In today’s article, we’ll check the best Noise Reduction plugins for 2022 that will give you the best results with only a few steps.
Noise has always been a problem in audio recordings, especially outdoor situations. It used to take engineers hours and maybe days to remove it, obtaining a good quality audio track. The inclusion of Artificial Intelligence into plugins made this task easier and faster and gave better results.
This issue is not so predominant in music recordings. These kinds of studios have very high-quality gear. An adequately grounded electrical installation is also essential to reduce discharge noises. If we add professional recording techniques to the equation, a high-quality, low-noise audio track is the result.
Situations such as outdoor podcasts, movie set recordings, and similar activities are prone to have added noise. Wind, external voices, nature events, cars, and many normal but undesired sounds can greatly decrease the signal-to-noise ratio of the product. These plugins come into play to easily reduce the noise, simplify the mixing process, and ultimately reach a better quality.
A good audio engineer should always have a noise reduction plugin at hand. Noise is a very common problem and will make the whole audio production process longer and more difficult if not treated soon. With the advantages of modern tech, this process is very simple, and the wide variety of products gives a huge versatility when choosing the software.
To simplify your selection, we’ll be reviewing the best plugins for this field so you can better understand them when the time of purchase comes.
TOP 5 Noise Reduction Plugins 2022 (And 3 BEST FREE Plugins)
1. Klevgrand Brusfri
Sometimes simplicity comes a long way, and it works great with Brusfri.
Contrary to other plugins, this interface is very clean, minimalistic, and elegant. Its ease of use contributes in a big way, click a button, and you’re ready to go. The software will process the audio and hand over the result, reducing the noise levels.
The results certainly resemble the name since Brusfri means “Noise Free” in Swedish. The first result will be very good most of the time, but you’ll be covered with extra controls if you need to improve the noise reduction.
Brusfri delivers very good results with very few tweaks, which is good for new users in audio engineering. Not having much experience and manually removing the noise, or doing so with advanced controls, could result in non-optimal outcomes. In these cases, easier is better.
This plugin uses an advanced algorithm separating useful audio from noise to deliver high-quality results. The steps to remove it are only three. Load the plugin, play a portion of the audio where the noise is isolated, press the Learn button while the noise is playing, and that’s it!
The best feature is that it works with any instrument: Voice, strings, percussion, and anything you need to clean up. To achieve the best possible results, make sure the noise section you feed the algorithm is as isolated as possible. Brusfri learns that behavior and cleans the audio accordingly. If you feed it part of the wanted sound, it might not work as expected.
If you’re working on videos with audio background noise, you can also use this plugin to clean them up. Follow the same steps we mentioned, and the quality will be just as good. It’s important to notice that it works best with uniform sources, such as white noise or ground discharges.
To start de-noising, I recommend using the default presets by learning the noise pattern only, which will work most of the time. If that is not enough and you need better results, try decreasing the threshold and increasing the smooth knob.
Brusfri is compatible with Windows and MAC, only on 64-bit systems, and available in VST and AAX formats on Windows and AU, VST and AAX on MAC. It is compatible with M1 MACs.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Brusfri User Manual.
Check This Plugin (Trial Available)
2. Waves Clarity Vx Pro
One of the latest additions to the Waves family in 2022, the Clarity Vx Pro is here to eliminate the noise with a simple central knob.
The multi-band processing, Waves’ deep learning technology, and ease of use make this plugin a very good and effective tool for audio engineers. It is worth mentioning that this software is designed specifically for voice de-noising. The algorithms, usability, and results are optimized for that use.
The main feature is the real-time processing that isn’t common in these plugins. Most of them need to process the audio to show the final result or show a real-time preview at a reduced quality. This time you’ll get instant feedback on the final noise-reduced audio.
Clarity Vx Pro clears the audio using an advanced deep learning algorithm that delivers good results. The main central knob, which activates the suppression, allows you to dial the amount of reduction you want. Besides noise removal, this control shares another interesting feature, the ambiance preserving option.
This function will remove the voice and keep the background noise at a good level. It’s not very commonly implemented, but it will be very effective in cases such as crowd cheering, where you don’t want a predominant voice present.
This suppression is achieved by the aforementioned deep learning technology, which introduces different functionalities. This plugin version comes with three Neural Networks that focus on different aspects. Three separate networks focus on different aspects of noise reduction.
The Advanced Controls differentiates this plugin from its younger sibling, the Clarity Vx. The top added functionalities include a Reflections knob that restores a certain amount of the natural voice reflections without adding extra reverb. The Analysis button will process the audio as mono or stereo, achieving better results with the latter. The stereo processing adds a heavier load on the CPU than the Single mode, so bear that in mind.
