I’ll try not to panel and mixer you to death, but we do live on fine details. “USB Thingy” for one example, isn’t useful. We have to build your setup in our imaginations and I can’t go out to Frys’ Electronics and buy a thingy.
I assume you may mean a USB Microphone Adapter similar to this Startech unit I have.
White Noise or rain in the trees ffffffffffffff sound is death. White noise is frequently used in sound testing because it stresses all parts of a sound system. When the Noise Reduction tool tries to get rid of it, the tool tries to remove all sound: voice, trumpets, violins, pianos, everything. If it makes you feel any better, we can’t get rid of echoes, either.
I assume you tried to buy the same model number headset? I know Logitech makes this way too difficult by hiding the model numbers. This is an old battle.
Usually (but not always) white noise is cause by the microphone amplifier. Microphones make really tiny signals when you talk into one and you have to boost that signal before you can do anything with it. That’s where the microphone amplifier comes in. In the case of the thingy, there’s one inside that little white case. In the case of the USB headsets, there’s one inside that thick plug that you put in the side of the laptop – or sometimes inside the earpiece where the microphone boom connects. That’s usually where the hiss is made and it isn’t easy to make a good, quiet microphone amplifier.
Proper microphone operation means making the voice much louder than the hiss. Hiss is always there, even in studios and expensive pro recorders.
I remember I killed one maker of headsets because it did what yours does. The voice volume sucked and the hiss level was too high. I took it back.
I will tell you I have a way-too complicated head-mounted microphone and I can by accident point the microphone the wrong way. The microphone next to my lips has a little scooper plastic thing to catch my voice and if it’s pointed it the wrong way, my voice is terrible – and noisy. This is easier to do than you think because I favor the boom on the left and it comes out of the box on the right. When I flip it over, the microphone points the other way.
If your headsets have a foam cover on the microphone, see if it slides off and see if you can tell where the little holes are to let your voice in. Some microphones have holes front and back to cancel room noises and the dog barking next door, so this isn’t easy.
If possible throw some model numbers around. Did you keep the receipts? Sometimes they will tell you model numbers. The packing cardboard may tell you as well.
There is a split between gaming and Skype headsets and entertainment recording. Nobody on a Skype call cares that the voice quality is a little wacky. They just want to get the meaning across.
Modern computers try to “process” your voice and that can cause all sorts of problems. If you read postings from people that can’t record their violin solo because “the notes keep fading out.” That’s what’s happening to them.
It could be settings in Audacity or Windows, but those settings typically don’t make hiss worse. You either have hiss or you don’t. But do make sure the settings in Windows Control Panels and the Audacity microphone slider above the blue waves is all the way up.
As we go.