Snowy Noise in the background Vocal (talking only) audio

I am creating an audio book. I am creathing the track then I am using the in the effect menu AMPLIFY. When I do this there is hissing snowy noise in the background. I attempted to do in the effect menu NOISE REMOVAL but all that does is replace it with a scretching noise. What can I do so that the only noise heard is my voice without the background noise?

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How? That’s the important step. The quality of the microphone and microphone amplifier plays a big role in not only the quality of the performance, but the hiss in the background. Microphone signals are very, very weak and making them loud enough to record is a hard job.

All amplifiers make their own noise in addition to amplifying your voice, it’s one of the specifications when you buy one. If you are using a microphone plugged into the “Mic-In” of your computer, you may not be happy with the results. Those amplifiers must be made very cheaply and their design goal is an internet phone call, not theatrical performance.

Koz

The down side of posting where you did is we have no idea which Audacity you have or which computer. You may find the the noise reduction in Audacity 1.3 is enormously improved over 1.2.

Koz

WOW! thanx Koz I downloaded the newest version and the noise removal works like a charm. Thanx Rock Star that was very very helpful :smiley:

All in a day’s work.

All these tools produce some damage. The better the original capture is the better the final show will be, filter tools or not. You should take steps to make the original performance as clean as possible.

I predict [holding finders to forehead] that you are going to get really tired applying that stupid filter all the time. You will also create at least one show where you forget to leave a blank profile capture place. You may have to record that show all over again.

The next day you start shopping for a new microphone.

Koz

I have an EV microphone (model N/D767a) which is not bad. The issue probably (not confirmed) is that I bought a $25 USB plug in which connects my microphone directly into my computer. I am “NOT” using an amplifier. Can you post a link to what you think will fix this. Remember all I am doing is talking. No singing or music. Straight vocal for an audio book. Plus I am attempting to keep the cost as low as possible.

Also as I read on this audacity link:

http://www.audacityteam.org/manual/index.php?title=Recording_Quality

Suggests that I look at my sound card. I am using a DELL laptop inspiron E1705. Under sounds and audio devices then under sound recording it says Sigma Tel Audio.

Then under the audacity link it goes on to say

Mic In
Generally the Mic In port on a computer is only meant to have a small computer microphone plugged into it. If you have a microphone with an 1/8" (3.5mm) 3-conductor jack plug, it will probably work if plugged into this port.

[edit]Line In
The Line In port is the highest quality input available on most sound cards (like the one pictured above). It expects to have a Line level signal plugged into it, this is the same level used by most consumer-oriented audio equipment. Equipment such as tape decks, record players, MiniDisc players, Video Game Systems and so on should be plugged into this port.


Does that mean I should go out and get a 1/8" (3.5mm) 3-conductor jack plug for my microphone?

Or based on the Line In statement should I get a device that will allow me to maximize the IN LINE quality.

To summarize:

Happy with EV mic
Not sure about the USB cord I bought
Wonder if I should upgrade my sound card
In addtion to solve above USB issue should I get a 1/8" (3.5mm) 3-conductor jack plug or is there another solution to take advantage of the LINE IN quality?

If you have equipment suggestions please post the link.

I appreciate the help,

MuLLady

Based on the research that I have done I have come with:

Sound Blaster X-Fi NoteBook sound card
CBI LowZ or HiZ microphone cord

And keep my EV microphone.

Any thoughts on this choice?

MuLLady

With the X-Fi you need to ensure that your notebook has the appropriate socket. The device looks like a convenient solution, but most of the reviews concentrate on the playing of sound rather than the recording of sound. I’ve not found anything that says if the microphone pre-amp is any good, which makes me suspicious. Also, it only has a mini-jack connector, which means that you would need a special adaptor cable. I don’t like mini-jack connectors as they never seem to be very secure and are easy to break.

An alternative in the same price range would be to use a USB microphone preamp. “ART” make a suitable product that has had favourable reviews on this forum. It is considerably bigger than the X-Fi, but has a full size XLR microphone socket and a high quality microphone pre-amp.

By “shopping for a new microphone” I’m metaphorically advancing the idea of changing the capture sound pathway.

