While you can achieve significant noise reduction on smartphones, thanks to dedicated mics on the opposite ends, desktop and laptop computers often struggle with it. Let’s be real, you need a computer to have a professional meeting and there is no easy solution for it. I recently found out about Krisp and its noise reduction technology. They claim to offer noise suppression without using special hardware and in turn, use Deep Neural Network to eliminate noise from your conversations. I have been testing Krisp at TechWiser and using it in every meeting to see how well it fares.
What is Krisp?
Krisp is an AI-powered noise suppression tool for macOS and Windows which eliminates noise in real-time, well almost. It supports over 600 apps that can work with Krisp to offer noise-free audio. The app sits between the hardware (mic and speaker) and the video conferencing app so whatever noise is being picked up by the mic will be eliminated before it is transmitted by the video conferencing app. Krisp does all the processing on your computer so no data leaves your machine which in turn offers reduced latency. The software package is very simple and you can switch on the service ON and OFF with just one button.
Read: Best White Noise Apps for iPhone
Installing and getting the app up and running is surprisingly fast and easy. Just download the package from the Krisp website and follow the on-screen instructions. Krisp is available for both macOS and Windows.
After finishing the installation, you’d notice the app doesn’t have an application window because it doesn’t require one. To access the Krisp app you can go to the Menu bar on your macOS or Taskbar on Windows and look for Krisp icon. Once, you see it, click on it to bring up a pop-up menu.
The app has a pretty simple interface. You just get two options; one to select Speaker and the other to select mic source. When you initiate a call on your computer, just toggle the switch to activate the Noise Suppression System.
Also Read: how do I record streaming audio on Mac?
How to use Krisp?
Say, you are on a Skype call with your boss and there is a lot of background noise, simply change the audio source from the internal mic to Krisp mic in the Skype Settings to see the magic happen in real time.
Not only you can reduce the noise at your end but eliminate noise coming from the other side as well. For example, if your boss is in a busy cafe, simply turn on the ‘mute noise‘ toggle for speakers to see(hear) the noise reduction in real time.
Read: How to use an iPhone as a wireless microphone for Mac?
Krisp works with most of the video conferencing apps but you can use it with any app that lets you select an audio source. I tried it with Skype, Slack, and even Audacity and it worked fine.
To test things further, I dug up some old voice-overs with terrible background noise just to see if it could filter out those noises and to my surprise it did eliminate all the noise when I played audio on the VLC media player using Krisp as the audio device.
I set up two tests to see the performance of Krisp app, first was a pre-recorded audio sample with noise built in. Second, is a live Skype call with background noise and echo to test the real-time noise reduction system.
Test 1: Parsing the audio Krisp
The first test involves me sitting in a room with an AC running in the background. I simulated a traffic environment by playing the sound through my phone. I then proceeded to record the audio sample in uncompressed WAV format. After that, the audio sample was run through Krisp for noise reduction. As you can see(hear), Krisp does make a considerable difference. However, there is a slight distortion in the audio quality which is partly due to the re-recording process.
Hey this is going to be a short test to see if the Krisp App works. I am sitting in a fairly silent room but the AC running in the background is loud. I’m also going to simulate other background noises like the traffic using the phone, simultaneously crumpling a plastic bag, and dropping plastic cups on the table. Hopefully, this mic picks up all the noises and we’ll then try to eliminate those sounds using Krisp App.
Score: 8 /10
Test 2: Krisp during a Live Skype Call
I made a Skype call and selected the source as Krisp mic in the Settings. I turned the noise cancellation Off and On during the call and you can see the difference in the video below. There is a significant loss of noise but the voice also takes a hit. I found that even though Krisp tries to keep the original voice as original as possible, Skype compresses the audio quite a bit which results in a distorted and sometimes even incomprehensible speech. Krisp works fine when you have fewer noise sources such as your dog barking in the background, construction work outside the house, etc.
A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
I couldn’t upload the sound samples compression free and that’s why the noise reduction on the videos attached doesn’t sound revolutionary. When you use Krisp on your own computer, the quality is going to be much better than what you heard in the videos above. Overall, if I were to assign a score to the filtered audio, it would be around 80-90%. I give this score because the noise reduction is done in real time, the data is processed on the computer and the results are very impressive. However, I do feel there are some noise elements which cause the algorithm to eat relevant information as well. You can see(hear) the distortion in the audio on the samples attached.
In the free version of Krisp, you can listen without noise. To Speak and Listen without the noise you need to upgrade to the premium version that cost $20 per month. Thankfully, there is 2 weeks trial of Premium.
Should you use it?
The short answer is yes. Krisp is probably the only software right now which offers noise reduction in real-time that offers the product for free. It gives you pretty consistent results which makes it a strong competition for any upcoming products that offer the same service. Krisp if free to use and doesn’t have a paywall. Krisp is the best option if you want an easy way to have noise free conversations on your computer.
This post is sponsored by Krisp.ai