Recording acoustic guitar

Discussion in 'Affordable Recording Forum' started by Volkip, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. Volkip

    Volkip

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    Hey, I'm new to this forums, and hope someone can help me:)

    I've been trying to record an acoustic guitar some time with samson g track (Now I know, not the best choice.) and ths S/N ratio was really bad. I mean, there was lots of noise, and I could never get my signal go over (putting it's sensativity high) -20db without sounding really hissy and noisy.

    Now I got the PreSonus audiobox kit. While it is it better, is still gives out some noise, when I try to record. If I push the gain on the pre amp for the mic up to -15 - -10 db (in any DAW) or higher, it's noisy. Yet, all the other recording's ever sound much more louder then my non-sense and they are free of noise.

    The noise, I suspect, might be from the computer. The fan or the sound-card, or something. That's really killing everything I try to do...is there any way to either lessen the noise, or record a lower level wave and make it louder without normalizing? =\
    p.s. The noise also likes to occur every 1-2 seconds. Like blump, blump. By there's still a tonn of hiss too. I really think it's the fan, but to make sure...

    Any help would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  2. Steve@Russo

    Steve@Russo

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    is there a dimmer switch in the room?
     
  3. Volkip

    Volkip

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    There is one...I don't know for what though. o_O
    And I have a portable lamp-stand, if that can help you...
     
  4. GZsound

    GZsound

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    Sounds like your mic requires a lot of gain. Most inexpensive mic preamps get noisy whenever you push them too hard.

    The fan, etc. in your computer would add background noise, but you should be able to hear that noise easily in the recording. A better mic that doesn't need as much gain might be an answer.

    You might try putting the mic and guitar in another room and see if that's the problem, but I think it's your mic requiring too much gain.
     
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator

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    What mic are you using and where are you putting it? A thump or pop at regular intervals indicates your buffer is not large enough or that your computer is not tweaked enough for audio. Is you wireless radio off, antivirus disabled, power management disabled, screensaver shut off? There are numerous guides to tweaking any operating system but those are the places to start.
     
  6. Volkip

    Volkip

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    The audiobox kit came with a M7 mic by PreSonus. I dont think it's that bad, personally, but you might know more:)

    Well, that thump or pop (but it's not it. I can't really hear it. Someone told me it might be the low vibration's of the fan. I mean, I dont think it's caused by digital stuff, excuse me) is taken by audio. Plus-much hiss too. I can maybe get a recording uploaded later with a level close to 0 db. I just place the mic as close by the sound-hole of the guitar as I can. I tried puttin' the mic away from the computer-didn't help. I have no option of putting it in the other room.

    It might have to do with the comp. itself (internal phoning, or something). The audiobox pre-amp should, though, work as kinda external sound card too. As I've read.

    I have not tried turning the screen-saver, anti-virus, or pwoer management (what does that have to do with the problem? o_O) I might and we'll see. Anyway, I would also like more explanation, why would this might help, at least in theory.

    Many thanks. :)
     
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator

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    I'd say if you are using only one mic then you need to get it about where the 12th fret is and angle it toward the soundhole. The mic itself is going to want to be back1-2 feet. Another position to try is over the guitarist's left shoulder pointing down toward the body of the guitar. Now, this M7 mic is a condenser microphone meaning you will HAVE to have the phantom power engaged. Also, this is a SIDE ADDRESS microphone meaning you will point the PreSonus labeled side at the sound source. You should have MORE than enough gain to run this microphone.

    You need to tweak the computer because otherwise it sends data along like the EL in Chicago's Loop. Start stop start stop start stop start stop rather than a continuous stream. Other things are vying for the computers resources too.
    Here is a helpful guide:
    http://www.sweetwater.com/sweetcare/downloads/Windows_7_Optimization_Guide_revB.pdf
    or
    SweetCare Service & Support | Sweetwater.com
     
  8. Volkip

    Volkip

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    Okay, thanks.
    I do have the phantom power on.

    I just did one more thing-turned off my internal BIOS sound-card (or what is it). Read that might also help a bit. What'da think?
     
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator

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    Most recording computers are pretty tweaked out for audio. I would follow the Sweetwater guide completely as a starting point. Most of us also tweak the Services that are running in the background and remove the antivirus etc. That means it can't go to the web willy nilly or you're a sitting duck.

    And test your mic speaking all around with headphones on to make sure you have the proper side toward the guitar. I said the PreSonus label was the front but I don't own one and was playing the law of averages from mics I do own. It definitely will not be end address like a Shure SM58 or SM57.
     
