USB microphone creating low frequency hiss

I have bought this microphone to record just voice, it has more than 2,000 4.5 stars so I assume the issue I am trying to solve is not caused by the microphone itself:

When I record with Audacity it creates a low frequency hiss. It is USB so noise is not created by the cables. The room is also completely quiet so it is not external noise.

Either I lower the recording volume using the buttons on the microphone but then I have to almost shout into the microphone… or if I set the recording volume (again, using the microphone “volume” buttons) to a more reasonable level that allows me to just speak normally into the microphone it creates that hiss.

What could be the cause and the solution?
Are there perhaps settings in Audacity I should be adjusting?

Thank you :slight_smile:

It’s most-likely coming from the analog electronics in the microphone. …If you get a high-frequency “whine” that’s usually noise from the computer’s USB power getting-into the analog electronics.

It probably is the microphone itself… All analog electronics generate some noise and since microphones put-out a low-level signal it’s hard to get a good signal-to-noise ratio, and microphone preamps are usually the 2nd worst source of noise, after acoustic room noise.

A good microphone usually costs about $100 USD or more. If you get an analog mic, a good USB interface is also usually at-least $100. (There are some decent USB mics and the built-in USB interface is essentially free.)

Either way, it’s helpful to have a recording-level control on the mic or interface. There are some USB mics (and interfaces) with a built-in headphone jack and zero-latency monitoring (where the monitoring path doesn’t go through the computer). That also can be a useful feature.

I wouldn’t look for a “good mic” on Amazon. The accessories are probably worth what you paid for the kit and if the shock-mount will fit a better mic, that’s a nice thing to have.

Try places that sell musical instruments and sound/recording equipment Here in the U.S, we have [u]Musician’s Friend[/u] and similar companies.

The room is also completely quiet so it is not external noise.

I believe that your mic is your biggest issue but very few home studios are quiet enough to meet audiobook standards without some post-recording noise reduction.

Assuming the Amazon star-ratings are genuine …

https ://www

[ * i.e. >14k bogus reviews :open_mouth: ].

Home microphones can get noise from several different places.

We can do an analysis on the forum. Record a voice test to these instructions.

Don’t apply any filters or corrections and don’t move around during that first two seconds.

That will be easier than trying to guess at it.

I couldn’t find a model number for this microphone series. Do you have one? Is that what the “TONOR” is?


The microphone is directional (cardioid) and it’s side-fire. It picks up sound from the side grill just up from the volume control. If you speak into the end like a rock band microphone, your voice will be quieter and may sound funny.

Are you trying for audiobooks? We publish tools to help you along. One of the tools is Audiobook Mastering which includes a tool to suppress low frequency noise.


The room is also completely quiet so it is not external noise.

How did you soundproof the room? We’re always up for different techniques. My favorite is furniture moving blankets.

Does your computer make no noise? That’s pretty unusual for a Windows computer. You are warned not to extend the USB cable. They’re only good for about 6 feet (2M) before they start to misbehave. Can you try a different cable? One recent forum poster cleared a sound problem by replacing a bad USB cable.

I got unbelievably insanely lucky. The original owner of this house played drums, so my bedroom is soundproofed (he took the drums with him).


For analytical purposes, can you identify the frequency of the “low level hiss”. What recording level (the slider value) do you use in audacity, and the levels, in addition, what are the volume level settings on the mic.

If you are using a laptop, is the built-in mic on, and picking up, and mixing the usb mic.

Everything is a process of elimination.

Check this: in the search bar, type CONTROL PANEL - click on the icon and control panel will open and look for SOUND icon.
The SOUND dialog box will open - click on the RECORDING tab. Take a screen grab (press PRT SC key top right hand corner on keyboard) paste into any imaging editor and save as a Jpeg. Post on this forum.

This will be helpful for analytical and subsequent directions to investigate.

I use a very cheap lavaliere mic, the recording level I use in Audacity 0.85 (on the slider) this equates to a recording level of -9db peak. After compressing (using Audacity factory levels) the results are stunning with a very low noise floor.

My point is - quality is not the issue.

Thank you all very much! :slight_smile:

Replies to the various posts/questions…

I now played with the recording volume in Audacity and set it to 50% and the volume on the recording panel (windows) and the microphone volume buttons (on the mic) and found a much better balance but still the voice amplitude in Audacity only goes up to 0.05 (in the Audacity waveforms scale). And if I amplify it then it obviously amplifies the noise too and to a very noticeable level (while before the amplification was practically absent in the sense that you could not hear it).

I tried attaching a audacity project (Zipped) but it says file too large. It is only 5Mb…

Is there a post processing I can do like some filter that does two things at the same time:

  1. mutes everything below a certain threshold (i.e. not speaking)
  2. it fades in (relatively quick) when it detects the sound is above a certain threshold (i.e. speaking)

please see attached screenshots

where did you see that it is “side fire”? I thought it was directional from the front. And when I speak into it from the front it is definitely louder than the sides. Not familiar with mics, am I misunderstanding or missing something?

true… interesting and useful link!!!

fair enough, but the hiss I was getting (and to a much lower level is still there) should not be so high, even with a very cheap mic u would not get that much.

