I don’t know how I didn’t notice this before but it turns out that it’s very easy for guitar pickups to “pickup” unwanted background noise when recording into an interface.
Obviously you want to keep noise to a minimum when recording through a mic, but guitar pickups can amplify a lot of background noise as well.
I noticed this after cranking the metronome louder than usual to re-record a fast part of a song.
When playing back the recording I could hear the metronome as clear as day.
I did some tests and it’s surprising how easy it is for guitar pickups to record background noise like that, even when they aren’t directly facing the sound source.
I typically sit about 3 feet in front of the studio monitors and at that distance the guitars will clearly pickup sound from the speakers even at medium-low volume.
You typically can’t hear it at all through the dry recording but once you turn on an amp sim with some gain it’s surprising how much background noise comes through.
Since I usually play along with the music while recording, I noticed that if I listen closely to a number of my DI guitar recordings I can hear the metronome and drums faintly in the background.
At first I thought it was because I was using a guitar with high output Seymour Duncan Blackouts, but even the pickups on my bass guitar clearly record the sound of the metronome if its volume isn’t kept low.
I don’t like playing guitar through headphones so for now I’m making sure to keep the volume on the studio monitors quite low while recording DI guitars. I never heard anyone talking about that kind of problem before so I didn’t even know it was an issue, especially since I don’t crank the volume very loud to begin with.