A Method of Decreasing Audio Echoes

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the November, 2009, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

David Fortin writes:

I’m wondering if you might have covered this in one of your tutorials and/or could direct me to a resource for this info. (I’ve searched other forums and things, but you never know where the info is coming from, and if the information is reliable. After reading your monthly newsletter, meeting you in person at a Boston FCPUG meeting and purchasing a few small tutorials, I can count on you to explain it efficiently and reliably. And, to say, “I don’t know”, if you don’t!)


In shooting a documentary with 20+ interviews, 4 of them ended up in an empty chapel with wooden walls, hard floors and wooden pews. As you can imagine the sound is not that great. And I think that me hiding the TRAM lav under collars and the like, didn’t help it any. its shot with a Sony EX-1. The lighting is pretty good, which I think makes the audio “sound” even worse, since the image is so nice.


Do you have a resource I can turn to or tutorial I can purchase that might cover how to reduce the echo a little? I know there probably isn’t anything I can do to get rid of it, but any help will be good. The content of the interviews were great but the sound quality pales in comparison to the rest of the interviews.

Larry replies: Prior to getting Brandon’s email (see below), this was one of my two least favorite types of emails, because I don’t have good news at this point. (My least favorite is when someone writes asking if I know where there’s any work. I hate saying no.)

I don’t know of any technology that will remove or reduce echoes. All noise reduction filters work by manipulating frequencies – however, the frequency of the echo is the same as the frequency of the voice, which means that whatever you do to the echo is also done to the voice.

You can play a bit with the lower frequencies to try to warm things up a bit, but, as Hollywood has discovered, if you need to get rid of echoes, your best option is to re-record.

its too late now, but what I’ve done in the past for interviews like this is hang heavy sound-blankets just outside the range of the camera to kill some of the echoes. Also, lavalieres are notorious for picking up echoes. A short-shotgun mic is much better for these situations.

UPDATE – Jan. 2, 2010

Brandon Sommers sent this in:

I recently discovered a plug-in that does a wonderful job on echo reduction. I used it on a kitchen/cooking show where we should have hung blankets and it really reduced a lot of the echo sound:




They have 14 day free trial

Larry replies: Brandon, this is great! I have NOT tried this, but if it helps reduce echoes, it could a very big help to a lot of people. Thanks!


Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Method of Decreasing Audio Echoes

  1. Brian Barnes says:

    I have tried all sorts of things over the years including the de verb plug in which works a small amount.
    By chance I noticed that using the noise reducer in soundtrack pro can quite amazingly reduce the reverb!
    You need to play with what part you sample and with the amounts and mix, but it can work wonders.

    • Mike Libunao says:

      Brandon and/or Brian,

      How did you guys actually use de verb with Final Cut Pro X? I can’t seem to figure it out. The plugin itself is installed under /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components, but I how can I get FCPX to see it?


  2. Bill Snyder says:

    It installed the plug-in but when I drag it onto a clip in FCPX the audio disappears, the waveform is gone. Any help? Yeah this is the 14 day trial. Not going to buy it if it doesn’t work.

  3. Casey Hayward says:

    Hey Bill,

    If you’re still interested I had the same problem. The issue is that you have to register SPL even if you are using the trial. Go through the activation process and then choose 14 day trial. I have no affiliation with the company but all I can say is wow. It did wonders on an interview that I shot in a large ballroom, No more echo!

    Good luck.

    • The link to this product is no longer available. Can you tell me the actual name of this echo removing plugin or where to find it now

      • Larry says:


        Since I first wrote this article, back in 2009, technology has changed a lot.

        An EXCELLENT! utility that removes echoes and cleans up all kinds of other audio problems is RX5, from Isotope. This program supports most audio and video editing software and is considered a standard in the industry. Isotope updates it on a regular basis, so the name may increment in the future.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.