Need help with noise while recording

MrYikes

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I am getting a lot of noise when recording from my microphones through the mixer into my laptop to Audacity. I have done what I can do to lessen the noise, but it is still way too much. I do not know where the noise is coming from. I have to use a connector that I plug my 1/4" into which has a 3.5 that goes into the laptop. That's a lot of connections. So that is question 1. How can I reduce the noise without buying better equipment. I do have another cable coming that is 1/4" to 3.5mm which will do away with the connector. The equipment I have cost $40 total.
Question 2. Is there a way in Audacity to eliminate the frequencies that contain the noise?
My equipment: 3 pyle type microphones, one mixer with 4 plug-ins available, one 10 foot 1/4" to 1/4" cable, the aforementioned connector into the laptop into Audacity.
The recording is just for me at home, but I do want it better than what I'm hearing now. It seems that bass and overhead is all that I'll need, but snare and tom might come in handy on some tunes.

Sorry, I just saw that Audacity has a noise reduction effect. I will be trying that.
 
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speady1

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A few general rules apply here:

The less "connections, adapters, etc." the better the noise floor will be.
The better your microphones are, the better the noise floor will be.
The better your cables are, the better the noise floor will be.
The better your DAW, the better the noise floor will be.

You don't have to spend a ton of money to achieve these things, but it's nearly impossible to do it extremely cheap.
If you're running all of this into your computer's onboard soundcard through a 3.5mm "mic" input that's built into your laptop, that is going to be the likely culprit. Those are designed to handle skype calls and not much else. It's essentially like trying to jam a bowling ball down your sink drain...
I also noticed that you mention 1/4" connectors. Make sure you're using "balanced" cables, meaning tip, ring, sleeve connectors, and not unbalanced instrument cables that have only tip and sleeve on the connector. If you're unsure, google it and you'll find an image showing the difference.

The noise reduction software in your DAW is only going to remove certain frequencies it perceives as noise. This will also affect any of those frequencies if they are present in what you're recording.

Good luck!
 

TheBeachBoy

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Honestly your best bet is to get a mixer or interface that connects to your laptop by USB, but that would cost money. As speady mentioned, it's that mic input jack on the laptop that's likely causing noise. Lots of budget mixers nowadays have USB built-in.

What OS is on your laptop? Windows 10? MacOS? If you go to sound settings there should be some adjustments you can make with the recording level for that input. You'll have to experiment with raising or lowering the recording volume and the main output volume of your mixer. Maybe raise the volume of the output of your mixer while lowering the input volume of the mic in the computer volume settings.

I should add, does it have noise when the laptop power is plugged in and when it's running on battery? Generally the power adapter should be shielded but there could be a ground loop or something happening. Even money says it's just the mic input jack though.
 

KevinD

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I would agree that the likely culprit is your connector/adaptor going into the laptop.
If you have a new cable coming that will eliminate that adaptor, that is probably a good place to start, but I would not expect miracles at this point.
As stated above balanced is always better in terms of cables and noise.

Just out of curiosity what happens upstream from the laptop if you start removing things from the chain (i.e. does the sound change if you isolate the mixer by having no mics are plugged into it?)
Plug the mics in one-by-one to see if anything changes.
Try the same thing with swapping cables, you may find a source, or multiple sources for the noise.

I understand that you don't want to spend any additional cash for more gear but I would agree that the best way to record these days is via an interface. You can get a Scarlett 2ch interface these days for < than $200..


You can feed your mixer into that, and tie the intf into your computer via USB. Audacity will see it as two channels.
 

johnlamond

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I am using this interface in my studio:


I am getting some fantastic drum recordings using only 2 mics. One positioned near the bass drum and the other as an overhead. I have owned my own studio for over 20 years. Using Logic Pro X with an iMac27.
 

AJMcHardy

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In my experience internal soundcards on laptops can be really noisey depending on whats plugged into them.

As others have said a cheap stand alone interface will give much better results
 

Seb77

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I just saw that Audacity has a noise reduction effect. I will be trying that.
If you want to improve/save a noisy recording, you can do that to a degree, but I wouldn't use it as a default. Do you know how it works? I remember you need to "record" a quiet passage that has just the noise so the plugin recognizes it, then apply it to the whole.
 