We’ll mention the other features, but I encourage you to test the plugin and find out how they work:
- The sensitivity button lets you choose between Normal and High modes.
- Process amount, a slider that changes the amount of general processing.
- Ambiance Gate, Thresh, attack, and release. A bit self-explanatory, but test them and see how they behave.
As a final tip, try not to go extreme with the main suppression knob since it’ll make the voice sound very artificial as soon as you go overboard. Use it with confidence but carefully, and keep in mind that you don’t need a perfectly clean voice track most of the time. The little noise left will likely blend in and be unnoticeable once it’s mixed with instruments, background music, or other sounds.
Clarity Vx Pro is available on Windows and MAC only on 64-bits platforms, with VST3, AU, and AAX formats. It’s compatible with M1 MACs only on Rosetta.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Clarity Vx Pro User Manual.
Check This Plugin (Trial Available)
3. Waves Clarity Vx
Waves’ Clarity Vx is the younger brother of the Clarity Vx Pro. Its size is smaller, but the processing capabilities are very similar to the full version.
A smaller and simpler interface provides a lot of versatility and power in an easy and elegant GUI. It is meant to be a quick solution to the noise problem. It consists of a single main knob and just a couple of settings to remove background sound.
If your noise problem is not complex enough to require an advanced control layout, you should try this plugin. Its main advantage is quickly cleaning up the voice with just a couple of clicks.
The main difference between Clarity Vx and its full version is the missing Ambience control. You can’t eliminate the speech. But that’s not negative because the focus is simplicity and ease of use this time. This plugin excels on those topics because using only one knob. You can achieve a similar level of noise suppression as in the bigger version.
Thanks to the same neural networks found in the Pro version, this quality level is possible. The difference is that you get two of them instead of three. Each of them focuses on a different aspect of ambiance sound removal.
The Analysis button lets you choose between processing the audio as a mono channel or stereo channel. Of course, the stereo mode will consume substantially more CPU power, so I recommend using it wisely.
The width knob is very interesting. It adjusts the size of the stereo output, meaning that you can turn a stereo input into a mono output and every value in between.
I recommend you start with the suppression knob at zero, with the first neural network selected, width at max level, and analysis in mono mode. Try to obtain a good result by using the central knob to reduce the CPU consumption.
If that’s not enough, switch to the second neural network and try again. Then I would advise you to move to the dual analysis mode if you can’t achieve a good result at this point. And if you feel that your audio needs to be further cleaned, you might need to try the Pro version of this plugin.
Clarify Vx Pro is available on Windows and MAC only on 64-bits platforms, with VST3, AU, and AAX formats. It’s compatible with M1 MACs only on Rosetta.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Clarity Vx User Manual.
Check This Plugin (Trial Available)
4. Crumplepop Audio Denoise AI
Very few controls, a simple interface, and great results make Audio Denoise AI stand out.
Big companies such as CNN, MTV, DreamWorks, and FOX have used products from Crumplepop, which is always a good sign.
It’s compatible with many audio and video editing apps, so you won’t have any trouble removing noise from your tracks. Using Artificial Intelligence, the noise analysis is executed with more precision to obtain better results.
The process is quite simple, the added multi-band section is very handy, and it works seamlessly with several applications.
Audio Denoise AI works very well, removing sounds like 60Hz hum (or 50Hz, depending on where you live), hiss, and several types of noises. As with many plugins of this kind, the best results will be obtained when the background audio is somewhat constant, meaning that it doesn’t change in time.
Simply applying it to the track will decrease the noise level. Be aware that it might also change the output level of the desired audio, so you might need to correct it. Luckily, you can fix it right inside this plugin and tweak the amount of noise removal for three frequency bands if you need to.
Cranking the Strength knob up could make your track sound artificial and robotic. I recommend setting it at 50% and checking if you need to increase it to begin the process.
The only drawback of this plugin is that it’s not available for Windows, so you won’t have the chance to try it out if you own a PC.
Audio Denoise AI was designed for voice processing, so if you’re working with podcasts or video editing, you can get them quickly fixed by dragging this plugin onto the desired audio track.
And since it allows real-time processing, you can modify the settings while you’re listening to achieve the best result for your clips. When you’ve found what works best for it, you can save it as a preset and apply it to similar tracks.
As a general tip, try to identify the frequency range of the noise you’re trying to remove. You can turn down the processing knobs corresponding to the ranges that don’t contain unwanted sound. This trick will prevent the main audio from getting modified in any way in the frequencies that don’t contain any noise.
Audio Denoise AI is available exclusively on MAC and is fully compatible with M1 chips.
