Noisey Computer

constant internal background noise

I am absolutely new to Ntrack and to recording music period. I just purchased Ntrack and tried to record a small sample of music. There is a constant background “humming” that appears on the sound level meter. It is recorded with my music. I am using a microphone plugged directlty into my computer. The noise is present even if I do not have a microphone plugged in. I have tried to adjust all my sound settings and input device options but the sound still remains. Is there anyway to fix or reduce this noise? I am using an HP Pavillion computer with windows XP SP!. When it comes to computers I am clueless but I believe the sound card is an “Avance AC 97” I guess. Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you

Ok, there’s several things that could be causing this.
I wish I could say, here’s a simple solution but it’s just not so.
I’ve had to go through what I call “chains of power courses” to determin different causes on diff. systems.
Some systems are just loud by nature, fans ects.
Other’s get loud hums when different things are plugged into them. I’ve had to go through all my chains to determin which one was causing the hum.
Sometimes having an amplifyer plugged into the same outlet as a computer can cause it. Also if power cords are crossed behind the computer. ( like the monitor cord, and the computer cord.)
Make sure none of your power cords are touching each other, or crossing paths. That includes other extension cords and stuff that’s not even on.
Other things like a airconditioner, and alarm clocks, cordless phones can be problematic as well. Some of theese devices adnit a magnetic waves, that can be picked up by some computers soundcards.
Also it could be a particular device inside the computer making the noise, like a modem, Cd-rom, ect. I’ve had to disconect the audio cord from a modem or two, or re-route them to eliminate it.
One suggestion I can make, is this.
If your going to use a computer souly for music than build it as such. Tell your supplier to skip all the uneeded devices, and instead of waising money on, fast modems, and graphics cards, add a silent power source, and the most quiet fan you can afford. With a little tweeking you can have them create a syatem that will run virtually silent. It will then be up to you to eliminate all the outside sources of noise and hums.

Hope this helps.



I have an older computer that I no longer use. I think I will just strip it down and re-build it solely for recording.

Thanks for the info.


To add Jeremy’s list - many mic preamps build in sound cards are pretty noisy. You’d be better off plugging your mic to an external preamp and plugging the preamp to soundcard’s line in connectors.


godda love that avatar Mwah…lord knows, that is one box I need in my arsenal!

CaneMan, What you hear in the background is called the “noisefloor”. It will always be there to some degree. Your objective is to minimize it. I use CoolEdit’s noise reduction to remove it.

For what it’s worth try this. Mute your CD drive in your playback controls. It seems to be the biggest villian in every box I’ve fooled with. They are noisy by nature even when they’re not active.

Here’s the “Gotcha”. If you’re using “Wave Out Mix” in your “Recording Controls” you will capture all the noise in your box. Make sure you only select “Line In” or “Microphone”, which ever one you are using, as your input. Then the noise of you CDROM, or anything else, won’t be captured in your recorded wav. But even though it’s not captured in your wav you will still hear it if you don’t mute it in your “Playback controls”. Be sure to mute everything you’re not using too.

Other sources of noise include bad connections, poor quality mics and non-grounded or poor preamp equip. What kind of mic are you using?

Lastly the most important means to reducing the noisefloor is to have the greatest signal to noise ratio possible. You do that by turning the gain on your input as high as you can without clipping.

A little practice and you’ll have it!