Kill the Mic Noise – Hiss, Hum and Buzzing

Kill the Mic Noise – Hiss, Hum and Buzzing

August 23, 2019 100 By Kailee Schamberger


away from the start I could feel it in my
heart. all the way from start. hey what’s going on out there I’m Sean Divine hope
you all are doing well today I want to talk about how to get rid of unwanted
noise from your vocal recordings many of you out here have a lot of concerns
about some more noticeable noise that happens in your vocals and then there’s
some that’s just very subtle that becomes more of an issue once we start
processing the vocal doing mixing and compression EQ all that type of stuff
will ultimately make the noise more noticeable and it’s just really not a
great look if you want to have the most professional vocal as possible so we’re
gonna talk about first some preventive measures to take so that you can prevent
the noise before you start recording and that’s going to make things a lot easier
once you get into the DAW and start processing your vocal we’re also going
to talk about some ways that you can at least help the noise if you’ve already
recorded it you have it and you need to treat that a little bit let’s talk about
the first three ways that you are gonna introduce noise into your vocal before
you start recording so the first way is just room noise now for me my primary
issue with room noise is I have some very bright lights there’s one in the
back of the room that produces a buzzing sound so generally if I’m recording
something that’s not a tutorial where I don’t need the light then that is off so
what you need to do is you need to walk around your room and become more aware
of these things that are producing this unwanted noise you may have heating
boards base boards that are buzzing you may have a refrigerator upstairs or
something that is causing a little bit of a rumbling sound you may have an AC
unit it could be a number of different things that are causing the noise so you
want to turn your mic on put on a set of headphones turn the gain up so that you
have a really healthy signal going to the mic and just walk around and just
see where you can pick up on these types of things
try to eliminate it if you can’t eliminate the noise try
to minimize it and keep your mic as far away from that as possible so if you
need to set up your mic across the room away from the AC you want to do that so
the second way that you can introduce noise into your vocal recording is
either through the mic itself or through your preamp or audio interface so
certain mics are quieter than others for example I’m using this sm7b which I
generally use for my tutorials and my just spoken content and it’s actually
one of the louder mics that I have it requires a lot of gain so I have
something called a cloudlifter that provides 20 about 20 dB of clean gain
so that I’m not having to push the preamp as much so the preamps themselves
actually have a little bit of noise and the higher you have to put up that
preamp some preamps will have a more noticeable noise than others so be aware
of the noise level of your mic the best way to experiment with this is to try a
couple different mics for instance again the sm7b is the loudest mic I own the
quietest mic I own is the NT1 by Rode it has very little to no self noise I
can’t notice anything even with the preamp jacked all the way up it’s very
very quiet so you can just experiment and find out if it’s the preamp that’s
producing the noise and or if it’s just one of your mics is louder than the
other but you want to get the cleanest preamp gain possible so do a little
research on your preamps and your audio interfaces and make sure that you’re
producing clean gain and not a very high noise to signal ratio alright so the
third way that you may introduce noise into your vocal signal is just through
some type of electrical issue now there’s a number of different things
that can cause electrical issues around your studio but the first would be you
may just have some kind of component in your chain that
hooked up in the same outlet that is introducing some type of interference
for instance the monitors my main monitors they’re not electronically
shielded as well as some of the other components in my studio and so they
produce a little bit of a hum and I have to make sure to turn those off or I
can actually hear that being introduced in my preamp so those have got to be
off things like that you want to notice and that’s really a matter of trial and
error of unhooking everything hooking up each thing individually I have a
keyboard that produces a little bit of a buzz and I have these little things that
I’m gonna show you in just a second it’s called a hum X and you can actually hook
your three prong plug from your component into the hum X then plug that
into the wall and that will help with ground loop my computer is actually
hooked up to one of these hum X I was having a very strange ground loop sound
it almost sounded kind of like a cell phone interference with a lot of low-end
rumble that was happening and I had to hook up my iMac my computer into a hum X
to get rid of that so you may actually have some of that coming from the
computer itself so you want to check all the components one by one and see what
could be causing a ground loop so an absolute last resort is that you may
have electrical issues in your studio or your house in terms of the wiring itself
