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How do you get a noise free recording?

The #1 problem i’ve had with people sending in audio samples is system noise. This is a high pitched whine that is very difficult to remove becuase it won’t come out of the voice like ambient hiss will. Any advice?

Loki uses the installed mic on his mac laptop and comes out perfect.

Victor does not have it at all.

Scottie does not have it, but has heavy background hiss.

Sky and Tepic both have the whine.

I can’t get a recording on myself due to background noise.

Any advice would be enlightening and interesting, and keep in mind this is entirely hit and miss experimentation. One notorious source of noise on macs is the fans that come on when you have been using for a while, particulary if you have SL running.


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  1. Victor1st Mornington Victor1st Mornington November 27, 2010

    Some ways to cut down, or totally eliminate system background noise…

    1: Use a headset/microphone thats NOT USB and plugs directly into the old analog jack for mic in your soundcard.

    2: Check the power of your PC.  Is your PC plugged into the same socket as your TV, Video, DVD Player?  The main socket on your wall that the gang socket for your PC plugs into should be for the PC and PC alone, thus reducing DC or AC feedback into the PSU for your computer.

    3: More stuff plugged into the motherboard makes noise increases more likley.  Before recording, unplug your scanner, webcam, printer and any other USB connected accessories, for best results you should only have your speakers, monitor and mic/headset plugged in.

    4: Street power lines carry more noise at night.  Power lines, no matter what country you are in, are all commonly shared.  The best time to record is when there’s less strain on the poewr lines of your street.  Early in the morning is good before the majority of people wake up, after dinner time is even better once all those microwave ovens are off and the majority of your street is watching the TV.

    5: OnBoard soundcards.  Soundcards actually built into the motherboard and not a seperate card that plugs into the motherboard are much more prone to picking up noise from the motherboard itself.  Soundcards that plug into the motherboard have their own noise filters built in which greatly reduce noise.

    6: Done all of the above and STILL getting that strange static/background hiss?  Then you probably have a noisey PSU or a motherboard thats showing signs of age.  Many computer motherboards and PSU’s made between 2000 to 2009 suffer from Capacitor Plague, read up on it here…

  2. Victor1st Mornington Victor1st Mornington November 27, 2010

    Ways to cut down on inroom background noise…

    There is a way to find out if its your actual system, or your mic picking up noise…

    Open Audacity or good old Windows Sound Recorder…UNPLUG your mic, and hit record.  Now play it back.  Is there a hiss or a sound?  Then its more than likley coming from your mainboard or power line, see the comment above to fix that.

    So, you have no system noise, next you plug your mic in, leave it switched on and hit record but DONT make any noise, all you will be doing is recording “dead air”.  Play it back…are you hearing a hiss/pipping or static noises?  Then its your mic cable picking up stray low frequency signals from an electrical source close to your room.  Switch off your TV, DVD player…and the number 1 cause of this type of noise…flourescent strip lighting!

    When your start recording, do not, under any circumstances, speak directly into the microphone.  If you are using a headset and mic combination, move the mic infront of your chin, not infront of your mouth.  If you are using a hand held microphone you want to speak holding that mic at least a foot away from your moth.  This will cut back any popping noises from the letter P and B and will also cut down on breathing noises between sentences.

  3. Mr Tenk Mr Tenk November 27, 2010

    i should note that if you have  industrial or age related hearing damage, you probably won’t hear the high pitched whine where others might.

  4. Mr Tenk Mr Tenk December 30, 2010

    The sound clips that have been coming in this week are notably better… the main demon seems to be flourescent lighting!


  5. Mr Tenk Mr Tenk May 9, 2011

    just got a USB mic issue that had to be rejected. The “noise free for improved gaming” USB adaptor that comes on many headsets that has that flashing red LED makes a noise somewhere between a car going over a long bridge and an electronic warning beep and it won’t scrub out. i have to plug my headset into an iMic USB adaptor to make it work, it has eliminated all the electronic noise for me.

    now if i could do something about those coal trains (all the coal from appalacia headed for overseas goes through my town, all night long).

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