This guide will give you our top 6 picks for noise reduction plugins plus 3 free options.
What Is Noise Reduction In Sound?
Noise reduction is a process used in audio to eliminate or attenuate unwanted noises. Working with recorded audio and analog gear will usually mean dealing with background noise, resonances, room tones, etc. That’s why these tools come very handy to get cleaner tracks and compensate for noisy instruments or untreated rooms.
But now let’s dive into the actual list:
Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins 2021
1. Klevgrand Brusfri 2 Review
A very efficient, easy, and powerful noise reduction plugin with a modern interface.
Brusfri is a modern noise reduction plugin that allows you to clean up your tracks with an intelligent algorithm that identifies unwanted noise and suppresses it. This plugin comes packed with a very intuitive and straightforward interface to make everything easier and smoother.
Using this plugin consists of two steps. First, you must play a portion of your track where the unwanted noise is isolated; after that, the plugin will suppress the noise and that’s all! However, Brusfri will also provide you control over the attack, release, threshold, gain, mix, among other parameters.
- No phase altering
Most noise reduction plugins suppress the noise by altering the phase. Even though that method can be helpful, altering those parameters can cause phase cancelation, and mono speakers will not reproduce your songs accurately. However, Brusfri does not change the phase; instead, it attenuates noise by subtracting frequencies. That being said, this plugin is a great alternative to avoid phase issues.
- Intuitive interface
The interface is very intuitive and easy to understand. It comes with an envelope graph instead of individual knobs and sliders for attack, release, and threshold to provide visual feedback about the plugin’s behavior. Also, the knobs on the right module are very accurate and manageable.
- Ease to use
Most times, all you’ll have to do is press the learn button to suppress the noise. However, if you don’t get the desired results, don’t hesitate to use the knobs. They’re self-explanatory and easy to use.
This plugin requires macOS 10.12 or higher, 64 bits or Windows 7 with SP1 or higher, 64 bits only in AU, VST, or AAX.
When it comes to noise-canceling, there’s not so much to say. If you’re looking for an easy and modern plugin, this is the right option for you. Usually, the algorithm will do the job for you. However, there’s also room for customization and tweaking the parameters to get your track as clean as you want.
2. Acon Digital Extract: Dialogue Review
Automatic solution for noise reduction, few parameters significant results.
Dialogue is a fully automatic noise reduction plugin designed exclusively for voice. It features an algorithm that works in real-time to suppress background noise. This plugin is ideal for podcasts, interviews, even singers.
This plugin’s algorithm was trained with voice samples to distinguish the frequencies, timber, and behavior of these sources and separate them from wind, traffic hum, or other types of background noise. Even though this plugin reduces the noise automatically, you can adjust the sensitivity with the slider located on the left side of the interface.
- Eq bands
This plugin will allow you to use three customizable eq filters to increase or reduce noise reduction applied to the predefined frequency spots. If you want a noise reducer to work smoother, It is essential to control the noise reduction per band. That being said, you can adjust and bypass the eq filters to manipulate the amount of attenuation.
Dialogue comes with a very clean and efficient user interface. You will find a sensitivity slider to adjust the threshold and a max attenuation knob that works as a ratio on the left side. Also, you have a spectrum analyzer to monitor your signal (gray) and the signal after the reduction (orange). Finally, additional functions like solo noise and eq filters will be located on the right side.
This plugin requires Windows 7 or higher, 32/64 bits, and macOS 10.12 or higher, 64 bits. It comes in VST, VST3, or AAX format.
Acon digital extract Dialogue is the best option if you are looking for an easy plugin with few parameters and an intelligent algorithm that will do most of your work. You won’t have much room for adjusting parameters. However, the plugin suppresses the noise very well, and the algorithm used is transparent and efficient.
3. Waves WNS Noise Suppression Review
Multiband noise suppression with intelligent assistance.
