11 Free Noise Reduction Plugins

11 Free Noise Reduction Plugins 11 Free Noise Reduction Plugins

In-the-box mixing has become the norm these days, and as a result, having a quality arsenal of plugins has become essential for modern audio engineers.

Although numerous audio production tasks can be accomplished in your DAW, many producers still record live audio for their projects using microphones. Unfortunately, however, the audio recorded isn't always the cleanest. You may notice that your tracks contain different levels of noise due to factors such as ambient sound in the environment, electromagnetic interference, or microphone self-noise.

Luckily, we have noise reduction software that can address this issue

For the past few decades, noise reduction plugins have played a vital role in reducing and eliminating unwanted noise from our audio, and in this article, I want to explore what I consider to be the top free noise reduction plugins available in today's market.

What Is a Noise Reduction Plugin?

Noise reduction plugins help with the reduction of unwanted background noise, whether that's ambient hums, hiss, or any other sounds that negatively impact a recording.

In most recordings, noise is common. However, it's particularly noticeable when working outdoors or in studios where noisy analog equipment is utilized, such as amplifiers or tape machines. To ensure a clean audio signal before processing, engineers use reliable noise suppression plugins to effectively eliminate noise or hum.

These noise reduction VST plugins often find heavy use in film, TV, podcasting, and YouTube video production.

However, regardless of the type of project you're working on, it is highly likely that a quality noise reduction VST could be useful for you. The thing is that stock plugins don't always meet the requirements and often don't have the necessary features of a dedicated noise reduction tool, which is why many professionals seek out better options.

When to Use Noise Reduction Plugins

Noise reduction VSTs serve the purpose of reducing or eliminating background noise from recordings. This can include unwanted background chatter from a live performance, excessive hiss from a tube amplifier in a studio recording, or issues like hum, rumble, and mic bleed.

One thing I feel that's important to note is that I always consider noise reduction to be the final step in the audio cleanup process. Ideally, you should focus should on achieving a quality recording from the get-go. Once you have a good recording, you can rely on your post-production tools to take things to the next level.

I often talk about how crucial it is to use high-quality microphones, implement proper acoustic treatment, such as sound panels, and ensure optimal microphone placement for the instrument that you're tracking.

Of course, there are going to be cases where your audio contains unwanted noise, even if you've taken all of the proactive measures to eliminate it. At this point, you want to start utilizing gate plugins or noise reduction VST plugins.

To address issues with background noise such as rumble, traffic noise, chatter, hum, or hiss, you can use noise reduction plugins.

On the other hand, if you're looking to mitigate mic bleed and spill, which can be particularly noticeable in live drum recordings, noise gates are a much better choice.

Let's take a look at a few specific instances where you might choose to take advantage of noise reduction VST plugins.

Audio Restoration

Noise reduction plugins are often used in audio restoration to improve the quality of older or damaged recordings. For example, you can take an old tape recording and use a quality noise reducer to limit hum, hiss, clicks, background noise, or other unwanted artifacts that might be present in the source material.

Vocal Cleanup

When I work with vocal recordings, I often use a noise reduction plugin to help clean up noise, especially if the singer recorded in a space that wasn't treated very well. However, even vocal noise can vary, including everything from mic noise to room ambiance to background sounds, like a running AC or traffic.

Using a noise reducer can be especially useful for podcasters, voice-overs, and spoken word recordings.

Field Recordings

When you're out recording in the field, you'll likely capture environmental noise, wind noise, or other sounds you don't want in the final project. A noise reduction plugin is the perfect tool in this case, as it can assist in reducing these extraneous noises, all while enhancing the clarity and focus of whatever you're focused on.

Music Production

Of course, we also often use these plugins in music production, from cleaning up individual instrument tracks to getting rid of buildups on an overall mix. They can help reduce noise introduced during recording or subsequent processing stages, especially if you're running audio through vintage analog gear, which is notoriously noisy.

Live Sound

If you work in live sound scenarios, you can use these plugins to minimize ambient noise picked up by microphones on stage. Whether you're trying to reduce sound from the crowd, feedback from mics and amps, or noise from stage monitors, you can use a noise reducer to get a cleaner and more focused sound for the audience.

Podcasting and Broadcasting

I briefly mentioned earlier that noise reducers are commonly utilized in podcasting, though they're equally helpful in broadcasting too. Whether you're working with recorded interviews, remote interviews conducted via video conferencing platforms, or live discussions, they're great for suppressing background noise and echo.

