Ask Joe #60 – Dealing with Noise

Wanna submit a question for the podcast? Go here:

Questions covered this week:

  • How do I get rid of background noise?
  • How do I get the bass guitar to sit in the mix?
  • How do I make a mix with only a few tracks sound full?
  • What’s the deal with using aux tracks for effects?

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Dealing with Noise

Do you have noise in your recordings?

Do you hate noise?

Wish you knew some ways to deal with it?

This past Friday I spent part of the afternoon tracking acoustic guitar for a client. (He’s actually an HSC subscriber, too.)

It was a fairly quiet tune with a more finger-style guitar part. And since the instrumentation for the song was going to be primarily acoustic guitar, I decided to break out two mics and stereo-mic the guitar.

The problem?

Because I wasn’t strumming with a pick and playing nice and loud, I ended up having a fairly big amount of noise initially. (more…)

Why Noise isn’t a Big Deal

In your recordings in your home studio, are you constantly worried about noise? Be honest, it’s okay if you are.

That is something that I have struggled with my entire recording career. Homes, apartments, houses — they’re just not very quiet. A professional recording studio is acoustically treated and isolated. If you walk into a pro vocal booth, it is dead quiet.

But the question I have for you is this — is that really that important? Here’s what I think: no, not really.


Using an Expander on Vocals [Ask Joe]

Got this question today from Alex:

Is it a good idead to add an expander plugin on my vocal track? Could I make an AUX track and use it as a send for my vocals?

I notice how it kills the background noise in my headphones and just really pick up my vocals.


How to Save Your Recording Session from the Rain

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last several days, you’ve probably heard about the massive amounts of rain and flooding going on in Middle Tennessee. There has been so much flooding here in Nashville. They’re calling it a “500-year flood,” whatever that means.

It will be a long time before this area fully recovers. Many have lost their homes and businesses. Thankfully, my wife and I are safe and dry. (If you’d like to donate to the flood relief, you can do so at the Nashville Red Cross website.)

Before I go any further, I want you to know that I don’t mean to make light of the devastation that’s going on in this area. However, I did actually have a recording session on Saturday, during the torrential downpour, and I thought I’d share some of the experience with you.

Rain, rain, go away…


4 Ways to Deal with Noise in a Mix

It’s inevitable.

If you’re recording music at home, you’re going to have noise in your recordings. You obviously want to do everything you can to reduce the amount of noise in your recordings.

A few suggestions for cutting down on noise:

  • Use thick packing blankets. (I feel like that sentence is direct copyright infringement on the Home Recording Show…they love blankets over there.) These can be a cheap way to block out some noise.
  • Record in a separate room. This is ideal but not always possible.
  • Use a dynamic mic. They’re less sensitive and may not pick up as much room noise…but they usually require more gain, so you may have more pre-amp noise. Doh!
  • Record in outer space. Again, this isn’t always possible.

There are all sorts of tricks for cutting down noise, but that’s not the point of this article. Let’s just assume that you’ll deal with noise at some point in your home recording career…and by “some point” I mean “every day.” 🙂

On to the main attraction…4 Ways to Deal with Noise in a Mix.