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4 Quick Tips for Fixing Damaged Audio

You finally got your band into the studio to lay down some tracks. Perhaps you’re a production sound mixer, and have just finished weeks of a gruelling film shoot. Maybe you completed a field recording session of roaring race cars.

Then, when you load the tracks into your editing app, you notice a problem. Maybe there’s buzz on the guitar track. Perhaps the main character’s dialogue is soaked with hiss. You realize you set your levels too high and the stock car passes by have peaked.

It’s a frustrating experience to realize recordings captured on location are filled with problems. After all, it’s not easy to record the same audio again. Often, it’s impossible.

Not to worry. Today’s article is here to help. It shares 4 tips to reclaim and improved damaged audio.

Repairing Audio Problems

It’s not easy to capture completely pure audio recordings. Sound problems can occur from simple human errors, such as setting levels improperly, misaligning microphones, and more. Often environmental problems occur that damage even the most prepared sessions: noise, RF interference, rumbles, and whines.

While annoying, audio problems like these are normal. Because of this, software has been designed to fix them. Most of the time these take the shape of audio plug-ins used in tandem with editing software like Nuendo, Pro Tools, and Reaper. These plug-ins select slivers of problematic audio and fix them piece by piece.

Of course, it’s more complex than clicking a single button. Often sophisticated controls are used to tweak the settings for the finest control. Often this practice of audio restoration is a diligent, difficult, and time-consuming process with one goal: repair problems as transparently as possible.

Why is audio restoration so tricky? Well, making damaged audio sound completely immaculate isn’t easy. It’s like repairing a shattered glass; yes, you can glue the shards back together again, but the result won’t be the same as an unbroken glass. The goal is to repair audio as best as possible, however, it is nearly impossible to make a sound appear completely undamaged. Just like seeing cracks in a glued tumbler, often there are subtle problems with audio even after its repaired. So, even the best software or techniques risk creating what is known as artifacts.

With time, patience, and careful listening, damaged audio can be repaired and artifacts reduced to imperceptibility.

Let’s take a look at common audio problems and learn how to fix them:

  • Clipping.
  • Noise.
  • Rumble, bumps, and mic movement.
  • Hum, buzz, and whine.