Compression increasing background noise

Hi Mike,
I’ve noticed that by adding compression to a track that it actually ends up boosting background noise (which I’ve De-noised). Using the recommended compression settings you’ve given me already, what should I adjust to make sure that the background noise isn’t boosted? Thanks in advance!

Gain staging - look it up.
Consider the input level before the compressor.
What type of compression are you using?
Is the background noise environmental or electronic?
Test the signal to noise ratio. SNR S/R

The actual noise is often characterised as a white or electronic hiss or static, or a low or vibrating hum. Crank the volume of your speakers all the way up while nothing is playing—if you hear a hiss, that’s the noise, which is often referred to as a “noise floor.” the noise floor is always there so if something has a signal ratio of 100db you’ll be fine Below 70db and you should be looking for your money back.

Thanks - I use the single band compressor… (a preset which Mike helped me with), which part of that should I adjust to not boost the noise?

The background noise is very minimal, it’s in a soundproof room, so I guess its electronic

Find the problem first. Consider suppression over compression.
Select only one band, and use the sweep scan in the parametric EQ to find the hot spot then take it out. If successful, you won’t need to compress anything.

But if you want to know how the pros do it …

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Hi @mmasters and thanks for posting this question.

@The_Tone_Arranger has great advice on trying to prevent the sound issue before compression. Especially try adding DeNoise or a Noise Gate into your effects rack before the compressor to eliminate any background noise.

Paramertic Equalizer is another great effect that will allow you to sweep the frequencies and pull anything out (like electronic hums and noises) before you reach a compressor.

Feel free to post a sample here so we can help further :slight_smile:

Compression by it’s very nature reduces the dynamic range. The compressor reduces the louder parts and the make up gain increases the quieter parts. Compression will suck up quiet sounds such as breaths but also any background noise.

The best solution is to eradicate the noise at source and record without the noise. A noise gate or downward expander can remove the noise (providing it’s not too loud that it’s competing with the quieter parts of the audio you want to keep) but this will only work where the is no other noise. A noise gate and downward expander work on the audio that is beneath the threshold so would only remove the audio from the bits of audio that are supposed to be quiet. Any background noise in the actual itself will be left in the audio and possibly boosted by the compression / make up gain.

I would avoid the Adobe Audition De-Noise as if used at a level that can actually remove noise I’ve found it creates a warbly/phased effect in the audio. Not sure if you’ve found that too @Mike but in my testing of it with audio I’ve been sent to work with I’ve found the results less than desirable.