All microphones have their self-noise, but it can get bothersome if it persists and eventually overpowers or even ruins your recordings.
There is nothing more ANNOYING than those hissing sounds while you are recording or listening to music.
A buzzing sound in anyone’s studio microphone can be a real nuisance, especially if you do not know what is causing it.
Consider these steps to figure out how to fix the microphone buzzing noise and prevent it from happening again!
Troubleshooting Your Microphone
Before going to repair shops or ordering new equipment, consider TROUBLESHOOTING your microphone.
- One troubleshooting tip is to make sure that your mic and every piece of equipment are FULLY FUNCTIONAL in all aspects.
- Sometimes even the slightest alteration can be the difference between a mic with excellent sounding audio and a noisy one.
- This includes ensuring that your microphone wire is securely connected to all ports and that all hardware is tightly plugged in.
- Be sure to also change or charge batteries from time to time. Even if your batteries are low, it can still cause recording problems like low-level interference.
- Another tip is to check your gain and input volume. You might have unknowingly set them too high, which could cause your mic to be overly sensitive to background noise.
Be sure to adjust these settings according to your mic’s power and the equipment you have.
What Causes the Microphone Buzzing Noise?
The problem may come from other sources if you have played around with the settings and still can’t figure it out.
Be sure to check if you have any faulty hardware that your microphone is connected to and go from there!
Let’s start with cables. A faulty cable is one of the more common causes of a buzzing sound.
This could be because of a poorly constructed USB cable, or your XLR cable has low-quality electronic shielding.
Or, it might just be because of cheaply made cables that don’t exactly do their job.
It could also be a loose connection and that your cable is just not plugged in securely into your audio equipment. Make sure your cable is connected nicely and tightly to your microphone.
You can mute your sound channels and see if your cable is causing the buzz.
Otherwise, if your cable does not show any signs of being repaired, it may be time to buy a new XLR cable.
It is important to look for high-quality XLR or USB cables with dense shielding and protection. After all, all cables won’t last forever, so it is best to find a cable that will last you as long as possible!
Some wireless devices can create signals that can clash with your microphone, causing that unwanted microphone noise. This includes cell phones, radio receivers, circuit breakers, or even a smart TV.
One way to prevent this is by turning off your wireless devices to prevent a signal from coming through.
If your device, like your cell phone, is connected to the wifi, try disabling the wifi signal as this can interfere with the microphone signal as well.
With radio transmitters or anything similar, make sure they are 10 feet away from any microphone receivers. This applies when you are a lapel microphone transmitter or anything similar.
Also, make sure that the transmitters are NOT set to the same frequency.
TRANSMITTERS can also create an unwanted signal that could interfere with your microphone. This can happen when you are shooting on a set or have an event that uses a transmitter.
Your microphone and antennas should have a good amount of space separating them, ideally about 15 feet, to prevent any unnecessary mic buzz and radio interference.
Make sure that your receiver is not coming in contact with another receiver.
Try changing the squelch setting on the receiver, as a HIGHER squelch setting offers more protection against interference.
Preamp and Audio Interface Issues
Your audio interface serves as the MIDDLEMAN between your microphone and your computer. There is a chance that the humming sound is coming from there.
Some audio interfaces can produce an unhealthy signal, especially if they are poorly built or too overused. The humming noise interfering could also come from your preamps being too high.
In this case, you may want to try something called gain staging!
Gain staging essentially BALANCES the audio levels, producing low noise and distortion.
You want your gain and input options to be set to the optimal level, not too loud, but just loud enough to drown out the noise.
Multiple Mic Setups
When recording with multiple microphones, their frequencies tend to clash, which is called intermodulation interference.
Intermodulation interference is when several signals from several devices create new and unwanted signals, which causes interference.
To fix this, adjust the mic frequencies, so they are all in harmony and do not bump into each other. You can also consider a digital microphone setup with less hissing sound or feedback.
