Monday in Berlin we spent 2h at soundcheck trying to figure out where some annoying high frequency hiss was coming from. It was detected by local soundtech Alexandra and confused everyone because we were using the same sound/video-backing files that we used for 13 shows in the USA and on last weeks show in Köln/Germany. Nobody ever noticed a very noticeable and annoying hiss. To make things even stranger: Alexandra even said that she didn’t notice it on the first part of soundcheck herself.
We made sure it didn’t come from the cables, the DI boxes, the software (no hiss when playing “empty” parts) or the audio interfaces. At some point we started believing in a ghost!
So we unplugged and replugged, tried the files in Ableton (the standard software we use), in Traktor, even in iTunes and Quicktime Videoplayer. The hiss remained. In the end we decided to just leave it and of course nobody ever noticed.
Today I checked the original Cubase project file and I found a saturation plugin in the master channel that created the hiss. That plugin helps make things punchier but in sparse/low level parts you hear a noticeable noise. I removed it and everything was quiet.
The hiss was in the sound/video-files. It was always there. In all of the 14 previous shows. Nobody noticed. Sometimes it’s so obvious that it hurts.