AMD’s new AI noise removal tool is extremely easy to use but silence comes at a cost

AMD now has its very own background noise removal feature in the Radeon drivers. Called AMD Noise Suppression, this feature uses machine learning to extract any unwanted clanging, bashing, or screeching from your mic input or output, and hopefully make you or your teammates a little easier to hear in-game.

Similar in many ways to Nvidia’s Broadcast noise removal feature, AMD Noise Suppression uses a machine learning algorithm to remove ambient or otherwise unwanted noise from your mic input while retaining as much clarity as possible in your voice. That means less intrusive audio and better, more clear-cut communications, which is a pretty handy feature to have on hand.

AMD Noise Suppression also works on audio outputs, meaning you can clear up your buddy’s mic for them—we all have that one Discord pal that leaves the TV on in the background.

The feature is available now in the optional Radeon drivers (opens in new tab), version 22.7.1. However, there are minimum specifications you have to meet to enable it.

“AMD Noise Suppression is available currently on Ryzen 5000 series and newer systems, as well as Radeon RX 6000 series and newer,” AMD’s Isaak Wong says in a blog post (opens in new tab).

Users with less up-to-date hardware may want to instead turn to software-based noise removal, such as Krisp, which is already available from within the Discord settings. Though there is also external noise removal hardware like Asus’ AI Noise Cancelling dongle (opens in new tab), which may do the trick.

My PC is all-AMD, however, so I’ve taken AMD Noise Suppression for a spin this morning. Generally, it’s a moderately impressive noise removal tool, albeit one that does have a noticeable impact on my microphone’s quality when enabled, even if only dealing with minor background noise. 

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Noise Suppression removed all manner of nuisance from my mic output, including my trusty handheld hoover, the sound of some poor guitar playing, white noise blaring from my phone, and the oscillations from my fan hitting the mic. Next to no sound from these leaked out of the mic while I wasn’t speaking, and was only lightly audible while I was in some cases.

Of course, there is a noticeable drop in my mic quality when the hoover is switched on, though that’s to be expected. Noise Suppression needs only help make me audible to other people, not perform a miracle.

However, colleagues did note that my mic didn’t sound too great in our morning meeting, and that was without any loud noises in my vicinity and before I had told them I was testing Noise Suppression—the drop in quality with it activated is absolutely noticeable to others, then.

(Image credit: AMD)

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Though, for convenience, it’s a sublime option for AMD GPU owners; the setup being as easy as you might hope. You just switch it on within the Audio & Video settings in the Radeon drivers, pick your microphone from the available device list, and then use the ‘AMD Streaming Audio Device’ for your input in your selected application. If you no longer want to use it, you can just switch back to your standard mic device.

It definitely beats opening another application or setting up noise removal per-application.

Another positive is that I’ve only recorded a very minor increase in CPU utilisation with Noise Suppression enabled and only even smaller fluctuations on the GPU side. These sorts of noise cancelling algorithms can be a little dearer in terms of PC performance, but it looks like AMD has an efficient solution here. Perhaps it’s down to those modern hardware requirements AMD is asking of users to run Noise Suppression, as I’m testing on a Ryzen 7 5800X (opens in new tab) and RX 6900 XT (opens in new tab), both of which seem hardly bothered by the feature.

With Nvidia already offering something similar (known as RTX Voice (opens in new tab) but now integrated into the Broadcast (opens in new tab) app), I’m definitely happy to see AMD follow suit with its own take on noise removal. It’s a handy tool for any gamer’s toolbox, and while AMD is just as restrictive as Nvidia in who gets to use it, perhaps even more so surprisingly, at least now there’s an easy-to-use and well-integrated option out there for both major GPU manufacturers.