Tips for reducing recorded amp hum in low volume situation?

Telecaster88

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Hey all, I have hyperacusis, so playing and recording for me can be complicated sometimes. I have to avoid certain tones and protect myself from what most of you would probably consider even moderate volume levels.

My old band "got together" long distance a few years back and recorded four new songs. I recorded my guitar and vocals at our drummer's house, and the rest of the band overdubbed their tracks long distance via file sharing. It came out WAY better than I could have hoped. The only "glitch" was there was some low volume hum coming off my amp (Super Champ X2) that ended up in the recordings. (I would say it's just baseline hum, not single coil hum or a bad tube etc, just the underlying electrical sound of the amp.) This was not even noticeable to me playing in the room (With earplugs) but it's there in the quiet passages of the songs on the recordings. We're getting ready to record some more, and this time I'm experimenting with recording direct to DAW via a Tech 21 Blonde to avoid the hum, and it sounds pretty good... but in some cases I miss the "sound of the amp."

The amp's hum is really pretty quiet, but I think the issue is with my hearing disorder I have to play very quietly (about 3 on the SCX2 dial is as loud as I go), so I just think the signal to noise ratio is not great.

I'm considering a few alternate approaches with mic'ing the amp...

One would be backing the mic off the amp speaker, moving it out in the room... A foot? A few feet?

Two would be putting the amp in a neighboring room behind a door and turning it up, staying as far away as I could with a longer cable to mitigate the volume hitting my ears.

My question to you folks is... Any advice? We're recording neophytes,* so with even basics like mic placement we're kind of winging it. Would, pulling the mic off the amp a bit give it enough air to mainly catch the signal and miss the noise? What distance would you guys suggest? What should we expect soundwise in doing so?

I know "if it sounds good, it is good," just trying to enlist some advice to keep us from chasing our tails unnecessarily.

Any other suggestions?

Thank you so much!

*We've recorded a ton in our lifetimes, but always with a pro behind the boards/setting up mics etc.
 
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ahiddentableau

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If you're sure the signal-to-noise ratio is the problem and that turning up will help, I think option two makes good sense. Move your amp to a different room and turn up the volume. I sometimes do that. I get a long cable and run it under the door of a different room. If the amp noise is super noticeable when close mic'd backing off the mic is not going to help.

A second option that you didn't mention is using a DI/amp plugin/modeller and avoiding the noisy amp altogether. There are so many great options out there now you could use the model/IR route and get good results. There's a learning curve but it's not huge.

Anywho, good luck to you.
 

loopfinding

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You just have to automate the track volume when not playing or not masked by other instruments. You can fake the discrepancies with room mics filling in. That’s all you can really do if it’s recorded.

In the future, try to sit at an axis that hum and buzz are reduced. Stay away as far as possible from the amp. It will save you a lot of time in post.

Another thing that maybe helps is using an attenuator to knock the amp back about halfway (you’re monitoring through headphones anyway, right?). And then EQ’ing after to get it where you want.

If you want “really quiet,” a modeler is the way to go.
 
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Telecaster88

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Thanks, everyone!

Already recorded? Do you have any longish periods you could try isolating and inverting?
We tried that last time, but for some reason it didn't work very well. I was hoping that would be the magic bullet!
A second option that you didn't mention is using a DI/amp plugin/modeller and avoiding the noisy amp altogether. There are so many great options out there now you could use the model/IR route and get good results. There's a learning curve but it's not huge.
I'm running a few pedals through a Tech 21 Blonde and into the DAW, and the sound is pretty good... Very close to sounding like a recorded amp. Maybe it's close enough that in a final mix, eq'ed and with other overdubs it will be fine. I'm just barely old fashioned enough that the further we get from "amp in room, mic in room" the more nervous I get!

(Pardon my ignorance, but is something like the Blonde considered a modeler?)
You just have to automate the track volume when not playing (and not masked by other instruments). That’s all you can really do.
Thanks, we do this as much as we can, but we play super quietly, think old Low, or like Bedhead... So there's a LOT of white space in our music, even when the full band is playing!
Another thing that helps is using an attenuator to knock the amp back about halfway (you’re monitoring through headphones anyway, right?).
Because of my hyperacusis, I can't use headphones... So our process has been: I record basic rhythm guitar, overdub lead vocals using studio speakers to monitor, then the rest of the band lays down their tracks. I'll sometimes overdub additional guitar parts DI.

For reference, here's our last project. Listen to track four, To the Light...* The hum is there under the guitar intro, and especially at like 1:47... Our songs will often break down in the middle with only quietly strummed guitars barely keeping the beat, and that's where the noise becomes really noticeable.



In any case, it's not the end of the world. My favorite music is lofi, full of glitches, noises and mistakes so ultimately its okay. Just trying to figure this stuff out!

*I promise this isn't an elaborate trick to get my band heard! :rolleyes:

Thank you all!
 

loopfinding

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Thanks, we do this as much as we can, but we play super quietly, think old Low, or like Bedhead... So there's a LOT of white space in our music, even when the full band is playing!

