Removing Echo from Audio with Adobe Audition

So, there I was, shooting a video for a Peer Review for StreamingMedia.com. If you're not familiar with these videos, it's where I critique videos presented by different web sites. While I simply don't have the production facilities to match the quality of some of the sites that I comment on, I do try to maximize the quality of my audio and video.

I was trying out a new microphone with the video segment, saw that levels were good, but didn't otherway pay attention to the quality. Then I got to editing the video (after putting away the lights, and storing all the audio gear, of course) and noticed a pretty severe echo in the audio. Well, here it is, you give it a listen.

 

Clearly unusable unless I could chromakey myself into a big church or other large room. With my deadline approaching, I quickly started Google-ing, finding many items that said removing echo was impossible. On another site, I saw a suggestion to use Adobe Audition's Center Channel Extractor (see the bottom post here).

The filter is simple enough to apply; in the main menu choose Effects > Filters > Center Channel Extractor. Here's the filter itself, which I just used in its default configuration.

center channel extractor.jpg

I applied the filter, saved the file, and this is what I got.

It's not perfect, but it's good enough to use in the final production. Here's the before again for easier comparison.

So, if you run into a similar problem, give it a shot!


Comments (26)

A.F.
Said this on 7-21-2011 At 03:13 am

Good for you! I checked all those forum replies too. The most I found was some butthead named Steve who kept jumping down people's throats about how the echo couldn't be helped. Thank you for giving something useful!

Said this on 7-21-2011 At 08:32 am
Thanks, man. Now Audition is available cross platform, which is sweet).

Thanks for your note.

Jan
tim
Said this on 7-31-2014 At 01:25 pm

Saw those too!  Steve was rather an unhelpful butthead wasn't he!

Could you see that guy working for Skywalker Sound?

"Sorry Mr. Lucas, that's just they way it was recorded!  I can't unbake a cake!"

 

Said this on 7-31-2014 At 01:36 pm

LOL, I know right? Glad you found this info useful.

Jan

Said this on 11-8-2011 At 08:08 pm

If the vocals were recorded with a stereo mic, you could potentially:

Open the waveform in Audition. Turn off either the left or right channel output in the waveform editor & see if it sounds any better with one mono channel as opposed to both.

I've had a phenomena happen with recording Internet radio streams from web players on occasion where the left & right channels seemingly got 'out of sync', causing the echo effect. So I delete one side, copy the remaining & paste into the empty channel.

Jan
Said this on 11-9-2011 At 12:44 am
Travis:

Interesting. I'll give it a try next time I run into the problem. Thanks for sharing.

Jan
Lebanon Raingam
Said this on 3-5-2012 At 12:44 am

Thanks, I was just about to ask where could I find the "Center Channel Extractor" in Adobe Audition CS5.5, luckily it's in the filter sub-menu, but under "Stereo Imagery". Effects>Stereo Imagery>Center Channel Extractor... Cheers!!

Said this on 3-5-2012 At 03:52 am
Thanks for sharing!

Jan
Said this on 2-13-2014 At 10:26 am

I've received an mp3 single channel narration file with an echo. I tried to use the Center Channel Extractor but it is grayed out. Is that because it is not a stereo file?

Said this on 2-13-2014 At 11:38 am
Larry:

I just loaded a mono file and the effect wasn't grayed out; are you able to apply it or not? I even tried a mono .mp3 file and the filter applied without any problem.

More details and maybe I'll be able to help.

Jan
Ruben
Said this on 11-12-2012 At 11:21 pm

Dude! - thanks for sharing! same problem here!

Said this on 11-13-2012 At 09:28 am
Glad to help.

Jan
Koz
Said this on 3-7-2013 At 05:00 am

Please note that there is exactly one posting above from someone who actually got it to work and posted the before and after.  Most non-incidental vocal work is of one single microphone, say a USB microphone, and not balanced stereo microphones atop a camcorder.  When those people get echoes, they have no show, and it doesn't matter whose software you use.

