Noise And Violining
I've been having major headaches for a while now regarding noise, particularly with regards to one track, and was hoping someone could help.
First off I am using a noise gate and am well aware of how to use it correctly. My problem is a general background hiss that's present whilst playing. No matter how loud the input signal I just can't seem to shake it. I'm using a custom made esp running to a line 6 vetta 2 combo via a planet waves cable. Using the direct outs on the vetta I run sheilded balanced cables to my recorder (an MRS-1044). I should also point out that I'm using a power regulator and that no noisy equipment (crt's etc) are nearby. Also, the MRS and it's inputs/faders seem fine when recording other instruments (although one of the input level controls seems to have a "very, very slight" problem).
From this the only thing I can conclude is that it's the amp or guitar (correctly earthed using passive emg's). Any ideas??? Usually this is only a problem when recording high gain parts as the hiss is usually pretty quiet. However, read on...
The reason this is really getting to me just now is I'm trying to record an approximation to a string section, each part multitracked 7 - 10 times for a very smooth backing part (my current piece is vaguely reminiscent of "Bitter Sweet Symphany", at least for the first minute and a half) and whilst I achieve the desired effect, the violining combined with multitracking makes some very obvious noise. Any ideas of different ways of recording this? (tragically I don't know any violinists etc... and don't have the money to hire someone). For the higher parts I have tried using a parametric eq as an extreme high pass filter which does help somewhat but I'm still getting several hisses through in the 15 - 20 kHz range. Similarly using a low pass filter for lower parts, although this has little effect as I have to set the frequency threshold so high for enough harmonics to come through for the effect to still sound good. I would prefer not to have to apply the violining effect by riding the faders (currently using the vettas volume pedal).
You say noise and not hum (as in mains hum) or interference (RFI), so I'm guessing this is fairly broadband white (or pink) noise probably created early in the line-up of your Vetta FX chain. First of all, you could probably lowpass the signal to cut everything above 12 kHz (or maybe 15 kHz) at all times. Violins, like most "classical" instruments (and electric guitars) don't have a tremendously great high frequency output anyway. Try various settings and slopes for the filtering if you can. For example, start a gentle roll-off at 8 or 10 kHz and maybe brickwall it at 12 or 15 or 18. Gotta play around here.
Since riding the faders doesn't appeal to you, let me suggest a compromise -- get an Ernie Ball 25kohm stereo volume pedal and use that between your Vetta and board instead of the Vetta volume pedal. It will not be balanced (though someone might make a balanced version), but it should not need to be at this point in the chain -- unless you are having hum or RFI pickup problems, as that's what the balancing cancels out. Just as faders do, this will modulate the signal and the noise together so your attacks and tails don't sound so nasty.
Sorry, can't offer better advice. It's difficult to diagnose these things without being able to do some hands-on observation.
Good luck -- Greg
-=tension & release=-
Cheers for the advice gnease. Yes it is more of a pink noise rather than hum, but it's strange that I never noticed it before on the vetta (oh well - not been playing with it for that long anyway). Also thanks for pointing out that I could stick a vol. pedal at the end of the chain (actually you can do this in the vetta anyway - doh!), as I'm better at achieving a smooth effect using the pedal and I don't have much time to work on the mix down (a local DJ has offered to play it on the radio, but wants it asap for a local show). Finally thanks for the advice re: harmonic freqs for a violin... I'd assumed they were still needed up to 15k, but actually getting a quite nice effect starting to very gently slope off around 9k and rapidly decrease from 12k to dead around 14k. Still got some problems but GREATLY reduced.