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I am both new to linux and "sound processing" and I'm sorry if this looks like a question being answered with the first entry on Google. Because I don't even know what to google for.

A friend of mine and I are trying to program an intelligent personal assistant that should do all kinds of stuff for us like google stuff, play music, tell us jokes... But that doesn't matter at this point.

The voice will be translated into text and text will be translated to speech via Google translate API which doesn't cause too much trouble. However our mic is kind of bad and we want to improve the quality of our sound input e.g. remove background noise and/or filter our voices from other disturbing noises. It would be brilliant if that would happen on the fly.

We are using Ubuntu and Raspbian at the moment.

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You should buy a better mic instead... – Braiam Feb 24 '14 at 22:59
What Braiam said. Get a usb mic over a regular unpowered mic. The audio quality is immensely superior. – Patrick Feb 24 '14 at 23:05
What we do just really is for the sake of doing it, so that isn't really what we had in mind. Isn't there any kind of program that could do that? – qwertz Feb 24 '14 at 23:16
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The comments from Braiam and Patrick are absolutely correct, you must start with a decent recording or else you will find it an uphill struggle, and your microphone is probably the most important element. The basic principle is that you can always take detail away, but you can never add it.

Having said this, sox is a good utility to manipulate sounds from the command line or shell script, and it can apply filters, like noise reduction, which you mentioned, but there are loads. This wiki is a good place to start looking for what you want. You will also need to learn a little about sound processing if you are new to this too, so that you understand which filters to apply to achieve a certain effect.

You might be better off looking at Raspberry Pi specific forums. Google+ has a Raspberry community. There's also a specific group here here at stack exchange, Raspberry Pi

Finnally, Steven Hickson's blog has a project which sounds similar to what you are wanting to create, that will give you inspiration and pointers.

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