Background Noise/Hissing with a USB Mic??


I’ve been having a lot of trouble removing background noise/hissing from an Audio Technica 2500xUSB Cardioid Condenser mic.

It’s a brand-new mic, the room has been quietened (AC off, fridge unplugged etc), the mic has a shock mount and pop filter, I’ve tried muting the mic levels/lowered the gain etc. and nothing has helped. I’ve been using Audacity and even the noise reduction effect hasn’t helped. The background noise gets louder the quieter the piano/vocals are.

Here’s a 20 sec sample of that ambient noise I’m referring to:

My setup is basically just the USB mic connected to a laptop with a USB C to USB A cable. Nothing else. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with the mic itself, the USB connection, HDD noise or something entirely different, and I would like to figure it out before returning/replacing the mic and having the same issue again.

Thank you so much in advance for your help!

Check out How to post an audio sample:

That and to do noise tests we need a portion of the test to not have any performance in it. That can get messy because you can’t just “plug in” silence from the effects lists, that doesn’t reflect the actual performance environment.

When the audiobook people have noise problems we ask them to read a short sentence and hold their breath for a second or two. That’s the “real” background noise.

Even at that, I wasn’t able to hear any hiss sounds in your music.

Can you listen to the work on something else? Somebody else’s computer? It’s not that unusual for a playback problem to drive everybody nuts when they think their microphone is broken.


Unfortunately, neither of us were able to see what you were talking about from your soundcloud posting.

You could try sandwiching the microphone between two pillows to see if the noise is coming from the microphone/computer or from the room. If the noise is still present, it could be the computer, USB connection, or the microphone. One poster on the Amazon website said: “The best option I’ve found [for the Audio Technica 2500xUSB Cardioid Condenser] is to use the XLR cable direct to a Digital Audio Recorder. Currently an H4N Pro.”

For a discussion on Room noise, see: Room Noise Floor -59.6DB Argh! [SOLVED]

There’s a trick to this, too. Don’t go “diving for noise.”

Set the playback volume for comfortable listening at the loudest portion of the show, and then don’t touch anything while you play the whole thing. It doesn’t count if you play a very soft, delicate passage and then crank the volume control up as far as it will go. Nobody would ever pass noise if they did that.