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Old 12-31-2019, 12:47 PM
TJE" TJE" is offline
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Default Recording in a flat/apartment with a lot of external noise

Hi

I live next to a main road with constant 24 hour noise - lorries, motorbikes, police etc. Despite double glazing it is impossible to keep this noise out.

Could anyone give me some general tips as to what the best approach to recording music in this enviroment is?
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:12 PM
keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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You have to maximize signal to noise by preventing sound from entering the room as much as possible and then trapping whatever enters the room so it cannot reflect into the microphone. Then, choose a good mic for close micing that is not overly sensitive and has a pattern that only captures what is directly in front of it, i.e. a cardioid (not super- or hyper-) pattern with the least sensitive part of the mic aimed at the loudest source of sound you do not want to record.

Heavy, blocking drapes can help some and broadband trapping behind you will reduce reflections that will also enter the mic.

I’d suggest a smaller diaphragm mic and a good boom stand to let you work in placement. Then just keep experimenting.
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Last edited by keith.rogers; 01-02-2020 at 06:34 AM. Reason: Typo fix
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:37 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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I'm not the most expert person here on these issues, but the OP may help by supplying more info: What kind of recording? Just guitar? Guitar and other instruments? Vocals too? How loud and constant are those external noises? Are you trying to produce recordings for professional use or just demos or recordings for your own pleasure?

One solution of course is to just not use the apparently troublesome space.

Less sensitive (dynamic type vs. condenser perhaps) mics placed fairly close to the guitar, and the muffling effects of things like drapes may help reduce issues. You could even build some high gobo partitions if the room has space for that.

Less sensitive mics? An SM57 is cheap and works, and something like an ElectroVoice EV20 or Shure SM7B produce decent vocals that in my humble experience aren't as sensitive to milder environmental sounds. If the noises aren't all that loud, you could try something like the iRig Acoustic Stage, a microphone that easily clips onto the edge of the soundhole and sounds decent (again IMHO). It is a microphone, if I was to sit outside by a busy highway and record it'd pickup the traffic. It will even pickup my vocals as leakage if I sing while recording guitar with it, but it's by definition about as "close mic'ed" as you can get, being just inside the top of the guitar.

If it's just guitar, and the noises are intractable, I'd record with a pickup. No, it won't sound exactly like a mic'ed guitar, but it'll sound better than a guitar with notes drowned out by other noises. One could look at things that maximize the "sounds like a mic'ed guitar, but it's a pickup" like the ToneDexter or even the Fender Acoustisonic Telecaster guitar.

Very occasional noises ruining a take can be fixed with software like Izotope's RX and the like, or just good close-in digital editing, but of course avoiding the issues is best.
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Old 12-31-2019, 03:01 PM
jim1960 jim1960 is offline
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If the noise is as bad as you describe, you're not likely going to get many clean complete tracks so you'll have to depend on composite tracking whereby you do multiple takes and piece a complete track together from the quietest bits.
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:25 AM
TJE" TJE" is offline
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Thank you for the replies.

Although I have not set it up yet, I already bought a Rode NT1A mic, without thinking about the noise issues - which perhaps was a bit stupid.

Ideally I would like to make professional/broadcast quality recordings, although I recognise this might be something of a stretch given both my equipment and far from noise proof enviroment. I want to do vocals plus acoustic, plus maybe bass, underlied with a computerized drum beat.

The traffic noise outside my flat is constant, but heavy drapes might be a good idea.
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:55 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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Build some gobo traps using rockwool/compressed fiberglass. 4" (100mm) thick.
Place two gobos in a 'V' in front of you, as you face the noise source. Microphone close to the guitar/voice. More gobos or other sound absorption behind you.
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Old 01-02-2020, 08:56 AM
keith.rogers keith.rogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TJE" View Post
Thank you for the replies.

Although I have not set it up yet, I already bought a Rode NT1A mic, without thinking about the noise issues - which perhaps was a bit stupid.

Ideally I would like to make professional/broadcast quality recordings, although I recognise this might be something of a stretch given both my equipment and far from noise proof enviroment. I want to do vocals plus acoustic, plus maybe bass, underlied with a computerized drum beat.

The traffic noise outside my flat is constant, but heavy drapes might be a good idea.
As suggested in the post above, building "gobos" is also an option. If that's more than you want to do, the heavy drape and then something like a doubled moving pad behind you if there's a reflective surface there will help, along with the close micing.

If you add bass and percussion, a lot of noise will get buried in the mix. It's really just those exposed solo parts, like the long guitar chord fade at the song end, where it's hard to manage if too loud. But, even then you can often just automate the fade a little faster so the noise doesn't rise above the real content.

Good luck.
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Old 01-02-2020, 10:33 AM
GerryTB GerryTB is offline
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If you think the sound is coming in mostly through the windows there are solutions...not neccessarily inexpensive, but pretty effective.

Do a search for "sound proof windows" ....they basically install another layer of glass inside the frame and can look OK and work pretty well. Otherwise you could try temprary methods to block the windows.

These would be a last resort and I personally would find a pick up solution that I'd be happy with, but I'm not going for a "pristine, world class miced" guitar sound as much as I just want to hear "the part".

Of course if you're trying to sing that's another issue.
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