Thank you all!! :slight_smile:

When referring to “0.5 on the Audacity waveform scale” do you mean the the scale at the side (Vertical Scale context menu). Could you do this and give feedback. Highlight the vocal recording, click on EFFECTS and click AMPILFY - note the reading, and click cancel. The data will reveal how much the recording need to be amplified by to reach 0.00db.

When recording (particularly digital) its best to keep the loudest part of the vocals not exceeding -6db. This is to allows for transient peaks and harmonics that are too fast for the meters to register, but are still an integral part of the sound.

When I had my 4 track analogue set-up, we found that by keeping the vocals peaking -6db the result was a much clearer sound. Received wisdom at the time was to let the levels exceed 0db, and then take them down later when mixing- thus lowering the noise floor.

Downside was print-through on the stored reels.

Try adjusting Audacity recording level to achieve peaks no more than -6db. On playback, right click side scale and choose DB. Highlight and click EFFECTS and click AMPLIFY to verify the levels - click cancel.

Compress the track using Audacity’s compressor (default setting are good starting point) and see what the results are.

I thought it was directional from the front.

The “front” in this case is the side grill just up from the volume control.

Screen Shot 2021-09-03 at 4.29.32 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-09-03 at 4.29.00 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-09-03 at 4.28.25 PM.png
We usually tell people to talk into the company name, but we can’t do that in this case. The store is supposed to put their name on it. Since there is no store…

I tried attaching a audacity project (Zipped) but it says file too large.

Follow the instructions. File > Export > Export as WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit. An Audacity Project is too big for the forum, and MP3 causes too much sound damage. 10 second WAV should be just right, stereo or mono.

Just to be Suzy Sunshine, here, nobody wrote you can’t have more than one problem. That’s why shot-gunning this blind (or deaf) may not be the best idea.

While you’re using the microphone, are there any flashing lights or other indication of volume? The Scarlett preamplifiers, for one example, have knobs that change color with loudness to get you in the ballpark quickly.

The Blue Yeti microphone ran into this direction problem. When the product was introduced, the aiming instructions were buried near the end of the book. The microphone popularity took off with almost everybody using it wrong.

The new instructions are a lot clearer about how to use it and it’s a cousin to yours.


Still waiting on that voice test. And we’re still guessing what you’re doing wrong.


Thank you all as always! :slight_smile:

Replies below:

Please see attached. I did it following the instructions in the previous post link. That is speaking at 15cm distance from the mic (already quite close for my preferences). I also attached two screenshots of the same recording in dB scale and linear scale. Compared to other sound imported like music or other recording it seems very “small” on the scale.

Yes the scale on the side. When doing what you suggested above the amplification shows 35.283

What does it mean when you say “The data will reveal how much the recording need to be amplified by to reach 0.00db.”? Again, not an audio expert, sorry. :slight_smile:

What is the Audacity compressor? I could not find anything named like that. And most importantly what does it do?

Thank you!! :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
15cm - db scale.png
15cm - linear scale.png

That’s very quiet. There are volume controls on that microphone, have you tried turning it up ? …

If that’s as loud as it will go, it’s possible to amplify it in Audacity,
but noise reduction will be required, because the hiss level is high, relative to the voice level,
(aka low signal-to-noise ratio).

Thank you Trebor,

The amplify and remove noise are very useful.

Thank you :slight_smile:

Thanks for the graphic. Its seems that the waveform is shown in db and looks like -40db. How many clicks (steps) do you need to do on the microphone to reach max. If its, for example, 10 incremental clicks then lower down about 7, meaning that the audio gain level ON THE MIC is at 70%.

Click the click CLICK TO START MONITORING box, and speak or sing some audio ( and at the same noting the levels on the meter and adjust the slider as necessary.

Aim for about -6db for the loudest part of the vocal.

The Audacity help pages are worth a read. Whoever wrote them is an excellent communicator, because very technical subjects are explained in an easy to read and digestible fashion.

Thank you ISSAACC :slight_smile:

Thanks for posting the test.

The microphone is producing very quiet recordings. If you have a very quiet microphone, you’re too far away, and you have a quiet announcing style, you get a noisy recording—and you may not be able to save it later with effects and filters.

Try this.

If you changed the Windows volume controls, you should probably change them to all the way up. If you have a Windows Microphone Boost control, leave it off.

Turn the microphone blue light volume all the way up. Leave out the round tennis racket pop and blast filter, and move the microphone to oblique position (B).

Say half-way between your noise and your ear. Go for about 10cm spacing. Very close. Try another recording. Stick with the percent scale so we’re all talking about the same thing. Did the blue waves get taller?

Good voice recordings should produce blue waves with tips about half-way up or a little less.

The bouncing sound meter should bounce between -6dB and -10dB (that’s the same as the blue waves).

The noises your microphone is making are still there, but you are so much louder than they are, you either can’t hear them, or they’re easier to remove in editing.

What happens? The goal is to announce clearly and not mumble into your beer. Pretend someone hired you to do a milk commercial.

If your voice is a lot louder and you still sound normal, record another test.


The audio you uploaded is in two sections, divided by the bleep. The first very quite (-37db)and the other absolutely perfect. The first part before the bleep I NORMALIZED to -6db. Then COMPRESSED using Audacities default settings. There is now little difference between the two. I exported the clip as an mp3, VARIABLE 45-85 kbps. I done this as a quality test - if sounds good at those particular settings, then it is good!


You’ve download my before-after by mistake.
Before the bleep is Rick_123’s original upload.