A bit late in the day but I recently got similar static background noise issue with my laptop's internal microphone (same Realtek chipset I believe but solution should work for all soundcards). After looking around, there is indeed a way to reduce noise in realtime in pulseaudio using webrtc echo-cancel plugin (the default speex echo-cancel in Ubuntu/Mint did not work well for me). I saw mention of that here: http://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/PulseAudio, but took a while to figure out how to enable in Ubuntu. It made quite some difference for me and the background noise in Skype is now almost all gone.
Luckily Ubuntu already packages the webrtc library required for this. We can compile from the official source applying minimal change to enable the plugin and then install the updated package:
Enable source code repos in software sources, then:
sudo aptitude install build-essential
# do this if like me you have libjack-jackd2-0 installed and not libjack0
sudo aptitude install libjack-jackd2-dev
# for jack dependency problem accept the second solution of not installing libjack-dev, libjack0 since we already have installed required dev package above
sudo aptitude build-dep pulseaudio
# also install webrtc
sudo aptitude install libwebrtc-audio-processing-dev
# get the pulse source package
apt-get source pulseaudio
After this edit the debian/rules file, go to ~line 57 and add "--enable-webrtc-aec" to DEB_CONFIGURE_EXTRA_FLAGS (say after the --disable-hal-compat option)
Next edit debian/pulseaudio.install file and add:
If you also want the pulse system-wide equalizer utility (http://www.webupd8.org/2013/03/install-pulseaudio-with-built-in-system.html), then edit debian/pulseaudio-utils.install and add:
Then build the package to get the new debs: dpkg-buildpackage -d -us -uc -nc
You should install pulseaudio, pulseaudio-utils and libpulse packages among the generated debs (e.g. for Trusty 64bit release, or Mint 17 64bit: "sudo dpkg -i pulseaudio_4.0-0ubuntu11_amd64.deb pulseaudio-utils_4.0-0ubuntu11_amd64.deb libpulse0_4.0-0ubuntu11_amd64.deb libpulsedsp_4.0-0ubuntu11_amd64.deb libpulse-mainloop-glib0_4.0-0ubuntu11_amd64.deb)
Lastly enable webrtc plugin in /etc/pulse/default.pa: sudo gedit /etc/pulse/default.pa
Add the following at the end of the file:
### Load echo cancellation module
load-module module-echo-cancel source_name=echosource aec_method=webrtc
You can also enable equalizer if you desire as mentioned in the webupd8 link above.
After this restarting pulseaudio (pulseaudio -k && pulseaudio --start), or logoff+relogin, or reboot should enable the noise/echo cancellation plugin in pulseaudio. Somehow I found it working well after a full reboot but not so much after just a relogin.