Recording Noise

I need some input on ways to reduce noise.

When I record and play back there is a noticable amount of noise on the track and it seems to increase with each additioanl track.

I’ve not been successful using the noise gate or the effects. It’s always seems to introduce some other undesireable condition.
I’m using a stardard Pc using win2000. I don’t have a lot of money to buy noise free equipment. Using shure SM58 mic abd fender deville amp and PV10 PVP12 speakers.

Over all I’m happy with current productions I just want them cleaner/ more professional sounding.


Describe the rest of the recording chain, and post an example of the noise if you can.

After I’ve done my final editing and do the mixdown and when I get the Mp3 or wav for the cd burn and play it there’s excessive noise on the front end of the song.



Well, there are different kinds of noise.
What kind exactly?

Also, describe your recording chain.

I’m sorry Tom I don’t follow your request on recording chain.

But the noise sounds like 60 herz or just high background noise.
It seems like it shpould be at least as low as what I hear in the room when I’m not playing.

Tonight I will try to make sure all the other soundcard inputs are turned off and switch off other equipment to try and Isolate it.

I’ve burn’t a 1/2 dozen CD’s and now I’m trying to really get this business down to a science. I’m not that a great guitarist but I really like playing and singing.
We have a band called The real Express. I want so much to expand on our talents and put these tracks down nicely.

I read a little about the Eq filtering and I’ll play around with that but the noise gate was just not what I need at this time.

Better to not record the noise in the first place than to try to remove it.

Recording chain example:

Les Paul>Marshall>sm57>Behringer Preamp>Delta 44 soundcard>n-Track.

So yours would be:


60 hz noise can creep in all over the place. Your idea of eliminating possible sources sounds like a good first step.

I would check the guitar tracks alone to see if there is noise on those tracks. If so, I suspect it could be the computer monitor buzz being picked up by your guitar pickups. I learned how to use the hotkeys for recording so I could record with my monitor off.

My recording chain is as follows:

My guitar thru deville amp Miked with SM57 along with vocals In channels 1,2,3 and electronic drums and keyboard and SD35 sequecer into 4,5.6 line inputs on PV10 mixer, then Tape out into Creative lab soundblaster then N-tracks.

Can you get the picture?

Noisey Don

Ok, if it’s line noise coming from the guitar amp, first thing is how often do you clean your cables and jacks on the amp and guitar? Contact cleaner (non-abrasive to plastic) will make contacts work better and less room for noisey amp buzz and static (will also reduce noise picked up from puter monitors). Rubbing alcohol (don’t drink it either) works just fine with a pack of pipe cleaners. Dirty contacts can pick up the most interference you can imagine, and change of seasons is the biggest cause of this (humidity changes cause corrosion).


Well, I’m getting the picture, Don.
Three more questions.
Is the guitar a single coil type with no sheilding, e.g., a strat?
Does the input meter on n-Track show noise from teh sound card even when there is no input? And does a mic cable pass by a wall wart somewhere?

One more question! Can you hear the noise before it’s recorded or is it on the recorded track only? This might sound like a (semi) dumb question, but when playing we have a tendency to not hear some obvious sounds, like background stuff (think about heaters and refrigerators and trucks driving by) that become really obvious when listening back.

That said, if it’s 60 cycle buzz, I bet it’s coming out of the amp. And if that’s the case I bet it gets a lot quieter when the monitor it off. There’s other tricks to get rid of that kind of thing besides turning off the monitor.

My cables run along the wall base board and go back behind the computer.
The speaker cables also run along paralle along base board but they are all shielded. I do have wall warts plugged in also.

I really don’t know how you avoid some of those runs in the home studio senario.
Cleaning the cables seems a little nit picky but I guess it’s worth a try.
Although I tend to believe the noise is coming from the mixer or the speakers or a combination of all electrical devices in the room.

I’m still working on it and will continue to try to improve the set up.
How do most people input Guitar,drums,keyboard,vocals simultainouisly?

I guess I should also check my Tape out, maybe I’m just not feeding in enough Audio from the mixer.
It seems like I’m cranking the track volume up a lot on the recording. The noise is present when I select Live to check VU input.
My guitar has two or more pickups (les Paul)
What level should I be on the Tape out?

I played around with the EQ filters and I think that will help But seems like a trade off on fidelity of mix.

Certainly lots to learn. As a guitar Player not a sound engineer. some of the debugging take away from creativity.
I get swamped before I get anything done.



The speaker cables also run along paralle along base board but they are all shielded.

Speaker cables should not be and don't need to be shielded, for the same reason AC extension chords are not shielded.


Cleaning the cables seems a little nit picky but I guess it's worth a try.

It's not the cables that need cleaning, but the connectors (plugs and jacks).

You haven't answered one of the questions. Can you hear the noise coming out of your guitar amp? Forget about anything else for the moment.

Well, given that the guitar is a paul (presumably with humbuckers) I bet it’s hte gain structure problem that you just identified for us. Oh, and while we’re at it, you are using the line in on the SB, yes?

But it is the case that wall warts in close proximity to mic cables will do what you describe. Easy enough to check out - just move the cables away from any potential offenders and listen for a change in noise volume.

Or you could just treat the noise as a feature of your music… ???

Phoo, I listened to the guitar aamp and even tried turning the power off I couldn’t hear any nose come from the Amp (fender Deville)

I will try moving away from wall warts. I’m using PVP12 speakers
There is a considerable amount of noise coming out when everything is powered up so my guess is it’s in the system somewhere.

But it’s all new and should be clean, I don’t know much about the active Speakers in terms of noise ratings.
Wht would be a good way to determine the output steeing on the Tape out of the mixer to the Line in on the sound card (or is Mic in)?


Well, you need to be using the line in, not the mic in.

Since you’ve eliminated the guitar amp, next check the mic and mixer. To eliminate the mixer just listen to something through your headphones, and look at the recording meter in n-Track. If you hear noise and it’s showing up on the meter, your problem is in the mixer, or in the gain staging at that point. If you hear no noise but there’s lots showing up on the recording meter, it’s the sound card, I’d say.

While you’re working on a permanent solution, just use the volume nodes to cancel all the unwanted signal.
On the recorded track, bring the “volume line” up right before you play, cut it down, after the last note sustains, etc.

It’s a bit tedious, but it’ll do the trick.

Do each track individually, then the master.

Finally, my experience with pedal chains is that the amount of unwanted noise increases nearly doubles with every padal you have in your rig (and quadruples if you don’t have very good gear).

Alternatively, it may make sense to try and plug directly into your amp, then add your effects using “FreeAmp2” or some equivelant to the track after you’ve recorded it.

Finally, try plugging your power cord to your amp into a different wall outlet you’re using to handle your pedal board (that worked for me one time in a similar situation).

All the best,