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How to reduce recorded unwanted noise?

Mark Berger:
With reference to reducing unwanted signal ("noise") in relation to what you want to hear (usually dialogue), I've found several general principles that are helpful....

(1) Berger's Law
The first, which is sometimes called "Berger's Law", is "These things work best when you need them least." A lot of hiss, crank the noise-reducing device way up, you really hear it work and the artifacts become distracting. 

(2) Piranhas are better than sharks
Second principle is"Piranhas are better than sharks." This is just an aphoristic way of restating what Randy Thom describes - many small bites are more effective than one large gulp. This is because each noise-reducing device is doing a little bit, which it does best, and the sum adds up to a more pleasing, effective sound.

For example:
Use some No-Noise or DINR, A little bit of dynamic EQ, some manual gain riding, some Dolby 430, maybe some Behringer or DBX single ended NR, a low level background loop to mask any pumping, and the dialogue will sound more acceptable than trying to do everything with just No-Noise or just DINR.

The noise-reducing process literally saved two performances in Robert Duvall's "Apostle", where he and Miranda Richardson are dining at a Bayoufront restaurant.

Record companies use noise-reducing devices to clean up old jazz records.

Randy Thom:
The most difficult noise to remove, of course, is noise which changes in spectral content and level over time. Classic examples in film post include car and airplane-bys under production dialog. Wind and surf are frequent offenders too.

Digital noise reduction system saved us way back on Forrest Gump when ciccadas covered Tom Hanks' dialog at the cemetary.

 Read the unedited message thread DINR vs No-Noise vs Cedar

Edited excerpt from Message thread from CAS Webboard  June 1999

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