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Question About Background Static/White Noise

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Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby andreasdevig » Fri Oct 09, 2020 2:29 pm

Hello everyone. So I have two questions, if you don't mind answering.

1. So I've recorded basically all the vocals for my first vocal album that I'm working on, but with most of these recordings, I hadn't set the level stereo high enough, so there's quite a bit of that background constant noise/static.
As I don't want to do the mixing/mastering myself, I plan to find someone to hire to do it for me. But I'm wondering, is it possible to work with vocal recordings like these? I mean in terms of mixing/mastering. Is it doable for them to still provide a great mix/master/final product? Or do I have to record all the vocals over again?
Are the vocals gonna sound robotic/synthetic? Etc.

2. There's quite a bit of those pops and stuff (like at 0:32 with the word 'you'). Is it still doable to get a great mix/master/final product? Or should I go back and compile better?

Thanks so much in advance.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VjV-X6tEy9qIzLQAUAV4C2LTZUrwC7l-/view?usp=sharing
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:03 pm

You appear to have shared the file with permissions that do not permit public access. You'll need to edit the permissions and give read access to "Anyone with the link" (as Google labels it) to let people hear it ;)
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby andreasdevig » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:29 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:You appear to have shared the file with permissions that do not permit public access. You'll need to edit the permissions and give read access to "Anyone with the link" (as Google labels it) to let people hear it ;)
Damn.. Thanks for the heads up. It should be available now.

Here's the link again:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VjV-X6tEy9qIzLQAUAV4C2LTZUrwC7l-/view?usp=sharing
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby James Perrett » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:34 pm

The link works for me now.

I had a listen and there's definitely too much noise but it should be possible to remove it with Izotope's RX. RX Elements includes Vocal Denoise and is often on sale for $29 so keep an eye out for it. There are other noise reduction programs around but RX is by far the most effective that I've tried.

I couldn't hear any popping on the sample but I noticed that the low bass had possibly been boosted in other places which would make any popping worse. This popping can easily be removed by a little eq automation or spectral editing.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby MOF » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:53 pm

Removing that much hiss will most probably cause undesirable artefacts.
I would re-record. Didn’t you hear this hiss when you soloed the track, when you were setting up or reviewing what you’d recorded, let alone recording a whole album this way?
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby andreasdevig » Fri Oct 09, 2020 4:05 pm

James Perrett wrote:The link works for me now.

I had a listen and there's definitely too much noise but it should be possible to remove it with Izotope's RX. RX Elements includes Vocal Denoise and is often on sale for $29 so keep an eye out for it. There are other noise reduction programs around but RX is by far the most effective that I've tried.

I couldn't hear any popping on the sample but I noticed that the low bass had possibly been boosted in other places which would make any popping worse. This popping can easily be removed by a little eq automation or spectral editing.
Thank you so much. I'll check out RX Elements. I don't think I used any plugins on this, to boost the bass or what not. As far as I know, anyways. Anyways, I don't know if 'popping' was necessarily the right word for me to use. I don't know all of the correct terms. Not sure what those background noises are. There are tons of them in my recordings. I don't know if they're mouth noises or what.

MOF wrote:Removing that much hiss will most probably cause undesirable artefacts.
I would re-record. Didn’t you hear this hiss when you soloed the track, when you were setting up or reviewing what you’d recorded, let alone recording a whole album this way?
Thank you for your response. Oh darn, really? That's unfortunate.. I did notice it, but I used Audacity (and later, Adobe Audition) to reduce the background static. It seemed to work well. But then later I felt like those noise-reduced recordings sounded a bit robotic/synthetic at times. So it started to worry me.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby James Perrett » Fri Oct 09, 2020 4:24 pm

MOF wrote:Removing that much hiss will most probably cause undesirable artefacts.

I'd agree if we were talking about software like Adobe Audition (which was one of the better ones before RX came along) but RX is excellent at removing noise without noticeable artefacts - provided you don't try to remove too much in a single pass.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby The Elf » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:09 pm

If I was given this to mix I'd first try it in the mix. Yes, that amount of noise is quite high, but depending on context it might be OK. Failing that I'd use some de-noising, but 3-4dB of reduction might be all it needs - it's a case of doing the least amount of damage for the best results in context.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby andreasdevig » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:15 pm

The Elf wrote:If I was given this to mix I'd first try it in the mix. Yes, that amount of noise is quite high, but depending on context it might be OK. Failing that I'd use some de-noising, but 3-4dB of reduction might be all it needs - it's a case of doing the least amount of damage for the best results in context.
Thanks for your response. I see yeah. Many of the tunes on the album are quite slow/quiet/soft ballads, so I imagine a lot of the background static will be heard much louder than if the tunes were loud, high energy songs.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:19 pm

andreasdevig wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:You appear to have shared the file with permissions that do not permit public access. You'll need to edit the permissions and give read access to "Anyone with the link" (as Google labels it) to let people hear it ;)
Damn.. Thanks for the heads up. It should be available now.

Here's the link again:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VjV-X6tEy9qIzLQAUAV4C2LTZUrwC7l-/view?usp=sharing

It's not too bad. Depends a bit on the genre, if the vocals are exposed you may need more treatment. For denser mixes, a little denoising would work - you can recoup a little HF with an exciter afterwards. If it's more exposed.. I would still reach for the denoiser + exciter and hear what it does - otherwise RX may do the job. Worth trying.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby MOF » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:20 pm

I did notice it, but I used Audacity (and later, Adobe Audition) to reduce the background static. It seemed to work well. But then later I felt like those noise-reduced recordings sounded a bit robotic/synthetic at times. So it started to worry me.
If you’d been aware of the hiss then you should have found ways to get rid of it. I don’t know if you read the Mix Rescue articles but they always state that wherever possible you should sort out such problems at source and not rely on ‘fix it in the mix’.
In this instance it isn’t something that can’t be redone and I think you owe it to yourself to redo your lead vocals. You state that it’s for an album, not some quick demo that someone needs to hear now, or better still, yesterday.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:28 pm

Regardless of what you do with this album you definitely need to find out what the issue is, as MOF says, it's always going to be better to get the sound right at source.

A full run down of your recording rig and signal path would give us a chance to help you get better recordings in future, and to get better results if you do, ultimately, decided to re-record the vocals for this one.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby The Elf » Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:42 pm

Yep, if these are quiet songs then you should really to look at sorting this out properly at source. RX can perform near-miracles, but I see it as a last resort to rescue 'never again' performances. If you feel you have those here then RX (or any other 'noise capture'-type noise reduction system) is probably the tool for the job. If not then I'd go back, record it better and use it as an opportunity to perform your heart out.

But if your music is worth the effort to record it is worth the effort to record it properly.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby manwilde » Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:29 pm

In my humble opinion the hiss has probably more to do with ambient noise or computer fans than with the gear used. Maybe it´s coming from a cheap, noisy preamp or mic, but sounds more like ambient to me... Also, be aware of what you wear when recording, some fabrics produce quite some noise even with the slightest movement.
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Re: Question About Background Static/White Noise

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:25 pm

Leaving aside the issue of what the noise is - although I feel it's electronic rather than air-borne - I've just put the sample very quickly thru iZotope RX7 to see what it could do.

Using 'Voice Denoise' on a preset reduced the noise considerably. Using 'Spectral Repair' (not available in Elements) on the original sample, again on a preset, improved things more.

I think it's either a noisy mic, noisy preamp when the gain's turned up or unoptimised gain structure - or any combination thereof!

But as has been said, more info is needed on how this was recorded.
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