now that is not as easy as a fix it’s actually really expensive you may have
to hire an electrician to come and ensure that your home or your studio is
properly grounded I have not seen many cases where this has been the cause of
the issue but I have heard about it it does happen but most of the time these
things we’re talking about if you just treat everything and look at it very
very closely individually you can narrow down the problem and you’re gonna find a
solution in these steps we’ve gone over all right so we’ve talked about how to
prevent some of that noise in your vocal recording but let’s just say it’s too
late you already have a noisy signal in one of your sessions and you want to try
to treat it after the fact it’s a little bit more difficult to do but there are
some options I want to about my favorite ways to treat noise
and make it less noticeable so let’s go ahead and jump into Logic Pro I’m gonna
show you a couple of ways that we can try to tame that after the fact all
right so I’ve got a session here with a somewhat noisy vocal I want to show you
here in just a second but the first thing I want to point out is that I
actually have this control on my interface where we can do a little bit
of processing on the signal going in so a lot of you have probably noticed that
when I’m quiet it’s silent so I’m using a noise gate on
the dynamic section here going into my interface now if I turn the noise gate
off that is the noise of my hard drives my computer and a little bit of white
noise that is produced by the actual microphone so then if I get that out
this can be really useful for you when you’re recording your vocal it just
makes it less noticeable when that noise is not present whenever I’m not speaking
or singing or rapping or whatever it is I’m doing now I would recommend that if
you’re not just doing something like this where I’m recording a screen
capture if you’re recording you know a vocal that you’re going to be mixing
later I would do the noise the noise gate after the fact so you would just
leave that off and then once we get into the DAW itself then we can do the same
thing but you don’t want to get hasty with this noise gate going in because
sometimes if you don’t set the threshold right there might be you know a little
bit of a rasp at the end of a phrase or something or just a little subtlety in a
performance that’s a little softer than the rest that may get cut out with a
noise gate that’s going in on your recording chain so just leave that
flexible for the mixing process in the DAW now let me show you just a vocal
that was recorded just like this right next to my computer a lot of hard drive
noise and let me just follow that for you I’ve been trying to find myself in
all the wrong places calling out for love to all the wrong faces ah yeah what
you see ain’t what you get sometimes back in ’09 left me feeling like I’m
dying never again you’re left counting down
the hours got to find that love counting down the hours got so you can
hear the noise in the vocal and what I like to do is use this tool called NS 1
from waves and let me just play this back this is without it again never give
someone that much power that when it goes sour you’re left counting down the
hours got find that love deep down in yourself is
so you define your purpose it ain’t up to no one else
and I’m so now when I turn that on and never give someone that much power that
when it goes sour you’re left counting down the hours gotta find that love deep
down in yourself its on you to find your purpose it ain’t up to no one else and
I’m breathing a deep sigh that I made it out your clutches I’m wishing you the
best but you can’t tell me nothin not just so it actually takes out a little
bit of the room noise as well as some of the hard drive noise and hiss on top so
a very useful tool and there’s a lot of other types of noise suppressors out
there this is just the one that I tend to use the most there’s some incredible
technologies that can take this stuff out of recordings but generally you know
something really simple like this and a noise gate is all I need and the key
here being that if you do all the preventative things we talked about you
don’t have to do as much work and post of course you know there’s gonna be
situations where that’s just not possible you’re in less than ideal
environments and you can’t treat the noise until after but if you can it’s
gonna make your job a lot easier so that you don’t have to be in here doing a lot
of science experiments to get rid of the noise from your signal alright y’all so
that’s a couple of ways that you can both prevent and treat noise in your
vocal recordings the key here is you need to experiment I’ve spent sometimes
hours and hours over a couple of days trying to narrow down the source of a
ground loop or a white noise that was being introduced in my signal somewhere
and sometimes it can really be difficult to find but you have to just unplug
things and try different mics figure out the way your preamp is behaving if it’s
producing noise different components together are gonna produce some noise
your room may have some noise there’s a plane flying overhead right now that you
can probably hear so all these things you just have to be aware of them and
hopefully this helps y’all if you have any questions or comments about noise
and your vocal recordings leave them below if you learned anything in the video
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