Personal View site logo
Vocal recording - how to kill the silence noise and breaths
  • Obviously I'm a pro's pro hence these high-tech questions :) Is there a way to setup a field recorder like H4n to pick up voice (from the lav) without picking up breath noises and to eliminate the room sound noise when the talent isn't speaking. I know H4n has built in lo cuts and comps but then I see some people online saying you should never mess with the raw audio and apply all the effects or compression later. And advice on this?

  • 4 Replies sorted by
  • You wouldn't do this in the field. Do some reading on sound dubbing for film and TV - you'll find out why the presence of some room atmosphere is actually desirable.

  • You need to switch off AGC (I think it makes room noise so obvious in pause as you talk about it), set proper level, properly place lav.

    If it is lecture and not film - use small head mike (one directly before mouth), it gives best separation from any noise.

    Do some reading on sound dubbing for film and TV - you'll find out why the presence of some room atmosphere is actually desirable.

    Yep, but if it is just some lectures recording or similar thing it is ok. Usually you do not need any room atmosphere in this case,

  • One stage of an audio mix is the dialogue premix - We add "fill" - the sound of the room back into a dialogue edit in post production or if an undesirable environment try and remove all the residual noise and add "room tone" - pre recorded atmosphere of an empty room to fill the gaps. you can also use denoising programs i.e. Izotope RX to analyse a section of noise and capture the noise print and then apply that to white or pink noise to artificially generate "room tone" that mimicks the original recordings background noise. As a mixer we preferably want nothing applied to the original recording - no compression or EQ (shit on every semi pro recorder) just plain old noise. As Mr V says also turn off AGC

  • AGC is the worst offender. You can use a noise gate to automatically dampen the gaps, but the breath sounds--and gob smacking, stomach gurgles, all those things, I just grab a slice of ambiance and paste over them in place, if needed. If you really want to be fancy, add a cover track as a kind of adjustment layer, and paste over the breath sounds on a seperate track, then adjust the mix so you can leave some in. Most of this track will be empty, so it won't affect the main mix.

    Another option is to use pullups and splits. Split the sound around the noise using a keyboard shortcut in autocrossfade mode, then lower the volume of this mini chunk and adjust the timing if needed (unless you are framelocking). Not as fancy as the adjustment layer but often works well.

    If you are using compression in post, the adjustment layer will allow you to for example boost the compression, then simply mix down the extra noise.