How to Use the Waves X-Noise
By Seamus Islwyn
Updated September 22, 2017
The Waves X-Noise audio effect plugin removes background noise from audio recordings. X-Noise works best when removing constant noise like an electrical hum or the hiss from a record player, rather than noises that occur intermittently throughout a recording. The plugin is available in several versions, including a VST plugin for programs such as Ableton and Cubase, an RTAS version for Pro Tools, and an AU version for Mac programs such as GarageBand and Logic. While you can use X-Noise's presets to get a feeling for the plugin, configuring the noise reduction parameters yourself will provide the best results.
Launch your digital audio workstation or audio editing program. Open the file from which you want to remove background noise. Drag and drop Waves X-Noise from the plugins section onto the audio track.
Select a portion of the audio that contains only noise. Start playing the audio, then immediately click the "Learn" button in Waves X-Noise. Allow X-Noise to capture a few seconds of noise, then click "Learning."
Click the "High" button next to "Resolution." Start playing the audio. Drag the "Thresh" and "Reduction" sliders gradually upward; as you move the sliders, X-Noise will apply more noise reduction to the audio. When the noise disappears, stop moving the sliders.
Click and drag the "Attack" and "Release" values to change how quickly X-Noise applies the noise reduction. The larger the values, the more gradual the application. Increase these settings if you hear clicks or pops in the audio.
Adjust the "High Shelf" settings to increase the amount of noise reduction in the higher frequencies, which usually contain more noise than lower frequencies. Change the "Freq" setting to determine the point at which X-Noise begins to apply high-frequency noise reduction. Adjust the "Gain" setting to determine how much reduction it applies.
If the audio starts to skip or your computer starts to freeze, change the "Resolution" setting to "Low" or "Med." Click "Difference" to hear the amount of noise that X-Noise is removing.
The X-Noise plugin creates a delay of 116 milliseconds in the audio; compensate for this latency in your workstation's preferences, if possible.
Seamus Islwyn has been writing for radio, print and online publications since 2003, covering subjects from independent Canadian music to automobile smuggling in the Balkans. His work has appeared in the "Tirana Times" in Albania, and he also composes and produces electronic music. Islwyn holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from McGill University and a certificate in radio broadcasting from Humber College.