Video Production

It's easy to pick out an amateur film by the way it sounds, so if you work with video content and you want to improve the audio captured during filming, such as wind noise or camera handling noise, I highly recommend getting your hand on one of these plugins.

Where Do I Place a Noise Reduction Plugin In My Signal Chain?

When processing recorded audio, it's standard to use your noise reduction plugin first in your signal chain.

This ensures that any unwanted noise is eliminated prior to passing through compressors or other effects that could potentially amplify and emphasize the noise.

Free Vs. Paid Noise Reduction Plugins

With so many excellent free noise reduction plugins available, it's hard to wonder why anyone would pay for one.

And sure, most of these options can serve your needs for basic noise removal. However, once you start encountering more challenging or nuanced noise issues, you might consider purchasing a reliable paid noise reduction plugin that can simplify the task for you.

Paid plugins generally offer more advanced features and algorithms, giving you superior noise reduction performance. Most are optimized for specific types of noise, providing better control and customization options. Think adaptive algorithms and spectral editing.

Plus, most paid plugins usually come with dedicated technical support and regular updates from the developers, so you never have to worry about compatibility with the latest software. If any issues arise, you'll have someone to get in contact with too.

Best Noise Reduction Plugins

Vadim Taranov Noise Suppression

As a guitarist, I understand the plight of recording direct-in and dealing with the noise that comes from it, especially because I use a Fender Stratocaster with single coil pickups as my main guitar, and they're incredibly noisy, especially when I begin adding effects like overdrive and distortion.

If you're in need of a plug-in that can reduce static noise from DI recordings, such as a DI electric guitar or bass, all without sacrificing the integrity of the instrument, I highly recommend checking out Vadim Taranov’s Noise Suppression plugin. 

This particular noise suppression plugin works wonders in real-time, meaning you can track with it without getting any frustrating latency. 

Compared to many other noise reduction tools on this list, Noise Suppression provides both transparency and subtlety, allowing you to maintain the same sound you got with your raw recording while significantly reducing the amount of noise that comes with it.

Bertom Denoiser Classic

Several post-production engineers rely on the Bertom Denoiser to enhance their Foley samples, as it's a highly effective denoiser plugin, particularly if you're working within a limited budget. It delivers exceptional results when cleaning up samples, videos, and audio recordings, making it a wonderful all-around option.

However, it is worth noting that this plugin requires a bit more manual input to optimize its performance than some of the other noise reduction VST plugins on this list. With two included filters and the five-band noise profile EQ, the plugin offers a level of precision comparable to Waves Z Noise in terms of noise profiling.

Nevertheless, it lacks dynamic noise adjustment and automatic noise profiling. If you're dealing with varied background noise, you may need to apply automation to maintain consistent noise reduction.

Even so, the Bertom Denoiser is one of my favorite choices for those seeking effective noise reduction capabilities on a budget. It has a great reputation for its user-friendly interface, providing a seamless experience from the moment you open it up. Plus, it operates with minimal CPU usage, giving you efficient performance without significant system strain.

I absolutely love the zero latency design, as it enables real-time processing during the playback or recording stages. It also includes stereo-link functionality for consistent noise reduction across stereo channels, as well as advanced algorithms that prevent the introduction of unwanted artifacts or "musical noise," preserving the clarity of your audio.

With its optimized CPU performance, straightforward usability, and valuable extra features, the Bertom Denoiser plugin is one of the most powerful solutions for achieving clean and pristine audio results without compromising integrity.

ToneLib Noise Reducer

If you're looking for a powerful and straightforward noise reduction plugin, I highly recommend checking out ToneLib NoiseReducer.

Not only can you use this handy plug-in to remove unwanted noise from your mixes, but it's also one of the most adaptable plugins on this list, perfect for just about any project you might be working on.

The interface is very sleek and modern for a free noise reduction plugin, and it uses intuitive controls to make the process even more efficient. All you have to do is set the detection level and response strength for your input signal to get rid of noise precisely. 

The plugin is made up of two distinct units, and you can use either of them depending on the effect you're going for. The EasyGate unit works like a gate plugin, and the Reducer Unit works like a noise reducer. If you want the ultimate noise reduction control, you can even use both of them in tandem. 

