SMALL WAVE FORM/HISS SOUND

hi guys;

apologies I know this is really not a new post but after looking at all threads and manuals I can find I am not able to see an exact resolution to my concern before I proceed below is my set up

RECORDING TYPE/PURPOSE : HOME RECORDING DOING ACOUSTIC GUITAR COVERS/ ORIGINAL MATERIAL AS A HOBBY/PERSONAL USE.
SET UP-BEGINNERS SET UP
EQUIPMENT: LAPTOP W/ WINDOWS 10 OS, BEHRINGER UMC 204 HD, BM700 KIT CONDENSER MIC, UN BRANDED LAPTOP SPEAKERS

now to with concerns

SMALL WAVE FORM- based on threads I have read, quick fixes is to use audacity effects compressor, specially amplify etc. but on these threads as well I’ve seen comments that if you use the effect specially amplify it also amplifies the noises that comes together with the record, I guess what id like to have a definitive answer is, IS it really bad to have a small waveform when you have your initial dump record?

If NO then I just have to deal with what I got and play with settings/effect on audacity, my interface my speakers, laptop hoping that I can produce a decent close to studio quality project.

IF YES then id like to know which could be the possible reason for this I have done a lot of checking in audacity such as playing with the gain/output volumes etc. I have adjusted my interface settings like the PAD, the volumes, Gain etc. but still cant fix the issue. Now the most relevant troubleshooting I did is when I tried to record using the built in MIC with the laptop it gave me a decent wave compared to when im using my condenser mic. could it be that MIC quality is the problem here? id like to know coz id like to justify the reason for replacing it since the whole set up was given to me as a gift.

HISS SOUND- after fixing all settings i knew and project is done if i play and put the volume relatively high the HISS sound is evident. If i lower the volume down the HISS obviously decreases. At the end of the day regardless how you want to listen to a project you would like that project not to have a HISSING sound in it so please help and give your inputs as to what are the main culprits of this matter.

thank you very much sorry for the long post as i try to give a more complete concern details as much as possible

" BM700 KIT CONDENSER MIC" requires something called (48Volt) phantom-power to work properly.
If it does not get 48Volt supply the output will be a small (quiet) waveform, with a high level of hiss noise.
On the " BEHRINGER UMC 204 HD" there’s a button you need to switch on to supply the BM700 with the (48Volt) phantom-power.

About noise -

Noise is the usually biggest challenge.
And it’s more of an issue with a solo voice/instrument, especially a highly-dynamic instrument (with a wide range from quiet loud) like an acoustic guitar or piano. If you have more dense sound like a whole band or a whole choir, the noise is more-easily drowned out. If you are going to mix vocals or other instruments with the guitar later, noise will (usually) be less of a problem.

The biggest issue for home recording is usually acoustic noise. Of course, professional recordings are made in soundproof studios so the acoustic noise is under control. (That’s usually NOT hiss.)

All “active” electronics produce some noise. That’s probably the hiss (white noise) that you’re hearing. There is a preamp in the interface and there’s a head-amp in condenser microphones. The worst hiss usually comes from the preamp. Of course, better equipment has lower noise, but the Behringer interface shouldn’t be too bad. (The preamps built into soundcards or laptops are often noisy and they don’t work properly with stage/studio mics anyway.)

You can try unplugging the mic to see how much noise is from the mic and how much is coming from the interface.

Sometimes you get power-line hum leaking-in through the power supply, or electromagnetic hum can be picked-up through the air. Noise can also sometimes get into the preamp through the USB power supply (if you have a USB powered interface). The noise from a computer’s power supply is usually more high-pitched. It’s not broadband hiss.


So without changing your electronics or microphone, the “trick” is to get the strongest possible signal for the best possible signal-to-noise ratio. Try to get the mic close to the guitar (6-12 inches). And, that looks like a directional “sided address microphone”, so make sure the front side of the mic is pointed at the guitar (not the back or the end).

SMALL WAVE FORM- based on threads

Low digital levels are usually not a problem.

But, if you can’t crank-up the recording volume to get a strong digital level, that may be an indication of an analog problem. You do need a strong acoustic and electrical level. If you have a good acoustic and electrical signal-to-noise ratio, It’s OK to turn down the digital recording levels and boost after recording.

I have read, quick fixes is to use audacity effects compressor, specially amplify etc. but on these threads as well I’ve seen comments that if you use the effect specially amplify it also amplifies the noises that comes together with the record

Yes, if you amplify you amplify the signal and noise together. The signal-to-noise ratio doesn’t get worse, but it makes the noise more noticeable. That will happen if you boost the volume in Audacity or if you simply crank-up the volume at playback time.

In general, dynamic compression makes the loud parts and/or quiet parts louder. That makes the signal-to-noise ratio worse! In practice, compression is used to “make everything louder” by pushing-down the louder parts, and then using make-up gain to make everything loud. This brings-up the noise floor AND reduces the signal to noise ratio.

You can try the Noise Reduction effect. But, listen carefully to the results. You can sometimes get artifacts (especially if the noise is bad) and “the cure can be worse than the disease”. Noise reduction works best when you don’t really need it.

I have adjusted my interface settings like the PAD,

The Pad should be off but I’m sure you’ve found the “best” setting. The pad is to reduce extra-loud sounds like a mic in front of a loud guitar amp, or in front of a kick-drum, etc. (Some mics also have a pad switch but I don’t think yours does.) You can also try the line/instrument switch but it may not do anything with an XLR (microphone) plug.

hi trebor

yes activating the 48volt phantom power is already been done but it is still the same :frowning:

hi doug thanks for the insights :slight_smile: please bear with me there are some explanations that makes my nose bleed ahahaha coz im a newbie ahahaha
but please see below im not even sure if im replying correctly.


This is an aha moment for me thanks something this now something i realized.

When you possible stronegest signal/ best possible signal to noise ratio that means i have to record very closely to the mic correct? Then lower down my gain settings on pc or interface?
Then just crank up the volume on my head phone control so that i can monitor the record?

Please expound on this i mean more lay man terms :slight_smile:

Don’t worry, nobody does when they use a forum for the first time. :wink:

So that it’s easier for others to read your posts, when you want to reply, click the “Post Reply” button.
You only need to quote enough text from previous posts as is necessary to give context to your reply.

When you wish to quote a bit of text from a previous post (after you have clicked the “Reply” button), scroll to the post that you wish to quote, and select the relevant text. Then click the “quote” button that is in the top right corner of that post. The selected text will then be automatically copied into your post at the cursor position. The quoted text will look like this:

and when posted, will appear as seen at the top of this post.

(Most forums work in the same way, so it’s worth learning the tricks and techniques :wink:)

thanks steve :slight_smile: