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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.


apstrong Fri, 04/02/2010 - 02:08

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.

Boswell Fri, 04/02/2010 - 04:27

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?

anonymous Fri, 04/02/2010 - 08:17

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?

Boswell Fri, 04/02/2010 - 09:04

bzblake347, post: 345156 wrote: i'm using it on a laptop, and it makes no difference whether it's plugged in or not.

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

bzblake347, post: 345156 wrote: 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?

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.

planet10 Thu, 04/22/2010 - 08:55

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.

planet10 Sat, 04/24/2010 - 09:04

gdoubleyou, post: 346863 wrote: Do you have any room treatment?

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

Big K Sat, 04/24/2010 - 14:54

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..

Big K Mon, 04/26/2010 - 08:51

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

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.sengpiel…"]Addition von Schall und Pegel Schallpegel - Berechnung - Pegeladdition bis zu zehn inkoh[/]="http://www.sengpiel…"]Addition von Schall und Pegel Schallpegel - Berechnung - Pegeladdition bis zu zehn inkoh[/]

planet10 Wed, 04/28/2010 - 08:39

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.

TheJackAttack Wed, 04/28/2010 - 09:09

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.

planet10 Wed, 04/28/2010 - 09:21

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.

Big K Wed, 04/28/2010 - 13:03

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... :-(

Space Fri, 04/30/2010 - 14:13

"the lower level of a commercial high rise that the building is noisy "

Yes it is. And it will never compare to a single floor structure environment. But it works for that is all that really matters. Folks talk about acoustics like size doesn't matter...not that I am the expert, I am not. But I am well aware of what kind of noise a vertical structure can produce when it is taller than one floor level if not from the pressure of wind alone blowing on the broad side of any structure. To alleviate this issue, a floated floor, springs concrete and the whole nine yards would be the only way to get uncoupled from this "live" environment.

In the end of the conversation, and I am certain that this will not be it, a USB pretty much anything, is a poor excuse for a semi pro recording environment.


Shadow_7 Fri, 05/07/2010 - 18:02

I would think that majority of the noise is the self noise of the ADC on the USB mic, and/or that of the USB bus. I run on battery powered gear to avoid those loop issues. But a computer has fans (most of them anyway), the wind creates structural noise, traffic, and other vibrations that translate across substances.

I live nearly 3 miles from the freeway, but if the wind blows the right way, that's one noisy interstate. When the trashman comes you can hear him coming from 5 miles away. Anytime that they're plowing the fields across the street you can hear that. And I consider my room a fairly quiet place. 2 acres off the road, very rural as in can throw stones and not hit the nearest neighbor, single level dwelling. Off the ground via blocks of a trailer. Sheltered from the elements via bricked in enclosure. New doors and double pained windows. Not to imply treated room. But a pretty quiet base, when the rest of the world takes it easy.

TheJackAttack Sat, 05/08/2010 - 17:58

You're talking essentially about a high pass filter. Sometimes 60hz, sometimes 80hz, sometimes 120hz sometimes somewhere in between. It just depends on the mic and you're room. A high pass filter is not going to inherently help with plosives like p or t or b though unless the OP is eating the mic and getting proximity effect.

Big K Sun, 05/09/2010 - 04:45

Killing the bass on voices for that is helping you to do it wrong. There are 1000&1 ways to get rid of plosives and structural subfrequent noise.
That one is No. 999. Only switching off or cutting the cable would come thereafter...
There will be no way around digging into some specialist literature.

Shadow_7 Sun, 05/09/2010 - 06:01

It's not technically right. But it's a cheap way to accomplish a goal. The easiest and cheapest way to remove noise from your recordings is to not record it in the first place. But left with no other options (on a budget) it can help a mix out. And/or hide some otherwise blatant mistakes. I wouldn't consider it completely wrong on vocals, unless it's a well known vocalist with an identifiable sound. Most everyone else, could sound like Betty White in person, and Berry White on the recorded track and most wont care (including the performer) as long as it sounds good. On more traditional instruments where the performer has spent $10K on gear getting an instrument that sounds just the way they want it to, they'll be a lot quicker to let you know that your result bears little relation to the source. And those who've been through the recording process in general will know that you're not as good as that other place.

Big K Sun, 05/09/2010 - 07:35

Not entirely wrong, but not ok... as I wrote : place 999...lool...

