Noise when recording audio amplified by normalization

I am recording audio and cannot record without noise, nor can I remove it without sacrificing a portion of the sound wave.

I am new to Cubase, my setup is:
Yamaha PSR-SX700 keyboard.
Connected to Steinberg UR24C audio interface.
To Cubase 11 Pro.

Recording MIDI is fine.
Recording Audio always have a problem. There is a noise frequency present all the time.
I have lowered the audio Gain on the interface and increase the volume of the audio from the keyboard. In this way, the noise is too low to be heard in the beginning, also the audio is low in general. So, as soon as I add Normalize to the audio recording, the noise appears again!
Please advice what to do or what to look for?
Thank you.

PC > OS: Win 10 Pro 21H1 / CPU: Core i7-3820 3.6 GHz/ RAM: 24 GB /

I cannot upload a sample. The website tells me I am not allowed to have a link in my comment :frowning:

Welcome to the forum

Actually the noise was there all the time, normalizing didn’t revive the noise. Rather normalizing increased the volume of both the signal and the noise to the point where you can hear it again . Side note: if you were using a compressor rather than normalizing that would indeed increase the loudness of the noise relative to the signal.

Rather than trying to mitigate the noise in the recording, the better approach is to eliminate the source of the noise in the first place.

First try swapping out the audio cables between your keyboard and UR24C. Bad cables are a common & notorious source of noise.

If that doesn’t help can you post a short audio clip so we can hear the type of noise.

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That’s because you’re new and don’t have enough posts yet. I don’t think it takes very many posts to turn it on - but don’t know how many. Kind of an annoying feature.

Maybe make a few gratuitous posts in other threads.


Thanks @steve
So just reading a handful of post should get you there.

I was looking at your screenshot and the noise looks like it is periodic

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Thank you Raino, and Steve,
I will check the cables and see where that gets me.
Yes, Normalize just revived the noise, which already existed. I really want to reduce it to an acceptable point. I was reading online, this could be the audio interface base noise frequency (is is just a repeating pulse kind of noise).

Regarding the limitation of including links (therefore audio file) in posts. I will try my best to spend more time around so that it will be removed for my account.
Thanks again.

In my first reply I was imagining a white-ish constant noise. Hearing what that pulse sounds like will be interesting.

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Also, you will want to set the output of the source (combined with the gain of the input interface) so that the loudest the source generates almost-but-not-quite clips – somewhere around -3 dBFS.

In general, it’s better to turn up the volume on the source, and turn down the gain on the interface, because this will let the source overpower whatever small noise may be on the cables and in the interface pre-amps.

However, if the noise is in the source itself, there’s really nothing you can do, except perhaps if the gear has a digital output option, and your interface has a digital in.

Anyway – gain staging: it’s important! Make sure the source is as “hot” you can make it without clipping anything.


Thank you for the clarification.

Yes, I am kinda doing hat (source output volume = 75% / Interface Gain = 25%).
Basically, the application of the interface shows no green signal when nothing is played under this setup, so I thought that I minimized the noise as much as possible. However, the end recording still has the noise.
Good advice about the noise coming from the source. Honestly, I do not know how to check that! I hoped the 75%/25% Source/Gain ratio does the trick.

Here is a sample I exported yesterday. The noise is the first half. (Caution! second half might be laud in comparison)!

Ok that is a weird sound. It is a bit different than the noise audio folks mostly encounter which is a background hiss. This is some sort of signal that is leaking into your audio. Here’s a pic you can see how regular it is. The cycle length is about 103ms (or 9.7Hz).

Here it is zoomed in. They all look pretty much the same.

What happens if you don’t have any cables plugged into your audio interface, is the noise still present.

Perhaps the audio cable is lying next to something generating electrical noise - a power supply, equipment fan, etc. Try physically changing its path.

I’d also be suspicious of lights on a dimmer or ???

I had a PC that would periodically have same noise - I ultimately tracked it down to be a network driver for a NIC card. I found it by analyzing programs running when the noise was present and disabling various programs running when noise occurred - It was a tedious process. you may also have to try removing connectors and hardware and/or internal devices. I have also found that all my guitar amps cause 60 hz when they use their ground connector - so I defeat the gnd in all my amps with a 3prong adapter and don’t tie down the ground, this is NOT considered to be safe! AND ALL DOCUMENTATION SAYS DO NOT DEFEAT GROUND WIRES. But it is the only way to eliminate ground loops with multiple units connected to one guitar. I make sure that I do not become grounded while touching guitars. (But, note that your noise is NOT 60 hz) your noise look like a problem with a driver or interrupt on you computer. TOTAL PITA. For my case that driver was the builtin ether net driver, I switched computer. but could have used an add in NIC and disabled on board NIC - - fyi that was a common problem for those widely used net drivers - so I suggest you start there. Your noise sounds JUST LIKE mine did.

You might also try a “balanced power” transformer. Sometimes, they can remove ground loops, without resorting to the unsafe-ish lifting plugs.

Regarding the 10 Hz problem, it might very well be some dodgy hardware, including something on the motherboard. It might also be something as dumb as a cell phone or something, and just the right combination of wiring/shielding/antenna to pick up whatever the problem is.

There’s a reason much pro gear uses XLR, even for line level signals…

That’s a pretty good clue.

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See this article from Sound On Sound: Audio Cables & Wiring
… particularly “What’s the best way to connect unbalanced signal sources to balanced inputs?”.

In your case the “unbalanced signal source” is the PSR-SX700 and the “balanced input” is the UR24C.

There’s a more detailed article about what they call a “pseudo-balanced cable” here. SOS used to sell them, but anyone who can solder will be able to make them up easily.

For stereo recording, you would need two of these cables made up --each with a 1/4" jack on one end and an XLR on the other, wired as described.

I’ve done this and it helps to minimise radio-frequency interference, which is what that noise sounds like to me. I’m going to guess there’s a WiFi router somewhere nearby.