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I used to have a motherboard with Realtek HD Audio drivers. Although the driver and bundled software were clunky, annoying, and redundant, surprisingly it had features for Noise Suppression and Echo Cancellation when using microphones.

I have been taking this for granted as I work in data centers throughout the week, and I need to make calls over skype/google. Unfortunately the receiving end hears the blasting noise of air conditioners in the background.

I later switched to a computer that uses VIA drivers, also with a bundle of clunky drivers. Unfortunately, they don't have any of these features.

So I've been looking hard, but can't find any software that can perform the noise cancellation. It seems like it would need to hook in the driver level, but maybe this can be a generic filter that is used by applications that need to interface with the microphone.

Any information would be useful.

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closed as off-topic by Nifle, Tog, Kevin Panko, Ramhound, soandos May 26 at 19:10

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I believe skype has echo cancellation built in. Echo cancellation is not as simple as it sounds because the of what the audio codec does to the audio stream. –  Matt H Feb 20 '12 at 22:44
    
Use a headset mic. –  Matt H Feb 20 '12 at 22:45
    
From a developer's perspective, Vista and above have a built-in noise suppression and echo cancellation component as part of the audio stack. –  Eric Brown May 11 at 5:00
    
@EricBrown, is there some way to use/enable that for the selected standard input device so that other applications get the filtered/improved result? –  Qtax May 12 at 12:21
    
@Qtax The application would have to specifically ask for it. (Which is why I didn't put this as an answer.) –  Eric Brown May 12 at 14:17
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4 Answers

Skype has noise & echo cancellation built in.

See: Call quality issues

I believe there are simple adjustments you can make to skype as well. One that I've played with before is "Allow Skype to automatically adjust my mixer levels". I've had better success turning that off in some situations.

Also, use a headset mic where possible. It will help immensely to cut down unwanted background noise because the mic sensitivity doesn't need to be so high with the mic so near your mouth.

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Try to use SoilCall Pro and Voice Shaper.

Voice Shaper: http://www.dxatlas.com/vshaper/

SoilCall Pro: http://www.solicall.com/products.html

I hope this information would be helpful :)

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+1. SoilCall Pro does reduce noise, pretty well, but the sound has some "clipping" sounds at times (win7 x64, Intel i7-4770k). (Guessing it could be something like the driver/app not having high enough priority/realtime, so the processing delays maybe could introduce these sound bugs.) Too bad it's not free, seems you get some kind of 14 day trial after installing it. –  Qtax May 5 at 22:13
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There are basically two scenarios here, noise reduction and echo suppression, which are very different beasts.

I am more familiar with echo suppression (AEC), and to do this properly it needs to be done at the lowest level possible as close to the captured mic input and playback hardware as possible.

Ideally the device driver would be the perfect place to put it, but few windows drivers support it probably because most good AEC algorithms cost money to license.

It can be done at the program/application level if you can access the buffer immediately as it has been recorded, and the buffer that has just been played. This is usually done in the application, and each application does it slightly differently if at all.

So the answer to the echo cancellation is No I do not believe there is generic software or filters that can do AEC.

Noise suppression is a different issue and requires some well understood algorithms be applied to the recorded microphone data before passing onto the application, so in this case I think it would be possible to apply a filter to the mic and generic application level software (or drivers) should be available, unfortunately I am not aware of any.

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Right click the Speaker option in the task bar and choose Playback devices. Choose the default running device and then open it's properties. Go to enhancements and choose Voice cancellation which will reduce the redundant noise and works exactly like noise reduction.

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What you mention is a driver feature (or so it seems), and as the OP states he (and others) do not have such options. Unless you know how to get and install drivers which are compatible with generic devices that have these settings, this isn't of any use. –  Qtax May 12 at 9:00
    
I don't know what you're talking about but it isn't about driver. Even the windows audio drivers can perform this task. All latest realtek drivers can do the trick. Get realtek ac97 drivers. –  Hunter May 12 at 11:29
    
As the question and my comment states, this question is about when there are no options/settings like that (in the driver GUI if any, nor in the properties where you say). Feel free to suggest how to make these options appear there, that would answer the question. –  Qtax May 12 at 12:22
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