Hissing sounds on RODE videomic and friends

08.12.18

My brother bought a RODE videomic for his short movie needs. The sound quality on his D610 was awful. On my D750 and due to the better controls it was... less awful. There was a hissing sound that was very noticeable and disturbing.

With careful settings and then noise-cancelling it out in audacity it could be made bearable but the sound was somewhat degraded.

Then he went on to get the VideoMic Pro which seemed to have some more controls and better reviews and the sound is the same awful thing. In the meantime he gave me the "old" non-pro VideoMic and I started playing with it. I went to YouTube and it was made obvious

searching for rode hissing
searching for rode hissing

that the problem wasn't only ours. After watching a few of the videos claiming to have fixed the problem I tried various combinations of settings and tweaks.

The best settings I could muster was to set my D750 to manual gain at level 8 and the mic to the default gain and have the low pass filter enabled. But compared to the RODE USB-NT the hissing was still quite audible. When you want to mix stationarry filmed parts with handheld ones the difference will be very noticeable in the end result.

Today it occured to me that it might be the camera's fault and I search for nikon hissing problems, which led to numerous other accounts of terrible sound from, guess what, RODE microphones attached to Nikon cameras, usually D6x0's

So I tried to record sound via the RODE VideoMic on my MacBook. (Sorry I'm reading aloud in Greek but maybe it's better as you won't be focusing on what I'm saying)

WOW! Silence. When I showed that to my brother he said "It sounds like you've noise-reduced it". Ehm, it looks like that's what I had done,

../images/macOS_sound_settings.png

as macOS has noise reduction enabled by default. However, the result without noise reduction enabled was much much better than the original anyway.

With (much less than before) noise reduction from audacity, I think the result is quite good.

The results using the VideoMic Pro were comparable. All sound files have been normalized by eyeball to the same approximate volume. You can browse my other test sound files here

Even recording on my phone was significantly better than recording on the D750, so even if you are mobile you still have that option. The recording was made on the f-droid audio recorder app as I suspect that the default samsung app does its own noise reduction on the recording.