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Old 11-10-2018, 04:25 PM   #1
Rangler
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Default What's your favorite method for cleaning up a noisy Strat recording?

I have RX Elements ($100) and stock graphic EQ. Takes a lot of life out of the recording.

I need to get a good DI, or move somewhere I can track out-loud.
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Old 11-10-2018, 05:43 PM   #2
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maybe a loadbox is a good idea. Have a look at the "two notes" and UAD ox. nice things.
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Old 11-10-2018, 06:00 PM   #3
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maybe a loadbox is a good idea. Have a look at the "two notes" and UAD ox. nice things.
I have a negative budget right now. Definitely something I want, eventually.
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Old 11-10-2018, 07:09 PM   #4
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This maybe a dumb answer, but how does it sound in the mix? I have a feeling that a lot of classic classic rock that used strats would be pretty noisy if you just heard the guitar in isolation.
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Old 11-11-2018, 06:18 PM   #5
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during recording i used to have good luck w/ single coils by turning at right angles to anything that might cause hum/buzz. after the fact, i dunno
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Old 11-11-2018, 09:47 PM   #6
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^That's why my DAW is always aligned east/west.
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:01 PM   #7
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Computer noise is a problem with guitar pickups and especially single coil pickups. The only things that really helps is getting enough distance between the guitar and computer and finding the right angle of the guitar to the computer such that noise is minimized.

Of course, there is a myriad of claims of products dealing with guitar noise, but very little in way of demonstrating effectiveness.

I think the best solution is to mic an amp (not anything involving digital), even if you can't crank it up. It will potentially sound much better, with less noise than DI, and be a better playing experience.
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Old 11-11-2018, 10:20 PM   #8
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Computer noise is a problem with guitar pickups and especially single coil pickups. The only things that really helps is getting enough distance between the guitar and computer and finding the right angle of the guitar to the computer such that noise is minimized.

Of course, there is a myriad of claims of products dealing with guitar noise, but very little in way of demonstrating effectiveness.

I think the best solution is to mic an amp (not anything involving digital), even if you can't crank it up. It will potentially sound much better, with less noise than DI, and be a better playing experience.
That's the ideal situation, but I'm stuck in a house with people going to and fro. DI is my only option.

Hide it in the mix, I suppose.
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Old 11-12-2018, 03:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangler View Post
I have RX Elements ($100) and stock graphic EQ. Takes a lot of life out of the recording.

I need to get a good DI, or move somewhere I can track out-loud.
You probably need to learn RX better as it does not have to take the life out of a recording

Also what sort of noise are you talking about? There are a stack of great free EQs out there that might help eg TDR Nova

also your interface/soundcard is probably good enough but might not be - what is your interface?
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Old 11-12-2018, 03:50 AM   #10
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I use a EHX Silencer pedal on the way in.. They go for under $100 bucks.. Works great.

I never got great results with using FX in software, though. I used to use ReaFir and it does filter out noise, but, it also can alter the sound quite a bit.

So, a good noise gate pedal should help a lot.
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woogish View Post
during recording i used to have good luck w/ single coils by turning at right angles to anything that might cause hum/buzz. after the fact, i dunno
I aligned mine with the box they're stored in after being replaced by humbuckers .

But yeah, isn't the noise kinda vanishing in the mix? Hendrix records would be unlistenable otherwise - he was playing a strat with a fuzz and AFAIK noise gate/removal tech back then was a bit rubbish, and it still sounds okay. I did a couple of recordings with my strat copy too and there was less hum problem than expected (and it was pretty high gain stuff).

Unless its some anomalous, strat-unlike noise, but it's hard to say without samples.
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Old 11-12-2018, 10:29 AM   #12
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Have you tried ReaGate? Also you can setup a 60 cycle hum notch filter in ReaEQ but I would think that RX has a hum removal module that would work great.

When recording make sure the TV is off and you are several feet from any PC monitors and speakers. If you have light dimmer switches or florescent lights turn them off. After all that Turn on a distortion pedal (to amplify any noise) and walk around until you find a a spot with the least noise. Hit record.

For future recordings I would look into a noise gate pedal or noiseless single coils. The dimarzio area pickups are good if you want a traditional looking silent single. If you dont mind a less traditional look the Zexcoil Z series pickups are the most authentic sounding silent singles being made right now. Same cost as the Dimarzio's.
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Old 11-12-2018, 01:45 PM   #13
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Take small noise reduction steps.

Identify your type of noise, first. RX has two tools you can use:
DeHum will work to reduce steady tone noises. Loop an area of noise, set DeHum for manual mode and let it learn the noise.
Spectral DeNoise is similar, but it works more with broadband noise. There are two modes: Manual and Adaptive. In this case, choose Manual and do the same thing as above - loop an area of noise and let RX learn it.

In either case, you only want to reduce the noise, not eliminate it. -12db is a good place to start.

Then, you can use JS Downward Expander to gently reduce the noise level further. Choose a very low ratio like 1.2:1 and adjust the threshold until you get the lower level that you want.

The last step would be a traditional gate.
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Old 11-12-2018, 02:16 PM   #14
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ReaFir
Noise Invader
NoiseSuppression
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Old 11-12-2018, 11:28 PM   #15
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Sit/stand side on to the PC monitor, preferably put a few feet between it and you.
When it comes to the recording, DON'T record the amped DI, record the dry DI signal - by all means go thru' the sims, BUT only record the dry signal.
Put a noise-gate FIRST, before any effects and amp sim to reduce/remove the noise at source. Amp sims and effects will amplify the noise, if you remove it first, then any noise after that is sim noise.

