A big conundrum for many bedroom studios is accidentally recording unwanted noise.
You get into a vocal session and suddenly you can hear a random car or the sound of your chair moving. These things happen quite frequently, but there are ways to mitigate this. Get ready to unlock the secrets of noise-free recording and take your audio game to the next level. Let’s dive in and create a sonic experience that’s pure perfection!
Why does unwanted noise get picked up?
Unwanted noise can be captured during audio recordings when the recording device is too close to sources of disturbance or background sounds. Inadequate noise isolation in audio equipment can also contribute to the problem.
The first reason is you are probably using a condenser microphone. Condenser microphones are what is most commonly used for recording vocals.
They are engineered to pick up even the most subtle details in the most clear and crisp way. From transients to dynamic range, it will pick it up. This is great for capturing clear audio, so it’s a no-brainer that many producers will use this kind of microphone for their recordings.
Condenser microphones are really good at their job. They can pick up anything, and I mean anything.
This leads to the second reason unwanted noise gets recorded.
You see condenser microphones work best when the room is silent most of the time. And I doubt everyone’s bedroom is like this.
Since bedrooms aren’t built for recording, unwanted noise is more likely picked up, and they can mingle themselves in a vocal take.
They don’t get treatment or are situated in secluded areas. The outcome is bound to where you live, be it in a neighborhood or in a bustling city.
So pair a microphone that’s very sensitive and a room not conducive for recording vocals and you get a messy combination.
How to Mitigate This?
So now that we know how unwanted noise makes its way to a recording, here are some ways to prevent this.
Use a Dynamic Microphone
The quick-fix solution to this is to switch from a condenser microphone to a dynamic microphone.
Dynamic microphones are built differently from condenser microphones. They’re not as intricate so they don’t pick up as much transience as a condenser microphone.
Now that doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s the first recommendation in this article, and I’ll tell you why.
Because they pick up that much signal, they aren’t as sensitive. This makes them perfect for capturing louder sounds, and louder venues. This is why they are used in live events and concerts. They only pick up what’s in front of them and not the loud crowds.
In recordings, they are used to record loud sounds like guitar amps, and drum snares. Since they’re less sensitive, they can handle the loud volume and high gain of an amplifier without receiving any feedback.
This is what makes it a better alternative for home studio owners to use instead of condenser microphones. You get to record vocals without worrying about a passing car getting heard or hearing your pets during playbacks.
There are high-quality dynamic microphones that record vocals, so definitely be on the lookout for those.
Since most bedrooms don’t start off as a conducive environment for recording, you can slowly make it one.
Room treatment is another solution that you can do to mitigate outside noise.
There are many different ways to treat your room. The most common way is placing foam pads all over your walls.
What pads do is they prevent the sound of your voice from bouncing all over the room, which could affect the quality of your voice. They also prevent outside noise from bouncing through your room and letting your microphone capture them.
A makeshift alternative is using egg cartons as your foam. Putting a carpet beneath actually helps absorb noise, ensuring that your voice is the only thing the microphone will pick up.
Finding a Quiet Place to Record
The next solution is to find a quiet place in your house to record your vocals.
Another quick fix solution, but you’ll find that even the most technical issues can be mitigated without using different gear or augmenting an environment. Sometimes a change in scenery is all you need.
Even if a house isn’t made for professional recording, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it there. One example of a quiet place you can record is your closet. Apart from it being a small enclosed space, the clothes inside help by absorbing the sound that goes in and out of the closet.
Closing the doors and windows of a room helps minimizes outside noise from entering the room.
If you have an empty basement, you can use that space as well.
Point your Microphone to a wall
When it comes to positioning your microphone, the best place to place it is facing a wall.
Condenser and dynamic microphones typically have a cardioid polar pattern. This means that they pick up sounds coming from the front. Sounds from the sides and the back won’t be picked up as much, or at all.
By placing the microphone by a wall, you minimize the chances of sound from other directions to being picked up.
You can also attach an isolation shield to make it look like you’re in an isolated vocal booth.
Putting a Pop Filter
Now outside noise isn’t the only unwanted noise you can hear. You also get that from your own voice, specifically plosives.
Plosives are the sounds that pop up when you say the letters b and p. Placing a pop filter in front of the microphone helps, well, filter out the plosives from getting picked up.
They aren’t expensive so it’s definitely something to invest in when you buy a microphone.
Check Your Plugs
Humming sounds are also considered unnecessary noise. They don’t come from outside but from the connection of a microphone to the audio interface.
This could be because of the cable you use. Either it isn’t connected fully or isn’t of good quality. So be sure to check them before a recording.
Make sure that the cable is fully connected to the audio for a smooth connection. If the cable itself is the problem, then it may be high time to replace it.
Achieving Recording Perfection
Remember to be mindful of your recording environment, invest in quality equipment, and employ effective noise reduction techniques. No need to feel discouraged to record your vocals at home. Whether you’re a podcaster or musician, these measures will help you capture clean and professional audio, ensuring that unwanted noise stays out of the mix.