Vocalists and voice artists agree that regular breathing sound when recording with a microphone makes the audio sound natural. Some producers will even leave the sounds in when editing the recording since it makes the singer sound human (not robotic) and it can help in keeping up with the beat.
The main issue here is that most of these breathing sounds are loud, distractive and don’t go unnoticed. For this reason, avoiding these noises as much as possible is essential in achieving quality audio recordings.
If you are looking for tips to use to ensure that the audio you are recording doesn’t have these annoying sounds, this article gives you ten pointers to use.
Why is my microphone picking up breathing sounds?
Manufacturers design microphones to pick sounds from the environment surrounding them.
When the vocalist or voice-over artist speaks, they will release air, which will hit and move the diaphragm. Exhaling and inhaling sounds will be audible, especially if the user is close to the microphone and breathing loudly when speaking or singing.
Here are practical solutions you can use to reduce breath noise during a recording and prevent the microphone from picking up your breathing.
1. Select a good microphone
Microphones play a fundamental role in recording audio. When you use a low-quality microphone, you may have to speak close to it to capture sound. That increases your chances of hearing breathing noises in the recording.
However, picking a good microphone eliminates this problem since it will help you record quality audio and eliminate those annoying sounds when speaking. A quality cardioid microphone or a condenser are good examples of microphones you should select.
2. Use a pop filter
Pop filters play an integral part in reducing plosive sounds in your recording. When you use them, you prevent excess pressure from hitting your microphone’s diaphragm when saying certain words or if you breathe loudly. Hence, the audio doesn’t have any distractions.
Ensure that you invest in a quality pop filter to get the best results. Nylon mesh options would be suitable for this case since they eliminate high frequencies.
3. Learn correct microphone placements
How you hold your microphone matters. In essence, you will hear the breathing sounds more when you hold the microphone close to your mouth than when it’s below or on the side of the mouth.
Therefore, it’s up to you to position it correctly and keep it at least 1-3 inches from your mouth. If your headset is picking up your breathing sound, ensure that you place the microphone’s element on the side of your mouth to prevent air coming from your nose from hitting it.
4. Use proper breathing techniques when speaking
Vocalists and voice-over artists typically have to learn appropriate breathing techniques to use during the recording. While some breathing sounds make the audio sound natural, some, like a loud exhale, may distract the listener.
So to avoid the distractive sound, users should learn how to inhale and exhale when using the microphone. For instance, breathing away from the microphone or with your nose and diaphragm might eliminate unwanted wind sounds.
5. Speak slowly
This is yet another skill that most voice artists need to learn to read scripts professionally. Remember that, when you are reading, those words are not necessarily yours. You might end up breathing loudly if you are reading and speaking quickly.
Hence, speaking gradually helps the artist control the way they inhale and exhale, and they have more time to do it. Therefore, there’s a significant chance that the listener will not hear the breathing because they are softer.
6. Maintain a good posture when speaking
As mentioned in point number four, you need to learn to breathe through your diaphragm when recording audio. That means how you sit really matters.
If you sit well, your upper body will remain relaxed and allow better airflow of oxygen to your lungs, promoting the movement of the diaphragm. In that case, your shoulders and back should be straight as you speak.
You can also try simple stretching routines and cardio exercises before the recording to help keep your muscles relaxed.
7. Using an audio editing software
Sometimes, it’s challenging to eliminate specific breathing sounds, even after doing all the things we mention in the solutions above. Therefore, you can use audio editing software to fine-tune and remove the few noises within the recording.
During the editing process, ensure that you edit out those sections well. For instance, reducing the volumes can be more effective than cutting out those sections to avoid making the final mix sound weird.
8. Include noise reduction filters in your mix
Ambient noises, which include breathing sounds, produce a distractive signal to your audio, which prevents the listener from hearing the information that matters. Using a reliable noise reduction filter can help you focus on the sounds that matter.
Sound engineers should use a low-pass filter to avoid introducing strange noise such as hissing sounds produced by over-processing the original audio.
9. A Compressor will also do the job
Some sounds, such as pop sounds and your breath, will be louder than others will as you record. Using a compressor in your mix can be a good way to ensure that sound remains within a particular threshold or dynamic range.
That way, it’s easy to eliminate those unwanted sounds from the recording.
10. Incorporate a noise gate
Noise gates function similarly to a compressor; on the other hand, they only attenuate signals below a particular dynamic range. Your breathing noise in the signal becomes inaudible even though it’s present.
Try to adjust the settings within the audio software you are using to help you achieve the sound you desire.
Relevant FAQ you may have.
Below are some FAQs that you may have regarding why your microphone is picking up your breathing noise. This section will be expanded as more and more questions come through.
Mic picking up my breathing but not my voice?
If you have a quality microphone, the problem could arise from how you use the microphone. Adjusting how you hold it or how close you are to the microphone could make all the difference. This may also have to do with some of the gain settings of the microphone, so it’s best you troubleshoot by connecting the microphone to a different device and see if the issue still occurs.
That’s all, folks. We have come to the end of our article, and we’d like to thank you for reading it all the way to the end. If you have issues with breathing noises ending up in your recordings, one or more of these points mentioned above should be able to assist you in eliminating them or at least troubleshooting until you get to a solution.
Be sure to use the pointers above to eliminate breathing sounds when recording to get the sound you desire.