Avoiding or Removing "hiss" from my recorded tracks......help

River19

Senior Member
So, as some know from a previous thread I have recently built out my recording setup and I'm running some test tracks and playing around and while I am getting really decent drum sounds there are coming with a decent amount of hiss which is pissing me off.

I'm running SM57s, Beta 52 and Rode5s into a Presonus 1824 Interface then into StudioOne (which I love now).

Me thinks there is something simple I am doing wrong from a setup process. I have the gain levels for the 6 mics set at a reasonable place where they aren't clipping on the loudest hits BUT that means I am somewhere around -2 to 5 DBs on all channels. Should I look to bring my signal in even hotter than that? I was finding I was well into clipping territory unless I backed them off a tad to where I am now.

I haven't been too successful in "fixing" the hiss in the mixing step yet so......would rather fix any issues on the way into the recording than with processing after the fact.

Can someone point me in the right direction?
 

BGDurham

Well-known Member
As far as gain goes, my understanding is you would set the channel's volume at zero, then adjust gain so the input level (not the channel's volume) averages -18.

A la...

 

River19

Senior Member
It was all channels. Here's what I have done so far based on a suggestion from the Presonus community......

I had already setup a default song template with the layout etc that I like. I then recorded a few seconds with each mic solo'd and confirmed the hiss is there. Then I slapped an EQ on one of the channels to "see" what frequencies the hiss was showing up in. Per the Persons suggestion I added a gate to each channel and set it roughly for those frequencies and pulled some db's from there.

After I did that I ran another test run for a few seconds and the audible hiss is mostly if not totally eliminated.....but I need to do a test run with the actual drums to see what this yields and if the gating impacts the sound overall. They were actually very high frequencies that I gated so.....
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
It was all channels. Here's what I have done so far based on a suggestion from the Presonus community......

I had already setup a default song template with the layout etc that I like. I then recorded a few seconds with each mic solo'd and confirmed the hiss is there. Then I slapped an EQ on one of the channels to "see" what frequencies the hiss was showing up in. Per the Persons suggestion I added a gate to each channel and set it roughly for those frequencies and pulled some db's from there.

After I did that I ran another test run for a few seconds and the audible hiss is mostly if not totally eliminated.....but I need to do a test run with the actual drums to see what this yields and if the gating impacts the sound overall. They were actually very high frequencies that I gated so.....
Well, whatever works.

Is it really "hiss"? From your EQ experiment, what frequencies does it inhabit? Could it just be noise from an appliance in the other room? A fan or air conditioner?

I find it hard to believe that the mics are causing the hiss. The noise floor of modern mics is looooooowww, especially compared to analog tape and consoles. Crappy mic cables can pick up RF interference. Is there a radio station nearby?

The interface *could* be creating the noise, but it seems unlikely. I've used crappier stuff that the 1824c; never any hiss. You have no other equipment connected to the interface, right? Is the hiss present in headphones as well as through your monitors?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Could it just be noise from an appliance in the other room? A fan or air conditioner? I find it hard to believe that the mics are causing the hiss. The noise floor of modern mics is looooooowww, especially compared to analog tape and consoles.

My thoughts, too. Sometimes room ambience is a 'noise' that's inherent.

More importantly, is it something that would be audibl.e in the context of the drum mix or the music?
 

River19

Senior Member
Well, whatever works.

Is it really "hiss"? From your EQ experiment, what frequencies does it inhabit? Could it just be noise from an appliance in the other room? A fan or air conditioner?

I find it hard to believe that the mics are causing the hiss. The noise floor of modern mics is looooooowww, especially compared to analog tape and consoles. Crappy mic cables can pick up RF interference. Is there a radio station nearby?

The interface *could* be creating the noise, but it seems unlikely. I've used crappier stuff that the 1824c; never any hiss. You have no other equipment connected to the interface, right? Is the hiss present in headphones as well as through your monitors?
Present in headphones. It is audible in the quiet parts.....like an instrumental intro and overall in the mix as well.

I'll figure it out. There isn't anything really "on" in the room other than the power supply. The monitors are on......which I will shut off next time. Will do another test run this evening.

Update:
The gates work. I put a gate at ~14-15k and and pulled 5db and 80% of the hiss went away. I will try a couple more db and see how things go. The drum sound was fine with that.
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Hard to figure out without really being there. This conversation could go on forever until somebody sees what you’re doing. I’m wondering if the hiss exists when no mics are plugged in? If it does, then the mic gain isn’t your problem.
 

BGDurham

Well-known Member
Maybe it's your cat hiding behind the chair with a mic and hissing into it to prank you.
 

River19

Senior Member
Maybe it's your cat hiding behind the chair with a mic and hissing into it to prank you.

