High pitched hiss in my set.

So this is similar to another thread I saw earlier, but the question didn’t get answered, so I’ll make a new one in the hope that my question does. First of all, I’ve got an American Audio VMS4 running through Virtual DJ Pro 7, which is connected to a Behringer UCA-222 as my line in, and two vinyl turntables connected to the VMS4 which I’ve disconnected for the moment. What I’m trying to do is record a DJ set using audacity, however as soon as I press record a high pitch hiss sound is audible through my monitor speakers, and also appears in the recording. I’ve tried unplugging my laptop from power, and moving my whole setup as far away from other electrical interference as possible, but the hiss still occurs as soon as I press record.

Here’s a brief sample of the hiss, and some audio just to show the actual recording itself works.

Any help you could offer would be awesome, as I’m starting to get fairly frustrated.

It sounds like electrical interference.
If you connect the UCA-222 to the laptop, with nothing else connected to the UCA-222 and the laptop running on batteries, do you still get the high pitched whistle sound?

It is possible to filter out much of the annoying noise, but it would be a much better solution if we can find where the noise is coming from and stop the noise at source.

For example, run the following code in the Nyquist Prompt effect:

(notch2 s 1000 100)
1420 50)
2000 100)
3000 100)
4000 100)
5170 20)
5250 100)
6000 100)
7000 100)

then use a little Noise Removal.

Guess: Using any program on a computer for recording is not the best idea - due to noise (especially a usb mic), you may not even hear until playback of finished recording.

Guess Answer: a seperate device/interface designed specifically for recording. Then Audacity can be used to edit.

:nerd: :question:

I did what you said, and the sound is still there, albeit a little bit quiter.

Would recording with a second laptop help, to remove the loop of data? Or if not, is there any specific recording interfaces you could suggest? (Fairly economically priced, I’m on a college budget.)

I use a UCA 202 with an old Acer laptop and the noise levels are surprisingly good for such a cheap device.

What do you mean by “loop of data”?

Not exactly sure what the actual term is, but Virtual DJ is feeding the music through the American Audio VMS4, which is then sending it to the UCA222, in turn feeding it back into the same laptop and monitor speakers respectively. So by “loop” I mean the audio is being both sent and received by the same laptop, possibly creating a ‘feedback’ sort of situation?
And I’m not worried about the performance of the laptop being the problem, as it’s a top of the line Alienware m17x. Could it be the UCA222 itself creating the interference? Is there much difference between that and the 202?

I thought that you tried it without there being a “loop” situation :confused:
“If you connect the UCA-222 to the laptop, with nothing else connected to the UCA-222…”

The differences that I know of:
The UCA222 is pink and costs a little more.
The UCA202 is grey and costs a little less.

Would recording with a second laptop help, to remove the loop of data? Or if not, is there any specific recording interfaces you could suggest? (Fairly economically priced, I’m on a college budget.)

I’m sure it is like everything else - the more you spend the better it will be.

My recording equipment investment so far has been $40 for a “First Act” USB mic (horrible) but better than say a cheaper voice only mic that plugs into the [computer] mic jack.

From a usb mic the next level, as far as I know would be a hand held portable (Tascam is a popular brand, and Zoom, there are several), some even have multi-track/dubbing recording capablility (they start at about $100). They’re at music stores like Guitar Center and some Best Buys now. Never tried one but after some research I would say better because the computer is out of the recording process (and I think some, if not all, have line-in capability also).

Then the next level as far as I know is a plug in interface (Tascam etc. … and music store people are usually very experienced and helpful recommending a brand). An interface may require buying an actual proper microphone which are $100+ unless everything you do is line-in, and interfaces start at about $2-300.
As far as what you currently have going I don’t know – one thing that does come to mind is make sure your computers built-in mic is not on, if it has a built-in mic.

Also, I’m not familiar with recording “line-in” but not everything can be recorded line-in of course.

Black Dog Bluez, I don’t think you’re getting what I’m trying to accomplish. No mics are involved at all in the current process at all, and the mic I do have is fine.
I think we’re getting a little off-topic in general; is there a way to get rid of the hiss? Or is there no other choice but change what equipment I’m using?

:astonished: [trying to read that nicely! weird? symantics-you know] --oh your welcome! Just giving a little input “StrandedintheDesert” --I am NOT a professional! read the creds after the names-- but hey noise does come from the computer and my comments stand, line-in or mic. Again that’s just objective conjecture, and who knows, maybe not even true if you have the right equipment or something[??]. I am not a professional. Take it all in, regroup wait for the next comment, I have nothing else. good — luck.

Sorry if that came across as abrupt, but they were honest questions. I wasn’t aware people on these forums were so sensitive.

To clarify, is the equipment I’m using the best way to go about things? Or is my problem purely with the software?

When Black Dog Bluez wrote:

he was making a very sound comment (if you will pardon the pun).

