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Whether you are in the business of shooting or editing, noisy or distorted footage is among the most frustrating roadblocks you'll ever encounter in your workflow. The magic of filmmaking lies after the scenes in post-production. You can remove distortion from audio using various methods.
What Is Distortion in Audio?
You have probably heard the term distortion and would like to know what it is. Distortion is a common term in music production.
Although the term is simple, there is more than meets the eye. Distortion is defined as the change or deformation of an audio waveform that results in the production of an audio output that is different from the input. Distortion can occur at a single point or multiple points in a specific signal chain.
While there are many types of audio distortion, the most common one is clipping. It occurs when an audio signal is amplified beyond the maximum allowed unit in both analog and digital systems.
A signal is distorted when an output does not record the same signal as the input. The issue can occur due to amplifier clipping, faulty equipment, overloading of a sound source, production of hot signals, and pushing speakers beyond their limit.
In the past, people perceived distortion as a bad thing. Today, however, some kinds of distortions are considered beneficial because of their positive effect on the sound. Sound engineers apply plugins, outboard gear, and other techniques to add pleasing distortions to audios. The distortions work by adding unique elements to audios, thus improving sounds in many instances.
The Difference Between Noise and Distortion
Noise and distortion can sound very similar and hard to tell apart. However, the two are different phenomena with unique characteristics. Noise is an undesired disturbance that sounds white or pink and creates an even-tempered sound wave. On the other hand, distortion is the alteration of a waveform, where some parts are amplified while others are attenuated, leading to an uneven distribution of energy among frequencies. Let's look at the differences between noise and distortion.
1. Where It Appears in a Signal
Noise appears randomly throughout the signal, while distortion seems at the same frequency. One example of noise is an audio hiss that can be heard when no other sounds are present. An example of distortion is a sine wave with a flat top and bottom combined with different amplitudes.
2. How It Affects Signals
Noise is random and can appear when signals are quiet. Distortion is affected by the input signal and can be altered by adding or removing signal frequencies.
How It's Measured
You can measure distortion by using an oscilloscope to display the input signal's waveform over time. The oscilloscope measures energy distribution among different frequencies, while you can measure noise with a spectrum analyzer by displaying an audio signal's magnitude and frequency content over time.
Despite their differences, noise and distortion are both unwanted sounds. When they are present in a signal, they can degrade its quality. For this reason, it is essential to understand the differences between them to assess signs and produce better results accurately.
How to Remove Distortion From Audio for Your Video
You can use several different methods to remove audio distortion in your video. They include:
Method 1: Use an Online Audio Distortion Tool
You can use an online distortion tool to fix this problem. One of the popular tools for removing distortion from audio is Audacity. Available for Linux, macOS, Windows, and other Unix-like operating systems, Audacity is a FOSS (free and open-source digital audio editor software). It is also a recording application software, and you can use the program for varying tasks, including conversing audio files, removing audio distortion, adding effects, and mixing audio clips.
Keeping this in mind, let's look at how to remove distortion from audio using Audacity.
- The first step is opening the file. To do this, drag and drop the audio file into Audacity.
- Next, you need to select the distorted area before clicking on Effect. Once you have done this, click on the Noise Reduction option.
- Doing this will open the Noise reduction window.
- Go to the Noise Profile and click on it; this will allow Audacity to know what it should filter out.
- Now, select the whole audio before reopening the Noise Reduction Window. Set the values as you see necessary.
- Check the audio by clicking Preview. If you are satisfied with the results, click OK.
- Be sure to apply the filter again if your audio is still distorted. Avoid doing it excessively, as the audio could be degraded. In turn, this can lead to the voice sounding robotic and tinny.
Method 2: Software Solutions - Adobe Audition
You can remove distortion from audio using specialized audio editing software. One of the professional audio tools that you can use to fix audio distortion is Adobe Audition; this software allows you to carve out any unwanted sound for impressive results.
These steps below will allow you to remove distortion from audio with Adobe Audition.
- Double click on the track to access the Waveform.
- Go to Window, and then select the Amplitude Statistics option.
- A new window will open. Now, hit the Scan button in the left corner. The software will then scan the audio.
- Check the section written Possibly Clipped Samples.
- Head over to Effects>Diagnostics> DeClipper.
- In the Preset section, select the Restore Heavily Clipped option.
- Next, hit the Settings button, and adjust the Tolerance.
- Hit the Scan button again, and you'll see all the problems in your audio.
- Click Repair all to fix your distorted audio.
- Alternatively, you could head to Effects Rack and click on Filter and EQ, then FFT Filter.
- Put the Preset option to Default settings. Take out a few of the frequencies where your audio is distorted.
Method 3: Video Editing Tools like VSDC
When it comes to removing distortion from audio, you can use video editing tools to fix this problem. VSDC is one of the non-linear editing applications that people use to remove audio distortion.
Follow the steps below to learn how to remove distortion from audio using VSDC.
- Upload your footage to VSDC and right-click on it.
- Select the Audio effects option, then choose Filters. Click on Gate.
- You will see the Properties window. Here, you will find all the parameters that you need to fix your audio problems, including distortion.
The Gate filter allows users to control how fast and when the gate opens and what sort of sounds can get in.
- Threshold: This is the level of the decibel at which the gate opens. Set it based on the loudness of the audio distortion.
- Attack: This parameter defines how fast the gate will open. Essentially, the higher the attack value, the slower the gate opens. /li>
- Knee: With this parameter, you can control the response of the compressor to the signal that's crossing the threshold. That means you can apply compression with a delay or instantly.
- Make-up gain: This increases the signal level after it has been processed.
- Ratio: This value controls compression applied to the distortion. It defines how quieter the distortion will be after gating.
- Reduction: This parameter defines the level of signal reduction will be.
- Release: This value defines how fast the gate will close after opening. You can change the Release parameter to suit your preferences.
Method 4:Normalize Your Audio with Filmora Audio Equalizer
Filmora is a video editing software that you can use to shoot, edit, and share clips with other people. It provides an easy-to-use interface that has made it one of the most popular choices for independent filmmakers. Filmora also offers audio equalizer effects designed for professional sound designers who want to work on projects with their voice-over recordings.
You can normalize your audio with Filmora by following the three simple steps below:
Step 1. Open Filmora and Import your file
First, open up Filmora and open your audio file. It can be any format you have except MOV from Apple devices like iPhone or iPad. Then, select the Media tab on the top of Filmora’s main window to import your media file.
Step 2. Adjust the Levels
Next, click the Levels option on Filmora’s left panel, where you will find three options: Gain, Equalize, and Normalizer. You can use this to adjust your audio level to be loud enough without being too loud. The normalizer helps you ensure that your audio is at a consistent level throughout the recording. You can use it both for music or voice-over recordings.
Step 3. Export Your File
Finally, you may export it when you have made the necessary adjustments to your audio file. Just click the File tab in Filmora’s main window and select Export. Many options are available for exporting your media file, including an output profile setting where you may choose MP4, AVI, or WMV and upload to Facebook, Youtube, and Vimeo.
● Normalizing your audio file is not a complicated process, but it does require some technical knowledge. However, your audio will sound excellent and professional if you follow the steps above. You can use Filmora's audio equalizer effects to normalize your video.