How to Remove Background Noise in Garageband – Step-by-Step Guide

Garageband is a simple audio digital audio workstation by Apple that is geared towards beginners for quick audio editing. 

Sticking to that theme, removing background noise using Garageband is also fairly simple and can easily be done in a few easy steps. 

In this post, we’ll go over how to remove unwanted noise using a noise gate as well as manually. We’ll also mention some third-party plug-ins that you can take advantage of.

Removing Unwanted Background Noise Using a Noise Gate

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A noise gate is a tool that can be used to adjust the volume of a certain frequency (or group of frequencies). 

You can use a noise gate for noise reduction by identifying the frequencies responsible for the noise and then with the help of the noise gate lower their volume to 0. 

In order to set up a simple noise gate within Garageband, you can follow these simple steps: 

  1. Select the track that you want to reduce background noise from. 
  2. Press B in order to open the Smart Controls menu. 
  3. Click on a plug-in slot to open the plug-ins menu and then choose Noise Gate present in the Dynamics category. 
  4. From the Noise Gate’s presets, choose Tighten Up.

This is a very simple and quick way to set up a noise gate that is able to improve the sound quality of your audio track by a significant amount. 

However, reducing background noise is very rarely this easy and oftentimes, you’ll find that applying a preset like this won’t do enough when it comes to reducing noise within your sound recording. 

To manually apply a noise gate, you can follow some similar steps within Garageband: 

  1. Select the entire track you want to apply noise reduction on.
  2. Hit B to open the Smart Controls menu. 
  3. Check the box that says “Noise Gate”. 
  4. Proceed to slowly slide the bar next to where it says “Noise Gate” until a point is reached where the noise has been significantly reduced without affecting the sound quality of your recording. This is usually anywhere between -50 dB and – 10 dB.

Be careful when applying noise gates to any audio file as overdoing it will make it sound choppy and odd. 

Tips on Using a Noise Gate in Garageband

Using Presets

While it’s super easy to use a noise gate manually as we’ve shown above, you can still take advantage of the seven presets for noise gates that are available within Garageband. 

You can check out the presets by clicking on the Noise Gate plug-in in the Smart Controls menu and then, you can see the presets in the drop-down menu. 

The seven presets are namely: 

  • Acoustic Bass Gate 
  • Backing Vocal Gate 
  • Electric Bass Gate 
  • Fast Gate 
  • Hard Floor Noise Cut 
  • Percussion Gate
  • Tighten Up

It can be a good idea to experiment with different presets and then, play around with their settings to see which one suits your voice best. 

The Order in Which You Apply Effects Matters

This may come as a surprise to beginners but audio engineering veterans know very well that the order in which you apply different effects on your voice matters a lot. 

For example, if you use a compressor to amplify the quieter parts of your audio and downplay the louder parts of it, you may find that a lot of background noise may have gotten amplified as well. 

Thus, you can then use a noise gate after you use a compressor to reduce the volume level of these undesirable sounds. 

You can even use a noise gate both before as well as after you use a compressor in order to really reduce background noise or any unwanted hiss or hum. 

One may think that equalizing and exporting a recording is a hard task. However, we have made these tasks easier for you in our guides.

how to remove background noise in garageband

Reducing Background Noise Manually 

You can reduce noise manually in Garageband by parsing through your audio track and removing any sources of sound you find. 

Let’s see how we can do this: 

  1. Start by selecting your audio track by double-clicking it. This will highlight it. 
  2. Zoom into the track through the Zoom function on your trackpad. 
  3. Once you zoom in, you’ll be able to see all of the little sources of background noise within your waveform. They will be present in the form of tiny waves. 
  4. Select these parts within your audio recording that you want to cut out and press Command + T to cut them out. 
  5. Go through your entire track and use this method to cut out any sources of noise within your audio track. 

Once you perform this process, you’ll be left with a group of several tracks with little spaces in between that you cut out. 

In order to merge them into one to create one track with reduced background noise, you can follow these steps: 

  1. Press Command + D to create a new track with duplicated settings. 
  2. Copy and paste the entire group of tracks that were created as a result of you removing sections of noise. 
  3. Select all of the tracks in the new track region and then, press Command + J to create a single new track that has the background noise removed. 

Third-Party Plug-Ins 

Two of the most popular plug-ins used to remove background noise are: 

  1. Bob Perry Noise Gate
  2. Celemony’s Melodyne 5

Both of these plug-ins are much more sophisticated than the noise gate tool within Garageband and have different parameters such as the Volume Threshold, Attack, Hold, Release, and Range. 

Melodyne is a great plug-in to get if you’re particularly meticulous about the way your audio sounds. This is because it allows you to eliminate background noise down to the smallest detail. 

Sound Quality and Noise Reduction 

While the process to remove noise is ultimately geared toward making your audio sound better, sometimes, it can actually make your audio worse. 

Be careful not to overdo it when you remove noise within Garageband. 

If you raise the threshold too much, you’ll end up with a recording that sounds muffled and unintelligible. 

Hence, always try to be as subtle as possible when you remove noise, hiss, and hum within your audio using Garageband. 

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Wrapping Things Up… 

We hope we’ve provided you with all the information you need to effectively eliminate noise from your audio recording(s). 

Every recording will sound different, so it’s important that you experiment with the threshold of your noise gate to find a spot that suits you. 

How do you remove unwanted noise from your sound recording(s)? Let us know in the comments below.

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