In this article, we’ll discuss the best Noise Reduction plugins of 2024 for removing hums, hiss, and other background noise from your audio.
Noise has always been a problem in audio recordings, especially in outdoor situations and home studios. It used to take engineers hours and maybe days to remove it. A good audio engineer should always have a noise reduction plugin at hand.
The inclusion of Artificial Intelligence has made this noise impression and removal easier and faster. You can use these tools to clean recordings in home studios, rooms, and recording spaces that may not be treated so well. Situations such as outdoor podcasts, movie set recordings, and similar activities are also prone to add 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.
We have created a list of the best-handpicked Noise reduction plugins that can improve your recordings and productions.
5 Best Noise Reduction Plugins For Clean Audio 2024
1. Klevgrand Brusfri
Brusfri is an intuitive Noise Reduction plugin with a simple and easy-to-use GUI.
Unlike many complicated noise reduction plugins, its interface is clean, minimalistic, and elegant. Click a button, and you’re ready to go. Brusfri allows you to remove noise in only three steps. 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!
Features & Benefits:
- The plugin has easy controls like attack, release, threshold, and lookahead parameters for more precise control over noise reduction.
- When you don’t like the noise profile that the plugin creates and reduces, you can tweak it by using its Tonality section, in which you can apply a High Pass Filter or control Treble frequencies. Here, you also get a Smooth/Edge knob by which you can adjust the amount of noise reduction.
- Enabling the Lookahead feature in Brusfri grants it the ability to anticipate upcoming audio events in the near future. This enhances the audio processor’s capability to manage abrupt sound changes.
Brusfri is compatible with macOS 10.10 or later (optimized for the M1 processor) and Windows 7 (SP1) or later operating systems and is available in VST, AU, and AAX plugin formats.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Brusfri User Manual.
2. Waves Clarity Vx
Waves’ Clarity Vx is the younger brother of the Clarity Vx Pro. It is smaller in size, but the processing capabilities are quite similar to the full version.
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 Ambiance 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.
Features & Benefits:
- 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.
- 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 four. 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 a 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.
- With its simple workflow, you can 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, you can move to the dual analysis mode if you can’t achieve a good result.
Waves Clarity VX Pro is compatible with macOS Catalina 10.15, Big Sur 11, Monterey 12, Ventura 13, Sonoma 14, and Windows 10/11 operating systems and is available in AAX, AU, VST, and VST3 plugin formats.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Clarity Vx User Manual.
3. Waves Clarity Vx Pro
Waves Clarity Vx Pro is a real-time noise reduction plugin specifically designed for enhancing voice recordings but can also be used on other recordings.
It isolates dialogue from background noise with high precision and minimal artifacts. It does so by using Neural Networks and similar machine-learning technology. The plugin offers multiband control and the ability to remove dialogue while retaining noise for advanced editing.
Features & Benefits:
- The Main Control Knob serves as the foundational element, balancing the ambiance and the vocals, defining the range of processing within the plugin. Its operation is straightforward: turning it to the right emphasizes the voice, while a left turn amplifies ambient sounds.
- Within the plugin are Neural Networks – four in total – such that each network varies in statistics, signal-to-noise ratios from training, and applied weights and biases during processing. For example, ‘Broad 1’ isolates primary and secondary voices from ambiance, while ‘Broad 2’ isolates the main speaker from ambient and secondary sounds. Some of these are more suitable for sung vocals, some for dialogues, some for voiceovers, some for location sounds, and so on.
- The plugin allows deep customizations! For example, it has Analysis and Sensitivity settings for the input signal. Analysis settings dictate how a stereo signal is assessed before neural network processing: it can either analyze two separate stereo tracks or a combined sum. Sensitivity dynamically adjusts the input signal-to-noise ratio for enhanced analysis under specific conditions. Not affecting the audio signal directly, these settings solely modify the sidechain entering the neural network.
- Clarity VX Pro has a ‘Reflections’ control that alters the processor’s release time, restoring natural reflections that might have been diminished during processing. Higher settings restore more reflections but might reintroduce noise during the tail end of reflections if the input signal carries loud ambient noise.
- You can also adjust the tonal qualities of the ambiance by using the ‘Mix’ control, which manages ambiance levels such that higher settings lead to more ambiance reduction between voices. ‘Threshold’ sliders establish the level where ambiance reduction begins and ends. ‘Attack’ determines the speed of residual ambiance reduction, while ‘Release’ dictates the pace of residual ambiance recovery.
Waves Clarity VX Pro is compatible with macOS Catalina 10.15, Big Sur 11, Monterey 12, Ventura 13, Sonoma 14, and Windows 10/11 operating systems, and is available in AAX, AU, VST, and VST3 plugin formats.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Clarity Vx Pro User Manual.
4. Crumplepop Audio Denoise AI
Audio Denoise AI by Crumblepop is an easy-to-use noise suppressor for video editors, content creators, film sound professionals, and music producers.
Supported by Artificial Intelligence, this plugin offers a simple drag-and-drop solution to noise reduction. You can get rid of noise, hum, rustle, wind, echo, pops, and other noise issues in your audio.
Features & Benefits:
- Audio Denoise consists of simple controls like “Strength,” which is a knob by which you can adjust the intensity of noise reduction.
- You also get low, mid, and high knobs for easy tonal adjustments in your audio. In addition, there’s also waveform visualization for monitoring your audio signal.
- The plugin can also deal with intricate noises without adding artifacts, such as the constant hum of an air conditioner at 60 cycles. Its AI ensures the voice remains clear and authentic after the noise vanishes.
