Audio Enhancement: When Do It Yourself Won’t Work

Can an audio recording be enhanced? Forensic audio enhancement is a process of removing unwanted sounds and preserving the wanted sound. Unwanted sounds include static, HVAC fans, hums, and other distracting background noise. The goal is to reveal or uncover the dialogue, conversation or wanted sound in an audio recording.

The question is can a recording be enhanced?

Perhaps you have tried to use audacity to enhance the recording yourself. This does not always work especially when you consider the training and experience an audio forensic expert has.

Forensic audio enhancement helps reveal conversations as they occurred. There are also times when an audio enhancement is unable to clarify the dialogue. The only way to tell is to test the recording in an audio forensic lab. At Primeau Forensics, we call this a preliminary analysis.

Analog and Digital Recordings

Analog recordings are those that have been created using some type of tape recorder, such as a cassette tape. They may be old and likely have lost some of their audio fidelity. Tape noise and hiss may also be present, which are further examples of unwanted sounds. Analog tape also has a short shelf life, usually 25 years, which quickly degrades the quality of analog recordings.

When audio forensic experts enhance analog recordings, the primary goal is to restore the lost or wanted sounds such as the dialogue. A secondary goal that is accomplished through this process is the transfer of the audio recording to a digital format in a forensically sound manner. This ensures that no further degradation will occur to the file and provide a duplicate of the recording that is acceptable in court.

Digital recordings are audio recordings that have been created on a digital recorder, no cassette type of tape is involved. Digital recorders capture the recordings on an internal chip or removable storage device like an SD card. In this case, the primary goal of the audio forensic expert is to remove any unwanted sounds from the recordings. The audio forensic expert will also preserve an exact duplicate of the evidence recording for their own records and for the court.


After 36 years of practicing as an audio forensic expert, my team and I have successfully enhanced hundreds of poor-quality audio recordings to be used in litigations. We have been extensively trained in forensic audio enhancement. We have completed and testified in dozens of cases and courts about my forensic enhancement and know the best tools to use for the forensic audio enhancement process. Contact us to learn more about our forensic audio enhancement services.

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