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View Full Version : Removing crowd noise from live concert audio




gixxerfool
Nov 5, 2008, 08:07 PM
I have some bootleg concerts that were recorded from in the crowd and inadvertently mask alot of the band. I was wondering if there is any way to filter out the crowd only leaving the music there. Even if I could lower the volume of the crowd to bring the music out more would be fine. I have tried Audacity with not much luck. It seems to filter anything within the audio range spectrum that matches the crowd. Thanks in advance.



Drumjim85
Nov 5, 2008, 08:12 PM
as far as i know, no such magic exists.... despite what you see on CSI ;)

anything that affects the crowd would also affect the music, and crowd noise seems to have a very broad frequency..

thevibesman
Nov 6, 2008, 02:33 AM
Some very careful EQ adjusting narrow frequency bands might help. A visual representation of the spectrum could help with this. Off the top of my head I'm not sure of any free software solutions. As payed example, I know that Digital Performers MasterWorks EQ has a live spectrum display that is handy for this.

Bias SoundSoap Pro may be able to help a little here (also not free).

Either way, it is not like you are dealing with a solo instrument, but a whole band and the spectrum of the crowd means you won't just be able to get rid of it, but you may be able to make it better.

gixxerfool
Nov 6, 2008, 06:50 PM
Let me start by saying thanks for your responses...


as far as i know, no such magic exists.... despite what you see on CSI ;)

anything that affects the crowd would also affect the music, and crowd noise seems to have a very broad frequency..

LOL yeah I kinda figured that, this is the first time I have a computer capable of more than just solitare. I don't have my finger on the pulse of new stuff coming out, was hoping someone got reeeeeaal bored and found something that worked. Was worth a shot.

Some very careful EQ adjusting narrow frequency bands might help. A visual representation of the spectrum could help with this. Off the top of my head I'm not sure of any free software solutions. As payed example, I know that Digital Performers MasterWorks EQ has a live spectrum display that is handy for this.

Bias SoundSoap Pro may be able to help a little here (also not free).

Either way, it is not like you are dealing with a solo instrument, but a whole band and the spectrum of the crowd means you won't just be able to get rid of it, but you may be able to make it better.

Ok, this sounds plausible, I am assuming that these a pro level programs and probably aren't that intuitive?

MowingDevil
Nov 6, 2008, 07:12 PM
Ok, this sounds plausible, I am assuming that these a pro level programs and probably aren't that intuitive?

I have't used Soundsoap but from what I remember the interface looks fairly straight forward.

thevibesman
Nov 7, 2008, 10:35 AM
SoundSoap is REALLY straightforward, but probably won't be great for this situation. SoundSoap Pro has 4 tools with different approaches to get rid of the sound; the good news is, it isn't that hard to figure out (somewhere, maybe Bias' website, I found a tutorial video when I first started using it), the bad news is the price, maybe more than you'd want to spend unless you plan on doing this a lot. I think Bias lets you install the software for 14 days before you need to authorize it, so that may work for you to do some fixing now and then if you really like it get it to use down the road. Keep in mind, SoundSoap Pro is a plugin, so you will need to run it within some other AU or VST host--I am assuming Garage Band can handle this? I have never used Garage Band and deleted it from both my machines so I'm just guessing but it would seem silly if it couldn't support AUs.

About the EQ, the MasterWorks EQ plugin is something that comes with Digital Performer (my audio/MIDI sequencer of choice) and it probably isn't worth the money to buy a sequencer just for an EQ plugin. I only brought it up because it is my favorite (and maybe you have a friend with Digital Performer, maybe not) because it lets you see a representation of the sound so you can here and see what you did.

While it may only make a small difference, the EQ idea could work with any EQ plugin in any software. Again, if you have Garage Band I'm guessing it has Apple's super simple EQ AudioUnit. If you have access to Garage Band and this EQ, then just very carefuly adjust the sliders up and down a little at a time until you think you are making a difference, then go back and listen to the original and compare--you may have convinced yourself the EQed version sounds good, but your ears may be playing tricks so comparing to the original will let you know if you destroyed the band while getting rid of the crowd. Keep in mind, if crowd noise means people's voices, that will be the same frequency as a singer making removing the noise that much more challenging with only an EQ and not something like SoundSoap Pro.

junior
Nov 7, 2008, 11:53 AM
I don't know if it'll work or not, depends on how well the music was recorded.
But I think the best solution for you would be Izotope RX. Brilliant tool for the price.

gixxerfool
Nov 14, 2008, 07:13 PM
Thanks again guys for your replies and help.

So, I got Izotope Rx and yes it is great. Actually achieved what I wanted...kind of.

When importing any of the tracks, the waveform is all blue, which I figure is to be expected since there is no true lull in audio and its alot of noise. Well, in order to do what I wanted after I adjusted the EQ it is to the point of starting to distort in certain ranges. While it's not bad through my headphones on my computer I can only imagine burned to disc and put through a more powerful system that it will exacerbate the problem. I hope that I am explaining this right. Any recommendations as to the best course of action? Thanks again.

Plumbstone
Nov 15, 2008, 04:37 PM
Unfortunately crowd noise is going to be impossible to remove, for starters it contains a wide range of frequencies so eq is going to be pretty much useless. It also is constantly changing so any kind of noise removal also won't work.

As with all things audio, the quality of the original recording is paramount.


