How to add a noise gate to Skype (Mac or PC)

Dayne Dayne (57)
10 minutes

A noise gate is software (or hardware) that filters out any sound under a certain decibel level. Configured correctly, background noise or people talking in another room will not make it through while your voice speaking directly into the mic will be heard at 100% volume.

Unfortunately, there is very little support for noise reduction in Skype and very little software out there that will do this for realtime audio rather than just for recorded audio.

This guide will show you how to install and configure a live noise gate that will work with any software that allows you to choose your audio input.

This guide will work for both Mac and PC.

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Download NoiseGator here.

It's a Java application so there is no installation required unless you don't already have a Java runtime on your computer. If your computer complains about Java, you can download the latest version from here.

Since NoiseGator very simply takes an audio input and applies a software gate to it, there's no way to tell Skype or other software to use the newly filtered audio. To help us accomplish that, we need to use either VBAudio for PC or SoundFlower for Mac.

These are just virtual drivers. You do not need to use or configure the software once they are installed.

Configure NoiseGator

With NoiseGator open, choose the microphone you are using for input, then choose your "virtual" audio as your output. On PC, it will be something like "CABLE Input (VB-Audio Virtual Cable". On Mac, it will be "Soundflower (2ch)".

You should also experiment with the settings, especially the threshold since that's the main point of the noise gate. Find a setting that blocks out background noise but keeps your voice very clear.

Configure Skype (or other software)

Choose your virtual audio output as the input for your software. Now your software thinks this interface is a direct audio input but its actually routing through NoiseGator first!

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Odin Odin (181)

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