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  #1  
Old 01-11-2009, 03:36 PM
jimthepisces jimthepisces is offline
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Default Need help with background noise!

I'm currently recording a demo for an acoustic duo. I'm working on the vocals right now an have a serious problem. They sang kind of quietly at the time which seemed okay to me, but when I compress the vocals and raise the volume you can literally hear the noise of the air in the room. I've been working with the expander gate plugin which works great for when they arent singing, but when they are, you can still hear some noise and compression is still out of the question. What do i do?!

Thanks

Jim
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  #2  
Old 01-11-2009, 06:11 PM
Dorian Green Dorian Green is offline
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Default Re: Need help with background noise!

Hey...
Of course the best thing to do would be to record the singers again.
What kind of microphone did you use for your vocals?Do you have a dedicated preamp?How far were your singer to the mic?Do you use an anti-pop?
But if you can't redo the take, applying a well set gate is a very good idea.To remove (actually youcan't remove all the noise!) you could use a plugin called X-Noise by Waves.You have to "teach" the plug which frequencies to remove (for example during a voice break without gate).Then you apply the reduction in a delicate way not to ruin the clarity of your vocals.

That's all I can tell you at the moment.
Hope it helps!
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  #3  
Old 01-12-2009, 07:43 AM
jmitchell1532 jmitchell1532 is offline
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Default Re: Need help with background noise!

You could also use a 1 band EQ, and cut the frequencies where the "air" is, which I think is either 10k, but it could be in the other spectrum, around 50-80 mz. USe a sharp Q setting.
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2009, 10:10 AM
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DrFord DrFord is offline
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Default Re: Need help with background noise!

Blatantly cutting 10k will do nothing except make your vocals sound weird and loose shimmer and clarity. The waves X-Noise works great, and if you can't afford it you can get the Wave Arts plugs free for 30 days. They have a similar program in their restoration bundle.

First tip on recording vocals, is to record in sections. As in I know when the singer sings the first verse, she sings it low, but when she hits the first chorus she sings REALLY loud. So record the first verse at a gain that makes sense, something that would probably clip during the chorus.

Then adjust the gain to fit the chorus, and so on. The reason here is that your pre-amp (hopefully) is quality enough to sound better than if you simply add gain to your signal. Once printed, the noise recorded is the noise recorded. If you gain up the vocal, you gain up the noise. A gate will work, but during the vocal on, you will still hear the noise and then it may sound worse because you notice the noise cutting in and out.

You may want to hide the noise if you can't re-record with some type of pad. Or you may find some luck with adding dither at the same sample rate to the track selected. This may or may not work, but it could give you slightly better results by (hopefully) pushing the information up on the chanel or may blend in with the noise already existent. Or maybe I'm wrong just an idea.

In the future, you should figure out what is causing the noise in your control room. Be it bad insulation from outside traffic noise, heater / air conditioner, computer fan (most likely) and then once you have found the culprit you need to isolate. Get a blanket and cover your computer when you are recording a delicate pass.

Also don't forget that most of the time a bit of noise can be easily hidden in the mix if you have a full band or an extensive track arrangement. If you have 2 signers and a guitar, well good luck.

D
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  #5  
Old 01-12-2009, 10:25 AM
jmitchell1532 jmitchell1532 is offline
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Default Re: Need help with background noise!

Hi, DrFord. I didn't mean to suggest that cutting frequencies was the only answer. Obviously, recording a better signal will produce superior results. I was just suggesting that, when in a pinch, gate/eq can be helpful in a MacGuyver sort of way.
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2009, 12:29 PM
daeron80 daeron80 is offline
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Default Re: Need help with background noise!

They're right, unfortunately: re-record. And there's worse news. You need a quieter room to record in. You need to either make your tracking room more isolated and have a studio construction pro redo your HVAC to make it quieter, or record vocals somewhere else that *is* quiet enough.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2009, 03:24 PM
jimthepisces jimthepisces is offline
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Default Re: Need help with background noise!

Hey everyone,

sorry for taking so long to answer -- rough day! haha

So, I have a AKG Perception 100 and I just use my M-Audio Firewire 1814 without a preamp. I do have X-Noise, but for some reason it seems to delay the vocals the more I reduce the noise? whats that about?

I kind of figured out what the source of the problem was today -- I think I had the pad button on while I recorded the vocals and just turned up the gain until it was a decent volume. No pad and less gain would have produced loud vocals with no air sound...The room I'm recording in is basically a closet with some mattress foam to dampen the sound. I'm still going to try to use the takes that I have so we don't have to rerecord...

I do have 1 question though: could I turn up the vocals and use a noise gate and then record the results onto a new track THEN compress it? or would the compression still pick up the noise?

did that make any sense? haha
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:22 PM
b mcgibney b mcgibney is offline
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Default Re: Need help with background noise!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimthepisces View Post
Hey everyone,

sorry for taking so long to answer -- rough day! haha

So, I have a AKG Perception 100 and I just use my M-Audio Firewire 1814 without a preamp. I do have X-Noise, but for some reason it seems to delay the vocals the more I reduce the noise? whats that about?

I kind of figured out what the source of the problem was today -- I think I had the pad button on while I recorded the vocals and just turned up the gain until it was a decent volume. No pad and less gain would have produced loud vocals with no air sound...The room I'm recording in is basically a closet with some mattress foam to dampen the sound. I'm still going to try to use the takes that I have so we don't have to rerecord...

I do have 1 question though: could I turn up the vocals and use a noise gate and then record the results onto a new track THEN compress it? or would the compression still pick up the noise?

did that make any sense? haha

Honestly, bring the talent back in and redo it. When I was first starting out almost thirty years ago I had to do this more than I care to think about. I never charged for the redo and looked at it as DIY tuition costs.


You can do a lot with plugs but if you want pro results, a decent take makes the rest of the process SOOO much easier.

Some good inline compression and attention to gain structure as well as figuring out the talents singing style will really help. As will getting a decent mic pre. Lots of choices out there. If I read your post correctly it sounds like you are not using a pre , this does not lead to good results.

B


Best of luck

B
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2009, 07:02 PM
daeron80 daeron80 is offline
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Default Re: Need help with background noise!

Hmm. Well, if the problem was the pad being on, then the noise is at least as much electronic hiss as ambient noise. The mic's self noise + the mic pre at high gain. It's possible that recording with no pad in the future will help some. Loud singers will help more.

NR plugs like X-noise can skew the transients, or ramp them some (like a gate opening to late), so it gives the impression that the whole sound is later than it really is. The actual latency of the plug-in stays the same. Still, what counts is how it sounds, so you may have to compensate by ear. It's gonna sound wierd, no way around it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimthepisces View Post
could I turn up the vocals and use a noise gate and then record the results onto a new track THEN compress it? or would the compression still pick up the noise?
Same result. Level is level. The noise occurring during singing at any point will go up by the total amount of gain over the course of the whole process. If you use those takes, you'll have to live with either vocals+noise or vocals severely warped by NR.
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  #10  
Old 01-13-2009, 09:24 AM
jimthepisces jimthepisces is offline
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Default Re: Need help with background noise!

Thanks everyone!...I think I may have to invest in a preamp someday soon -- Can't do drums with only 2 mic inputs anyway haha
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