You can't remove noise that occurs when playing, only the noise in the 'silence'.

If the noise is excessive, I'd go through the guitar's wiring - single coils do pickup noise, but they're not THAT bad.

FWIW, the best sounding humbuckers don't completely cancel hum - laws of physics get in the way - so don't get obsessive about it.
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Old 11-13-2018, 03:48 AM   #16
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I would never advise to record any guitar track (or anything) with a noise gate - unless you are doing metal.
Gate it after - when you have 100% control
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Old 11-13-2018, 10:40 PM   #17
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I would never advise to record any guitar track (or anything) with a noise gate - unless you are doing metal.
Gate it after - when you have 100% control
I didn't say record WITH a noise gate. I said record ONLY the DI. THEN treat THAT with a gate BEFORE amping it.

If wouldn't even save a track that was bad enough to need editing - noise, timing or pitch.
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Old 11-14-2018, 04:21 AM   #18
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I aligned mine with the box they're stored in after being replaced by humbuckers .

But yeah, isn't the noise kinda vanishing in the mix? Hendrix records would be unlistenable otherwise - he was playing a strat with a fuzz and AFAIK noise gate/removal tech back then was a bit rubbish, and it still sounds okay. I did a couple of recordings with my strat copy too and there was less hum problem than expected (and it was pretty high gain stuff).

Unless its some anomalous, strat-unlike noise, but it's hard to say without samples.
Read "This Is Your Brain on Music" (https://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Bra.../dp/0452288525). Noise is NEVER truly buried in a mix. Just because something is below a threshold where you can't "hear" it doesn't mean your brain can't. This kind of "buried" noise grates on the subconscious and muddies your mix.

This is why noise floor is important. One track with noise may not be audible by itself but cumulatively across many tracks the noise floor reaches a threshold that IS perceptible to the brain (if not your ears) - a really good reason to stick to 24 bit or higher. Especially on projects with a high track count.

Same with guitar noise, even one track can cause issues whether you realize it or not. The more tracks with this noise the worse it gets.

As for EQ, look at a spectro of the noise. It's all over the place (even if spread mostly on the high end). Any attempt to surgically remove this with EQ is going to affect your tone.

Noise gates are a method of last resort for me. They can alter the responsiveness of the guitar IMO, especially that first attack. And even with a gate the noise is still there when you are playing. You can't "hear" it (masked) but the IM is still present and the brain still hears it.

Why is attack important? Studies show that the first few milliseconds of a sound (it's attack) are 90% of what our brain uses to identify a particular timbre or instrument. The "steady" frequency is remarkably common across many instruments. It's the attack that the brain uses to isolate and identify one sound/instrument from another in a mix. This is also why improper application of compression especially with a fast attack can make some music sound unnatural.

Low threshold noise you can't hear is still processed by the brain. It can interfere with the brains ability to identify and isolate sound sources even if you're not conscious of it.

Remember ALL frequencies interact and cause IM. Even the ones at the lowest levels. And in a mix, the totals are cumulative.

As for micing an amp, your just trading one problem for another. You're still micing the pickup noise now amplified by the amp. The only diff is you may be able to get further from the amp than your computer and the amp may be slightly less susceptible to the noise (usually not much).

Your best bet is to a) shield your computer and/or your guitar, b) place your guitar as far away as you can from the digital gear, or c) use a diff pickup/position.

For example, I like the 'bright' sound of some pickup positions on my strat but they are noisy. I tend to find the quietest position/selection and EQ THAT with (sometimes radical) high boost and low mid cut. The end result is very similar but without the pickup trash. This EQ should be done BEFORE amp sim input of course.

As for Hendrix, etc, you don't have a frame of reference to know what that would have been like without the noise. Doesn't mean you can't live with it or even like it. Masking is a real thing that an engineer has to settle with at times. Hell SusieQ was recorded on a 4track in a garage. Sometimes, it's not the mix, it's the energy of the music that moves people.

I highly recommend the above mentioned book. It will make you view how you make/hear music with a new perspective. The brain and hearing is an awesomely complex thing.

Take for example, how the brain processes information when you are in a crowded room with many conversations. Your brain is being bombarded with similar frequencies from many different people coming from many different places in the room. But your brain is able to distinguish one conversation from another. This is not due to just spatial awareness (stereo signaling) but other subtle factors that allow the brain to identify one voice over another even among many. The same principles apply when our brains are processing music with many instruments. And this is precisely why proper stereo imaging as well as proper treatment of individual instrument attack can be paramount in your mix.

Another interesting phenomenon is how the brain actually interpolates much of what you hear. That is to say the brain is actually receiving more information than it can process so as a matter of course it often relies on previous information and skips over some bits it might believe are redundant or missing and instead fill in the holes with what it thinks should be there based on past hearing experiences. This is why sometimes "less is more" and how bands like U2, Rush and others with few instruments can sound "BIG". Fewer instruments stepping on one another in the mix and less brain interpolation required. This is also why many musicians can anticipate where a musical phrase is going.

Understanding how the brain "hears" music can only make you a better engineer/artist IMO.

Last edited by Steviebone; 11-14-2018 at 04:58 AM.
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