Cannot remove white noise/hiss

Please please help! i’ve been using audacity on/off for years now, just downloaded the latest version (1.3.3) and seem to run into the same problem as previous versions - the noise removal.

I’m using audacity for recording my own tracks and love the layout/design and features, however i ALWAYS have a hideous amount of white noise/hiss, ive tried various things to reduce this including plug in straight to comp/miking up guitar/running through mixer…i’ve also tinkered with sound card settings but nothing gets rid of it and it makes every recording rubbish…

The noise removal tool is an excellent feature of Audacity in principle and works fantastically for vocal recordings, however when i attempt to use it having miked an acoustic guitar it goes wrong…it removes the hiss no problem but makes a lovely warm sounding guitar sound tinny and robotic, seems to ‘wave’ in and out as well…

Sorry there is no help with obsolete versions of Audacity. See the pink panel at the top of this page.

For your own safety, always download Audacity from us. You can get the latest 2.0.5 version here: . Help for 2.0.5 Noise Removal is in the Manual: . Use the Sensitivity slider as well as the Noise Reduction slider.

If there is too much noise it cannot be removed without artifacts. You should prevent the excessive noise getting into the recording.

Tell us make and model number of the microphone, make, model number and connection type of the cables, the make and model number of the mixer and exactly how everything connects. Tell us the version of Windows. Are you only recording acoustic guitar or electric guitar as well?


Hi Gale thanks for speedy response…I’ve downloaded version mentioned below and just tested, still getting the same issues…

Agreed, i’d rather limit the unwanted noise prior to recording rather than trying to edit but don’t seem to be able to. I will concede a lot of the stuff i’m using is old and naff and this may be exacerbating the problem but i don’t want to throw money at the problem if there’s no certainty it’ll work (e.g. buy a new mic and still have same problems). Would be happy to upgrade new bits but i don’t know what bits i need if that makes sense.

CPU is HP 2gb RAM with Intel Core 2 Processor (32bit)
Operating System: Windows VISTA with Service Pack 2

Ok, onto the embarrassing:
Mic is currently a PHILIPS SBCMD110 but was using MAPLIN ZA-29
Mixer is BBC Realistic Model - 32-1200B…i’ll be honest i dont even know how to use it just thought going through this may assist! i was wrong.

I’m flitting between plugin mic straight into computer and playing into it, or running mic through mixer and into computer…

Predominantly i’ll be using Acoustic Guitar but i will need to lay down bass, electric and piano parts which will present a whole challenge…when i tried these before i was always going through mixer or effects pedals,never miked up amp.


Please do not double post. It wastes everyone’s time. I deleted your duplicate post and the new topic in which you posted the same message.

I am not an audio engineer, so now you have provided some information we’ll wait for an engineer to review it.


Also while we’re waiting, please post a five seconds WAV sample of the noise. Please see for how to attach a sample.

And since you say vocal recordings don’t have the same noise problem, are you sure you are putting the mic close enough to the guitar? I think you want a better mic (that would need an interface to connect to) to record high quality acoustic guitar.


I could’t find much about your equipment… I couldn’t find anything on the Maplin.

Noise is an analog problem. Hiss is usually from the preamp (the preamp built into your mixer in this case), although it can also be acoustic/ambient. The trick is to use low-noise equipment in a low-noise environment and then try to get a good strong signal for a good signal-to-noise ratio. Solo acoustic instruments (and vocals) can be the most difficult things to record!

Noise reduction isn’t perfect. So even with the latest pro software, pros still record in soundproof studios with very good low-noise equipment.

Any good performance/studio microphone is going to be low-impedance balanced (3-wire) with an XLR connector. And of course, the mixer or audio interface needs matching inputs. (Your Phillips mic and the mixer appear to be high impedance unbalanced.)

I’m flitting between plugin mic straight into computer…

The line-input on a soundcard is often acceptable, and you can plug a mixer into it.

The microphone input on a regular soundcard is high-impedance unbalanced, so it’s the wrong match for any good microphone, and the built-in preamp is usually noisy and poor quality making the mic input on a soundcard or laptop worthless for quality recording.

If you have a laptop with no line-in, you generally need a [u]USB Audio Interface[/u]. You can also find mixers with USB outputs. Even with a desktop computer, an audio interface is the standard way of doing it. (These devices bypass your soundcard.)

Another option is a “Studio Style” USB condenser (AKA “[u]Podcast Mic[/u]”). These are super convenient, and they are economical since you are essentially getting the USB audio interface free with the mic. (These usually run $100 - $200 USD). The downsides to a USB mic are that you can generally only use one at a time (no stereo or multi-tracking) and you can’t use them with a mixer. And, many of them don’t have a gain control which means it can be difficult to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio.

Acoustic guitar is most-often recorded with a studio condenser microphone. in fact, almost everything in “the studio” is recorded with a “Large Diaphragm Condenser”. Condenser mics tend to have better high frequency response for more “clarity” or “sparkle” than a dynamic mic. You can use a more mellow sounding dynamic mic and add some high-end boost, but boosting the high frequencies will also boost the hiss.

Studio condensers require phantom power. Almost all audio interfaces with XLR connectors can provide phantom power and many mixers can too. Most stage/performance condensers use a battery. (Dynamic mics don’t need power.)

…A good recording all starts with a good performance on a good instrument in a good quiet room (either a “dead studio” or a “music room” with good natural reverb), picked-up through a good mic with good mic positioning, and a good (quiet) preamp.

BBC Realistic Model - 32-1200B

I had one of those (similar) and I shot some voice sound tracks with it, too, but I had it connected to a very nice microphone and super well-behaved, quiet Mac and I was shooting theatrical presentation voices in a very quiet room in one of the annex buildings at work. So as long as everything else was perfect, I could get away with it. I could shoot drums and electric guitar like that, but I doubt acoustic guitar or quiet, expressive singing. There’s just too many strikes against me.

The problem with hiss noise or random electronic noise is it contains a mish-mash of all audio tones. So when you try to remove it with Noise Removal, Noise Removal tries to remove all audio tones — the whole show. It’s a common complaint that people managed to get rid of the hiss, but the voices and music started to get honky and bubbly.


Do you know anybody that has a system that you like?

Posters keep trying to ooze us into doing product recommendations or design their system and we need to remember this is the Audacity forum, not the Live Recording For Podcast or Help Me Record a Music CD forum. We get involved when posters find out how hard it is to “Clean Up My Show” because they have sound that has just too many problems.

That’s not a dreadful microphone if you plugged it into a top quality mixer and a top quality digitizer…

The mixer is probably adequate if you plug in a top quality microphone and used a top quality digitizer…

It’s when you line up all these “nose just above water” pieces that you get into trouble.

I’m not a fan of USB microphones. They seem to be a gift from the angels, but they have weak sound (on purpose) and are prone to a particularly vicious problem I call Frying Mosquitoes from computer connection problems.

So when you find a system you like, run it by us and we will give you the shortcoming list so you can decide whether you care about them or not.