Nothing wrong with the actual microphone, although we can talk about why you chose that particular one. Hypercardiod microphones are valuable in recording sessions where the “studio” has a lot of noise – cats, metrobus, refrigerator, echoes. They’re great at rejecting sound that comes in from the sides and rear, but they sacrifice a little voice quality to do it. Given that you’re talking straight into the microphone, not too close or too far away and not trying to hand-hold it, it should be OK.

It does have a professional XLR-3 (three gold pins in the connector) on the bottom. It’s not easy to get that into a sound system not built to accept it. See ARTS above.

That’s not to say it can’t be done, but I got brought up short when I tried to do it with parts I didn’t personally build with my tools and soldering iron. Usually, I can come up with a Radio Shack collection of parts that will adapt anything to anything else, but this time, I got stuck. This “got stuck” part may be one reason your existing system isn’t performing at top quality.

There is another poster with a very similar problem and he, too, is trying to adapt a very good microphone into his laptop. I need to do a little more searching before I make a recommendation that doesn’t involve changing your whole system around. I do think we can do better with what’s there.

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Can you find a web site that talks about that cord?

Can you post a minute or two of the raw performance before you cleaned it? I want to listen to the noise. Try to post a high quality WAV, not an MP3.

Koz

I have posted a WAV not AMPED, WAV AMPED AND a MP3 AMPED at http://www.THE244.com. I made these recordings for you specifically for this issue. Each is about 1 minute long. Ultimately I will end up using an AMPED (amplified) MP3, so I did post that for you plus what you asked for. I use http://animoto.com/ to combine pictures and audio. Currently they only support MP3. I do use the effect AMPLIFY because it seems necessary to produce a reasonable volume. Without this I am assuming a person will have to crank up the volume to hear the recording. If that is this case then I would also assume some people would not take the trouble and just move on to the next thing. So that is why I use the effect Amplify, if you have a different opinion about this I would enjoy hearing it.

As far as the X-Fi I agree. After I posted I did do some more research and there did seem to be some issues with recording. So I am wide open to suggestions here.

I thought that was a good microphone but if you say different I am open to guidance here. And I am really attempting to watch the budget.

I was off on the cord it’s NOT for a computer so I am back to ground zero on this issue http://www.zzounds.com/item--CBIMLC

Across the board I am wide open to suggestions.

You can check out the recordings at http://www.THE244.com

I really appreciate the effort Koz.

Enjoy this day,

MuLLady

This is the adapter you need to plug your microphone into the Mic-In of a sound card (pink on my two SoundBlaster sound cards)

http://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/UnbalBalAdapter.jpg

If you do round one of these up, you are cautioned to plug the computer in first, then the microphone.

I have never seen one of these for sale anywhere. Everybody who has one has either built it themselves, or the technical services people where they work built it. The cable was used to plug their broadcast quality microphone (Electro-Voice 635A) into their news-gathering tape machine. The interconnection problem is almost exactly the same.

I’m digging for the best way to do this with available parts.

After you generate this cable, you could still be left with frying noise on your performances. Some of the newer sound cards leave out some of the handy tools that the earlier ones had – like the internal 20dB volume boost. That one tool is expensive to build and is frequently the difference between getting a good microphone to work and not.


I am after the voice performance before you did anything to it. The goal is not a theatrical presentation, it’s detective work. I need to see the blood on the walls and ceiling before you cleaned it (so to speak).

More as we go.

Koz

This is a dynamic microphone very similar to yours (but much older) plugged into a very good quality Creative SoundBlaster Live! sound card microphone connection (pink) in a Windows PC. I’m using the adapter cable from the above posting.

The record volume is all the way up and the +20dB Microphone Boost has been selected.

This is about as good as you will ever get the microphone sound service from a PC.

http://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/MicTest.wav

Koz

We’ve been running on the assumption the problem is the white noise Hissss that all microphone amplifiers have. That’s not what you have. You have the sound card picking up whistling junk from somewhere, my guess is digital noise from inside the computer.

They warn you when you put a sound card in your computer to put it as far away from everything else as you can get it, particularly the video card.

I bet you’re listening to the video card changing colors or the hard drive cleaning itself up. I’ve had both of those get into a sound track.

