You are here

Equipment for recording neighbour noise

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Doveman » Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:06 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Ambient noise on a typical living room it likely to be around 30-40dBA so it may be the first is closest to being accurate.

Ah OK, thanks. The second app has an option to display a table of typical noises (from breathing up to gun shots) and highlights the closest option to the current noise level and that shows Conversation as 60db so I just guessed that clicking my fingers was about the same volume as a normal conversation. That feature is totally inaccurate anyway, as it sometimes shows 30db Whisper when I click my fingers and sometimes 60db, whilst at the same time the meter shows 73db. The table can't even be showing the current average, as that doesn't go above 26db.
Doveman
Poster
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:01 pm

Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Happyandbored » Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:19 pm

Re: "I did have a problem with a neighbour letting her kid kick his football against the wall on the balcony all day"

Have you considered that maybe your expectations of peace and quiet are perhaps a tad unrealistic?

Re: "The recording doesn't represent the situation accurately at all, as in reality there's no background noise/hiss and the noise I'm trying to record is about 10 times louder than it appears to be on the recording."

For sure, the Zoom H4n pres aren't amazing, but they're not that bad. The fact the recorder's self noise is significantly louder suggests the sound just isn't really all that loud from the location you're recording. Sure, it's probably annoying.

All the sounds you report are fairly normal day-to-day household activity. As far as pipework goes, maybe take up the issue with your landlord as clearly your flat is poorly sound insulated, but it's not your neighbours fault. People need to walk around, use water and exercise.

Get some custom earplugs with filters or noise cancelling headphones and put some relaxing music on.

From my bedroom I can hear traffic on the main road pass by. From my studio, I can hear birds tweeting loudly outside, the hot water boiler in the cupboard and neighbours outside. This is because my boiler and windows are shit, not because traffic should be banned or birds are evil recording ruining fluffy little gits. My previous flat, I used to get woken up by traffic and the door slamming outside because the walls were thin and crap. Stuck earplugs in, problem solved.

You live in London mate. Tedious bollocks like this is why music venues are always closing and inner-city outdoor gigs are a waste of money.

Nice pipe sample anyway. Going to steal it, low pass filter the hiss out and use it to make an ambient drone patch in my next track.
Happyandbored
Regular
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:00 am

Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby CS70 » Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:32 pm

Doveman wrote:You can listen to my recording here to confirm that it's around 400hz.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LZwryI ... sp=sharing

I have been running the H4 from batteries but they're brand new. Mic gain was 80 I think and I did have the compressor engaged for that recording just to boost the sound to make it easier to hear without having to crank the volume up when playing it back. I don't think the H4 has different capsules.

The recording doesn't represent the situation accurately at all, as in reality there's no background noise/hiss and the noise I'm trying to record is about 10 times louder than it appears to be on the recording.

I can see what you mean, the hiss in that recording is unbearable, and very unlike my experience with the Zoom handheld recorder. According to to what I read "80" is about -8dB attenuation, so a bit high but still. The Zoom has also an automatic gain control - was that turned on? And I'd definitely turn off all compressors, all you might be doing is increasing the noise level as there's obviously no peaks to tame. Nevertheless, it seems that the H4 is either bad or too difficult to use, so definitely a good idea to return it.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5325
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Doveman » Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:42 pm

CS70 wrote:
Doveman wrote:I can see what you mean, the hiss in that recording is unbearable, and very unlike my experience with the Zoom handheld recorder. According to to what I read "80" is about -8dB attenuation, so a bit high but still. The Zoom has also an automatic gain control - was that turned on? And I'd definitely turn off all compressors, all you might be doing is increasing the noise level as there's obviously no peaks to tame. Nevertheless, it seems that the H4 is either bad or too difficult to use, so definitely a good idea to return it.

The auto gain was off when I made that recording but I've made another couple of recordings when my room was quiet, both with the compression off and the mic level set to 80.

This is the recording with the built-in mic with loads of hiss
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1T3HTti ... sp=sharing

and this is the recording with the SM58 with barely any hiss
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-yvA2r ... sp=sharing

So it would seem it's either faulty or the internal mic uses a poor quality pre-amp. Either way I'll send it back and look for a suitable mic and pre-amp that I can use with my PC. I've been thinking of buying an Aston Spirit for recording vocals but that's probably not ideal for recording general noise, not least because it's quite large and needs to be mounted. I think the professional recorders use a pencil mic but I don't know if they're highly directional shotgun capsules or if something cheap like this would do?
https://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_c2_stereoset.htm
Doveman
Poster
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:01 pm

Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Apr 10, 2020 3:19 pm

Anything recording or measuring ambient noise is likely to be an omni, something like this :- https://www.thomann.de/gb/sonarworks_xref_20_mic.htm
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12261
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby CS70 » Fri Apr 10, 2020 3:47 pm

Doveman wrote:So it would seem it's either faulty or the internal mic uses a poor quality pre-amp.

Just to clarify (so that you can make your further choices better) - the preamplifier is the device that brings the tiny voltage produced by a microphone capsule to a higher amplitude - "line" level. It's very likely the Zoom uses the same preamps for both the built in capsules and the external mics (connected via the XLR input). So it may well be the built-in microphone capsules are faulty, or just noisy.

There's pro and cons to condensers - they capture more of the audible spectrum and may be more sensitive, but that means they also will pick more of natural ambience high-freqs. Anyways, nothing you can't remove with a low pass in post.

As for polar pattern, an omni will be better suited (but pay attention that it stays actually circular at most frequencies, not all "omni"s do - not meant at all as a commercial, but look for example at https://earthworksaudio.com/support/tec ... -response/).

There's still the fundamental question of whether or not is worth to make the effort, but of course you're the judge of that.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5325
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Doveman » Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:47 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Anything recording or measuring ambient noise is likely to be an omni, something like this :- https://www.thomann.de/gb/sonarworks_xref_20_mic.htm

Great, thanks.
Doveman
Poster
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:01 pm

Re: Equipment for recording neighbour noise

Postby Doveman » Mon Apr 13, 2020 11:53 pm

CS70 wrote:Just to clarify (so that you can make your further choices better) - the preamplifier is the device that brings the tiny voltage produced by a microphone capsule to a higher amplitude - "line" level. It's very likely the Zoom uses the same preamps for both the built in capsules and the external mics (connected via the XLR input). So it may well be the built-in microphone capsules are faulty, or just noisy.

There's pro and cons to condensers - they capture more of the audible spectrum and may be more sensitive, but that means they also will pick more of natural ambience high-freqs. Anyways, nothing you can't remove with a low pass in post.

As for polar pattern, an omni will be better suited (but pay attention that it stays actually circular at most frequencies, not all "omni"s do - not meant at all as a commercial, but look for example at https://earthworksaudio.com/support/tec ... -response/).

There's still the fundamental question of whether or not is worth to make the effort, but of course you're the judge of that.

I didn't think about the mic capsules themselves being the problem but you're probably right that the Zoom uses the same pre-amp for the internal and external mics, so it probably is the in-built mic capsules that are noisy.

My previous attempts to record the noisy pipes on my phone were much worse/quieter than the Zoom but I somehow managed to capture this recording the other day which has much less hiss than the Zoom.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mju9Zi ... sp=sharing

Thanks for the tip about checking for uniform polar response before I buy an omni for recording the noise. I'll probably buy the Aston Spirit anyway as I need a vocal mic and then see how well that captures the noise before buying something specific to record that.
Doveman
Poster
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:01 pm

Previous