Computers were never, and are not even now, designed to be high-quality recording devices. The interior of a computer casing (laptop or tower) is an extremely “hostile” environment for very low level analogue sound signals. There are lots of potential sources of low intensity, electronically generated, spurious sounds: the power stack, the cooling fan motors, the disk drive motors, the components on the circuit boards, etc. There are also several feet (metres) of unshielded cabling, any of which can act as a radio aerial, picking up these stray signals and passing them along to the soundcard’s amplifier.

I would always recommend that the analogue activity take place outside the computer, that the analogue to digital conversion take place outside the computer and that the resultant file of 0s and 1s be uploaded to the computer. Computers just love those 0s and 1s!

Do you have any hardware suggestions for the recording process?

As Black Dog Bluez has already suggested:

I gave up trying to get clean recordings through the PC back in 2007 and bought a Zoom H2 digital sound recorder. Back then there were very few options readily available in the UK and the Zoom was the cheapest (at 250-300GBP). I have since added a Rycote windjammer for a further 25-30GBP. I have used the H2 to record steam locomotives at ranges from quarter mile to “up close and personal”, birdsong at 30 feet, a local brass band at fifteen feet in our village hall (that was loud!) and voice-over at about 12 inches. Every challenge I throw at it, it just eats it up and asks for more!

There are now lots of different makes on the market. I would follow Black Dog Bluez’s advice and go visit your nearest supplier and have a good chat with the knowledgeable staff there.

The problem is almost certainly not software.
The problem is that your hardware is picking up interference from somewhere.
The best approach to eliminate the problem is to locate the source of the problem, that is why the answer to this question is so important:
“If you connect the UCA-222 to the laptop, with nothing else connected to the UCA-222…”

If you don’t know where the noise is coming from, you could spend a lot of money on new hardware and find that the problem is still there.

Attached is a before/after sample using the noise removal methods described in my second post.
There is still a little noise remaining, but the music has been virtually untouched by the cleaning process and it is a big improvement.

UPDATE ON HISS IN RECORDING (WINDOWS XP). Was ready to conclude a usb mic is just total garbage when I found this on-line review for my “First Act” USB mic:

“I had the same problem with this mic when i first bought it. the solution was the same on windows vista and seven. see, when you plug the mic in for some reason your computer sets it as the default speaker. to fix this go to control panel>hardware and sound> manage audio devices once you open that up in the playback tab select your speakers and set them as default. i did all of this right after i plugged the mic in BEFORE i opened any recording program and it works perfectly now. you could also go to the search bar in the start button and type in ‘manage audio devices’ to get to it. good quality mic with a 83.1dB signal to noise ratio. good luck.” --author unknown

Well anyway I started checking and found playback settings wrong with my sound system (asus/realtek) playback settings had mic on and volume full (which should not be for any setting there, playback or record), I muted and put slider to -0-. Also computer operating systems control panel>>sounds and audio devices --audio and voice, and also do the way this post (previous paragraph) recommends…first plug mic in then check settings before opening audacity.

“Generic USB Audio Device” is what I get, but this doesn’t appear until the mic is plugged in. --And just set this to default and others off. --then open Audacity and also set settings there if need be. Three different places where settings can make or break a recording. Operating system sound controls, computer sound controls, and recorder sound controls.

SO–for the money a usb mic can work[!] – though, of course, sound quality is still relevant to investment.

*plus I assume this UPDATE would be just as relevant to line-in recordings as well!

Does it still do that if you click once inside the red recording meters instead of going into record? That puts the system into playthrough if that’s what you have selected in Audacity Preferences.

Now disconnect everything at the output of the UCA222 and plug headphones into the UCA headphone socket – or plug your speaker system into the UCA directly – without going through the rest of the system.

[time passes]

Oh, yes. Mosquito digital whine. That happens when there’s noise on the USB battery system and it’s getting into the UCA222 – before the audio turns to digital. Once the audio is ones and zeros, it’s pretty much immune to all those problems.

Do you have all your USB connections full? Can you unplug any of them? Do you have one of those reading lights that plugs into your USB?

Do you have a USB hub that takes its power from the wall rather than the USB bus?


No, I’m good Koz – (If you mean me?). I was just sharing (with all) the fact that I overlooked settings (volumes, defaults) and finally figured it out and everything’s as good as can be (expected) now. The only way I can improve at this point is to upgrade to better recording equipment. Thanks, I’m just passing info forward for future trouble shooters.

Same problem, im using uca222 connected with yamaha mgx16 and shure pgx14 clip on. First, i was thinking that maybe the mic or the mixer is the problem, but then i disconnected the device from the mixer, press record, and the “ssssssssssssssshhhhhhhh” is still there. I did the same thing on different laptop, nothing change, the input monitor still moving even without any audio input. It didnt sounds like an electrical noise, electrical noise usually sounds like “dzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt”. Then where did the noise come from? Frustating.

Did you guys ever watched “take away show” videos on you tube? I need a suggestion what should i use to produce a live recording video with that sounds like multitrack recording audio quality?