White noise can be a serious issue when working on a song, as it can detract from the clarity and quality of the mix.
In this article, we’ll explore the process of EQing out white noise from a sound or group of sounds in a song. By following these step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to effectively reduce or eliminate white noise, resulting in a cleaner and more professional-sounding mix.
- White noise sounds like a constant hissing or rushing sound with no distinguishable pitch or tone.
- EQ can be used to reduce or remove white noise from a recording or group of sounds in a song.
- Use a high-pass filter to remove low-frequency noise, and a notch filter to target the specific frequency range of the white noise.
- Adjust the EQ settings to taste and use automation to adjust the EQ settings over time if necessary.
Step 1: Identify the Problematic Sounds
The first step in EQing out white noise is to identify the specific sound or group of sounds causing the issue.
White noise is a type of noise that contains all audible frequencies at equal intensity. It sounds like a constant hissing, rushing, or static sound, similar to the sound of a television or radio tuned to an unused frequency. It has a “shhh” or “hissing” sound with no distinguishable pitch or tone.
White noise can be introduced through various means, such as recording equipment, audio interfaces, or even certain instruments.
Listen carefully to your mix, and try to pinpoint the sources of white noise.
Step 2: Isolate the Problematic Sounds
Once you’ve identified the problematic sounds, isolate them by soloing each track in your digital audio workstation (DAW). This will allow you to focus on the white noise issue without being distracted by other elements of the mix.
Step 3: Analyze the Frequency Spectrum
You’ll need to determine its frequency range to effectively EQ out white noise.
Open a spectrum analyzer plugin on the problematic track or tracks and observe the frequency content. White noise typically spans the entire frequency spectrum but may be more concentrated in specific areas depending on the source.
Make note of the frequency ranges where the white noise is most prominent.
You can find out the area where the white noise is most prominent by taking an EQ and sweeping a Bell EQ curve throughout the frequency spectrum. This will amplify the white noise sound.
The parts of the frequency spectrum where you hear the loudest white noise it what you’ll want to fix.
Step 4: Apply a High-Pass Filter
The first place to look for unwanted white noise is at the low end of your sounds.
A high-pass filter can be helpful in removing low-frequency white noise. Apply an HPF to the problematic track(s) and set the cutoff frequency to the lowest point where the sound still retains its intended character.
This will help eliminate unnecessary low-frequency content and potentially reduce white noise.
Step 5: Apply a Low-Pass Filter
After you apply a high-pass filter, you’ll want to use a low-pass filter on your sounds.
A low-pass filter can help remove high-frequency white noise. Apply an LPF to the problematic track(s) and set the cutoff frequency to the highest point where the sound still retains its intended character.
Be cautious not to remove important high-frequency content, which can negatively impact the sound’s clarity and presence.
Step 6: Use a Dynamic EQ
A dynamic EQ is a powerful tool for addressing white noise in specific frequency ranges.
Insert a dynamic EQ plugin on the problematic tracks and set the frequency bands to target the areas where white noise is most prominent, as identified in Step 3.
Adjust the threshold, ratio, and attack/release settings to ensure the dynamic EQ is only triggered when the white noise is present. Experiment with different settings to reduce the desired noise without negatively affecting the original sound.
Step 7: Use a Noise Reduction Plugin
Noise reduction plugins can effectively remove white noise from a mix.
Insert a noise reduction plugin on the problematic tracks and adjust the settings according to the plugin’s instructions. Most noise reduction plugins require you to capture a “noise profile” by isolating a section of audio containing only the white noise.
Once the profile is captured, the plugin can then intelligently reduce the white noise throughout the track.
Step 8: Apply Notch Filters
In some cases, white noise may be concentrated in very specific frequency ranges.
To address this, you can surgically remove these problematic frequencies with a notch filter.
Insert an EQ plugin on the problematic tracks and create a narrow, high-Q notch filter at the identified problem frequency. Adjust the gain of the notch filter to reduce the white noise without overly affecting the original sound.
Step 9: Adjust the Overall EQ Balance
After applying the various EQ techniques mentioned above, assessing the problematic tracks’ overall EQ balance is essential.
It’s possible that some of the EQ adjustments may have resulted in an imbalanced frequency response. Listen carefully to the tracks and compare them to other elements in the mix to ensure they still sound natural and coherent.
Step 10: Fine-tune and Iterate
As you work through the steps, listening critically and making adjustments as needed is crucial.
You may need to fine-tune the EQ settings, notch filters, or noise reduction plugin parameters to achieve the best results. Remember that removing white noise is often a delicate process, and over-processing can negatively impact the overall sound quality.
It’s essential to strike a balance between noise reduction and maintaining the integrity of the original sound.
Step 11: Test the Mix on Different Playback Systems
Once you’ve completed the EQ adjustments and are satisfied with the results, testing your mix on various playback systems is important.
This can include studio monitors, headphones, car speakers, and consumer-grade speakers.
Each system will highlight different aspects of your mix, ensuring that your EQ adjustments have effectively addressed the white noise issue without causing additional problems.
Step 12: Make Final Adjustments
Based on your testing and feedback from others, you may need to make additional adjustments to the EQ, noise reduction, or other processing. Be prepared to iterate on your mix, making small changes and listening critically until you achieve the desired results.
EQ Out White Noise Now!
Removing white noise from a sound or group of sounds in a song can be challenging.
You can effectively reduce or eliminate white noise by following this step-by-step guide and using a combination of EQ techniques, dynamic EQ, noise reduction plugins, and notch filters.
Remember that patience and critical listening are key, as achieving the perfect balance between noise reduction and maintaining the integrity of the original sound is crucial for a successful mix.