Echo is picked up in audio recordings as sound bounces off of various surfaces such as walls, floors, large furniture, etc. Although you cannot possibly remove echo fully from audio recordings you can significantly reduce them using the free audio software Audacity. In this software, there are easy-to-use tools that can help you get rid of the majority of the echo that is caught due to sound getting reflected from different surfaces inside the space where the audio is recorded. In this article, we will walk you through how to get rid of echo in Audacity.
You can also read: Recording Studio For Beginners: A Quick Start Guide
What Is An Echo Or Reverb?
In raw audio footages, echo or reverb is formed due to the multiple external audio additions that may alter the true purpose of the recorded audio clip. Getting rid of echo from the audio recording can make it sound better and more natural. While sound engineers are experts at removing the majority of the echo or reverb from recordings, not all of you may have access to one of them. To take matters into your own hands, you should consider reducing echo in recorded audio clips using Audacity. To further tailor to the user’s preferences, Audacity provides you the option to reduce echo in audio clips in two options, with or without the use of plug-ins. Even if you do not have any experience of performing these editing procedures, you can follow the below guide and get rid of echo from your audio clips in less than a few minutes.
Removing Echo With a Plug-In
Out of all the free plug-ins that you can find for Audacity, Noise Gate is undoubtedly the best one. So, download and install the plug-in and before you open Audacity from the menu, restart your computer. Noise Gate is pretty easy to use so you’ll be able to remove echo to a great extent in just a few steps.
First, select the audio file you’d like to edit in Audacity. Then, choose Noise Gate from the “Effect” option on the toolbar. To reduce echo in the selected audio recording, you can play with multiple options but the best way would be to start by choosing -100 for “Level Reduction” followed by selecting 75 for “Attack/Decay” and 30 for “Gate Threshold”. Here, level reduction commands the gate threshold to reduce the mentioned amount of unwanted audio i.e. echo.
If the echo does not reduce to the amount you’re happy with, you can increase the Gate threshold to meet your end requirement. You can always make changes if any important part of the audio gets cut while you’re trying to remove the echo. So, keep tweaking it until you meet a desirable result.
Removing Echo Without a Plug-In
You can also choose to remove echo from an audio recording without using a plug-in. However, this will be a more complex route and you need to follow it to the dot especially if you’re reducing echo for the first time.
First, when you choose the audio file, make sure you select “All supported types” under Files of type. Once you open the file you’d like to edit, choose the segment of the recording you want to make changes to. This can be done by clicking at one point and dragging the cursor until the end of the part you’d like to edit.
Next, select “Effect” located at the top of the screen and choose “Noise Reduction”. To improve the quality of the selected audio clip, increase the level of noise reduction. This may reduce the volume of the audio which can be fixed by choosing “Amplify” from the menu. The amplify option not only allows you to increase the overall volume of the audio clip but also makes it much bolder.
Now, you can choose the “Compressor” option under the Effects menu and make multiple changes in the noise floor or threshold as you prefer. If you’re not happy with the pitch of the audio recording you can change it using the low pass or high pass filter located at the bottom of the Effects option. For example, if you find the sound clip to be too high-pitched for your liking choose the low pass filter to balance it out. On the other hand, a high pass filter should be chosen if the audio recording is too low-pitched. What’s great about Audacity is that it lets you edit such tiny options multiple times till you reach a point that sounds the best to you. Every time you make a change, you can check the preview before you decide to make further changes.
At this point, you can apply Equalization by choosing either Graphic EQ or Draw Curve. The former is easier to use as it portrays a graph with sliders for you to make changes to. The Equalization option is meant for fixing the tones of the audio recording according to your preference. Play with the middle bar to alter the middle tones, while the bars on both extremes should be used to alter low tones and high tones.
This should complete the process of reducing echo in your chosen audio file. So, click the File menu on the toolbar and select “Export Audio”. For “Save as type” that appears on the new window, go for wav(lossless) or mp3(compressed). Finally, go to File on the top of the screen again and click on “Save Project As” to save the edited file.
The last thing you want in a recorded audio clip is an accumulation of unwanted echo. While it’s impossible to prevent that from happening, you can remove them from the finishing piece thanks to the software Audacity. We are positive that this article will help you create smooth audio recordings without the presence of undesirable echo.