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Amp Noise Reduction
Old 2nd May 2009
Lives for gear
strings's Avatar

Thread Starter
Amp Noise Reduction

Can anyone give some tips on how you reduce amp noise when micing an amp. Obviously it's best to reduce it as much as possible before it's recorded, but besides mic position or hardware used, what software/plugins do you find helpful?


Old 2nd May 2009
Gear Guru
Hiss or hum? Hiss might mean your gainstaging needs some attention. Especially if you have pedals & effects - that's a whole big subject.

Hum - is it your amp, or the cable, or the guitar? Many stock amps are just rubbish. Some don't even use filtered DC on tube heaters. I find the designs that work best for me have the amp electronics totally enclosed in a steel box (which shields the magnetic fields). So unless you have a decent amp, hum might be a feature of the thing. An amp tech might be able to improve things - or not.

Being unbalanced inputs, you might have ground loop hum from any other components connected to AC. Use batteries in pedals, rather than adapters. You might need to use isolation transformers - once again, a whole minefield. See if your amp hums with just a well shielded humbucker guitar plugged in with a pro cable that doesn't have iron in the cable or connectors (as most do).

If you can't eliminate hum from the amp at source, you may as well shoot yourself. Never use noise reduction pedals - they are noise generators combined with tone suckers.

Gates, properly applied at mix time, might be useful. Digital editing or fader automation might be better.

I've never found noise reduction software that worked without destroying the sound. (Not that i've tried the uber-expensive stuff like Cedar Cambridge CEDAR Cambridge NR-4 Noise Reduction )

Most FFT based plugins i've tried totally suck.

An idea if all else fails .... at the same time you are tracking your guitar, simultaneously track a spare channel with a noisy pickup generating hum. I have a cheap unshielded single coil pup on a cable that I use with a battery amp as a hum detector that can be used. Or a single coil Woody soundhole pup can work.

The idea behind this is that you now have an isolated track of the hum that you want to remove from your guitar track. This track is perfectly in sync with the hum in your guitar track - maybe phase shifted slightly, due to mic distance etc, but basically perfectly in sync. This means all you have to do is flip the polarity/phase and mix it in until it cancels out the amp hum. As long as you haven't messed around with compression & stuff, the phase & level relationship should be stable enough to eliminate the hum.
Old 2nd May 2009
Gear Maniac
corworld's Avatar

Great post. thumbsup
Old 2nd May 2009
Gear nut

I use DUY Silence all the time when I get noisy gtr tracks. Minimum artifacts, the affect on the sound is negligible, very easy to use, but not inexpensive. I'm pretty sure you can download a demo from their site if you have an Ilok.
Old 3rd May 2009
Lives for gear
strings's Avatar

Thread Starter
Thanks for the very helpful tips!!
I would say it probably leans more toward hiss then hum. It's worse with pedals, but right now I'm just plugging my Strat (American) directly into a Traynor amp. The amp is decent, not so sure about the stock tubes. My cables are all balanced (except the fender cable that came with the guitar). My strat is all stock, no mods.
Moving the mic around does help. I basically load a track, put my headphones on and walk over and listen to the changes in sound as I move the mic around (while strumming and changing switch settings on the guitar). I'm using an AT 4047 which even though it is a condenser mic, it is quieter then using a sm57...for me).
I don't notice the noise when it is played with all the other instruments, but I can surely hear it when the guitar track is solo in a quiet part of the song.
I goggled this question around some, and it seems allot of people agree with you that most software doesn't help much. I hope some more people at their thoughts here, but your probably right that it's best to eliminate the noise at the source (in my case either amp or guitar). I will check out the software suggestions made here.

Thanks again,

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