Check This Plugin (Trial Available)
5. Waves NS1 – Automatic Noise Suppressor
Waves’ NS1 is a very simple plugin that, with only one knob, will get you the results you want.
Its intelligent noise suppression algorithm will automatically identify the noise, separate it from the dialog, and remove it as you slide up the fader. Intuitively, the higher the fader is, the more you’ll get.
If you’re looking for a quick noise fix for your podcast, audio, or video, this is it. You need to drag and drop onto the track, adjust a single parameter, and you’re ready to go.
The real-time processing and suppression make the NS1 Automatic Noise Suppressor very convenient. You don’t have to wait until the noise analysis is over.
Waves advertise it as ideal for dialog, voiceovers, broadcast, content creators, and podcasters. And the ease of use it offers backs it up. The left level bar shows the amount of noise removed in the same fashion as a compressor plugin. The more it dips down, the more reduction you get.
As with other noise reduction plugins, you don’t want to go overboard with the fader since it can make the voice sound artificial, with a pumping effect that will be very noticeable. In my experience, it works great with constant background noises, such as ground discharges and white noise.
If you use this plugin and the noise won’t go away even when you’ve surpassed the 70% level on the slider, chances are you’ll need a more advanced plugin. If the noise was not completely removed, but its level was decreased, try mixing it with the background music. The final audio may mask the remaining noise and will probably be unnoticeable.
Waves’ NS1 Automatic Noise Suppressor is available on Windows and MAC only on 64-bit platforms, in AAX and VST3 formats for Windows and AAX VST3 and AU for MAC. It’s compatible with M1 chips.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the NS1 Automatic Noise Suppressor User Manual.
Check This Plugin (Trial Available)
2 Best Free Noise Reduction Plugins
1. Bertom Denoiser Classic
Bertrom’s Denoiser is a free plugin that achieves very good results, is easy to use, and is quite versatile.
It’s got a simple interface, is very easy to understand and is not overpopulated with knobs and sliders. Very lightweight and versatile and has the right processing precision to achieve good noise suppression.
It’s also fully automatable, meaning that you can set up automations within your DAW to reduce the noise in various sections of a single track. Overall, it’s got a good set of features that you can obtain for free.
Denoiser consists of a very simple interface, six sliders that control all the suppression. The threshold is equivalent to the noise level, and for the remaining five, the amount of suppression for each frequency band. Nothing too complicated, which is better sometimes, especially considering that the noise reduction in this plugin is quite good.
There are two extra processing modes: the HF Bias and Ratio Mode. Hf Bias will give you more sensitivity on the high frequencies, and the Ratio Mode consists of varying the ratio depending on the slider position. I recommend trying it out to understand how it works.
A couple of extra important features:
- Very low CPU usage lets you use several instances of this plugin at once without making your computer run slow.
- It works in the time domain, meaning it’ll introduce zero delays to the audio. Contrary to the frequency domain analysis, which requires converting the input signal by FFT to process it, that introduces extra latency.
- Given that it doesn’t use FFT, it doesn’t introduce musical noise. The latter is when some frequency peaks are left in the spectrum after subtracting other frequencies.
The user manual recommends trying to reduce the noise with an EQ before using a noise reduction plugin. Once a portion of the noise has been decreased, try subtracting the remaining with this plugin.
Start by adjusting the threshold to determine the noise level, and then identify where the noise is in the frequency spectrum. The suppression will be less destructive and leave the main audio as untouched as possible.
Denoiser is available on Windows and MAC, VST3 and AAX for Windows, and VST3, AAX, and AU for MAC. It’s compatible with M1 chips.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Denoiser User Manual available with the installation files.
2. Cockos ReaFIR
ReaFIR is part of the Reaper plugin suite, allowing you to use Reaper’s native plugins in other DAWs.
There are nine plugins in this pack, but today we’re looking at noise reduction. Based on FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) and a frequency response graph, you can easily customize the noise reduction applied to your audio track.
It’s not as straightforward compared to other plugins, but the possibilities and versatility are very wide. Taking a couple of minutes to analyze the interface and understand the controls will be enough to figure out how to use it.
ReaFIR’s main feature is drawing the response curves that you can use either by adding any number of points or by free-hand drawing with the cursor. This way, you’ll obtain a specific frequency response according to your needs.
You can boost or cut any frequency in the spectrum, which is a great addition and give you more control. This plugin comes with several modes, including noise suppression. I’ll let you investigate and try out the other ones.
A very good feature is the automatic noise profile build, where ReaFIR will take care of identifying the unwanted sound characteristics and removing them. You can turn it off if you want to tweak the noise subtraction manually.