Some noise reduction plugins require advanced audio engineering knowledge or use complicated settings to get the job done, and if neither of those sounds appealing to you, then you'll no doubt love the ToneLib NoiseReducer. It's super reliable and comes without all the fuss of complex noise reduction plugins.

Whether you're looking to quickly clean up your mix during the production phase or get rid of background noises in your videos, it can be an excellent addition to any mixing or post-production suite.

Noise Bleach

From the interface alone, you can tell that Noise Bleach is a unique plug-in compared to the rest on this list. It's a super helpful tool in that it is an eight-band noise gate, which takes advantage of a dynamic matrix with different threshold levels. This means that you can choose where in the frequency spectrum you want to remove extra noise, honing in on spots that matter while leaving other spots alone. In the end, you did a very transparent, noise-free product.

I've used this to remove unwanted residences from acoustic guitar recordings and extra noise from field recordings. Thanks to its algorithm, it almost works as a transient shaper in a way, as you can remove the tail ends of samples or sounds, getting rid of room tone. 

In fact, it even comes with a transients feature so that you can extract the prominent transients from your input audio. Even though it's a very simple noise reduction tool, it has plenty of unique features that can provide your audio recordings with greater clarity.

Cockos ReaFIR

The ReaFIR plugin from Cockos is a three-in-one plug-in that acts as a noise suppressor, compressor, and equalizer. If you're a Reaper user, you already have this in your library as a native plugin.

The beauty of ReaFIR lies in its simplicity, has all you have to do is create a noise profile with the isolated noise in your audio file and adjust how intensely it reduces it. The CPU level is very low, and in terms of user-friendliness, it outranks many plugins on this list. 

However, what's most noteworthy about this plugin is how versatile it is, as you can use it as a compressor and EQ too. Of course, Reaper offers other dedicated compressors and equalizers, so you may not find yourself using these tools very often, though they are there if you need them.

I’m also a big fan of the automation features found in this plugin. Once you build the noise profile by allowing the plugin to listen to the isolated noise in your audio, it starts suppressing noise immediately. You can then automate the thresholds to preserve the original frequencies and harmonics of the raw audio from section to section, making for incredible transparency. 

Blue Lab Audio Denoiser

Blue Lab Audio Denoiser is another free noise reduction VST plugin specifically designed to eliminate hiss and background noise from audio recordings.

The plugin features a minimalist and visually appealing interface, focusing on delivering swift noise reduction with controls so simple a monkey could use them.

One notable capability of Blue Lab's Denoiser plugin is its learning feature. It works by analyzing your audio to generate a noise profile based on the gathered information. How this noise profile is applied is determined by the threshold and ratio settings you choose, meaning you can customize the extent of noise reduction you want.

Those who aren't running ultra-high-end computer systems will appreciate the fact that Blue Lab's Denoiser is highly optimized for efficient CPU usage. You get smooth performance even with intensive processing. Additionally, it offers four quality options, so you can adjust the plugin's performance according to your system's capabilities. Yup, even your 2010 MacBook that's holding on by a thread should be able to handle it!

As a dedicated noise reduction plugin, Denoiser solely focuses on reducing noise in your audio without additional features or processing. It's straightforward in its functionality, giving you everything you'd expect from a free noise-reduction VST.

However, unlike some antiquated noise reduction VST plugins, Denoiser boasts an aesthetically pleasing interface with a remarkable frequency analyzer, giving you a visual representation of your noise reduction so you can precisely see how the plugin is working.

Cockos ReaGate

While Cockos ReaGate may look like it was pulled straight from a 1999 Windows computer, it's a surprisingly advanced gating processor that works wonders on drums. I'm not a huge fan of the slider interface, though I have to admit it offers plenty of ultra-configurable controls, such as sidechain filtering, gaiting, noise mix functionality, and variable RMS size.

There are so many gating features in this plugin that even with its free price tag, it might be one of the most comprehensive on the market. 

Beyond the features that we talked about, it also allows for frequency band adjustments, hysteresis control, hold control, and look ahead pre-open. For a seemingly antiquated piece of software, it does a bang-up job.


On the other hand, if you're looking for an ultra-simplified gate plug-in without all of the Bells and whistles, I highly recommend checking out GGate. This is your most basic noise gate plugin, which you can use to minimize background noise on your recorded tracks.

