it perfect, because we don't want to bleed too much into the spoken part. But again, that's one thing that you can do with Auto Heal is to try to cross dissolve to try to remove some of those obvious sounds. I want to show you one more thing that you can do with the Lasso tool that has absolutely nothing to do with healing anything.
It has to do with messing things up, but it's kind of fun. Let's me just go to this music we have heard a couple of times. (Music playing.) (Woman singing: When the sun sets on the water's edge) I want to mess this thing completely up using the Lasso tool. What you can do is you can draw little swirly lines like this, inside a musical clip and give it a real strange little wavy sound to it by defining the area here inside this that you want to actually lower the volume on in this swirling pattern. And it creates a pretty bizarre little effect that's kind of fun.
It's something you might want to experiment with. I will knock the volume down a little bit here. Let's see how that sounds. (Music playing.) (When the sun sets on the water's edge, a sky of blue and -) So I think you might have probably heard that effect in some recordings, but you might want to just use the Lasso tool and Volume Reduction tool to do something that's completely of the reverse of the repairing something. That's how you remove individual sounds and also maybe mess around a little bit with your music.
- Setting up recording hardware
- Recording vocals and instruments
- Viewing audio waveforms and spectral frequency displays
- Copying, cutting and pasting audio
- Stretching time and shifting pitch
- Looping tracks
- Identifying and removing noise
- Enhancing audio with Soundbooth effects
- Mixing audio in multitrack mode
- Customizing prebuilt scores
- Working with Soundbooth files in Premiere Pro projects
Skill Level Beginner
Q: After making a recording using Soundbooth CS5, I’ve discovered the stereo channels are reversed- left is right and right is left. I can’t seem to figure out how to swap them in Soundbooth. How can I adjust channels?
Also, is there a more advanced audio software that might be better for working with recorded audio than Soundbooth CS5?
A: To swap channels in Soundbooth, right-click on the file in the
Files panel, choose Insert Channels Into New Multitrack File. That will
create a multitrack sessions with the two channels on separate mono
tracks. Pan them left and right to create the swapped channels and then
choose Export > Multitrack Mixdown.
A more advanced audio recording, editing and mixing product is Adobe
Audition. The current version 3 is for Windows only. Check out the Audition 3 Essential Training in the Online Training Library.