Help on reducing static hiss in recordings?

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KillaMaaki

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Hello, As a bit of a preface to this, I have not done much in the way of high quality audio recording before, and am looking to improve my audio setup for recording commentary for gaming and tutorial videos. I recently purchased the Neewer NW-700 studio kit on Amazon since it looked like an absolute steal for the price and the reviews were positive.

Right away, however, I noticed a rather large amount of white noise when recording. I didn't have this problem previously, when I was using a USB Blue Snowball. After some troubleshooting, it appeared that the noise was due to my PC's mic in or line in jacks - turning off the phantom power box and even just leaving a cable dangling out connected to nothing, I still got the same white noise. It's even worse because the mic isn't terribly loud, so I have to boost the audio to get a decent volume which makes the signal-to-noise ratio a bit difficult to work with for noise removal in Audition. Doable, but it's a fine line between sounding good and getting distorted.

I figured the problem must be my PC's onboard sound chip, as I've heard those are almost universally crap. I also knew that my Snowball worked fine over USB with no noise, so I picked up a cheap SYBA 3.5mm-to-USB converter on Amazon. It arrived, I eagerly plugged it in to test, and still no dice - the noise is still there! In fact, the device itself plugged in exhibits its own noise, and then plugging the XLR-to-3.mm into that adds slightly more noise on top.

For reference, here's with just the XLR-to-3.5mm cable, disconnected, hanging out of the mic in port (a slight crackle is audible):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/99106620/AudioTroubleshooting/MicIn_NoConnection.wav

Here's with it connected to the Phantom power while on (the crackle has vanished):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/99106620/AudioTroubleshooting/MicIn_PHantom.wav

Here's it connected to my SYBA USB adapter:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/99106620/AudioTroubleshooting/USBIn_Phantom.wav

And finally here's the SYBA by itself with nothing plugged into it:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/99106620/AudioTroubleshooting/USBIn_NoConnection.wav

Interestingly, when using the USB adapter, the noise level does NOT go down even if I turn the gain in Windows all the way down to 0. Instead the noise just slightly changes, showing a small DC offset when the gain is turned down.

Preferably, I'd rather not have to spend a lot on a sound card or USB interface when all I want to do is just fix this white noise. Any pointers for ways I can try and resolve this?
 
First thought is that the mic itself is bad. Considering the price you can assume that there is no quality control. If you can try another non USB mic that would help figure out the problem.
Second idea is that the USB adapter is likely not any better than the one on your PC. Sometimes you need to spend some money to get quality gear.
 

KillaMaaki

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May 13, 2016
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As far as I can tell the noise isn't from the mic, since it happens even with mic and preamp completely disconnected. I've also heard demonstrations of this mic on Youtube and I'm certainly not hearing the noise levels I'm dealing with here. But those demonstrations are also using significantly better interface hardware.

Maybe I will have to drop some extra money on this. Sigh.

I'm looking at these two audio interfaces, the Behringer Xenyx 302USB Mixer and the Lexicon Alpha. Trying to keep things on the cheaper side on account of "I'm basically broke".
Thoughts? I'm leaning towards the Behringer at the moment since it appears to be a similar unit as one of the demo videos I listened to was using, but would appreciate a second opinion.
 

BZRKturbo

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Non-USB mics will pick up less background noise than USB mics. but if you don't mind taking out the BG noise in post processing. then you can use an audio editing program to edit it out (whats left of it anyways)

I use audacity, it is free and has a lot of amazing features that you can use.

To take out BG noise just record 5sec before you start recording the audio you want (voice ect.) then in audacity select that portion and click "effect" (on the top) and hit "noise reduction" then hit "get audio profile" The go back and select the entire audio file and then go back to noise reduction and hit "ok"

That will take out most of the back ground noise that is left.



 

KillaMaaki

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May 13, 2016
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I understand how noise reduction works (I use Audition, so I have actually saved a noise print of the noise to an FFT file so I don't have to capture a noise print anymore), but the problem is that the signal to noise ratio I'm seeing makes it difficult to reduce the noise without distorting the audio. It would be best if I could reduce the noise on the hardware side, which would make reducing the remaining noise in software much less prone to distortion.
 

BZRKturbo

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I know it's just that you said that you didn't want to have to spend the money on an interface....

But if you are going to... i'd also recommend the Behringer Xenyx 302USB Mixer for that price
 
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