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White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

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White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby danportillog » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:53 pm

Hello guys

I'm getting a really annoying white noise/hiss in the background of my recordings. I can hear this noise while direct monitoring and also when i playback my recordings. I'm gonna list all my equipment and every "solution" i've tried just so you guys know...

- I'm using an i7 HP laptop with windows 10.
- My audio interface is a Behringer UMC22. my condenser mic is a Neewer NW-800 pluged with XLR to my interface. And yes, i use phantom power.
- I'm not sure if the noise i'm getting is a ground loop. It just sounds like wind/white noise. It's not a high pitch noise or a pop sound, none of that.
- I have tried unplugging the laptop to run it only with the battery, but there's no change.
- I have disabled any other audio input or output in my laptop (except for my audio interface obviously)
- I have tried switching USB ports.

I know the setup i have is cheap and i can't really expect an outstanding performance, but i've seen videos of other people with the same mic and interface, and they say they don't get any noise at all.

HERE'S AN AUDIO TEST FOR YOU GUYS TO LISTEN TO THE NOISE (the audio was recorded on audacity, no effects, just raw audio)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kb88b6lh9igpo2h/audio%20test.mp3?dl=0

I just want to know what kind of noise is the one i'm getting, is it white noise? or just background noise? or just noise from poor quality hardware?

THANK YOU
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby giro serex » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:48 am

It probably is the Behringer UMC22. TO be honest noise only becomes a problem if you intend to record classical music (orchestra pit) or music heavy in silent passages ~(which would defeat the point in music). IMO noise today is only mentiond alot because manufacturers use it as a selling point to put forward in order to outsell competition. COmpared to 80s noise, in modern devices its negligible. People fixate on it too much,.
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby ef37a » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:28 am

Hi Dan and welcome to the forum.
Sorry Giro but I disagree, the UMC might be cheap but I have read many reports of them being rather good interfaces, certainly no adverse comments regarding noise.

The Neewer mic on the other hand is a known problem. I have had two, the BM-800 variant and both have been fine but I have read many posts where they are low level, noisy or just don't work at all.

The microphones, when working are remarkably good and the build quality outsatnding for twenty quid! Fortunately there is an easy test. The mics come with an XLR to stereo 3.5mm jack plug cable. Try that straight into the laptop. Both of mine gave quite acceptable results that way. Not AS good as XLR-XLR with full spook juice but acceptable.

If you bought the mic from Amazon I am sure you will have no trouble getting it replaced. QC is well known to be dreadful!

Dave. (expert in the whale **** dept!)
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:26 am

Not in a position to listen to the audio file at the moment but the problem might be that your system has no ground. Assuming both the laptop and interface are type 2 devices?
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:52 am

I think Dave's probably right.

He's been lucky with his mics, but I've read numerous reports/reviews of that model that speak of similar issues with hiss and other noises.

O/P: are you able to try another mic?

Not ruling out ground-loops, but my prime candidate for the noise would be the mic.
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby Wonks » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:53 am

I feel it's probably just background noise, maybe fan noise from the laptop or traffic. The brain masks a lot of that noise out so that you aren't really aware that it's there, but when you record it and play it back, you can hear it more obviously. My hearing is limited to about 10kHz, so I may be missing some of the noise, but it does sound fairly broadband.

I'd try repeating your vocal test recording, then leaving the gain as it was, wrap the mic up in the middle of sound deadening material (e.g. duvets, blankets, pillows) so that any ambient noise levels for the microphone are seriously reduced. If the noise level drops on the recording, then it's background noise. If it doesn't, then I feel it's most likely to be noise from the mic as ef37a said. I have had some cheap mics in the past that aren't particularly quiet and could add audible noise in the background.

If it is background noise, then the laptop fan is probably the main culprit, so get the laptop as far away from the mic as possible and make sure the rear of the mic is pointing towards the laptop. The normal recommendations of hanging up some sound absorbent material behind you (e.g. a duvet) to cut down on reflected sound, and also to put a similar barrier up between the back of the mic and any noise source. Close any open windows.
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:12 am

Excellent advice there from Wonks.