All you have to do is set the threshold and the plugin will silence any incoming signal that falls below the set level, helping to minimize any annoying background hiss, hum, or other artifacts that you don't want in your mix, all while allowing the original audio source to come through with full integrity. Even when you're applying a fair amount of compression, GGate does the job well, and can be used on a wide variety of instruments.

One of my favorite uses for this plug-in is on high-gain guitars, especially if I'm playing staccato parts with silent breaks in between, such as rhythmic palm muting. It does a wonderful job of minimizing the noise between the notes, making for cleaner and tighter guitar parts. 

Bitsonic Sound Recovery

When Bitsonic's Sound Recovery hit the market back in 2016, the exceptional plugin garnered recognition by winning the KVR developers challenge. This free noise reduction plugin goes beyond simply removing noise from audio, as it also serves as an audio restoration tool.

Sound Recovery is specifically designed to tackle challenging audio scenarios, such as restoring audio that has suffered significant information loss or repairing unclear dialogues. Its primary objective is to enhance the intelligibility and quality of such audio pieces, making them more understandable and restoring crucial details.

There are two key settings that Sound Recovery utilizes to do this — Recover and Enhancer.

The Recovery function passes the audio through an overdrive distortion unit to introduce harmonics and restore lost frequency ranges. The end result is enhanced audio quality.

On the other hand, the Enhancer function operates on a user-defined frequency range, applying the same harmonics as the Recovery function. You can think of it as the cherry on top, further enhancing the audio by emphasizing specific frequency components.

In addition to the two main functions, Sound Recovery uses a multi-band Denoiser that effectively removes unwanted noise, including high-frequency hiss-like noises and low-frequency rumble. The Denoiser automatically detects the noise profile present in the audio and applies noise reduction techniques tailored to that specific profile.

It's an extremely intelligent approach to noise reduction for a free noise reduction plugin.

And while many engineers primarily use Sound Recovery as an audio restoration tool, it can also be effectively utilized for noise removal.

However, if you want to use Sound Recovery solely for noise removal, you have to disable the recovery and enhancer functions. If they aren't disabled, they can introduce unnecessary harmonics with overdrive processing. If you're trying to get rid of notice, you probably don't want to introduce something else.

As the icing on the cake, Sound Recovery even offers a Split Freq feature, allowing you to specify the exact frequency range that requires the most restoration. Essentially, you provide Sound Recovery with the information YOU want to enhance the restoration process to get more optimal audio restoration.

When all is said and done, Sound Recovery is an outstanding free noise reduction plugin that deserves all the attention it can get. Its capabilities for audio restoration, coupled with its noise removal functionality, make it one of the most valuable tools on this list.

Christian Budde Noise Reduction

Christian Budde's Noise Reduction plugin is a free noise cancellation VST renowned for its precise control and accuracy. Like some of the other noise reduction VST plugins on this list, it offers the capability to target specific frequency ranges, providing extensive control over your processing.

Despite its relatively simple interface, Noise Reduction excels in its fine-tuning capabilities. For example, you can set parameters such as attack, release, ratio, and knee. It even utilizes multi-band compression, so you can hone in on different frequency bands.

What truly sets Noise Reduction apart from other free noise reduction plugins, however, is its advanced control options. For example, you can apply offset control and adjust the FFT size, making it a more customizable piece of software overall.

The plugin works by capturing a noise profile and analyzing the audio input. Then, it determines the appropriate noise profile to apply. With such a thorough process, you can make sure that the custom noise profiles are created based on the specific sound being processed.

However, it is worth noting that Noise Reduction lacks EQ band control, so you don't get the same high level of precision you'd get with many paid noise reduction plugins when it comes to noise removal in certain situations. You also don't get the option to edit the noise profile, which can be kind of a drawback if you prefer more extensive customization capabilities.

Even with all of that said, Christian Budde's Noise Reduction is an incredibly powerful free noise reduction VST with significant accuracy and control.

Voxengo Redunoise

Voxengo's Redunoise is another remarkable free noise reduction VST, which joined the ranks of their exceptional lineup of plugins, one of my favorites of which is their frequency analyzer, SPAN.

Redunoise is a high-resolution noise reduction plugin that sets itself apart by employing broadband noise reduction, giving you the ability to process audio in a musical manner while maintaining excellent sound quality. This is a bit of a rarity among broadband noise reduction tools.

