Audio recording is a delicate art, and capturing clear and pristine audio can be a challenging task, especially when dealing with unwanted sounds like plosives. Plosives are the harsh, low-frequency bursts of air that occur when pronouncing certain consonants, such as "P" and "B." These plosives can wreak havoc on your audio recordings, causing unwanted pops and distortion. However, with the right techniques and tools, you can eliminate plosives and ensure that your audio recordings are crisp and professional.
In this blog post, we will explore various methods to eliminate plosives in your audio recordings, from proper microphone placement to post-processing techniques.
One of the most effective ways to prevent plosives is by placing your microphone correctly. Here are some microphone placement tips to reduce plosives:
a. Use a Pop Filter: A pop filter is a simple yet highly effective tool for plosive prevention. It's a screen or shield placed in front of the microphone to diffuse and disperse the burst of air from plosive sounds.
b. Angle the Microphone: Tilting the microphone slightly off-axis can help minimize the direct impact of plosives on the microphone diaphragm. This reduces the intensity of the plosive sounds.
c. Maintain a Proper Distance: Ensure that the talent speaking into the microphone maintains a consistent and appropriate distance. Around 6-8 inches from the microphone is usually a good starting point.
2. Microphone Selection
Different microphones have different sensitivity levels to plosives. Some microphones are more resistant to plosives than others. A dynamic microphone or a condenser microphone with a built-in pop filter can be a great choice for reducing plosive issues. Experiment with different microphones to find the one that suits your specific recording environment and vocal style.
Proper vocal technique can make a significant difference in reducing plosives. Encourage your talent to speak or sing with a slight side-to-side head movement rather than directly into the microphone. This can help redirect the plosive blasts away from the microphone's diaphragm.
4. Post-Processing Tools
If plosives are still present in your audio recordings despite careful microphone placement and vocal technique, there are several post-processing tools and techniques you can use to eliminate them:
a. EQ (Equalization): Use a high-pass filter to reduce the low-frequency content of the audio, where plosives are most prominent. Be cautious not to overdo it, as excessive EQ can affect the overall sound quality.
b. De-essing: De-essers are audio processors designed to reduce sibilance (harsh "s" and "sh" sounds) but can also be effective at attenuating plosives.
c. Manual Editing: In your audio editing software, you can manually reduce plosives by zooming in on the waveform and lowering the volume of the plosive sound spikes.
d. Noise Gates: Noise gates can be set to attenuate or mute audio below a certain threshold. They can help to eliminate plosives when the vocalist is not singing or speaking.
e. High Pass Filter: After much research and trial and error, I have found that within my DAW, Audacity, I have been able to effectively run a High Pass Filter of 200hz with a Low Rolloff (db per octave) at 12db and it effectively removes all the plosives for the entire audio without interfering with my vocals or any other sounds. Now, that is with my vocals. This may need to be adjusted for others through trial and error.
Eliminating plosives in audio recordings is an essential skill for any audio engineer or content creator. By using a combination of proper microphone placement, microphone selection, vocal technique, and post-processing tools, you can significantly reduce or even completely eliminate plosives from your recordings. Remember that every recording environment and voice is unique, so it may take some experimentation to find the best approach for your specific needs. With patience and practice, you can achieve crystal-clear audio recordings free from plosive distractions, making your content more professional and engaging.