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Turn Off built-in Noise Cancellation

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2019 11:20AM GMT

How to turn off built-in recording Noise Cancellation on a Windows PC

If you record from your in-built microphone and your recordings have a watery sound, your PC is probably applying noise cancellation during recording. Whilst very helpful for Skype calls in noisy places (what it is designed for), it is very unhelpful for recording lectures. Sure, it reduces the background noise level, but it will also make the speech less clear, making it unintelligible if recorded at a distance. The good news is you can normally turn it off, the bad news is that the place to do this is buried within the recording control panel. This document will help you find it and turn it off.


1 Open Control Panel and select “Hardware and Sound”
2 Select “Sound”. You get a pop-up box with these tabs:

Select the “Recording” tab.
3 You will now see a list of recording devices known about by your computer. There may only be one – the built-in microphone – or there may be others, if you have plugged in a headset or external microphone at some point. Select the built-in microphone, it will probably have a green tick next to it because it is the normal recording device:

Once you have selected the built-in microphone, the Properties button will un-grey and you can click on it to change the properties of the microphone.
4. One of the Properties tabs is called “Enhancements”. Select this:

5. You will see a list of enhancements offered for this microphone. The one you are looking for is called either “Noise Suppression” or “Noise Cancellation”. If it is there but is already unticked, there’s nothing more you can do – just click on “OK”. If it is there and ticked, click on the tick to turn it off. The tick will disappear. Then click on “OK”. 

If there is no tick box for “Noise Suppression” or “Noise Cancellation” or something similar, it is possible that noise cancellation is being applied without offering you the choice. If there is a generic turn-off-all-enhancements tick box, e.g.

try ticking that to turn off noise cancellation (as well as everything else).
When you click on “OK” you will return to the previous screens – keep clicking OK until they all have gone.
If when you record now the watery sound has gone and the distant speech sounds much clearer, you have succeeded in turning off the noise cancellation. However, if for any particular recording you would like to try noise cancellation, simply select “Noise Cancellation” in Audio Notetaker’s AUDIO CLEAN-UP menu in the toolbar, and it will be applied when you play back.

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