Well I buried the last cat like 2.5 years ago so that would really be "something".........
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
Me thinks there is something simple I am doing wrong from a setup process. I have the gain levels for the 6 mics set at a reasonable place where they aren't clipping on the loudest hits BUT that means I am somewhere around -2 to 5 DBs on all channels. Should I look to bring my signal in even hotter than that? I was finding I was well into clipping territory unless I backed them off a tad to where I am now.
I'm gonna guess: mic preamp levels are too high.

Recording digitally is not like recording to tape: a "hot" input is not better. Digitally recorded transients are much more transparent than on mag tape; there's no benefit to amplifying a signal to create a better cluster of magnetic molecules on the tape. Inter-sample peaks can be 10–20dB more than what you see in the little "meter" in the DAW. And you *are* playing drums, very with plenty of very sharp transients (rim shots!).

Try this: Don't let any signal peak exceed -12dB.
Example: place your snare mic where you want it (don't know? listen to this) and smack the snare. Watch the input level. Don't let it exceed -12dB. Do this for every drum/mic. For the overheads, smack your bass drum, snare & mounted tom (or cymbal) simultaneously and don't let the signal exceed -12dB. The make-up gain will be done "in post" (i.e., plugins).

[Edit: record in 24 bit mode, at the highest sample rate you can handle]

After you've done this, simply turn up your headphone feed.

If you still have hiss after this, we will demand audio samples on this forum.
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
I would really suggest turning any gates completely off until you solve this noise issue - and actually until you can dial in a really decent sound without them. I don't know what style you are recording, but oftentimes no gates are needed at all. Other times they of course can be - they're usually last to the party. And many times not applied until mix down. And these days it is real common to skip a the common practice of gating toms and instead just going back and hand edit out all of the blank space between tom hits.

Beyond that - my guess is there something in the room you are not noticing until hearing it played back. Also I would suggest doing a test recording without playing - then listen to each mic separately (be careful - but crank it up so you can really hear) to see if certain mics are the culprits over others.
 
Use caution with Gates they can totally change your sound. If you're getting noticeable noise look at your interface or the power going into that interface even if that's from a PC. Check your grounding etc. Do it quickly or you'll lose passion for what you're doing. Don't cheap out on interfaces. My advice is buy British and preferably Audient.
 

River19

Senior Member
I'm gonna guess: mic preamp levels are too high.

Recording digitally is not like recording to tape: a "hot" input is not better. Digitally recorded transients are much more transparent than on mag tape; there's no benefit to amplifying a signal to create a better cluster of magnetic molecules on the tape. Inter-sample peaks can be 10–20dB more than what you see in the little "meter" in the DAW. And you *are* playing drums, very with plenty of very sharp transients (rim shots!).

Try this: Don't let any signal peak exceed -12dB.
Example: place your snare mic where you want it (don't know? listen to this) and smack the snare. Watch the input level. Don't let it exceed -12dB. Do this for every drum/mic. For the overheads, smack your bass drum, snare & mounted tom (or cymbal) simultaneously and don't let the signal exceed -12dB. The make-up gain will be done "in post" (i.e., plugins).

[Edit: record in 24 bit mode, at the highest sample rate you can handle]

After you've done this, simply turn up your headphone feed.

If you still have hiss after this, we will demand audio samples on this forum.

I have time to play with this today. I will reset my levels. I set them as I would have in the analog days, which still may be a little too hot to your point. Nothing is clipping per se but........I can cool off the signal and then gain stage and normalize the tracks prior to mix.

Regarding the gates changing the drum sound, as they were set in my test last night, the drum sound wasn't noticeably impacted.

I will figure it out today. Appreciate the suggestions.
 
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cbphoto

Diamond Member
I have time to play with this today. I will reset my levels. I set them as I would have in the analog days, which still may be a little too hot to your point. Nothing is clipping per se but........I can cool off the signal and then gain stage and normalize the tracks prior to mix.

Regarding the gates changing the drum sound, as they were set in my test last night, the drum sound wasn't noticeably impacted.

I will figure it out today. Appreciate the suggestions.
If you’re using any Presonus DSP in your Studio 1824, turn them off while you set your pre amp levels. Don’t add anything to the signal path. Hopefully it’s a clean sound, then you can begin to isolate signals to find the problem.
 

River19

Senior Member
PROBLEM SLOLVED:

Through the process of elimination I stumbled upon the culprit. The damn USB cable not being plugged in 100%...

As soon as I went hot with the mics even with all my pots on the interface down as far as possible I was getting the same background hiss. Pulled the cord, and then put it back in and "viola" problem solved, Laid down a test track to a Maroon 5 tune and everything sounds as it should again.......

BUT, the exercise was a learning experience.

Again, thanks for the suggestions.

EDIT:
The real driver behind the hiss with the cord is the order of operations of whether I turn on the interface THEN plug in the macbook or whether the plug is in prior to turning things on. If it happens in an order it doesn't like I get a high level of visable hiss and a quick unplug and re-plug clears it.
 
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Glad you've got it sorted. Gates change sound because when you set the threshold it may take away some attack and also some of the decay based on release levels.
 
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