WNS noise suppressor is a zero-latency noise reduction plugin that can suppress noise in dialogues, podcasts, interviews, and most spoken recordings. It features six adjustable bands to attenuate the unwanted noise depending on the frequency. Additionally, the display provides lots of information for accurate monitoring. Finally, this plugin features a “Suggest” mode that will analyze the audio and automatically adjust the settings to give you a starting point.
- EQ bands
This Waves plugin will provide you with six independent bands to apply noise reduction dynamically. The values can be modified to shape the noise reduction as desired. Also, you can use the high and low cut this plugin provides to eliminate unwanted hiss or rumble.
- Suggest feature
The suggest feature was a technology introduced by waves to analyze your audio and adjust the parameters according to a perceived noise. This functionality is beneficial because the multiple eq bands plus the smoothness and threshold sliders might confuse some users and make this plugin hard to use. That being said, the suggest button will give you excellent solutions most of the time.
- Zero-latency display
WNS comes with a very accurate zero-latency display that represents every modification and change in real-time. It consists of a frequency spectrum for the input signal, a white line for the suppression, a blue line for the fader’s gain, and a yellow one for the suggest features.
This plugin is available for Windows 10, 64 bits, and macOS 10.13.6 or higher, 64 bits. It comes in AAX, Audiosuit, AU, VST, and VST3 format.
This plugin is ideal for dialogues and post-production. If you want a musical or less aggressive noise suppressor, this is not the right option for you. Nonetheless, video editors will love this plugin, because it reduces the noise with minor modifications to the voices. Lastly, If you like this plugin, you should check out the Waves NS-1 for tracking and mixing.
4. Sonnox Oxford DeNoiser Review
Surgical noise reduction, everything you need, and even more in terms of noise suppression.
Denoiser is a plugin designed by the well-known developer Sonnox. This is a very versatile and complete noise reduction plugin with five noise reduction modules plus a spectrum analyzer for monitoring what the plugin is doing.
We recommend using this plugin to remove specific types of noise or if you look for versatility and different attenuation possibilities. In this plugin, you will have to adjust everything manually, all parameters can be modified, and the individual modules can be bypassed to A/B without turning the plugin off.
- Five Modules
Input will allow you to monitor the incoming signal with the meter and adjust the trim.
De-hisser will reduce harsh high frequencies and hiss noise. This function is beneficial if you used cheap microphones for recording or if you have noisy analog equipment. Also, it features a cutoff knob to highpass the unwanted frequencies.
Detect will act as a threshold or sensitivity slider. You can control the minimum volume at which the plugin will start suppressing the noise and how harsh the plugin will behave. Finally, you can add analog post equalization with the color and air knobs.
Remove will act as a ratio module. The amount of reduction can be fixed here as well as the makeup gain and a high cut to remove high frequencies.
Output the last module allows you to monitor the output signal, listen to the noise that is being removed, add harmonic distortion with the warmth knob and adjust the output signal with the trim option
- Spectrum analyzer
This plugin comes with a well-built spectrum analyzer that illustrates how the signal is affected and the equalization curve after the noise reduction. Every parameter you adjust will have some visual representation on the spectrum analyzer, making this plugin very easy to monitor and understand.
- Warmth control
Sometimes, using noise reduction plugins can modify the equalization and character of the input signal. However, to counteract this issue, Denoiser comes with a warmth knob to add harmonic distortion and compensate for noise reduction.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.7 or higher, 64bits and Windows XP or higher, 32/64 bits. It comes in AAX, AU, VST, RTAS format.
Sonnox Denoiser is a very complete and versatile plugin that can do everything from surgical noise removal to overall cleaning of the tracks. Mastering this plugin can take a while because it offers so many functionalities and options. We recommend this plugin for experienced users because you must know how to use an equalizer, filter, compressor, and noise gate. If you want a more straightforward plugin, check the following on our list.
5. UAD C-Suite C-Vox Review
UAD plugin to clean up your vocals when tracking or while mixing.
