Waves is starting to produce a few more ‘one-dial’ plug-ins these days, and following on the heels of the OneKnob series is the NS1 Noise Suppressor. It’s an automatic noise suppression processor that is meant for use on any source where background noise is interfering with the sound you actually want to hear. Typically, this might be dialogue, voiceover/broadcast and audio forensics but also music, in a situation where a recording environment was less than perfect.
Price: TDM $149. Native $99
Contact: Source Distribution – 0845 500 2500
Like all of Waves’ plug-ins it comes in 32- and 64-bit versions and the installation process is simple. You can now authorise without having to go through iLok’s website, which is a bit more elegant. Call up the plug-in on an audio track that contains background noise and raise the fader until you start to hear the unwanted noise being removed. An attenuation meter shows the amount of removal that’s taking place. It’s not stated but this is likely some kind of gating effect, but with the settings cleverly combined into a single fader. The plug-in instantly analyses and adapts to the signal in real time and offers surprisingly accurate results.
The trick with gating is to cut off the unwanted noise without making the foreground noise sound curtailed or strange, something you usually do with Threshold and Attack controls. Here there’s just the one fader, but it’s really adept at removing hiss and room noise and seemed to get it right on the material we tested. Obviously, the idea is to set the fader at the point where background suppression is happening but foreground curtailment is not.
There are no built-in presets, since every case will probably be different, but you can save your own and also use Waves’ tried-and-tested A/B system to test two different treatments. The NS1 works extremely well and is much quicker and easier than fiddling with gate settings, especially for less technically minded producers, radio or film editors. At $99 for the Native and $149 for the TDM versions, it’s a valuable addition to any setup.
Simple but effective. An excellent tool for removing background noise from audio recordings.