My problem isn’t really related to my OS or Audacity functioning incorrectly, but I’ll follow the format in case I’m wrong about that:
I am running Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), with Audacity 2.0.3 installed. I think I installed it from the DMG, but it was a long time ago, so I don’t remember. Either way, it’s on my hard drive, not running off a mounted DMG or something like that.
Anyway, here’s my issue: I use a shotgun mic mounted on a boom pole and plugged into a Sony audio recorder for recording external audio when I shoot videos with my DSLR. The mic I have is fairly old, and it was made to sit in a hot shoe, plugged into a DV-tape camcorder using a 3.5mm audio jack. So it’s not exactly a Rode XLR shotgun mic, but it’s miles ahead of the onboard mic on my DSLR. The recorder is a Sony ICD-AX412 (link).
When I shoot, I make sure to set the gain on the recorder as loud as I can without clipping, and hold the mic as close to the subject’s mouth as possible. I also make it a point to record 30 seconds of “blank” audio to get a really good sample of background noise to use in my Noise Removal cleanup in post production.
The problem I’m finding is that depending on the amount of Noise Removal I apply in audacity, I either cut all the hissing and unwanted background noise—ending up with dialogue that sounds tinny and weird, or I have to leave some hissing in to get the dialogue to sound normal. I can’t seem to find a middle ground. Even in a very, very quiet environment (i.e. no cars driving by in the background, no real ambient noises that the shotgun mic is picking up; just the standard hissing that my mic seems to generate), and using a perfect 30-second sample of blank audio to source my background noise, I can’t seem to find the right balance.
Any tips here? I don’t want to blame it on my equipment… it seems like my signal-to-noise ratio is just somewhere it shouldn’t be and I would like to believe I can fix that by improving my technique instead of having to upgrade my gear.