Post-Production : Is production sound hiss a regular part of post mixing? by Danny Villanueva Jr.

Is production sound hiss a regular part of post mixing?

Just shot a short in a silent building and received the audio files which all have a background noise hiss. Will there always be hiss that gets corrected in post?

David Trotti

How much hiss are you talking about? If you're hearing it a perceptible level compared to your dialogue, something may be wrong with the equipment or the way the audio was recorded. You can eliminate mild hiss and background hums pretty easily with filters in most sound programs, but at the expense of some of your range.

I'd check the equipment and try to isolate the problem before recording with it again.

Kyle O'Connor

Hey Danny! David is right, and another question to ask yourself is what type of "hiss" is it. All rooms are going to have their own room tones and sonic characteristics when recording--even "silent" ones. The hiss you are referring to could be just that, especially if it's throughout the whole scene and only that one in particular. However, if it's overbearing compared to the dialogue, inconsistent, or you know for sure it shouldn't be there, then that might signal either some interference with the equipment or poor gain/sound level adjustments when recording.

If you'd like, you can send me a few samples of the scene and I can take a look for you, free of charge. I have some audio noise removal software if need-be.

Let me know!

Nelson Torres

You can EQ it out.

Rods Bobavich

A lot of times a preamp can also cause bad hiss. Depends on the type of mic and entire signal chain on the amount of hiss you get. In my studio I've got some pretty nice pres that produce a low signal to noise ratio. My rooms are quiet and the audio produced is near zero hiss. But I've worked with poor pres and they tend to really noise things up.

Stephen Van Vuuren

You did not state what you are using as monitoring systems. Hiss will sound much stronger on most headphones vs nearfield monitors. Some hiss in recordings is always there but a good NR tool will clean it up easily. But you want enough "air" via room tone for a mix to sound natural and not studio "dead".

Alan McKinney

If you've got a smaller budget, I'd highly recommend waves ns1 which will do a good job at removing hiss

Vasco Phillip de Sousa

You need to have some kind of room tone. A jump from sound to silence creates an unpleasant pop.

If you remove hiss, or other noise, you might get an even worse chirping sound. Sometimes, especially in documentary, it's best to leave things largely as they are. Perhaps remove some of the noise, but keep a little in.

Most of the time, I found that hiss is created when the subject is too quiet, or far away from the mic. Then, you have to bring the levels up, and with it the "room tone" will go higher, and any equipment sounds and electric sounds and so on.

Another note, if you're shooting onto a DSLR, you'll get equipment hiss. That has nothing to do with location. Try a separate recording device.

Bill Albert

Audacity is good for getting rid of some of it.

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