Low level noise upon recording

I have Audacity 2.1.3, downloaded today from the web and installed using the .exe. I am running on Windows 7 Home Premium, Ver 6.1, SP 1. Whenever I select record, noise is generated. Frequency Analysis shows the first band at 85 HZ, -43 db, with successive peaks of about -65 db occurring at 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 Hz. Above that, there are peaks occurring every 1,000 Hz through to 15,000 Hz in the -75 to -85 db range. I have tested the system with only the turntable on and connected to the PC, and with with the receiver on and in the phono listen mode. The results are the same. I was getting the same result with 2.2.2. The noise is audible on the lead in and in between tracks on the vinyl. I cannot tell if the noise is present during material. I am using the Compressor to suppress anything below -60 db, that helps but does not eliminate all the noise. I use Silence to kill the signal between tracks, and that works great, but I am concerned about this noise interfering on the low end of the dynamic range, and hearing this on quiet passages.

The periodic nature of this noise is intriguing, but I have no idea how it is being induced. I can send you a screen shot of the frequency analysis chart and the text file. What do you think, have you seen this before? Is there some crazy interaction with the PC hardware? I am a new user, love the software and planning to digitize a 300 album collection, but not fond of the buzzing my ear. I want to clean up this noise before proceeding. Thanks.

That’s sounds like the Yeti Curse, although that’s not likely because you don’t have a Yeti microphone. In a Yeti, that’s the USB management data chugging up and down the cable and leaking into the sound. Before I associated it with a Yeti, I used to call it “frying mosquitoes.” That sound about right?

See if this helps. Attached is a simple text file with Nyquist Programming in it. Select a segment of your music when the noise is worst and most obvious. Effect > Nyquist Prompt… That will open up a window. Copy and paste that programming into the window > OK.

Play it.

That may help, but all we’re doing is slicing out parts of the music to make the noise less obvious, so that’s not a good long-term solution. Or if that’s close enough for you, you can just go with that forever.

YetiCurse.txt (99 Bytes)

Noise is an analog problem. The kind of noise you’re describing sounds like digital signals from the computer getting into the analog electronics. If you’re using a regular soundcard inside the computer, that’s where the noise is coming from. You can also sometimes get noise coming from the computer via USB power, if you are using a USB-powered USB interface.

I am using the Compressor to suppress anything below -60 db, that helps but does not eliminate all the noise.

As far as I know, Audacity’s compressor* doesn’t do that. What you are describing is dynamic expansion (specifically downward expansion). Audacity does have a Noise Gate effect, which is a special case (usually an extreme case) of downward expansion.

Compression actually makes the signal-to-noise ratio worse by either reducing the loud parts and/or boosting the quiet parts.

but I am concerned about this noise interfering on the low end of the dynamic range

Noise is what limits dynamic range on an analog recording, but if you can’t hear it, it’s no problem.

and hearing this on quiet passages.

There’s always audible noise on a record. Usually the record itself is the weak link, and sometimes there is noise from the preamp, but it certainly doesn’t help if your getting noise from your ADC (or soundcard). Audacity has a Noise Reduction effect, and Repair and Click Removal effects that can help with vinyl noise. There are also special purpose applications for cleaning-up digitized vinyl (I have Wave Repair and Wave Corrector), but you rarely get “digital quality”.


  • There are compressor/expander effects that do both.

Gents, thanks for your quick reply. This all started when I retired a 7 year old Dell Windows 7 PC and bought a new Dell Windows 10 machine, because my attempt to upgrade to Windows 10 on the first machine ended up in a disaster. I was looking for some use for the old Windows 7 PC, and came up with the bright idea of converting it into a on the cheap music server for my stereo system, which is a Mac4272 with JBL 4310 speakers. I bought a Teac 300n turntable which has a USB output plus phono. Not a high end device but ok for my purposes as it uses a belt drive and has a few other nice features. The vinyl collection goes back to the late sixties and seventies and is in very good condition since I used low mass arms (Acoustic Research and Empire manual turntables). The collection has been in storage for about 15 years, so no play in that time. The vinyl noise is what I expect, and can use Audacity to do some clean up. I am only trying to record what comes off the vinyl, and eliminate any induced noise.

In looking at some of the posts and responses on the topic of noise, I began to think that there is a hardware issue at play. Dell uses the RealTek sound card. I do not know if it has decent quality. The periodic nature of the noise is a good clue that the noise is a hardware issue of some type. I have read that some of the turntable built in AD converters may not be good quality. Do you know of any good quality ADCs and what about fully shielded USB cables? What do you think of the RealTek sound card? Just how good is the stock Microsoft music player?

I got your point about Compressor. To get some Dolbyish noise reduction both DR compression and expansion is required. Is there any SW out there that does that? I got your point on Nyquist and understand how to apply it. I tried some Notch filtering, but not sure how to program “rolloff”. ie -3db points.