I've had a listen. Your voice track is peaking up to around -4dBFS while the average background noise floor is around -55dB (rms) which isn't great.

It sounds to me like electronic noise, rather than acoustic -- but Wonk's test where you smother the mic and compare the noise level will prove it one way or the other.

I strongly suspect most of that noise is coming from the mic, not the interface.

H
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby ef37a » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:47 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Excellent advice there from Wonks.

I've had a listen. Your voice track is peaking up to around -4dBFS while the average background noise floor is around -55dB (rms) which isn't great.

It sounds to me like electronic noise, rather than acoustic -- but Wonk's test where you smother the mic and compare the noise level will prove it one way or the other.

I strongly suspect most of that noise is coming from the mic, not the interface.

H

Oo-err! Seems my "calibration" has gone screwy somewhere Hugh?
I get the track at -40dBfs with odd peaks to -35? The noise, edited out as 16 bit .wav runs at -70dBfs in Samplitude, a very poor S/N as you say indeed.

An RMA plot of the noise shows just a slighly downward tilted spectrum devoid of any tones or whistles. Really quite clean given the nature of the beasts!

Dave.

The noise floor is frankly where I would expect it to be for that mic but the sensitivity is way too low by MY reckoning?
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:09 pm

Here are a couple of screen grabs from iZotope RX, showing the waveform stats for the highlighted (light grey) parts of the recording.

Noise plot1.png


This is the speech portion, and RX reports the true-peak level for the speech is -4.92dBTP, so the recording is at a reasonable level. The minimum RMS level (between words) is -61.98dB.

Noise plot 2.png


This noise portion at the end is selected here, and RX reports the total RMS level at -54.8dB, with min and max RMS values of -62.62 and -44.06, and sample peak of -41.18dBFS.... which is pretty poor!

Noise spectrum.png


And here is the spectrum of the noise. Broadly 6dB/octave slope, with an odd spike at 715Hz.
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby ef37a » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:02 am

Well, "what can't speak" ! I wonder why my clip is so far off your levels?

I am recording it via "Stereo mix" on a g6 i3 laptop in Samplitude SE8 (because the meters read down to -90dBfs) and I have checked the level in Windows Sounds (W7) and it is at 100%.

I have recorded innumerable clips this way over the years and the levels always seemed come out right compared with other's findings on forums.

Any idea why mine are so out of whack in this case please?

Dave.
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby Wonks » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:25 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:And here is the spectrum of the noise. Broadly 6dB/octave slope, with an odd spike at 715Hz.

There's also another one an octave above and possibly a small one an octave above that.

I suggest the spikes may be laptop fan noise, mixed in with general mic electronics noise.
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:19 am

ef37a wrote:I wonder why my clip is so far off your levels?

Absolutely no idea Dave. Those measurements are direct from the MP3 file which I downloaded. No recording involved...

There are some calibrated noise and tone test files here which you could use to check your system alignment:

http://abluesky.com/support/blue-sky-calibration-test-files/

H
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:19 am

Wonks wrote:There's also another one an octave above and possibly a small one an octave above that.

Yes -- presumably harmonics of the fundamental I mentioned. Could well be fan noise, as you suggest.
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby ef37a » Sat Jul 20, 2019 11:50 am

Cracked it! I had removed Dropbox because I found it very intrusive but eventually found a way to download the clip.

Absolute peak level -5dBfs and the noise around -46? Not good.

The test signal was bob on -20dBfs but I have found out that Fire fox does not give the "Save target as" option. I don't know if one of the other options is the same? I had to go back to IE11 to do it. Then, WinZip tells me it wants money to continue! I hate WZ anyway because it changes all the relevant icons. Win Explorer extracted the file.

So, I'VE learned stuff today if nobody else has!

Thanks for the ever present patience Hugh.

Dave.
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Re: White noise using audio interface and condenser mic (audio sample in the post)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 20, 2019 2:29 pm

:thumbup: 8-)
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