Make Your Songs Sound Like A Pro With These Easy Steps
When you start recording music on your laptop computer, one of the challenges you will encounter is noise. Noise is simply unwanted sound that seeps its way into your recording. When you record your audio music, you want to start with the clearest sound possible. Noise does the opposite - not only does it make your recording sound worse, but it tends to build on itself as you mix more sounds together.
Thankfully, there are a number of easy techniques for controlling noise during the recording process. Understanding the sources of audio noise will help you create the best sounding recording possible.
Controlling Environmental Noise While Recording
The first source of noise is simply being in a noisy environment. Having machines or appliances in the background, car noise outside your window, people talking in the background, can all contribute to noise. With instruments that you can plug in, like an electric guitar, this isn't a problem. However, if you are using a microphone for recording, you risk picking up some of these stray noises. Professional musicians use specially designed quiet rooms to isolate this kind of noise. There are also certain types of microphones you can use that emphasize sound nearby instead of sound far away. You can also try to find a quieter environment to record in.
Eliminating Cable Noise From Your Musical Instruments
A second source of noise comes from your cables. Essentially, the cables for your equipment act like a big antenna, absorbing and channeling energy from the environment into your audio system. And the longer the cable, the worse it is! There are a number of techniques for managing this.
- Don't run cables close to each other. Leave at least a couple of inches between each different cable.
- If cables do have to cross each other, run them at right angles to each other, making a cross shape. This reduces the amount of energy that will get transmitted to another.
- If you have extra length in your cable, create a loop out of the excess. This channels the energy in your music into a shield from outside energy.
- Get shielded recording cables. Underneath the plastic or vinyl outer shell, there is a foil lining that protects the signal running on the wire in the core of your cable.
- Get cables with larger wires in the center. There is less resistance to energy in larger cables, so more of your signal gets from one end to the other.
Analog Versus Digital Recording Tools
Another approach to this is to you digital recording equipment instead of analog equipment right at the instrument. One of the benefits of digital recording is that the audio music signal is not affected by noise. When you record it with your laptop computer, it sounds identical to the music made by your instrument. If you can get recording equipment that turns the sound into digital signals right at your instrument, you will eliminate a major source of noise.
Quality of Computer Music Recording Equipment Matters!
The final source of noise comes from low quality audio electronics. With electronics, you tend to get what you pay for, although electronics quality has increased enormously over the last 20 years. Heat, interference, and bad connections can all contribute to noise in your music. My advice is to purchase good quality electronics with metal cases, and allow some space for air flow between each device.
Removing audio noise is a challenge for every recording artist. However, if you take steps to reduce noise before recording, you will be able to record clear, high quality music at home with your laptop computer, and it will sound professionally made!