Stickclick

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You might look up "noise gate" plugins for Audacity. They are likely free and can reduce noise.
 

J-dubya

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ALL I get is noise through my microphones. But I don't have the Audacity to record it.
 

owr

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Slight tangent, but I'd love to hear some samples of what you are getting audio wise. I'm just getting into learning this art, and have basically the same set-up, a Focusrite interface, a pair of overheads and a bass drum mic. Would like to hear what is possible so I have something to shoot for.

Thanks

I am using this interface in my studio:


I am getting some fantastic drum recordings using only 2 mics. One positioned near the bass drum and the other as an overhead. I have owned my own studio for over 20 years. Using Logic Pro X with an iMac27.
 

Cauldronics

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A few general rules apply here:

The less "connections, adapters, etc." the better the noise floor will be.
The better your microphones are, the better the noise floor will be.
The better your cables are, the better the noise floor will be.
The better your DAW, the better the noise floor will be.

You don't have to spend a ton of money to achieve these things, but it's nearly impossible to do it extremely cheap.
If you're running all of this into your computer's onboard soundcard through a 3.5mm "mic" input that's built into your laptop, that is going to be the likely culprit. Those are designed to handle skype calls and not much else. It's essentially like trying to jam a bowling ball down your sink drain...
I also noticed that you mention 1/4" connectors. Make sure you're using "balanced" cables, meaning tip, ring, sleeve connectors, and not unbalanced instrument cables that have only tip and sleeve on the connector. If you're unsure, google it and you'll find an image showing the difference.

The noise reduction software in your DAW is only going to remove certain frequencies it perceives as noise. This will also affect any of those frequencies if they are present in what you're recording.

Good luck!
In case there’s any doubt, this advice is spot on.
 

backtodrum

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What is the noise? Is it popping? Is it possible you are clipping the mic? Can you turn down the gain? Just a thought...
 

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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If you are using an actual mixer, that might be your problem right there. A mixer will be quite different than a dedicated audio interface which has audio converters, preamps, power isolation/conditioning, etc to improve your sound quality. A mixer isn't a great option for recording audio.

Additionally, Pyle mics may not be the best. If you have more than one, try tracking each mic one at a time to see if the noise is coming from a mic. Keep working down the signal chain, replacing all the pieces individually with a different option (if possible) - the mic cable, all the connectors, etc. You may also want to try recording in different parts of the house, as the electricity/lighting can introduce noise. Some power sockets can be REALLY noisy, especially older ones, or ones with weak grounds. This doesn't need to be a long recording - maybe just 20 seconds to check if the noise is still there in each case.

So, without spending any additional money, I'd try to eliminate any gear that is possible and replace with other options (so, one track of one mic, then switch the mic and try again). Then if the mics aren't the problem, change rooms. Also, try with and without the lights on - fluorescent lighting can really introduce a lot of noise. Also, try a different computer if possible, or even a smartphone if possible.

Another thing to try is importing an actual song (like a Beatles song etc) into your DAW (like Audacity) and playing back the track to make sure the DAW playback isn't introducing the noise.


Good luck!
 

phdamage

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i would also first blame your lack of interface. going into a mic/line in on your laptop will likely sound pretty rough. drums even with the cheapest of condenser mics should be plenty loud enough in most circumstances to make noise fairly negligible.

get a cheap, dedicated interface - they can be had for not much of an investment.

if you're still getting noise, i'd blame your mics as the next culprit. you can find some electret based condensers for dirt cheap these days - try 12 gauge microphones for starters. i would have killed to be able to buy condensers at these prices when i started recording and buying mics.

disagree on the DAW causing noise. cannot imagine how this would actually happen.
 

EyeByTwoMuchGeer

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disagree on the DAW causing noise. cannot imagine how this would actually happen.
Agree as well, but, I was thinking if the speakers/headphones are shot or the playback engine is not functioning properly, it would be easy to begin back tracking if a normal track was played.
 


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