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The Wrong Kind Of Buzz

Aug 3, 2008
If you have ever recorded in a sound studio, then you know what "the buzz" is. It is unfortunately one of the recording syndromes that has to be dealt with. In the process of setting up your recording, if you notice white noise coming from your equipment, it is vital that you do what you can to locate the source of the buzz. It may even be necessary to do some reorganization and re-planning.

The sound quality of your recording will be adversely affected if you don't discover the source of the buzz that is occurring in your studio. Everything in your studio, including the white noise, will be recorded. Although it is true that some of this noise can be filtered out during the mixing process, the clarity of the sound will be affected and can create new problems when you try to master the recording.

The first thing to do when you hear white noise is to look at how you have spaced the instruments. Sometimes, the problem is as simple as having cables or amps too close together. When this happens, different frequencies bounce off each other causing the buzz. You can either move the instruments further away from each other or turn them in different directions so that their frequencies do not interfere with one another.

However, instruments are not the only source of white noise. Monitors can also create a buzz when sound frequencies hit the electronic components in monitors and then bounce off. You can avoid this problem by raising the monitors into a higher position or having them mounted on a wall. It can also be helpful to place your monitors as far as possible from one another, even on opposite sides of the room, in order to prevent white noise.

If you are still experiencing the buzz, check your cables. Sometimes additional noise is created if part of a cable becomes loose or if there is a wiring problem. When cables cross over one another, it can also cause white noise. Another way to limit white noise from cabling is to make sure you use three-pronged plugs for amps and sound boards because they are more stable than single-pronged plugs and can avoid extra buzz finding its way into your recording.

After all this, if you are still hearing the buzz, check your sound board. If your mixing board is set to the wrong levels, this can also cause sound problems. For example, if your volume is too high, it can cause feedback to occur in the studio. By checking the frequencies, volumes, balances and trims on your sound board you can avoid annoying and disruptive background noises so that you are only recording the pure sounds of the instruments.

By setting up your studio properly and positioning your equipment correctly you should be able to minimize or prevent incidences of white noise. If you are vigilant in monitoring everything involved in the recording process, you will be able to avoid "the buzz" finding its way into your recording.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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