Lastly, you get the change of adjusting the size of the FFT calculation, up to 32768 values. Keep in mind that the bigger the value, the more CPU intensive. I’d recommend leaving it at the default setting and increasing it if needed.
ReaFIR is available exclusively for 64-bit Windows inside the ReaPlugs suite and VST format.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the ReaFIR User Manual included inside the full Reaper User Manual.
Audionamix Instant Dialogue Cleaner
Instant Dialogue Cleaner is a good solution for complex situations where the noise is hard to eliminate and separate.
The futuristic and modern interface design makes it stand out, giving it a unique and elegant feel. Even so, it’s very simple to use and versatile at the same time, giving you a lot of control over noise suppression.
The variety of noise types it can remove is the most interesting feature of this plugin. It combines several functions into a single interface with only three knobs, and it’s all possible thanks to the implemented algorithm.
Instant Dialogue Cleaner comes equipped with a deep neural network that gives it the power to identify and differentiate the noise from the usable audio. You’ll be able to remove wind, nature sounds, traffic, city background noise, insect buzzing, and many different sounds that interfere with the main audio.
This plugin can process and eliminate complex and variable noise that is generally very hard to suppress, but the AI that constitutes the neural network provides you with that possibility. Problems like unwanted reverberations and music are sometimes hard to eliminate, but that’s not the case with Instant Dialogue Cleaner.
The control knobs provide a lot of versatility thanks to their wide range of action. You can either decrease or increase the ambiance background and the speech level with the separated knobs. The strength slider provides different levels of noise suppression, but keep in mind that the higher the level, the more quality is reduced to the speech.
This plugin was designed specifically for dialogue and video editors, broadcast, radio, or news outlets engineers. The previous points mean that it’s prepared for high-quality speech preservation and a high level of ambiance sound removal. The user manual mentions that it provides infinite noise suppression with the center knob.
If you don’t know where to start with the noise elimination process, I recommend starting with the basic settings. Keep every control at the center and listen to the output audio. Start by decreasing the level of the Background knob by a few dBs, and check if the noise was reduced. If not, increase the strength by a point and try again.
Once you are happy with the results, increase the level of the speech to achieve a bit more contrast. And lastly, adjust the final output level if needed, and your audio will be ready to use.
Instant Dialogue Cleaner is available on both Windows and MAC in VST2, VST3, and AAX audio formats, with the addition of AU for MAC.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Instant Dialogue Cleaner User Manual.
What does noise reduction do in audio?
It reduces the amount of unwanted Noise in your tracks. Noise is anything not intended in audio and could be intrusive sounds such as cars, horns, alarms, crowd sounds, and strong wind. Many times, audio engineers consider loud esses and explosive P sounds as Noise since they could ruin the balance of the track.
Noise reduction software eliminates the previously mentioned sounds using different techniques. Lately, many plugins have been using deep learning algorithms to detect and reduce the volume of Noise. The latter works by feeding samples to an AI that will learn to identify what should be removed and what should stay.
Voice recognition is based on certain dominating frequencies that are natural in the human voice. They will be preserved in the final audio as clearly as possible, and the rest of the frequencies will be reduced.
How do I remove background noise from a recording?
With the current technology, just tweaking a knob or fader will remove the noise. Several years ago, you had to remove the frequency contents corresponding to noise manually. AI and deep learning made it easier, so audio engineers can focus on other tasks and obtain better results.
Depending on the plugin, you might have more or fewer options and different styles of noise removal. They focus on different tracks as well. Some of them are for voice and others for instruments. It would be best if you always analyzed your needs to determine which software suits you best.
What are the best settings for noise reduction?
For light noise, use between -10dB and -15dB of reduction to maintain the quality and integrity of the main audio. If the noise level is too high, use a greater attenuation, but it could decrease the quality of the track. If the latter happens, adjust it to an acceptable level to keep the intelligibility.
Noise reduction plugins are extremely useful to have. You never know when you’ll need it until you do. Especially if you’re an audio engineer working with podcasts, videos, and TV shows, noise is always present. And if you don’t have a way to eliminate it and improve your audio’s quality easily, you’ll have to remove it manually, which is very time-consuming.
Today we reviewed several choices that fit any need you might have, from the simplest one-knob suppressor to an advanced one that lets you tweak even the type of processing. And if you can’t afford to buy one right now, you also have very good free options, so your needs are covered either way.
Of course, the best solution to avoid noise is to prevent your takes from having it in the first place. But sometimes, that is out of the engineer’s control, and in those cases, these plugins are the perfect solution. Remember to try out the demo versions before purchasing to ensure that a determined plugin suits your workflow.