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May 18, 2022

What's causing that HUM?!

What's causing that HUM?!

Is there a hum that's driving you crazy? In this episode, Eric talks about some of the possible causes for humming or strange tones. There could be any number of issues, so check out this episode as Eric walks you through some of the troubleshooting proce

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Is there a hum that's driving you crazy? In this episode, Eric talks about some of the possible causes for humming or strange tones. There could be any number of issues, so check out this episode as Eric walks you through some of the troubleshooting process of figuring out what causes hums and other strange noises.


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Eric Beels 0:01
Do you keep having a humming noise? Let's talk about what that could be. You're listening to Practical Podcast Tips. My name is Eric Beels. And today I'm going to cover tip number 27. What's causing that humming noise? I'm sure a lot of you have had this at some point in your podcasting career, unless, of course, you're just getting started. And then this might be the first time you've had this issue. But what's plagued everybody at one point or another is some kind of hum in the background. If you're like me, and you don't really prefer listening to yourself, oftentimes, you might have a humming noise that happens in the background. Sometimes that might be considered a buzzing noise. Oftentimes, you can't you don't hear this in the room that you're at your the room that you might be any might not, you won't hear any kind of electrical buzzing noises or anything like that. But it's usually caused by an electrical source. There's all kinds of reasons that this that this could happen. Sometimes it's due to bad shielding on cables. Sometimes it could be bad hardware. So if it's a cheap audio interface that you're using, sometimes that can have electrical issues. Other times it can be from feedbacking of multiple from multiple electrical sources. I actually, there's one time I had this issue, and man, it took me so long to figure out this horrible electrical noise I was getting, I had a camera, and I was recording video and audio, but I was recording them on separate devices. But one thing I was doing, I was trying to to route my audio interface into my camera. And it was just getting a horrible, horrible electrical noise. And I could not figure out what was what was causing it because it didn't seem like it should be it should be causing it, I thought it was something wrong with the camera. And it turned out that what what was happening was I had my camera plugged into an outlet, right. And the mistake that I made was I had my audio recorder plugged into a separate electrical outlet, okay. And what was happening was I had my my audio recorder, recording, but then I also had it plugged into the camera. And then I did that so that way I could have a high quality audio recording inside my camera, I don't necessarily have to sync it up later on. And what was happening was it took me hours to figure this out. But what was essentially happening is that the electricity was like feedbacking through the XLR cable into the camera in a way that it's not supposed to. It's not supposed to do that lo and behold, the solution was to simply unplug the audio recorder from the from the power outlet, I had just run off of double A batteries took me so long to figure that out. And it's funny because it's usually a simple solution. But like coming up with the solution to figure out what is causing the problem usually takes far longer than than what it actually takes to actually fix the problem. And so what I'm hoping to do in this episode is help you problem solve some solutions. And to get it fixed, you stop having this this electrical issue and if you're removing it in post production, maybe you won't have to keep doing that. So the first thing I want to have you do is you know, identify the type of buzzer and try to identify what that is listen to the room that you're in, make sure it's not just like the AC or maybe even computer hum. So when you're recording on a computer, oftentimes it's it can be pretty processing intensive on your computer. So your computer might be fine before before your recording. And then as soon as you hit that record button, your computer might start kicking up and causing an excessive amount of a humming noise, which may not be from electrical might just be fans on the computer. Okay, so try to identify what it is. So just to kind of list off a couple of things. One, it could be computer fans, too. It could be an AC air conditioning unit in your room. It could also be cable crossing, okay. So if you have XLR cables can happen sometimes it's not so much of a problem anymore because most cables are shielded. But if you have an XLR cable that runs alongside of a electrical cable, so like an extension cable or something like that, sometimes you can get a buzzing from that.

So one thing to double check is just see if your XLR is crossing any dedicated electrical cables, like extension cables, power strips things like that, okay. And then of course, like I mentioned in the story, make sure that all of your devices that you're using for recording, so your computer, your microphone, your audio interface, everything that you have, that's being powered, if it's if it's not being powered by battery, it's plugged in, make sure it's plugged into one outlet. Because I didn't think that was the problem. And with that little bit of advice would have saved me hours with effort just to do just to double check that that was the problem that I had. So make sure everything you have is plugged into one outlet, just to rule that out. So plug everything into a big power strip or something like that, just to make sure that that's not the that that's not the problem. Okay, that's pretty much all the main things that could be causing a a hum, the last thing could be just poor, poor hardware. You know, if you bought a really cheap audio interface somewhere or even a used one, there could be something internally broken with it, I'd say that's generally unlikely. These are usually built pretty well. But it's it is a possibility, right? So if you've tried all these things, and it's you're still having a buzzing noise, try switching part at some of your your hardware devices out, switch your microphone out, switch your interface out with with something else, right. And just see if that's the issue, although I will say that that's, I don't think that's that's a likely scenario, okay. Now, just know that if you're still having problems, you know, computer hum is not uncommon. We remove it all the time. Okay, so I hope that helps you figure out what might be causing your issue your humming or buzzing or whatever you might be going on. In the next episode, I'm going to talk about how to actually remove some of this. In case you either don't want to re record or you can't read record. And we're going to talk about on how to actually remove this in post production. And it might be easier than you think it is. All right. I will see you in the next episode.

Hey, thanks for listening. If you liked this episode, feel free to leave us a review. I'd love to hear how it helped. Also, if you know somebody else that could benefit from it. Go ahead and share it with them. Thanks again and see you in the next episode.