I have an old ReVox A77 10 inch reel to reel, and content on Scotch 201 and 202 tapes. This might be the next project, or maybe it will be to set up a WIFI network to my Nakamichi 5.2 surround sound system elsewhere in the house. Playing in software and audio is fun stuff. I sold high end (expensive) analytical software for 20 years…and am wannabe audiophile.

I would have thought that (given its price-point) Teac 300n would be suitable for your needs - it gets good reviews on the Richer Sounds website: http://www.richersounds.com/product/turntables/teac/tn300/teac-tn300-blk

But let me as you a question - you obviously at one time had a decent record deck from what you write - do you still have it?

If so what I would recommend is using that (maybe after giving it a good service - if it has been idle those 15 years) and buy the Artcessories conmined pre-amp and USB souncard (ADC) - see: http://artproaudio.com/turntable_preamps/product/usb_phono_plus-ps/
(and if you’re lucky you may be able to return or sell-on the Teac 300n)

I did similar - I started out (for convenience - and lack of knowledge) with an ION iTT-USB, its was fairly poor with a lot of easily noticeable wow derived from a very lightwight plastic platter. So instead I resurrected my old Technics deck with its SME 3009 arm, used my wife’s pre-amp from her old stack - and bougt an external USB soundcard (an Edirol-UA-1EX now sadly out of production). When the pre-amp died I bought an ARTcessories phono pre-amp (the same as is in the device I recommendead above) which is an excellent piece of kit.

You should be able to run your Revox through the ARTcessories device as I think you can by-pass the phon-pre-amp stage (but you may wish to check the specs).

It may be worth giving (or getting) the Revox a service too - I did this with my Nakamichi BX-2 tape deck before I converted my cassettes - and I think it was a worthwhile investment (as I was digitizing otherwise unavailable and precious material).

Have fun with your vinyl and tape conversion.


Oh yes, now from looking at the enlarged image of the front panel the ARTcessories gadget has a button labelled “INPUT” which will swicth bewteen phono and line level input - so you would be good to go with the Revox.


Long ago I sold the AR turntable to buy the Empire. The finger lift on the Empire tone arm was broken off some time ago, and made it difficult to use. The belt drive and high mass platter made it a very fine device. So, the Empire is also gone. The Teac 300N is fine, I only wish the platter was a bit heavier. A lighter platter means it relies on the motor and drive to maintain speed accuracy to eliminate wow and flutter.

The ART Phonoplus looks like it will work. In looking at the manual and block diagram, all of the AD and DA is done external to the PC, away from any source of noise. I can use the phono out from the Teac as the input to the Phonoplus. There is a local dealer I can contact. Thanks for the tip.

Sounds like you have been around a bit. Not too many know of the ReVox A77.


my R2R of aspirational choice would have been a Ferrograph - we had one at school in the Music Room - and I lusted after it. My Nak was a pretty good later substitute - a beautiful little machine (still treasured - though not used much).

My record deck also lies unused as I now have a digital jukebox - a Cocktail Audio X30 with a 2TB disk - and this has every record that I have ever bought in uncompressed 16-bit WAV format (and a few I “borrowed” from the radio with the Nak) and those are many - with some headroom to spare. I still have my CD deck (Rega Planet) plumbed in to the hi-fi (it seems to have a better “grip” on the stereo sound stage) along with the X30 as the main listening device.


Waxcylinder, kozikowski, DVDoug,
I took your advice and bought the ART USB Phono Plus. It is simple to set up and operate, and solved the noise problem. It is a real bargain at $85! I do get some noise in the 85Hz range, at about -45 db, but I assume that is noise from the vinyl. That can be handled with the high pass filter or the equalizer in Audacity. That raises a question. Is it more sensible to save the raw recording as it comes off the vinyl and process the data on the playback side, or process the raw recording? I am thinking of saving a master copy and a second working copy. I guess it is only a matter of hard drive or back up drive capacity.

What do you suggest as a music player? I read about aimp2. I am looking for an easier way to manage and play recordings then what is in Windows 7. Any suggestions?

Thanks for your great help, appreciate it. Jim

Glad you like the ART device - and thanks for the feedback about it.

My tendency would be to save the unprocessed recored WAV as a Master copy (if you’re being really fussy 32-bit WAV) - and then a working copy fof the project for processing and ultimate export of usabel audio files. Also I would make two external copies 1TB and 2TB USB disks are quite cheap these days.

For my player I user iTunes, but that was predicated by the fact that I have a couple of iPods - some folk compalin that iTunes is Bloatware but it does a good job - and it organizes its database and access to it throgh its GUI quite well I find - certainly much better than the interface on my CockTail Audio X-30 “jukebox” which I use for playing 16-bit WAV copies of the audio on my hi-fi rig.