Issue with a hiss/whine in the background of some recordings

You can attenuate the rainforest (when you are not speaking) with an expander plug-in e.g. the free version of couture.

If you’re not done obsessing yet, I found a way to use Noise Gate without doing too much damage.

You have to download and install it.

Noise Gate suppresses sound lower volume than a setting.

This message thread describes how I did it.

I used Mastering to get the work in range of Noise Reduction, and then gentle Noise Reduction to get the work within range of Noise Gate. Both Noise Reduction and Noise Gate are set for very modest affect, but still, between them you can get about 18dB of noise reduction, serious noise suppression and nobody can hear what you did.

Have we filled up your dance card yet?

Let’s see. Announce the work > export a safety WAV > cut or edit and correct it > Master it > DeEss it > Noise Reduce it > and Gate it. These steps should not affect ACX Check, or if they do, it should leave the work still within range. DeEssing in particular might reduce the peaks slightly. Peaks are a limit, not a range. As long as they don’t go louder than -3dB, you’re good to go. Essing should not affect RMS (loudness) at all.

If you miss any of the steps, you have to start over because some of the corrections depend on the order of tools.

It’s strongly recommended you export each raw performance as WAV and move it to a safe place as backup.

If you do read a book, the chapters must match, so you have to do all that to each chapter exactly the same way.


just a little rough, almost crackly.

Post some of it.

Did you speak too loud? The blue waves are never supposed to go all the way up or down. View > Show Clipping. That will produce red marks at all the places there is overload sound damage.

How’s the battery life holding up? Did you get the wall power supply? I don’t know what it looks like when the batteries start to go flat or what the warning is. I didn’t use it that much yet.


I’ve recorded for about two hours with the Zoom and the battery still shows as full. So far, so good.

No clipping to report. I don’t have the wall power supply, no. Just gonna roll with rechargeable AAA batteries for now.

…now that I’m sitting at home with another pair of soundproof headphones, I’m beginning to wonder if the issue I was having before was related to the other pair of headphones I was using when I noticed the crackling. I was using bluetooth headphones with my phone, listening on ACX itself, when I noticed the crackle. No idea if that’s likely to change things. They’re cheap and they could be on the fritz. But, for the fun of it, here’s a mastered/de-essed sample of the audio I was (earlier) hearing crackling in all of the room noise.

Maybe I was “diving” when I noticed this. Maybe it’s not there at all.

Maybe it’s not there at all.

It sounds perfect to me and it easily passes ACX Check.

I think you’re analyzing the quality of your headphones which now appear to be the weak link in this process.

I was using bluetooth headphones with my phone

Wireless headphones primary quality is that they’re wireless, convenient and easy to use with no interconnect cables! That’s it. Audio quality, if it’s mentioned at all, can be poor.

rechargeable AAA batteries for now.

My Olympus recorders can use either type and they have a built-in charger. Super handy, but I still pop for primary batteries on important recordings.

So we’re here, or we’ve been here for several days now. That last clip is perfectly submittable.


they’re wireless

Missed one. Nobody’s interested in changing headphone batteries every fifteen minutes, so there is a strong incentive to sacrifice sound quality for battery life.

One of the reasons digital systems are so efficient is they’re digital. They spend time in ones and zeros with no time in between. Audio spends all of its time in the middle between ones and zeros which is stunningly wasteful, but sorry, that’s how our ears work.

Wired headphones can put all the heavy lifting in the device they’re plugged into.

soundproof headphones

Noise Cancelling? So that’s another job the headphones are trying to do in addition to deliver good sound. Do you have a pair of plain, wired headphones you can use at least during quality control?


Free version of Couture is worth the effort of download : real-time fine adjustment of the expander effect …

Transient is another free plugin worth the effort of tracking down : it can reduce the steepness of the attack making the vocal easier on the ear if in large doses, like an audio-book.

After my extended absence, I can confirm that the bluetooth headphones were the sole contributor to the “crackling”, though I’ve a new quandary as of today.

I’ve recorded for probably 20 hours with the Zoom. This afternoon, halfway through a 30 minute session, I noticed what sounds like your standard cellphone “buzzing” or interference interspersed throughout my playback.

My phone has been with me in the closet for all of those 20 hours, but this is the first time I’ve experienced this.

Just after the 6 second mark in the clip I’m providing, you can hear it off and on until the end. There was a bunch of that for about the final 10 minutes of recording. That’s cellphone interference, right?

Aluminum/Aluminium foil can shield devices from radio-waves …
Be careful not to short-circuit anything with the foil.