This Apollo exclusive plugin combines noise suppression technology created by Cedar with real-time UAD processing. This plugin was designed to clean room and reverberation from vocal tracks recorded in poorly treated rooms.
C-VOX is very easy to use. You have sliders to adjust attenuation and ambience reduction and shift between the noise and room mode. This Plugin can be used when tracking because it features a zero-latency technology that eliminates the delay.
The zero-latency technology works for both tracking and real-time monitoring. One fantastic feature this plugin has is recording and printing the audio with the plugin inserted. That way, you won’t have to use it on the mix because the audio is already noise-free. The algorithm used was specifically designed for vocals, but it also works for other instruments.
- Two modes
You can choose between two options that will determine how the plugin behaves. Room mode will be ideal for reducing resonances and room tone, whereas noise will identify background sounds or interference and eliminate it.
- Adaptative processing
UAD partnered up with Cedar to create a transparent and intelligent algorithm trained with vocal samples to identify the characteristics of the voice and separate them from other kinds of noises. This plugin is very transparent and tries to leave the phase and equalization as clean as possible in real-time.
You need a Universal Audio interface to use this plugin. It comes in AU, VST, and AAX formats.
C-vox is a very powerful and modern plugin designed by UAD for cleaner vocals. This plugin is the right option if you own a Universal Audio interface and want to record your tracks with zero noise without compromising the quality. Transparency and sophistication are two of this plugin’s main assets.
6. Crumplepop Audio Denoise 2 Review (Not compatible with DAWs)
AudioDenoise 2 is a sample-based plugin that you can use to identify unwanted sounds and reduce the background noise part even in the most complex daily situations.
It’s easy to use, locate and play your DAW cursor on the problematic area, and click the “Sample” button. As a result, you will get a very natural-sounding background. The sample function is very useful because you can keep sampling until you like what you hear – all during real-time playback.
This plugin has a very intelligent algorithm that can identify and suppress the noise automatically. You can also adjust the amount of noise reduction with the strength knob, and how much reduction is applied per band with the eq knobs located on the bottom.
- Sample-based denoise
Audio denoise comes with a sample-based noise suppression technology that can identify the noise if you play it, isolated it, and reduce it in the whole track. This function comes very handy if you have a portion of your track where the unwanted noise can be heard clearly; be careful to avoid leakings from other signals because the plugin will identify them as noise and suppress them.
IMPORTANT – Denoise 2 is a standalone application and does not work with DAWs. It is available exclusively for macOS v10.13 or higher 64 bits.
AudioDenoise 2 is great audio “clean up” tool, simple, effective, and a huge time-saver, and the best part is very easy to use. It’s also a super-efficient way to reduce background noise, making the process of recording very smooth. The sampling technology will be very handy for inexperienced users or quick solutions.
The 3 Best Free Noise Reduction Plugins 2021
1. Bertom Audio Denoiser 2 Review
Free multiband solution with low CPU requirements.
Bertom denoiser is a plugin designed for music, podcasts, and post-production. This plugin comes with five independent EQ bands and low and high-cut filters. To use this plugin, you must adjust the threshold and the individual bands that can work either linked or independently. Even though you don’t have a monitor or display screen on this plugin, you have dynamic green bars on every eq band to represent the amount of noise reduction that is being applied.
- Low CPU
This plugin consumes a very low CPU, making it very efficient and handy if you need to suppress noise in multiple tracks in a single session. However, using those few resources makes sacrifices some visual assets like a spectrum analyzer or meters.
- Dynamic treatment
With this plugin, you will get five independent eq bands to treat each frequency range differently. You can adjust the values depending on the amount of noise reduction you want a per band. Additionally, if you’re going to reduce the noise equally on the whole track, you might want to link the bands to make them work together.
This plugin is available for windows 7 or higher, 64 bits, and MacOS 10.9 or higher, bits. It comes in VST and AU format.
Denoiser 2 is a great plugin for beginners and users that are looking for an easy solution. The fact it doesn’t come with a monitoring display isn’t fully negative; this plugin will force you to use your ears to make your decisions rather than your eyes, which is what we all must do when mixing.
