You can never really completely rid your studio of noise, but there are definitely some precautions you can take to get the cleanest signal possible. It’s not the main factor in your sound, but it sure helps! Here are a few things that cause me to pound my head against the table when I forget to do them and the take was perfect. (But now I won’t forget, because I have a checklist!)
1. Your Gear
In some situations, this is kind of inevitable. Microphones always have a self-noise level… do some research and try not to get the noisy ones, especially when the source to be recorded is a quiet one. Use the shortest cables, and only use the gear that’s necessary. You don’t need to run your guitar through your whammy pedal, wah pedal, and etc. if they’re on bypass and you’re not using them for that song.
2. Your computer (But I thought it was my friend!)
Computers can be noisy. Try to keep it in a separate room, or at least not too close to the mics. If you have extra money that you don’t know what to do with, consider investing in a quiet cooling system for your computer. They exist! Especially in the gaming realm.
3. Household Items and Appliances
Fridges, washers, dryers, heating systems, air conditioning, fans, etc… If possible, turn them off while recording.
4. Guitar players
Guitar players are annoying, put duct tape over their mouths and the take will be just fine.
No I’m kidding, I’m actually talking about just general electric guitar playing. It’s just a noisy instrument by nature. The thing has 6 or more strings, and they aren’t all used at the same time… It’s hard to keep the unused strings from vibrating sometimes. And with the high gain levels involved, some noise is going to happen. This could probably be a blog post in itself, but here’s a brief list of guitar noise fixes:
- Use a noise gate.
- You can wedge cloth through the strings in the area between the “nut” and the tuning pegs.
- use a big fluffy hair “scrunchie”, a sock, or small cloth around the strings when the guitarist is soloing higher up on the fret board.
- There is a great video on YouTube that shows you how to dampen your springs if you have a whammy bar.
5. Cell Phones and Wireless Things
Depending on the cell phone provider, your location, and whether or not the bassist is texting his girlfriend; you could get some bleeps and blips through guitar amps and studio monitors. Quick fix? well… just turn them off…
6. Fluorescent Lights
I probably could’ve thrown this one in there with the household items/appliances, but I feel like that’s a big one that could go unnoticed. Make sure your lights aren’t noisy!
Alright, I hope this has been of some use to you. You can add cats, dogs, cars, and neighbors to the list… But that’s about all my mind is going to get for now. Let me know if I am missing any good ones!