Sure, if i do it for myself it is a matter of budget and what I want it to sound.
But for example, if I record something for another person, a customer, I need to preserve all the fidelity I can capture.
If I can't capture the voice correctly I should not take on such a job, ...unless the customer knows that I
can't produce quality and still wants the job to be done by me.
In any case you are not doing yourself a favour releasing bad work. It might all fall back on you, eventually...
But then, ..I see this maybe too much from the pov of a commercial recording & Mastering studio...
where delivering the second best can be the last you've seen of a customer.

Shadow_7 Sun, 05/09/2010 - 15:27

There are some of us that don't do this for a living. Self education / favor for a friend / because it's cheaper to own the gear than to rent out a couple of times a year. Or it's just a better quality on our gear than the commercial product (amateur events). Not to imply pro quality.

I've been working on cheap "LECTURES" recorded on a cheap laptop for a friend the past two days. My field recorder was deployed in a neighboring venue. My USB interface in yet another. And this was the third venue and I was out of gear. And for content like that, I have ZERO problem butchering the EQ band to make it more legible than the original recording. Not that I like the result, or would even consider such a thing for music content. But when it comes to teaching a class with the background noise of niagra falls and a modem farm, or a lower quality audio element with far less noise. Is niagra the better choice?

I've also done intentional clipping in post to remove wind noise, or as much of it as I could. For my cheap $100 camera with video and an instructional routine for a colorguard. The field recorder and good mics were doing their thing over by the band, so it just wan't an option at that time.

Big K Mon, 05/10/2010 - 02:44

As I said, I looked at it from a position were every plug and gadget is available, multiple times, and I should not do this, but how am I supposed to know
what level or circumstances you are working on - posting in the pro recording forum?
Anyway, those tricks do work good for you and Niagra is a wonderful natur spectacle, but more for film then for audio...
So, clearly...Niagra is not the choice :-) ... a Nagra, otoh, would be too even for me..

Shadow_7 Mon, 05/10/2010 - 06:58

Ah yes, pro "Recording" forum. Not "DAW" or "Studio Construction". Just trying to be empathetic to those still using completely analog recording chains where their only option might be an EQ unit before the tape (or after). Granted that distribution formats are almost entirely digital now. And drifting a bit OT for the OP.

In ten years, perhaps laptop soundcards wont suck as much. Or USB(3) mics. Unfortunately we're out there recording now with what we have. The good, the bad, and the ugly. In either case not all gear labeled "pro" or "studio" is in the same league as other gear bearing the same labels.

TheJackAttack Mon, 05/10/2010 - 07:38

I think his point about "10 years" has more to do with experience and better technique than anything to do with equipment. Using a generic high pass filter on every or even [most] voice recording is just bad judgment. Better to learn how to mic the talent properly in a half way decent environment than accept sub standard results. What sounds good to a beginner now is not likely to sound good ten years from now to someone who has continued to grow and learn about this craft.

planet10 Mon, 05/10/2010 - 09:46

removing bass from the vocals????
whats this all about... because of plosives???? jeez i see a real lack of experience in this thread. hmmm seems to me that if your recording someone and there are way too many plosives in the recording of the track you should stop and see what the friggin problem is.. what are you afraid of stopping the session because there is something wrong on YOUR part of the recording process?? are you going to let that go because you dont want to seem incompetent??
if you screw up FIX IT, nobody is going to look at you badly, they will look at you with respect because you are working to make the end result GREAT. i would rather take a bit more time in the beginning than hand something over to the client that i had to do HOURS of surgery on just to have them go "Thats Not My Voice".
like a previous post said, to remove background noise, DONT RECORD IN IT. if your stuck with background noise you need to find a solution really fast and yanking out all the bass is not the answer.
if your not sure of how to record in a noisy environment then you shouldn't be recording that kind of work UNTIL you do know how. remember its your name on the project and clients ALWAYS talk to others about their experience with a studio.

anonymous Mon, 05/10/2010 - 12:25

First of dont talk to me like ive got a million dollar budget i use what ive got, and u have no idea how my tracks sounds
but belive me i make everything to good to be true even if i record in a noisy environment with a freaking USB mic i still can make it better than u ever will do with ur thousends of doller studio

TheJackAttack Mon, 05/10/2010 - 12:30

i still can make it better than u ever will do with ur thousends of doller studio

Listen up little boy.

No one ever said you had to have a $2000 microphone to do reduce noise. You were advised that your method is not ideal and better methods should be learned. Making a statement such as yours-bad spelling and all-makes you sound like a five year throwing a fit. Snap out it. If you don't want the advice of professional recording engineers then don't post here.