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How to reduce background noise?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by bzblake347, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. bzblake347

    bzblake347 Guest

    I just bought a Samson CO3U USB mic, and although the sound quality is great, there is ALOT of background noise. I'm in a completely quiet room, but there always seem to be this slight buzz sound going on. If I go to mic options and click on "listen to device", I will have nothing going on in the room, and I still hear this very prominent background noise. When I go to a recording program like cool edit pro, as soon as I press record, I see something's registering the entire time when the room is quiet. Is this a problem with the mic itself? I'm asking because I've heard many recordings done using this mic and reviews on youtube with the sound is completely clear. How can I get rid of this? Thanks.
  2. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Possibly a ground loop. Try plugging your computer into a different outlet, try several different outlets in different rooms. If it's a laptop, unplug it. If the buzz goes away when the laptop is unplugged, then it was definitely a ground loop. If you use a desktop, google or search this forum for "eliminate ground loop", you'll find plenty of stuff.

    Also ensure that you are using the correct drivers for the Samson mic in the audio program you use to record (not just setting things in the control panel). It likely comes with some sort of ASIO driver that you would have to select specifically within Cool Edit Pro or whatever software you use.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Unlikely to be a ground loop - there's no other ground involved. USB devices are particularly prone to coupling of digital noise from the USB data into the low-level analog sections of their circuitry. If you can, try the mic on a completely different computer and see if you get similar results, just to eliminate your computer from the equation. Also, is this a laptop you are using? If so, does it make any difference to the noise if the laptop is running on batteries rather than from the mains power adaptor?
  4. bzblake347

    bzblake347 Guest

    i'm using it on a laptop, and it makes no difference whether it's plugged in or not. If I try to record with my internal microphone, Cool Edit Pro doesn't pick up any background noise in the logs although the quality is much worse. I know USB mics are more prone to this, but like I said I've heard sos many other people's recording using the exact same mic where it's virtually clear. The mic use to have SoftPreamp software on Samson's website, but now it says it's discontinued because of modern OS's plug and play ability, so I can't even a link to the original download. Could I just have a bad mic?
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I assume you mean whether the laptop is running from batteries or is on mains power!

    Yes, it's possible your mic is more susceptible to noise from the USB interface than other examples of its type, but that would be a tough one to prove without actually having another mic to try. How long have you had the mic? Did you get it from a dealer? Have you tried your mic on another computer?

    Don't worry about the software download. If your mic works with CoolEdit, you don't need another driver.
  6. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    samson is a crap mic plain and simple.
    your experiencing the noise of the mic itself using cheap components and with no real mic pre to help out your relying on the gain stage of the DAW, which there really isnt any and the gain stage of the USB mic, if it even has one at all.
    as with the above post you may also be picking up computer noise as well. i dont know, i never have nor would i use a USB mic.
  7. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Do you have any room treatment?
  8. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    tell me, what is that going to accomplish. slapping auralex on the wall isnt going to quiet a room down. all rooms have "noise", for example, my room, a professionally designed, architecturally solid structure, was measured and it was around -26db with NOTHING running, computer, console, rack gear, speakers and amps, ALL OFF.
    either the poster is using way too much gain to make his recording, a crappy mic (my earlier post), or jacked up interface. thats his problem
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    -26dB noise floor?!?!?!? The churches I regularly record in with street noise are usually at -60dB for a noise floor. Maybe I misunderstand what you're measuring.
  10. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    As Planet 10 said: there are no totaly quiet rooms. I my recording room I get about -82 db and that is darn quiet. It is build as room-in-room and the house walls are about 80 cm thick.
    -26dB can't be the correct level. It is not really possible to records with that noise ....

    Noise is building up from the signal the mic picks up, the low quality circuitry in the mike, some cable irradiation, PC noise, electric fields, radio transmissions and cell phones and digital BS going on, etc.
    Maybe it is the decision whether to buy better equipment and room treatment or to purchase a deNoiser plug..
  11. And, shockingly, a really GOOD denoiser plug will actually cost more than a moderate upgrade to a 2-channel interface and a real mic.
  12. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    OOPS i screwed up. im not sure of the terminology but when it was measured on the computer with the measurement mic is was 26 spl
  13. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Oh, ja, SPL is something else ... But there is no negative SPL; that's why we were a bit buffled.
    26 dB SPL should be the sound pressure level of a normal apartment room, measured at ones ear.
    Still a bit noisy for quiet recording sources, I fear...

    Below some info on how complicated it can get.. ;-)

    Regards, Big K

    Addition von Schall und Pegel Schallpegel - Berechnung - Pegeladdition bis zu zehn inkoh

  14. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    noise is just noise

    "-26db with NOTHING running, computer, console, rack gear, speakers and amps, ALL OFF."

    Planet10 said...with everything off.

    That is him saying that noise "exists" when there is nothing "on" that could possible be making noise.
  15. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    I am not sure, what you are saying...
  16. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Ambient noise maybe?
  17. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    this is what they did in my room
    they checked it with white/pink noise to see the frequency curve of the room so as to see how the new speakers are to be built for my room.
    then they checked the loudness of the room, we turned everything off, racks, computer, amp, speakers, converters, air conditioning, closed all the doors and they measured that.
  18. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    A noise floor of 26dB of SPL is not bad at all. The average room in a house or church can have a noise floor reading of 45-50 and I've seen higher. You need a good RTA to measure this of course but it's not hard to do. You all would be appalled at one of the local university's "good" hall. Whoever designed that HVAC system should be relegated to the bottom pit of hell........listening to dueling banjos played on a shawm and a lur.
  19. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    it could be better as this was a fully designed room 20 years ago. they said that because im the lower level of a commercial high rise that the building is noisy and the high spl was because of building "rumble" from their massive HVAC system, elevators, and such. we have our own independent HVAC system plus the room needs to probably refitted with better insulation, and resealing of the walls and such.
  20. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    That is, why I built my studio in a room-in-room design in this residential house. The sealing hight was 280 cm and we dug about another 60 cm into the ground, made wider holes in the pit to embed some 12 upright steel girders in cement for each room to carry a concrete floor. This floor is not touching the house walls and is the basis of the sealed acoustic room design. Lots of damping material was built in and the only connection with the house are the ankers of the 200 kg sound-proof doors.
    Yet, there is a small amount of noise comming through when they jump up and down in the appartment above me...which they hardly ever do... At least, I don't hear the janitor's lawn-mowing with his 2-stroke-terrorist on wheels, when he passes my windows only a few meters away...
    So, I can record trumped, singing, e-guitar, most everything, in the middle of the night without disturbing the neighbours. Only drums and bass are a no-go for obvious reasons. It would take another meter, or so, of insulation to make this possible, but, hey, I can live with that ;-)
    More important was the acoustic design inside the rooms which was planed and carried out by a professional company known for building excellent studio rooms. It just takes this extra budget to rule out acoustic problems, eventhough it has cost an arm and a leg ... I tell ya... :-(

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