Also, I thought on macrumors we weren't allowed to discuss illegal activities, and bootleg recordings of gigs surely count......

NewSc2
Nov 15, 2008, 07:09 PM
Also, I thought on macrumors we weren't allowed to discuss illegal activities, and bootleg recordings of gigs surely count......

You're technically not allowed to videotape concerts too, but I've done it many times, and they're all over YouTube. I think there's a fine line here. MacRumors doesn't allow blatant illegal activities, but there's a lot of discussion of reverse engineering software, OSX on PC's, hacked iPhones, etc. on here.

Duff-Man
Nov 15, 2008, 10:38 PM
Also, I thought on macrumors we weren't allowed to discuss illegal activities, and bootleg recordings of gigs surely count......

Duff-Man says...not necessarily. Many bands allow it, many "tolerate" it under certain circumstances, others realize it is going to happen regardless of their wishes and ignore all but the very blatant recorders, and still others come down firmly if they catch someone.

There are legitimate places for sharing live recordings, all done *with* the permission of the artist - the Live Music Archive (http://www.archive.org/details/etree) being a good example, where each artist gives permission for recordings to be posted and sets the parameters of what and cannot be posted there. Certain live music torrent sites are also very strict about keeping up to date lists of "not allowed" bands and/or venues and anyone posting violations has the torrent removed and can be banned from the site....oh yeah!

Winston75002
Feb 15, 2010, 01:19 PM
SoundSoap is REALLY straightforward, but probably won't be great for this situation. SoundSoap Pro has 4 tools with different approaches to get rid of the sound; the good news is, it isn't that hard to figure out (somewhere, maybe Bias' website, I found a tutorial video when I first started using it), the bad news is the price, maybe more than you'd want to spend unless you plan on doing this a lot. I think Bias lets you install the software for 14 days before you need to authorize it, so that may work for you to do some fixing now and then if you really like it get it to use down the road. Keep in mind, SoundSoap Pro is a plugin, so you will need to run it within some other AU or VST host--I am assuming Garage Band can handle this? I have never used Garage Band and deleted it from both my machines so I'm just guessing but it would seem silly if it couldn't support AUs.

About the EQ, the MasterWorks EQ plugin is something that comes with Digital Performer (my audio/MIDI sequencer of choice) and it probably isn't worth the money to buy a sequencer just for an EQ plugin. I only brought it up because it is my favorite (and maybe you have a friend with Digital Performer, maybe not) because it lets you see a representation of the sound so you can here and see what you did.

While it may only make a small difference, the EQ idea could work with any EQ plugin in any software. Again, if you have Garage Band I'm guessing it has Apple's super simple EQ AudioUnit. If you have access to Garage Band and this EQ, then just very carefuly adjust the sliders up and down a little at a time until you think you are making a difference, then go back and listen to the original and compare--you may have convinced yourself the EQed version sounds good, but your ears may be playing tricks so comparing to the original will let you know if you destroyed the band while getting rid of the crowd. Keep in mind, if crowd noise means people's voices, that will be the same frequency as a singer making removing the noise that much more challenging with only an EQ and not something like SoundSoap Pro.

Thanks for the tips. Personally, I haven't had much luck with frequency based crowd noise filtering. I find the frequency of the crowd noise to be too similar to the audio that I am trying to preserve. If I lower a crowd noise frequency the resulting audio sounds muddled to me. Your mileage may vary. I play in a band at clubs. I have a Tascam DR-7. I use it to make "game films" of our last live recording. Learn from your mistakes. Personally, I really don't care if someone else wants to record us live and make copies for their friends. It will never sell as well as the studio produced tracks we create and license. We are trying to put together a live CD, so I'm interested in crowd noise removal, but I haven't heard software that will meet my high demand for audio quality. My finances are limited so there may be something in the high end tools that I am not aware of.

Just my 2 cents.

- Winston
Upright Bassist
The Driftin' Outlaw Band

Comma
Feb 15, 2010, 09:18 PM
The problem with crowd noise as it's generally either right in the vocal range or in a higher range (Cheering/Screaming). Thus if you want to frequency cut it, like you normally would on sounds you don't like on recordings, you could knock something out that you want to keep. I don't really have any other suggestions that I can think of off the top of my head.

I assume there's technology around where people go in and edit the waveform, but that seems very costly and time consuming.

iYellow
Aug 1, 2010, 05:26 PM
I assume that links are allowed by the link button, but if not edit my post :)

http://www.podtopia.net/gettingstarted/removenoise.shtml

Just did a google and this popped up, audacity is free and is pretty good. You may want to google filtering audio. I think that crowd noises sound good, but booing isn't the best, so why not try to find a different concert date?

Eastend
Aug 6, 2010, 08:08 PM
This will cost you money. You can do this, with SoundTrack Pro, Soundsoap Pro, iZotope RX, I believe even Bias Peak can do this. You take a sample of just the crowd noise and nothing else and then you can remove it in almost any of these applications (Probably other expensive audio applications can do this as well). SoundSoap Pro and iZotope RX cost a similar price (a little high). A less costly route maybe the regular version of SoundSoap that used to cost 25% of what the pro version cost, it can also do this (I understand that SoundSoap now comes with Toast Pro, not sure about that though.) But as with any recording that was not recorded well, it will never be perfect.

MowingDevil
Aug 7, 2010, 02:17 AM
You can also get an LE version of SoundSoap that runs as a plugin for Peak. I've been using it myself and its amazing.