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Min. studio specs to get hum-less silence?

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by toddthing2, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. toddthing2

    toddthing2 New Member

    I'm wanting to get a more high quality recording at home. Currently, when I record solo instruments the silent bits are not silent (enough).

    I'm ready to throw some four digit money at this issue. What's the smartest way to do this?

    My current system;
    Desktop Mac, 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM
    OS X 10.5.8
    Logic 8
    PreSonus Firebox
    Mics; AKG C1000, Rhode Nt-something (?), 2 CAD's

    I'm guessing my main weak link is in the PreSonus' pre-amp and analog to digital conversion (?). But maybe I need high tech XLR cabels!?

    I'm pretty sure that what I'm hearing is NOT room noise or my computer, but could be wrong... I'd be happy to email audio samples to show what I'm talking about.
  3. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    I very much doubt the hum is due to the Presonus, unless you are recording with exceptional amount of headroom, ie very very low gain.

    More likely there is some earth hum. Again this is probably not the quality of you cabling so much as some kind of earthy loop. Still, no harm in investing in a couple of XLR cables, that will be one of the troubleshooting steps.

    I imagine it could be something in your actual electricity circuit, or some interference. Is your whole house on one ring?

    What happens if you connect a mic directly into the Mac (OK the quality will be lower, but do you get the same hum)
  4. toddthing2

    toddthing2 New Member

    Thx, I'll try some of this troubleshooting...

    ...but how to plug mic direct into computer? I need some kind of interface, yes? I guess I could use two adapters (XLR to 1/4", and then 1/4" to mini). But all my mics are phantom. Hmmmm, then there's batteries...

    My XLR's are inherited and form the 90's, so I could invest in some new (and perhaps shorter) XLR's. Does it pay to buy the most expensive ones?

    You ask, "Is my whole house on one ring?", or as I would have said it, one "circuit". Don't know. How can I determine that?

    I'm also wondering if I'm hearing my external drive... more tests to figure that out. I am due for a new external drive. Any suggestions, quiet perhaps being the most important aspect?
  5. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    Well, theoretically more expsenive XLR cables will be better, or it may be that new ones may better if the metal in the cable or soldering has oxydised.

    If you know how to solder well, you can make very good cables inexpensively by getting some good XLRs and good quality cable.

    I'm no expert, so don't take everything I say as the truth, but one other thing to be careful about may be interference. Don't lay audio cables along side mains cables, try turning off wireless devices.

    As far as the house wiring, only a certified electrician can probably tell if there is anything amiss. Often old house circuits have some earth leakage. Without being dangerous, it can probably cause audio problems.

    Yes, phantom mics can't be plugged straight in, but if you have a reasonable dynamic mic, even an electret tiepin mic, might be used to doublecheck it's not something in the computer (which I think is doubtful)

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