top of page

BOSS Audio: Got Hum?

Have you ever wanted to play detective? If you have a hum in your audio, this is your chance! Everything electronic has a specific frequency, and a hum in your audio is usually a sign of interference. Listen in as Anne and VO Tech Guru Tim Tippets discuss the difference between a hum and a hiss, identifying common sources of interference, and how to solve the case of that pesky hum!

Top Takeaways

Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. A common issue that plagues voice actors is having a “hum” in their audio 

  2. If it’s a hum, it’s most likely an electrical problem. If there’s a hiss, it’s likely an equipment problem

  3. Everything that is electronic has a frequency that it runs on (in the US it’s 60hz or 50hz in Europe) 

  4. Often the hum can come from the electricity itself. It can come in at 60hz, or if there are two phases of electricity happening at the same time, at 120hz (or at 50hz and 100hz in Europe)

  5. When you hear this “hum”, it’s called a “ground loop” 

  6. Ground loops can come from your home or from shared walls in a building

  7. You can use a “notch filter” in some DAWs to get rid of this hum

  8. You can also use a low-pass filter to lower the hum to some degree

  9. If your XLR cord is near a power cord, the electric fields may be interfering with the XLR signal

  10. If you have a hum, first look at the mic, then the XLR cable, then the interface

  11. Electricity can run through a wall in such a way that will produce interference and cause a hum

  12. You can buy an RF blocking wall tape to block some of this interference

  13. Hums themselves are usually mechanical in nature. There is a problem with a device or the ground at the panel. 

  14. Occasionally a hum can be caused by a driver that needs to be reinstalled

  15. Find out what shared mechanical devices there are if you’re in an apartment or condo. Have the manager talk to an electrician

  16. When you have a hum, try and find out what the problem is, before you replace expensive equipment

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Rf Blocking Tape that you can use to shield your wall

  2. Look at all of the gear that Anne recommends!

  3. Check out all of the equipment that Tim recommends

  4. These cables are studio gold!

  5. Recorded on ipDTL