Recording Brass

Hi all,

Please could anyone help a 'fresher’to Audacity? I’m trying to multitrack a trombone (me!) and have managed quite well so far but there are two areas which I need some guidance:

a) Noise - there seems to be a lot of ‘noise’ on my tracks. I record in a very quite place and the bell of the trombone is more or less on top of the mic. Is there any filter within Audacity which gets rid of this completely, but doesn’t change tone quality. The Noise filter within Audacity doesn’t seem to be too effective.

b) I’m also trying to get a decent reverb to the recording. Being recorded in a very dry acoustic I’m wanting to add reverb, something like that of a medium sized concert hall, but again not changing or reducing quality.

Thanks so much for you help folks… it’s really appreciated.

Regards to all,


<<<there seems to be a lot of ‘noise’ on my tracks. I record in a very quite place and the bell of the trombone is more or less on top of the mic.>>>

I’d be surprised if the microphone wasn’t overloading because that’s what most microphones do in the presence of proper brass. Brass is very difficult to record.

A few terms: “Microphone noise” happens when you leave a microphone open in a completely dead room and still get “hiss” or shshshshshshs “rain in trees” noise on the track. Most times the microphone is dead quiet and the microphone preamplifier contributes the noise. MicPre units are hard to design. The microphone signal is 1000 times quieter than line level, so there’s not much there.

Are you using a USB microphone? Those can have problems with Audacity. They make up their own sound.

If the distortion only happens during the notes, you are overloading the microphone. Dynamic style microphones don’t overload, but they provide so much energy that the MicPre overloads. This gives you crunchy performances. If you have a USB Condenser microphone, it’s easy to overload the capsule. You know immediately when that happens because it produces full volume cracking. If you do it right, you can damage a speaker with that.

So, tell me all about your system. Part number if you have them. PC? Mac?


Brass is not so difficult to record if u follow a simple rule: You should never be on the mic! Always at least 2-4 feet away from mic - gain should be taken care of by the preamp. All microphones have a strong proximity effect will sound buzzy even if no distortion happens. Also like previous post says dont overload the preamps.

I wrote a comprehensive brass recording guide on our website :