We are pleased to note partial success with the stereo microphone and Center Channel Isolation technique and we will pass that along to our posters.

Koz, Audacity Forum Elf.

On behalf of SBHNS.

 

 

 

philgman
Said this on 5-21-2013 At 07:17 pm

My video was shot in a round 2 story brick room. the audio sounded good via headphones but were bad when i reviewed it off site.  Fantastic idea here but what worked for me was to use the audition preset "sing along (drop vocals 6db)" and tweak just a bit. it did remove a lot of the obvious reverb and add a bit of tin-y soiund to the high end. i EQ'd this and it worked ok. i'm giving the client  a clean version and one with canned background music so they can choose.

Jan Ozer
Said this on 5-24-2013 At 08:53 am

Whatever works! Thanks for sharing.

Jan 

Joseph Moore
Said this on 6-3-2013 At 02:34 pm

This plug-in from Zynaptics does the "impossible." It's pricey, but if it saves a session, it could pay for itself.

http://www.zynaptiq.com/unveil/

Jan
Said this on 6-3-2013 At 04:05 pm
Great, thanks for sharing.
Richard Greene
Said this on 6-22-2013 At 05:46 pm

I havefound a differentway of significantly reducing room generated echo. I've done it reproducably. It leaves some but substantually helps. The process is to apply an attenuating narrow band notch filter to the track with an attenuation of about 15db's. The exact frequency is a function of t he room accustics and the recorded voice. The room I recored in was about ~30' x 30'. For male voice I found by experimentation the notch was at about 170hz, for the female I found it to be about 220hz. My theory as to why this works is that most returning echos are significantly attenuated and are not picked up by the mic. However every room/object has their own unique resonant frequency. Sound generated at that frequency is amplified and causes the preponderance of the perceived echo. This is what is removed by the notch filter. I use Sony Sound Forge Pro which allows me to, in real time adjust both Q of the filter and frequency. I'd like to have feedback (no pun intended)on this technique.

Said this on 6-25-2013 At 02:25 pm
Richard:

Video production is the theater of whatever works - if this worked for you, that's great.

If I run into this problem again, and can't eliminate it as described above, I'll try your technique. Thanks for documenting it here.

Jan
Said this on 12-2-2013 At 06:03 pm

Do you have before and after samples of this technique? I'm really trying to fix some echo in my TV show and so far have not found quite the best solution for my issues. I'd like to hear what results you got.

Allen W.
Said this on 1-24-2014 At 04:43 pm

Love the notch filter technique. I had a video of a training in an auditorium (125 stadium seating, female presenter). I set the primary notch at 181 Hz w/ nearly 73 dB reduction. I also had notches on either side at 59 Hz and 1722 Hz and -34 dB and -34 dB, respectively. The result was great. It almost eliminated the ring and hum. The cost was that the dynamic range on her voice took a significant hit.

Thanks,

--Allen

.

Jan Ozer
Said this on 1-25-2014 At 11:23 am
Allen:

Thanks for weighing in. I haven't had echo in a while, but I'll give this a shot if I experience it again.

Thanks again for your note.

Jan
Said this on 12-2-2013 At 03:20 pm

Your results sound really good. I've been trying for a long time to find a fix for my own echo problems and I'll definitely give this a try. I have to say that I tried the Unveil plugin and it didn't give as good results as you seem to have gotten with this simple built-in filter. I'm hoping that my echo issues aren't any more challenging for the center channel extractor. I'll give it a try today.

Said this on 12-3-2013 At 01:45 am
Tommy:Not sure what's going on. The audio files are available on the page and one note mentioned that they sounded good. Not sure what to tell you. Note that I've gotten even better results with the iZotope RX3 audio editor, as well. If Audition doesn't work for you, try iZotope.Jan
Jordon
Said this on 2-23-2014 At 08:52 pm

Oh my God!! Thank you so much!! This is incredible!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! This works perfectly!

Said this on 2-23-2014 At 09:07 pm
So nice to hear. Glad you found us and thanks for sharing.

Jan
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