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  • Writer's pictureTina Van

How To Deal With Unwanted Noise In Home Recordings: 3 Essential Tips


Home recording studios offer creatives and audio enthusiasts the convenience and comfort of creating music in a familiar setting. However, one of the most common challenges in a home studio environment is dealing with unwanted noise and interference. These nuisances can significantly impact the quality of your recordings. In this article, we’ll explore three essential tips to help you tackle this issue and achieve cleaner, more professional recordings in your home studio. Let’s dive in!


SOUNDPROOF YOUR SPACE


The first, and perhaps best step in combating unwanted noise in a home studio environment is to soundproof your space. Soundproofing helps in so many ways: it prevents external noise from entering your recording space, minimizes sound leakage from your studio to the outside world (your neighbors will appreciate this!), and it especially helps to control the sound waves in a less than ideal room setup. Most rooms in apartments and homes have dimensions and weird room modes that cause problems if not treated properly for use in a home recording environment, so here are some tips:


Weatherstripping Window
  • Seal Windows & Doors - Start by inspecting your room’s windows and doors. Seal any gaps or cracks that may be allowing sound to enter or escape. Weatherstripping or using draft stoppers can be effective for this purpose. This will ensure that no unwanted noise or air comes through and will help bring the overall noise floor down within the recording space.

Acoustic Panels
  • Acoustic Panels & Bass Traps - Incorporate acoustic panels and bass traps within your studio. These specially designed panels absorb and diffuse sound, reducing reflections, and background noise. Placing them strategically on walls and especially in corners, will make a huge difference in the sound quality you will get in your recordings.


  • Isolation Booths - If you have the extra cash or even want to consider making one from scratch, an isolation booth can make a world of a difference when trying to capture great recordings. Isolation booths are specifically designed to minimize external noise and allow you to capture clean, isolated recordings. More to come soon about how to make these, even on a on a budget, on a separate article!


MICROPHONE SELECTION & PLACEMENT


Choosing the right microphone and setting it up properly is the next best step to optimizing your recordings and reducing unwanted noise.


  • Microphone Selection - Use a microphone that is best suited for your specific recording needs. Dynamic microphones for example, are less sensitive to background noise and are a good choice for noisy environments, especially if you don’t have proper sound treatment in your room. On the other hand, condenser microphones can capture sound in beautiful detail but are more sensitive to noise and will require a quieter recording space.

  • Proper Mic Placement - Experiment with microphone placement to find the sweet spot when trying to reduce unwanted noise. Most of the time, simply positioning the microphone in the right spot and taking advantage of thier polar patterns, is the easiest thing you can do to reduce unwanted noise. For example, let’s say your microphone has a cardioid polar pattern. A cardioid polar pattern means that the front of the mic is the most sensitive to sound while having the most rejection in sound directly in back of the mic. This means that if you point the back of the mic at the problem area of a room with the capsule (front) of the microphone pointed directly at the source you're recording, it will provide the cleanest sound.


DIGITAL NOISE REDUCTION TOOLS



I wanted to put this last on the list because the focus should always be on getting great recordings first. No matter what you do, it is always going to be harder to make a bad recording sound great. However, in the digital age of recording, there are several tools and software available that can help to further reduce unwanted noise during post-production.


  • Noise Gates - Noise gate plugins are handy for eliminating background noise when no desired audio is present. These tools automatically mute or reduce the volume of audio below a certain threshold, effectively silencing unwanted sounds between takes or during pauses.

  • EQ & De-Essing - Use equalization (EQ) and de-essing tools to reduce frequencies associated with unwanted noise or sibilance. Careful EQ adjustments can help to clean up your recordings and make them sound more polished.

  • Restoration Plugins - Consider noise reduction and restoration plugins, such as Izotope RX Elements, that can significantly improve the quality of recordings by removing unwanted noise, hums, and click.

Again, be cautious with all of these tools mentioned above. They should be used sparingly and carefully. Over EQing, putting a noise gate, or a restoration plugin on a recording can do more harm than good if not used properly. This is why I like to emphasize the importance of capturing a great recording and performance first. In fact, it is WAY better to have a little noise in a recording that captures a great performance than an ultra-clean lack luster recording. Embrace the fact that capturing great recordings takes practice and learning the space you are in, so don’t sweat the small stuff. We are making art after all!


CONCLUSION


Dealing with unwanted noise and interference in a home recording environment is a crucial aspect of achieving professional-sounding recordings. By soundproofing your space, selecting the right microphone and placement, and utilizing noise reduction tools, you can significantly improve the quality of your recordings, making your home studio a more conducive space for music production. Remember that achieving pristine audio may require a combination of these techniques, tailored to your specific recording needs.


I hope this was helpful. If you need a more in depth guide on everything you need to have in your home studio to make professional sounding music, feel free to download my home studio gear guide below. It is completely free and completely yours for the taking. I just hope that it helps you on your journey towards making great music. That's it for now. Have fun creating!



Grab the Home Studio Gear guide for free here:




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