2. Bitsonic Sound Recovery Review
Noise filtering and Audio restoration in one plugin.
Sound Recovery is a plugin designed for repairing ineligible soundtracks and make them decent to understand. This can be helpful in cases where equalizing isn’t good enough.
This function eliminates unwanted noise from low-mid and mid-high frequencies. It can be very helpful to fix recording issues, boxiness, or unintelligibility.
- Recovery and Enhancer
These two knobs are the main parameters for audio restoring. Recovery will send the audio to an overdrive module to generate harmonics and make the audio more pleasing. On the other hand, Enhancer will work on the mid frequencies to create harmonics.
This plugin is available for Windows XP or higher, 32/64 bits, and macOS 12.10 or higher 64 bits in VST AAX and standalone format.
If your main choice is restoring the intelligibility of recorded audio, this plug-in is a must-have. It works great for the audio restaurateurs and forensic field. Even though this plugin is very flexible and versatile, we advise you not to use it on music vocals because it can be a little harsh with suppression.
3. Cockos ReaFIR Review
Equalizer, compressor, and noise suppressor all in one.
ReaFIR is a Reaper native plugin that works as an equalizer, compressor, and noise reducer. Using it is very simple, you must create a noise profile by playing a portion of your audio where the noise is isolated; after that, you must click on “automatically create noise profile” and adjust the intensity of the reduction. This plugin is a great alternative because it consumes a small amount of CPU and does not require much expertise.
This is a versatile plugin that can be used as a compressor equalizer or noise suppressor. However, the last option is where it shines the most. We advise you to look at other options Reaper offers with dedicated equalizers and compressors to accomplish these tasks better. Nonetheless, this is a great option for noise reduction if you want to use your DAW stock plugins.
One of the reasons we find this plugin incredible is the automation feature. After you tell the plugin to build a noise profile, it will create it right away and start suppressing the noise. All you must do is adjust the threshold to preserve the original audio’s harmonics and frequencies.
To use this plugin, you must own the DAW Reaper. That being said, Reaper is available for Windows XP or above, 64 bits Linux x86, and macOS 10.5 or above, 64 bits.
This native plugin is ideal for quick noise suppression with low CPU consumption and fast results. However, this may not be the best option if you want to remove specific noises or you want more control over your noise reduction. Most DAW’s stock plugins can accomplish the same functionalities as most third-party VSTs. We advise you to explore and try out your favorite DAW native plugins, you may find great alternatives with great compatibility and low CPU usage.
BOOM Library Debird Review
The DEBIRD plugin is a straightforward but powerful tool that is used to remove bird sounds from the background. It employs “Deep Learning” to do all the cleaning work.
You can develop other activities while DEBIRD does all the extracts effortlessly. This plugin will analyze your audio and clean it fully automatically. The downside is that you don’t have control over the amount of noise reduction. However, if you just need some quick adjustments, this is the right option for you.
This plugin will allow you to clean up your audio with a single click. You must load the audio file and it will automatically do all the job for you. Making your workflow more straightforward and faster.
- Advanced Machine Learning
The Algorithm guarantees the most precise removal noise without audible loss of the desired sound frequencies. This plugin will preserve the audio quality and remove what it identifies as noise.
This plugin is available for windows 7 or higher 32/64 bits and macOS 10.11 or higher 64 bits. It comes in VST, VST3, and AAX format.
DEBIRD is a time saver. It turns hours of work into seconds. Regarding fast processing, no matter how fast you remove sounds with other background noise trackers, DEBIRD is faster. You can now plan recording sessions without thinking about invasive methods to do so. Lastly, DEBIRD ‘s Machine Learning capabilities help the tool to improve over time. Works excellent for editors.
Rafael Medina is a Music producer, mixing engineer, and bassist. He plays the bass with his band Outburst and produces local artists in his home studio. Rafael is currently graduating with a Music degree at Algoma University.