How to Get Rid of Static Recording in Audacity

By Kevin Lee

Clean up a poor-quality audio recording using the Audacity free audio editor. This program contains effects that correct many sound problems, including static. Static can make its way into a recording in a variety of ways. For example, you might record using a microphone that introduces crackling static. Audio transferred from old tapes to your computer may also contain static and noise. Audacity may not be able to make a bad recording perfect, but it can improve its sound quality by removing unwanted static.

Capture a Static Profile

Step 1

Click the Windows "Start" button and type "Audacity" (without the quotes). Click the "Audacity" icon when it appears at the top of the "Start" menu to open Audacity.

Step 2

Press the "Ctrl" and "O" keys to open a file selection window. Locate an audio file and click the file to highlight it.

Step 3

Click "Open." Audacity opens the file. A blue waveform appears in the editing window. The tall parts of the waveform represent loud passages in the recording; short sections represent quieter parts. Areas of the waveform that have no sound appear as a straight line. These areas contain only static.

Step 4

Press "Ctrl" and "1" together several times to zoom in on the waveform.

Step 5

Click and hold the scroll button at the bottom of the editing window. Drag it from left to right to scroll through the window. Locate an area of the waveform that contains a straight blue line.

Step 6

Click the area that you find and hold down the left mouse button. Drag the mouse cursor a small distance to the right. As you drag the cursor, Audacity highlights the selected area. Select a portion that contains only static.

Remove Static

Step 1

Click the "Effect" button to display Audacity's audio effects. Click the "Noise Removal" effect to open the "Noise Removal" pop-up window.

Step 2

Click the "Get Noise Profile" button in the "Step 1" section. Audacity samples the part of the recording you selected, analyzes the static in that sample and closes the "Noise Removal" window.

Step 3

Press "Ctrl" and "A" to select the entire recording. Click the "Effect" button again, then click the "Noise Removal" effect to reopen that window.

Step 4

Adjust the slider in the window's "Step 2" section to determine how much static Audacity removes. Click the "Preview" button to preview the noise reduction settings. If too much static remains, drag the slider to the right. Preview and adjust the noise removal slider until the preview plays a sample that you like.

Step 5

Click "Remove "Noise." Audacity uses the selected setting to remove the recording's static.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you don't like the results, click "Edit," then click "Undo Noise Removal" to reverse the effect.
  • If you move the noise removal slider too far to the right, the recording may sound distorted. Remove only the amount of static needed to produce a clean sound.