isolating mic from unwanted street noise

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KVRist
197 posts since 28 Aug, 2008

Post Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:37 am

Hi people,

My friend/bandmate lives in an apartment in the middle of a busy city. She can't make changes to the room, since she is renting. But there is a lot of street noise bleeding into her microphone when she sings--the apartment has big, beautiful windows overlooking the city.

I am wondering what budget-friendly options there are for reducing the amount of noise.

How effective are things like this: https://smile.amazon.com/TroyStudio-Mic ... _hp_d&th=1

???

Also, I have REX8, and am learning how to use it, so maybe there are settings best for street noise removal. If so, I'd welcome tips. But I'd prefer to have cleaner recordings sent my way regardless.

Thank you!!
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Boss Lovin' DR
7856 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Post Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:44 am

Things like that are more for reducing room sound, rather than cutting background noise.


From your description, I'm thinking she might be better getting a pair of very thick curtains to dampen the outside noise whilst she's singing!

Oh, and RX is pretty good actually for more broadband/constant noise removal (provided it's not too loud). If there's more intermittent, intrusive sounds (e.g car horns and the like) then in the advanced version there's spectral editing. I've never used it (only having RX elements), but the spectral tool in Sound Forge is pretty useful, and by all accounts is quite simple compared to the RX one.
Last edited by donkey tugger on Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KVRAF
9228 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Post Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:45 am

or hang blankets over windows too...

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KVRian
709 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:30 pm

Get an Electro-Voice 635a omnidirectional dynamic mic.

https://youtu.be/Tmhik9YpdGw
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KVRAF
2230 posts since 9 Jun, 2002 from East of Santa Monica

Post Sat Apr 10, 2021 4:55 am

jamcat wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:30 pm
Get an Electro-Voice 635a omnidirectional dynamic mic.....
Why omnidirectional? She's recording her own singing, not the whole band (Unless I misunderstood the post).

I do agree that a good dynamic mic, cardioid or super-cardioid, is the best solution to overcome room noise.

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KVRian
709 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:26 am

Proximity effect.
Watch the video.
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KVRian
554 posts since 9 Jan, 2018

Post Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:45 am

RX8 won't fix everything. The less it has to deal with, the better.

But lots of good advice, here.

Comping is another tool to use: record multiple takes. If there is the random car horn or dog bark, you can often save an otherwise good take by blending in part of a different take. Not all DAWs support comping, but it's a life-saver with vocals.

Also, record some audio with nothing going on. Run that through your EQ to see what background frequencies are active all the time. Using your EQ, experiment with dampening those frequencies down in every vocal track to hide the noise without affecting the overall vocal quality too much.

A noise gate can work, but not always, for quiet parts.

And be careful with adding too much reverb. Some reverb can help hide background noise, but put too much and you can exaggerate the noise.

Lots of tips from everyone, but don't let that overwhelm you...just shows there's a LOT you can do.

KVRAF
2230 posts since 9 Jun, 2002 from East of Santa Monica

Post Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:57 am

jamcat wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 5:26 am
Proximity effect.
Watch the video.
I already watched it a couple weeks back. (I'm subbed to that channel - Kush Man knows what he's talking about)!

And IIRC, he said this specific mic is hard to find and SOUNDS TERRIBLE ON MOST PEOPLE. Bottom line, yes it can offset proximity effect, but it doesn't mean go out and get one. Given how unidirectional dynamics are cheap and plentiful, that would be the way to go.

As far as proximity effect, simple -- don't eat the mic, lol. Now, sure, if the singer in question happens to already own an omni dynamic mic, or can get one cheap, then by all means give it a try.

But there's a reason that 99% of popular dynamic mics are uni-directional.

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KVRian
709 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:05 am

The mic is not hard to find. You can buy one new on Amazon for under $200 right now. How it sounds is subjective, but I bet it sounds better than car horns and crackheads.

The whole idea actually is to eat the mic. By getting close you get the detail you want and the volume separation you need, without the proximity and plosives that make dynamics sound cheap.
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KVRAF
2230 posts since 9 Jun, 2002 from East of Santa Monica

Post Sat Apr 10, 2021 7:23 am

jamcat wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:05 am
The mic is not hard to find. You can buy one new on Amazon for under $200 right now....
I believe you. Just saying it's a risk considering in that video he states outright the mic SOUNDS TERRIBLE ON MOST PEOPLE... So why recommend it over a proven type of mic that is widely accepted?

And considering how widely accepted they are, it's a stretch to say unidirectional dynamics "sound cheap" (Unless of course the person doing the recording doesn't know what he's doing).

KVRist
61 posts since 2 Mar, 2018

Post Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:40 pm

:dog:

The problem here is not proximity effect, so an omni mic is a horrible idea. Omnis pick up MORE sound, not less.

Either block the sound by hanging heavy blankets over the windows (ordinary curtains won't do much at all) or better yet, get one of those 3-panel dividers (like you see in movies that people get dressed behind) and hang heavy blankets over that...and have that between the windows and the mic. Or really, do both.

This is not something a diff mix will fix. You need to treat the room. The good news is it doesn't have to be an expensive or "permanent" fix.

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KVRian
709 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:12 am

So first you need to understand that dynamic mics are not nearly as sensitive as condensers. Yes, omnidirectional mics pick up all around the mic, but that range is very short if the mic is a dynamic. The street noise is distant, so a dynamic of any kind will pick up very little, if any of it, unlike a condenser that will pick up and amplify any sound that is detectable, omni or not. You would need more than heavy curtains to block a city street. You would need to soundproof the whole room and treat it, which is expensive and impractical in this situation, because among other things, she lives in an inner city apartment building full of people.

And it is unlikely that a condenser mic is going to sound better than the EV in an untreated room. It’s pretty likely it would sound worse, precisely because it is picking up the untreated room.

ANY vocal mic you’re using should be omnidirectional. You’re not going to be using a condenser in cardioid for vocals. That would be the worst of all options. You would get all of the noise AND it would sound like karaoke night.
Last edited by jamcat on Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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KVRAF
12697 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:24 am

Start with closing the windows and ventilation holes.
Maybe do recording in the hall, or any other room away from the street.
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KVRian
709 posts since 2 Sep, 2019

Post Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:27 am

My assumption is she doesn’t have a lot of rooms other than a small kitchen and bathroom, and the hall has an elevator and other tenants in it.
THIS MUSIC HAS BEEN MIXED TO BE PLAYED LOUD SO TURN IT UP

KVRAF
1643 posts since 14 Sep, 2004 from $HOME

Post Sun Apr 11, 2021 12:50 am

I wouldn’t go buy another microphone where you don’t know if it fits the voice unless trying all other options, like the aforementioned curtains or building a temporary vocal booth from e.g. mattresses, thick blankets or duvets and whatnot, and point the back side of the mic to the window side (assuming it’s a cardioid). Won’t be perfect, but it’s worth a try.

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