Because of my hyperacusis, I can't use headphones... So our process has been: I record basic rhythm guitar, overdub lead vocals using studio speakers to monitor, then the rest of the band lays down their tracks. I'll sometimes overdub additional guitar parts DI.

For reference, here's our last project. Listen to track four, To the Light...* The hum is there under the guitar intro, and especially at like 1:47... Our songs will often break down in the middle with only quietly strummed guitars barely keeping the beat, and that's where the noise becomes really noticeable.



By comparison this sounds like a catastrophe vs 1:47, don’t sweat it.

 
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suthol

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I've used a noise gate on the input to the DAW but really don't like it because it can suck the vitality our of the track.

50Hz hum seems to gate OK because it's in the realm that I EQ out of pretty much every track, the only thing that gets down there is the bottom end of the keyboard, the low E on the bass and the kick.

Only mud lives there

YMMV
 

Pineears

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I use a tube amp simulating pedal in to my tube amp, miced into the digital mixer channel that has tube amp simulation. The pedal can make the amp sound cranked up at low volume. The mixer simulation overcomes micing nuance. Such as Princeton Reverb pedal simulation into a Princeton Reverb into a channel with Princeton Reverb simulation.
 

ahiddentableau

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I'm running a few pedals through a Tech 21 Blonde and into the DAW, and the sound is pretty good... Very close to sounding like a recorded amp. Maybe it's close enough that in a final mix, eq'ed and with other overdubs it will be fine. I'm just barely old fashioned enough that the further we get from "amp in room, mic in room" the more nervous I get!

(Pardon my ignorance, but is something like the Blonde considered a modeler?)

Sure, it's a modeller. It's analog and a single model, but there ain't nothin' wrong with that.

If you do try going down this road, get an IR plugin and experiment a bit. You shouldn't have much trouble finding a free one, and free IRs. Makes a big difference. IME IRs give it a 3D quality that makes the end result sound much more real, especially if they are high quality.
 

loudboy

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As stated above, playing position can lessen hum.

Also, applying noise reduction judiciously to the track can work. I've used this on, for instance, the last chord of a song, to kill hum under the decay. Any loss of fidelity isn't too bad of an issue in a case like that.
 

TomBrokaw

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What daw are you using? Reafir is really good at removing noise if you have a few seconds of the noise to train it you can use. You could probably even record the noise, and apply that to the song tracks.
 

suthol

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Reafir is really good at removing noise if you have a few seconds of the noise to train it you can use. You could probably even record the noise, and apply that to the song tracks.
I prefer not to record the noise because I can tweak the EQ after the Reafir is applied on the input so we are printing the sound we want.

If you do it post recording and the "good take" is affected you're starting again

I'll also arm and record two tracks with one free of any pre effects.

YMMV
 

Telecaster88

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What daw are you using? Reafir is really good at removing noise if you have a few seconds of the noise to train it you can use. You could probably even record the noise, and apply that to the song tracks.
We're using Logic Pro for the main recording and mixing. I personally have Presonus Studio One at home, but I'm using that mainly for tracking overdubs DI, so no hum... and then we send WAVs back and forth.
 

Telecaster88

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Sure, it's a modeller. It's analog and a single model, but there ain't nothin' wrong with that.

If you do try going down this road, get an IR plugin and experiment a bit. You shouldn't have much trouble finding a free one, and free IRs. Makes a big difference. IME IRs give it a 3D quality that makes the end result sound much more real, especially if they are high quality.
Thanks... I'm using the built in cab sim on the Blonde, but good to know it can be further tweaked in post. Will there be an issue adding an IR to a track recorded with the pedal's cab sim engaged? One reason I hunted down a Blonde vs the Joyo American Sound is the ability on the Blonde to turn the cab sim on and off. My current tracks have been recorded with the sim on.

Thanks for all the help, everyone!
 

Ben Harmless

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Yet another option would be to record the track with the Tech21, but get a parallel clean DI track and then reamp the performance with the amp in another room. That way you're not having to awkwardly play while hearing the amp on top of the monitors or what have you. This may require a reamp box or something, but you can try running the output from your interface very low, and then using an unbalanced cable, (many pedals don't like balanced cables at their input) put a pedal in front of the amp and let the buffer try to work things out.

For what it's worth, I'm going to record a bunch of guitars in a month or two and even with a lot of fun toys, there's a good chance that the Blonde will make it into the mix at some point. I have that AND the American Sound, and you can get close enough that with certain sounds, nobody will care how it was recorded.
 

johnDH

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If its the base hum that's always there, due to the output power stage even when at low volume, then recording louder if you can, will swamp it out. Or, a good attenuator will cut down tbe hum as well as the volume you hear. This is a nice benefit of an attenuator, as well as being able to run the amp for its best tone.
 

Telecaster88

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If its the base hum that's always there, due to the output power stage even when at low volume, then recording louder if you can, will swamp it out. Or, a good attenuator will cut down tbe hum as well as the volume you hear. This is a nice benefit of an attenuator, as well as being able to run the amp for its best tone.
Yes, it's the baseline hum... Always there even with all knobs at zero and nothing plugged in. Doesn't get any louder with volume knob up. Didn't know an attenuator could help with that! Thanks!
 




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