I've been reading through the posts and learning a lot. Thank you all for sharing and helping!

I'm new to recording and I just set up my recording system to do voice overs and audio books. Here is the setup I'm working with:

  • Microphone: MXL 770 Cardioid Condenser Microphone

  • Channel Strip: DBX 286s Microphone Pre-amp Processor

  • USB Interface: Focusrite 2i2

  • Software: Adobe Audition CC

  • PC: i7-2670QM 2.20GHz, 8gb Ram, Win10Pro X64

My problem is I'm getting a constant (white noise) hissing in my headphones and comes through on my recordings. You can hear this hiss as soon as you turn up the gain instantly at the very lowest gain levels.

I've unplugged the laptop to run only on battery, but the hissing persists. (I read this tip on another post) I have also taken the channel strip out of the equation, connected the mic directly to the interface and the hiss is still there.

I also uninstalled the interface drivers, and re-installed. I was seeing online somewhere that the 2i2 had horrible drivers for win10.

Here's a sample I recorded of the hiss, you'll also notice that it changes pitches at times.

Any suggestions? Thank you for your time

  • 2
    If you turn the gain up too high you will always hear noise. The problem with your question is that there is no reference point i.e. nothing contained in the recording that gives an indication to what a normal sound might be like. Anyone can turn up the vol to get noise and that is normal.
    – Andy aka
    Oct 16, 2015 at 11:11
  • All microphones have self noise. It's possible that the MXL 770 has more self noise than you would like or that you have a bad MXL 770. You could also have a very noisy room. Oct 16, 2015 at 12:34
  • 4
    Is it still present when you disconnect the mic also or if you try out with another mic? There are several reports with the interface being noisy - according to Focusrite you can damage the unit if you are disconnecting a microphone while leaving phantom power on (which is pretty bad design if that is true). gearslutz.com/board/… Oct 16, 2015 at 13:10
  • Ok that doesn't exactly sound like thermal noise. Do you hear the same noise when not recording - just using the low-latency monitoring on the 2i2? Also another recording showing how loud the noise is compared to a normal sound source would be helpful. You can just record yourself talking into the mic and then leave some silence after it. Oct 16, 2015 at 23:33
  • the crackling component of the noise sounds sort of like a processing error in the computer, if your DAW is trying to run a buffer size that's too low for your processing power, for example. Oct 17, 2015 at 3:21

2 Answers 2


"I have the Mic connected right to the DBX 286S then connected from the output on the DBX to the interface through a 1/4 inch cable."

That's your problem. 5 years later, lol.

Anyway, 1/4" TRS into the dbx output and XLR into the Focusrite input - this will fix the issue, guaranteed.

  • Hello Been There and welcome to Sound Design SE. Would you care to describe the reason why the suggested solution would work. Of course it is rather easy for the OP to check it (as it is only an adapter or a different cable to be used) but what makes you think this is where the problem lies. The OP has stated they did bypass the DBX and plugged directly to the audio interface, shouldn't that have the same results as your solution (which apparently didn't solve the problem)?
    – ZaellixA
    Nov 24, 2022 at 1:36

Another resuscitation:

I have the Mic connected right to the DBX 286S then connected from the output on the DBX to the interface through a 1/4 inch cable.

That is correct but missing too many details. The 1/4" cable needs to be a balanced TRS cable and has to be connected with line input level and semantics on the Focusrite (switch off the INST switch). Regarding levels, at minimum input gain an the Focusrite, it will accept +22dBu while the DBX will have a maximum output level of +21dBu. This is well-matched, so you will want to turn gain on the Focusrite all the way down and only use the gain control on the DBX processor.

This will optimize the gain structure of your setup, and using a (good) balanced TRS cable will ensure minimum interference from possible sources of noise, in particular the respective power supplies of microphone processor, audio interface, and laptop.

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