Background noise

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Post by bhavya » June 5th, 2018, 7:55 am


I am really interested in reading for linrivox however when i record i get a lot of background noise from moving traffic(since i live next to a high traffic road).
Any suggestions on how to reduce it ? ( i tried closing windows and doors but it didnt work).
Also how much noise is acceptable?
Is occasional honking ok?


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Post by tovarisch » June 5th, 2018, 8:32 am


There are methods of reducing the amount of noise permeating into your recording area from outside, like special blankets that can be hung over your windows and doors, or even use of specially constructed audio booths. Many of those methods are prohibitively expensive or cumbersome, though. A better solution that I use is to record when the outside noises are at the minimum (late night).

Low-frequency rumble can be cleaned out from the recording by applying a high-pass filter. Loud sounds occurring while you record, usually do not last long, and you can simply re-record the phrase when you discover that there is a sound that you don't care to keep.

Whether occasional modern noises in the final recording are OK, I believe, depends very much on what you are recording. If it's a technical/scientific article, for example, it's the information and not the ambiance the listener is after. If, OTOH you are recording a dramatic reading of something that was happening mid-nineteenth century, on an estate in English countryside, perhaps sounds of busy traffic, honking, emergency sirens, are not what the listener expects...
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

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Post by bhavya » June 5th, 2018, 8:42 am


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Post by ProDigit » June 5th, 2018, 7:41 pm

Get a better microphone.
There are lots of microphones you can choose from.
Personally, I'd advise the:
- 'Blue Snowball' as a starters microphone on a budget. $60
- 'Blue Microphones Yeti', as a beginner-intermediate, best bang for the buck, has better background noise cancellation. $110
- 'Audio Technica AT2020USB' for intermediate; semi professional sound, a good microphone, and if you know a thing or two about audio, you could use this one in pro studios as well. $135
It's my mic of choice, due to it being sharper (like Sennheiser), which accentuates the voice a bit more.
- 'Rode NT-USB' intermediate microphone, and great alternative to AT2020USB, in case you're not too fond of the high frequency bump, and want to sound more natural. $165
- 'Razer Seiren', at $220 it's the most expensive one of the bunch; but provides a bit more low end boost over the Rode. Great for deeper voices. Some people say it's good for skype, but not for audio books. Though opinions differ from person to person, and voice to voice.
- 'Audio Technica AT2020USBi' intermediate-advanced, the highest quality microphone by far; tops the razer; Records in 24 bit, has an extremely high S/N ratio. You can start making money with this; $199

I prefer USB microphones.

Aside from that, you can buy sound dampening foam, A good and affordable solution being this one, and tile off some walls.
They don't necessarily prevent sounds from coming in your room, but they certainly help with bouncing echos, and absorb some of the background noise.

And lastly, you can pre-edit the raw recording data with software, before you encode it for upload.
Sometimes, background noise on the recording will be lost during the conversion (filters out low noise levels).

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Post by bhavya » June 5th, 2018, 8:15 pm

Thank You!

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Post by Cori » June 7th, 2018, 10:34 am

And bear in mind, you don't need to foam the whole room, necessarily. Recording in a roomy closet (if you have such a thing) can work. Or an arrangement like this:
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

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Post by lurcherlover » June 11th, 2018, 12:48 pm

It is also important to record close miked as this emphasises the spoken word and minimises any room acoustics and background noise. When I say close miked, I mean 6-12 inches from the mic.* Also use plenty of gain and record at about -10dB or even -6dB. The use of duvets, blankets and sheets also reduces reverberation and reduces background noise as well. Using a cardioid dynamic mic can also help reduce noise as it is directional and will reduce other areas which are not immediately in front of the mic.

* There is a danger that this will result in popping, on words with 'p' and 's' and 't' - so it can be good to slant the mic away from the lips so that air blasts do not hit the mic diaphragm full on, or the use of a pop filter, which can be as simple as a nylon stocking fixed to a metal coat hanger. Commercial pop filters can be bought quite cheaply and some mics come with them and these are designed to be screwed in front of the mic. (Example, the Rode NT1A mic comes with such a pop filter).

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Post by Monaxi » June 12th, 2018, 6:51 pm

Welcome, Bhavya!

I'm able to clean out a lot of background noise with Audacity's noise cleaner. I'll run it once before I begin to edit. Then, if I'm noticing noise while editing, I'll run it again with a new noise sample.

How much honking? Might depend on the topic being recorded...but, yes, that's going to be a challenge. Are there times of day with less honking? I find that from noon - 1pm there is less construction noise while the workers are having lunch, but there is more train noise (which is easy to wait out and delete later).

Best wishes! Have fun!
Peace be with you,

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