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Medicine For A Noisy Track

I was just about to hit print on a mix I was working on this week. Then I heard it.

It wasn’t too loud or obnoxious, but it was there. I had tuned it out for the most part, but once I realized it was there, there was no ignoring it.

I had a noisy track. It was like extreme tape hiss.

So I had to figure out what to do in order to quiet it down. Here’s what I did:

It was luckily only during the intro of the song, as it was a generally pretty full arrangement otherwise. For the most part, I only had to worry about the first 10 seconds of the song.

The first step was to identify which track it was on. I found that the bass and acoustic guitar track were causing the trouble. I made sure I wasn’t over-compressing anything on those tracks that might cause the noise to come through more than it should.

I wasn’t compressing the guitar, which is where most of the issues were coming from. So I decided to try an expander on it.

An expander is basically the opposite of a compressor – it gives you more dynamic range instead of less.

And in this case, it did the trick. It wasn’t perfect, but it was passable.

In order to make the rest of the track work, I bypassed the expander once the rest of the instrumentation came in.

While an expander may not be your best bet every time, it can certainly help and can get you out of some pretty tough situations!

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