Record A Noisy instrument?

Hey Ardourful Musicians!
I picked up an old bontempi electric (not electronic) organ in my neighbor’s trash (score… they also supplied me with my speakers. I love garbage day).
It’s a great buzzy harmonizing instrument. The problem though is the great deal of fan noise that it generates. I’ve considered opening her up to give her a clean out, but I lack the proper tools at the moment.

I’d like to know how I can remove the background noise in post without sacrificing the true sound of the instrument. It’s worth mentioning that the fan’s noise changes quality and intensity depending on how the instrument is played (number of keys pressed mostly).

Any suggestions?

detatch the power supply to the fan.

The fan is neccesary to get any sound out, though. The fan blows air thorough a network of tubes, each corresponding to a key. When a key is pressed, its tube’s cover is raised, and air is allowed to blow out the tube. This is what creates the sound of the instrument, not unlike a pipe organ

Could you baffle the air intake with mover’s blankets and then carefully mike the output of the sound board to keep noise to a minimum? Anything in post will dramatically alter the sound as this instrument has a pretty nasal quality.

I used to do the following technique when transfering vinyl lps to digital:
In your favourite wave editor, record a section of noise then invert it and subtract the result from your good organ take. It doesn’t work miracles and the result is often thin or will have phase problems. It may be worth messing with. It’s kind of like removing common background elements in a graphics program via the difference blending mode.

detach the fan, move it out of the room, with extra wire still connecting it to the power source, and use a hose to connect the fan output to the organ. (something cheap like dryer hose)

It sounds kinda ghetto, but you did pull it out of the trash… :wink:

That’s a crazy idea! I love it!
I’ll let you know if I ever do it hahahah

If you ever want to be part of my music band, you’re welcome to. You seem to be just crazy enough :slight_smile:

Marc-Olivier Barre,
Kinoko en Orbite

aren’t things like fan noise and creaky bellows part of the charm of vintage instruments

If you’re willing to go the export/edit/import route, the noise removal function in Audacity (especially the most recent versions) is actually pretty good. You can usually diminish the steady state noise to the point of usability without impacting the instrument sound much at all if you use it conservatively.