I don’t remember if we established if you’re on a Laptop or not, but if you are, you’re dead. The Mic-In will never get any better than that. It’s an external sound card for you.

http://audacityteam.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=9477

Koz

Yes your recording sounds perfect. There is something subtle in the background but its smooth with no annoying qualities like my recording has. Mine has that chalkboard skretching quality.

By the way YES I do have a laptop a DELL Inspiron E1705, is there hope with an Audio interface? Potentially that would solve any internal computer noises that might be showing up on the audio correct?

I am assuming that you are recommending that I get an audio interface as opposed to an external sound card.

If yes is it the Behringer UCA202 USB or the Edirol UA-1EX USB?

Or should I use “Urecord” that I saw on the link you sent:

http://audacityteam.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=9477

In addition since I am using a laptop I am assuming to avoid this as the solution http://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/UnbalBalAdapter.jpg

Instead go with an Audio Interface correct?

With this statement from you, are you looking for something from me like the raw data? “I am after the voice performance before you did anything to it. The goal is not a theatrical presentation, it’s detective work. I need to see the blood on the walls and ceiling before you cleaned it (so to speak).”

Summary Actions:

Purchase either Behringer UCA202 USB or the Edirol UA-1EX USB?
Purchase microphone cord to connect to audio interface. ANY recommendations here?

From where I am sitting unless I am missing something these two actions “MIGHT” fix the issue.

If yes I look forward to your guidance on which audio interface and a recommendation on the cord.

Please advise,

MuLLady

From an earlier post by you that you don’t have a microphone amplifier. Oh, yes you do. The output signal of a microphone isn’t enough to run the electronics that make the digital bitstream. The signal must be made very much higher and the only way to do that is with an amplifier. Your current one is buried inside your laptop.

This microphone amplifier is a very common place to get into trouble. It’s job is to amplify a Reeeeeely tiny microphone signal and not change it or add noise. In both of our performances, you can hear that very low sharp hiss in the background. That’s the amplifier noise. Books have been written about how to design amplifiers to make that noise as low as possible.

In my case, almost all the rest of the noise is the fan in my computer and the traffic noise from the street in Los Angeles. I didn’t take any great care to eliminate either one. In your case, the sensitive microphone amplifier is amplifying Something In The Computer.

So your task is to put all the analog processing and amplification outside the computer. Whatever you pick should deliver a finished bitstream to the computer probably via USB. There is one other place you can get into trouble. The manufacturers are strongly tempted to use the battery available in the USB connector to run the audio services. It’s cheap to do that. Run the other way. Pick a device that plugs into the wall or runs from its own batteries. That computer battery voltage (5 volts) is frequently “dirty” and unstable and you could be right back where you started in being able to hear the hard drive spin up behind your performance. There was an early USB audio device that was famous for this. I bought one. It’s in the garage.

I’ve never used any of these USB devices listed on the Hardware Review. I have mostly Macs and they take very high quality high-level stereo signals. The Left-Right-Mono test is me talking into a 50 year old ribbon microphone amplified by a Shure FP24 field mixer and applied to my Mac. We’re all sitting on my bed to get the soundproofing. There is no noise removal on that clip.

http://www.kozco.com/tech/soundtests.html

Koz

Yes I wish I had a MAC but I have a PC

It is sounding like I am dead with the current situation.

What is the least inexpensive stand alone recording device that I can buy to build the raw data that I can then edit in Audacity?

MuLLady

One of the problems with the bottom-feeding equipment is the lack of specs. I bought a number of Really Cheap sound mixers that failed to meet the production needs before I gave up and spent the bux on a mixer whose numbers promised the performance that actually met the job. The earlier mixers had no numbers. “Microphone Input” just means you can plug a microphone in. It doesn’t mean you will get a performance out.

Have you been through the hardware reviews?

http://audacityteam.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=9477

They’re not as comprehensive as they could be, but it’s just beginning. When you figure out what to do, you can add your own review.

At the risk of thinking too far out of the box, this thing has achieved pretty much clean sweep status among audio people. I’m the holdout. I don’t have one yet. When two audio types meet, they exchange the Secret Handshake and then compare which Zoom they have and how many.

https://www.audiolinks.com/tek9/tek9.asp?pg=products&specific=jomseqknq

Koz

Thanx I will let you know how it goes