The plugin offers comprehensive control over key parameters, including attack, release, and makeup gain, and it also features a mix knob for using it in parallel. The dry/wet capability is a super valuable addition that you wouldn't commonly find in free noise reduction plugins.

You can essentially get the desired amount of noise reduction you want without compromising the overall audio quality.

Redunoise also provides two filtering options that further enhance its capabilities, including Analog and Linear phase.

It's a truly exceptional and versatile plugin capable of effectively addressing various noise issues, from rumble to hiss and beyond. It can even learn from your audio and apply a customized noise profile tailored to your specific recording, which is pretty unique.

However, my one qualm about this plugin that's worth noting is that the plugin's interface is severely outdated. Beyond that, it lacks 64-bit support, which could pose a challenge if you prioritize modern interfaces and rely on contemporary DAWs.

You may have to use a wrapper for compatibility if so.

Even with these small drawbacks, it's a wildly powerful tool for noise reduction of all shapes and sizes.

What To Look For In a Noise Reduction Plugin

When looking for the best noise reduction plugins, there are several key factors to consider. Here are some important aspects to look for


The effectiveness of a noise reduction plugin largely depends on the quality of its algorithm. The more advanced the algorithm a plugin uses, the more capable it'll be of effectively suppressing various types of noise while preserving audio quality.


A good noise reduction plugin should offer a range of customization options that cater to different types of audio sources and noise. When looking for the best plugin, you might want to consider features like spectral shaping, adjustable noise thresholds, and fine-tuning controls, as these can help deliver more optimal results.

Real-Time Processing Capability

Real-time processing is crucial for many applications, including streaming and live audio production. A noise reduction plugin that is built for real-time processing can process audio in real-time without significant audio artifacts or latency. You might see a plugin like this labeled as a "zero latency noise reduction plugin."

Profiles or Presets

Having profiles or presets at your disposal can greatly simplify the noise-reduction process. This can be especially useful if you're new to audio processing. You might consider looking for plugins that provide pre-configured settings for common scenarios or those that give you the ability to save and recall custom profiles.


Many free plugins lack the same level of compatibility as paid plugins, so make sure to check the compatibility of the noise reduction plugin with your digital audio workstation (DAW) or audio editing software. You want to make sure that it supports the plugin formats used by your platform, such as VST, AU, AAX, or others.

Processing Power

If you're using an older or leaner system, the last thing you want is for your noise reduction VST plugin to eat up all of your CPU. This is why you want to consider the processing power required by the plugin. Some noise reduction algorithms are very CPU intensive, and if your system doesn't meet the recommended specifications to run the plugin smoothly, it'll cause you more trouble than good.

U ser Interface

Some no-cost noise reduction VSTs still look like they're in the Microsoft Paint days, and even though some critics argue aesthetics shouldn't matter when working with audio, I believe that a well-designed and intuitive user interface can greatly enhance your workflow and productivity. Even if an outdated plugin works really well, it's less inspiring to use.

I recommend looking for plugins that give you a clear visualization of the various noise reduction parameters and provide easy-to-use controls. You'll get a more streamlined workflow for it, I promise.

Artifact Minimization

Low-quality noise reduction algorithms can introduce unwanted artifacts or degrade audio quality, so you'll want to look for plugins that minimize these kinds of artifacts and deliver transparent, natural-sounding results.

Final Thoughts - Do I Need a Noise Reduction Plugin?

When it comes to mixing and mastering, having a noise reduction plugin at your disposal can be very valuable, particularly when dealing with recorded audio. While electronic instruments may not require noise reduction, if you're working with live studio recordings, field recordings, or anything similar, you'll want to at least get ahold of a free noise reduction plugin like the ones above.

Now, on the other hand, noise reduction is typically unnecessary for EDM producers or those who make music using nothing but VST plugins and effects, as these shouldn't have hiss, hum, buzz, or similar unwanted noise problems.

If you're listening back to your electronic track and you hear nose, it's probably because you've engaged a setting on one of your plugins that needs to be disabled. For example, some of my tape plugins come with a hiss noise option that is there to represent real tape noise. While it can be cool in some instances, I often find that it's better when turned off.

You can usually identify the source of a noise issue like the one above by carefully observing your meters when your session is paused to determine which channel is responsible. You can then access the specific plugin and deactivate the noise component, which is typically an "analog" button or something similar.

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