What is your approach to record foley and sfx quieter in the studio?


Hey everyone,

How do you approach reducing room noise or gear noise while recording quiet sounds like foley or sound effects?  Is there a plug in chain you like to reduce the noise, or do you constantly denoise your tracks?  Wondering more so in a studio space using rack gear rather than portable gear


I try to avoid noise reduction at all costs. Granted, I don’t have access to solutions such as RX, but to me it often seems to cause as many problems as it solves. It can be like taking your pristine audio and coding it to mp3. The artifacts you can get sound the same.


Not saying it can’t be made to work and well, but I always wondering about the artifacts I might be missing and so only use noise reduction as a sound design tool. That’s fun.


I’ve actually spent years thinking about that. I have to work around neighbours slamming doors, but we all have to start somewhere and my gear/room is the only think I have control over.

First of all, I looked for a computer that would be on the quieter side. I’m currently customising it, added an SSD and I set my HDD to go to sleep when not in use. That way I can store all my active projects on my SSD and use my HDD as long-term storage alongside my backup HDD.

Whilst recording the HDD is off and thus my computer is quieter. I also have SpeedFan installed, which automatically lowers the speed of my fans when the computer isn’t under heavy load.

I’ve placed the actual computer case in a wardrobe and ran the cables through the back. The doors are open all the time unless I’m recording, in which case I shut them. That makes it quite quiet, but I’m thinking of replacing the power supply, as that is quite noisy. Would just like to point out that I don’t actually keep any clothes in that wardrobe. It’s just for the computer.

When recording footsteps I use a shotgun mic, angled away from the computer case, so no hums or anything make their way into the recording.

The next step is for me to build a Hackintosh from scratch. I’m saving up money but I’ll invest in some quiet components, use a couple of SSDs, etc.

That’s what I do to minimise the sound of my environment. You can always buy the iZotope RX plug-ins which cost around £40, that might help but obviously it might also affect the sound of the Foley.


Try the opposite. If it is kitchen Foley, record it in a kitchen… et al… Go outside for outside Foley… You will be surprised how much of it plays just fine in the mix.


Long cables, possibly to another room / booth is the easiest / cheapest way I know to improve it. I guess it depends on the kind of noise you get from your gear in the studio, but in my case it’s quiet stuff that can be annoying but doesn’t really carry, so just moving about the mics a bit usually does the trick.


For foley stuff, I try to minimize my room noise (turn off AC, etc…) and record as close to the mic as I can, trying to keep proper perspective. I nearly always use a shotgun when recording at home and try to keep any noise source (computer tower) off axis. Then I use whatever NR is appropriate for the sound. A bit of EQ (usually a low cut), Gates, Expanders, RX, Z-Noise… Obviously not all at the same time, but I find that a combination of two of them usually takes any noise floor down to unnoticeable. Never gotten a note on noise in foley for anyone I’ve cut/walked for…

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