Available in AU, VST3, and AAX plugin formats, Audio Denoise AI by CrumblePop is a plugin compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems.
5. Waves NS1 – Automatic Noise Suppressor
Waves’ NS1 is a simple plugin that, with only one slider, 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.
However, 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.
Features & Benefits:
- 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, broadcasts, content creators, and podcasters. And the ease of use it offers backs it up. The left-level bar visualizes the amount of noise removed in the same fashion as a compressor plugin.
Waves’ NS1 Automatic Noise Suppressor is available on Windows and MAC only on 64-bit platforms, in AAX and VST3 formats for Windows 10/11 and AAX, VST3, and AU for macOS Catalina 10.15, Big Sur 11, Monterey 12, Ventura 13, Sonoma 14. It’s also compatible with M1 chips.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the NS1 Automatic Noise Suppressor User Manual.
Free Noise Reduction Plugins
1. Bertom Denoiser Classic
Denoiser Classic is a minimal-latency, real-time noise reduction plugin ideal for music, post-production, and live applications.
It’s got a simple interface, is easy to understand, lightweight, and is not overpopulated with knobs and sliders. Denoiser consists of six sliders that allow you to do multi-band noise suppression, with bands spread across different frequency ranges.
Features & Benefits:
- 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.
- Low CPU usage lets you use several instances of this plugin at once without slowing your computer. Secondly, it works in the time domain, meaning it’ll introduce zero delays to the audio.
- Time domain analysis is contrary to the frequency domain analysis, which requires converting the input signal by FFT to process it, which introduces extra latency. Given that it doesn’t use FFT, it doesn’t introduce audio artifacts.
The plugin’s compatibility spans across various operating systems and architectures: for x86, it supports Windows 7 and above with VST3 compatibility and extends to x86-64 systems with VST3 and AAX support; on MacOS 10.13 and higher, it offers VST3, AU, and AAX support, with additional backing for Apple Silicon; while on GNU/Linux systems (glibc 2.27+), it is compatible with VST3 across the board.
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 a dynamic processor with noise subtraction features and is a part of the Reaper plugin suite.
This plugin consists of five essential modules: EQ, compression, gate, convolved L/R, and subtract. The “subtract” module generates noise profiles and removes unwanted noise from the signal. Based on FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) and a frequency response graph, you can easily customize the noise profiles and their reduction from the audio.
Features & Benefits:
- You have the option to manually draw the subtraction curve. Play the noise, switch to “precise” mode, and draw directly on the graph above the noise to create your own curve.
Moreover, you can also adjust the size of the FFT calculation up to 32768 values.
- You can boost or cut any frequency in the spectrum, which is a great addition and gives you more control. That can help you clean your audio further of any produced artifacts from Subtract.
- To minimize artifacts, ReaFir typically uses a non-linear FFT-based filtering method, which, while highly effective in filtering, can sometimes introduce aliasing artifacts. Enabling the checkbox switches ReaFir to operate as a finite impulse response (FIR) filter, ensuring linear response without artifacts, albeit with limitations in filtering effectiveness based on the filter’s length.
ReaFIR is available for 32- and 64-bit Windows 98/ME/2K/XP/Vista/W7 and WINE in VST format.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the ReaFIR User Manual in the full Reaper User Manual.
What does noise reduction do in audio?
Noise Reduction is a technique or method in audio engineering for removing any information in excess of what’s needed in the audio. Noise is 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.
How do I remove background noise from a recording?
You can use noise reduction/suppression/removal or de-noise plugins like the ones in this article to remove background noise from your recordings. Apart from plugins, many AI-based online tools like Adobe Podcast, lalal.ai, and others can give you good results with the least effort.
You can use these tools, especially if you’re a content creator or podcaster who does not want to get into the complications of audio plugins.
However, for music producers, film sound professionals, and sound designers, I suggest using more sophisticated plugins like Waves Clarity Pro or Izotope DeNoise. Of course, the best way to do it is still manually, as it gives you much more control! However, if a simple AI-based tool can solve your problem, why bother?!
With the current technology, just tweaking a knob or fader will remove the noise. Several years ago, you had to manually remove the frequency contents corresponding to noise. AI and deep learning have made it easier so audio engineers to 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 analyze your needs to determine which software suits you best.
What are the best settings for noise reduction?
In terms of loudness, 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 that could decrease the quality of the track. If the latter happens, adjust it to an acceptable level to keep the intelligibility.
However, for other settings, consider this. Start by setting the threshold slightly above the noise floor to avoid impacting the desired audio. Gradually adjust the reduction amount to strike a balance between noise elimination and preserving audio quality.
Next, fine-tune the attack and release parameters to control how quickly the reduction engages and ends. Ensure an accurate noise profile to target the unwanted noise effectively. If available, utilize multiband or frequency controls to address specific problematic frequencies.
Further, keep in mind to continuously preview changes and listen attentively to avoid over-processing, aiming for a balance between noise reduction and maintaining the integrity of the audio signal. Lastly, it’s important to always keep a backup of the original audio for reference while experimenting with settings.
Noise reduction plugins are extremely useful to have. You never know when you’ll need it until you do. Noise is always present, especially if you’re an audio engineer working with podcasts, videos, and TV shows. If you don’t have a way to eliminate it and improve your audio quality easily, you’ll have to remove it manually, which is very time-consuming.
Today, we reviewed several choices that fit any need, 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.
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. Try the demo versions before purchasing to ensure a determined plugin suits your workflow.