The problem might not be with the microphone itself but with the HARDWARE that it is connected to. Assess all your hardware and equipment if it is encountering any problems.
The issue can come from your cables, audio interfaces, or even your computer. You can check by plugging your microphone into other devices to see if the buzzing continues.
Even something as simple as a battery change can make a difference. If your microphone runs on batteries, consider changing them to give them more power.
It is also important to check your audio software. Sometimes, your digital audio workstation (DAW) can have weird settings that cause unwanted microphone noise.
Be sure to check all the input controls and change the sound card if needed.
You might also want to consider the BUFFER SIZE, which is the amount of time needed for your computer to process your audio: the smaller the buffer size, the more processing your computer needs.
Consider changing it to a larger size to remove excess noise.
Play around with the audio levels, listening volume, and recording input to find the best sound quality output.
Sometimes, the problem is not even coming from your microphone. It could also come from your headphones.
A pair of faulty headphones can affect the sound quality of what you are recording, so try connecting your headset to another device or power supply or listening to something other than your recording.
You might be able to hear a noticeable difference!
Noise In Your Room
It is also important to make sure your room or studio is QUIET enough to prevent any outside noise from coming in.
Bright lights, electric fans, even AC units, and other household appliances can cause unwanted noise.
Using a condenser microphone may be more sensitive to picking up outside sounds or room noise, whereas dynamic microphones can only pick up what’s in front of them.
You can EXPERIMENT with your microphone and room by increasing the gain and walking around to spot where the noise is coming from.
If you notice any appliance or anything causing white noise, turn it off and test it again. You can also increase the distance between your mic and the appliance to not pick up any sounds.
Check Your Electrical Connection
The electrical component in the wall or power supply may interfere with your mic’s electric supply, causing static sounds.
Your audio interface and other music studio hardware may also be exposed to static electricity, which could affect your mic’s sound quality.
Be sure to double-check all electrical outlets and your USB port if they are functioning properly. Try replugging everything into another outlet to see if that did the trick.
How to Avoid Microphone Buzzing Noise
Microphones don’t last forever, and while it may be difficult to completely fix these problems, you can still prevent them from happening again!
Here are some ways to avoid microphone buzzing during every recording!
Invest in High-Quality Music Studio Hardware
As always, to record high-quality audio, you will need high-quality hardware. More often than not, microphone problems are caused by hardware issues.
Setting aside some money for a high-quality audio interface, new preamp cables, and a new mic will benefit your vocal recordings.
Soundproof Your Room
To get the best sound recording with zero noise, try FULLY SOUNDPROOFING your studio, just like a real professional one.
An un-soundproofed room can cause sound pollution and background noise to pour in from everywhere, so you might want to invest in some soundproofing equipment for removing excess noise.
You can also soundproof your room by removing all electronic devices or any devices in general that could prevent an unwanted signal from interfering.
Since condenser microphones are more sensitive to background sounds, it may also be time to invest in digital mics.
If you are stuck recording with condenser microphones, try increasing the microphone distance away from your audio device or speakers.
Sometimes, you might not notice background noise in your recording until you see the audio wave and add audio effects during the mixing process.
If the sound pollution is coming from your digital audio workstations, then it may be time to try installing some PLUGINS to combat it.
There is a handy plugin called NOISE GATE.
This not only improves vocal quality but removes background noise by stopping sounds from your studio microphone below a certain point, blocking the signal, and sparing your recording.
You can also try downloading a free digital audio workstation (DAW) and trying it out for yourself.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Pretty sure you’ve invested a lot in your equipment and the best way to take care of it is regular cleaning and maintenance.
Some dust can get caught in-between spaces and can affect the audio pick-up greatly.
After using your equipment, cover it with a dust protector. Don’t just leave it hanging out in the air!
Sometimes, we take our equipment for granted, and the next thing we know, we may no longer be able to fix whatever problems they have.
Hopefully, those microphone buzzing sounds will no longer bother you after going through all these steps and possible causes!
Remember to always take care of your equipment!