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD

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    There's no way that microphone should be a problem with noise. You are recording at levels that are too low to begin with. This will simply require you to turn down your headphones and you do have a guy in control for the headphones. These are common beginner mistakes that's all. Of course microphones do have a tendency to pick up most all the sounds around them especially condenser microphones. It doesn't matter that this has a hyper cardioid polar pattern. Any noises around you will end up being objectionable. If that's the environment you're in, consider getting a pickup for your acoustic guitar. You'll then get a clean recording of the acoustic guitar. Without any noise. Then you can play back that guitar track through a speaker. You put the microphone on the speaker and record that to a new track. Then it will sound more normal. Most of your problems are coming from improper gain staging even though you are only utilizing a single USB microphone and a pair of speakers and/or headphones. Unfortunately, headphones have a tendency to reveal things do you not generally heard through speakers. So what kind of speakers are you utilizing? Or are you making all of these observations strictly with headphones? What kind of software are you utilizing?

    I just set up a client of mine with that Audio Box utilizing Shure SM58's and it sounds glorious. Noise is not a problem. You're recording levels are a problem. In digital recording, the lower your recording levels the lower the resolution. The higher you can push your levels, the better your resolution will be. Then you'll be able to deal better with any noise through some processing. By processing, I could say some filtering and/or utilizing some downward expansion with the threshold level set just below your nominal operating audio level. This will automatically lower the volume when you're not playing it (guitar, vocals, etc.) But not understanding how to create this is a problem in its own right. Most software offers a gating preset that's maybe good on a snare drum. You know want gates except on drums. Everything else needs downward expansion with a properly set threshold and expansion only down to -10 DB below your nominal operating level of the recording. These items frequently got used back in the analog tape days if we weren't using Dolby or dbx noise reduction. Downward expansion is a different kind of noise reduction process. It requires a lot of investigation and some reading because it's not something that comes really easy or already included as a preset in software. So sometimes, you have to go to the dynamics graphic display and draw your own. I've done that for years in Cool Edit starting in 1996 and currently in Adobe Audition which is just the newer version of Cool Edit 96, now multitrack enabled yada yada etc. Otherwise still nearly identical.

    I know this didn't make much sense, sorry.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2014
  11. Volkip

    Volkip

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    TheJackAttack-

    I will be trying everything you say.

    RemyRad-
    thank you also. Im using Audiacity, Cool Pro, Reaper, and that's it. My speakers are just some best-buy ones. My h-phones are the Sony mdr-v150 and the PreSonus one's from the kit. I can also monitor the output on the g-track. I can use the gate, but it's still not good enough. The filtering, like the Cool Edit's noise reduction is bad. I dont have the quality. Cutting out some frq out of the mix by eq or whatever means did help to lessen the noise, but it's not the sound I want to get...:(

    I do not think it's the fan now. Even if I turn off the gain and sensativiy (I tried both G-track and the audiobox) but I put the volume up of headphones (from comp, g track, and audiobox) I can hear that hiss. It's something in the computer that's making that noise.(you can see it in the daw's input monitor) Like a bad output or something. I will try to turn off the internal sound card (not the bios one, but follwing the Sweetwaters guide), maybe, once again, and stuff. But it's comin' right from the computer. So to hear myself, I need to turn up the volume to hear myself and hiss comes in. There's less problems with the audiobox.The hiss also stays at about -40 to -35 db.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD

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    I think you should get yourself a Shure SM58 and plug that into your audio box and see what you get. You have too amplifications stages feeding other amplifications stages and with that, you've got plenty of noise. So plug a dynamic mic directly into the Audio Box and try again. This is something I do regularly and there is no noise problems with the Audio Box with a SM58. Your headphones are up too high... I said... YOUR HEADPHONES ARE UP TOO HIGH! There is HISS to be heard in any audio electronics when not adjusted properly. It's OK, these are typical beginner mistakes you are making. You'll get the hang of this soon... I hope?

    I'm hanging and I'm hissing. I must be a snake in a tree?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2014
  13. Volkip

    Volkip

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    Well, I really have no option of gettin' a new mic now.

    The problem is-I don't know what is the appropriate headphone level. (let's say the knob is just at half. At least where the manual tells it to be). That's one.

    Second-if something isn't adjusted properly,than what it is? Something internally is making noise in some part-either the mic (input) or the computer (output). Is the only way fixing that is switching gear? Maybe there's something I could do with the computer itself.

    Can you also explain a bit more on the two amplification stages?

    Sorry, I know Im kinda a pain-in-the-...haha, but It's just hard to get it. I hadn't had much success. When it shows up, it should be better, with me understanding what to actually do.

    p.s. I am kinda doing better with the G track though, like, Im kinda starting to get better a liiil' bit. Haha. Actually, Im kinda starting to get better results. Might not be as loud as I want (about -12- -18 db), but it's almost noiseless. Turning off my internal bios sound card made things a bit better. So, Im gonna try more techniques and tweaking and such.)

    Thank you everyone, once again. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
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