How to Record Sound for Voice Overs

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Most of my records have this annoying "SHHHHHHHHH" noise over the top which is no good if you want to mix them with music or play them loud.

This is what I learned in my quest to REDUCE NOISE.

First Steps:-
Equipment:
I have a mac laptop which has a very good microphone built in. I bought a usb microphone but it can be TOO sensitive and picks up electrical pops and squeaks sometimes. I am working on how to reduce those (ANY TIPS??)

Setting:
Recording in my bathroom is good for acoustics but as the wall is shared with the kitchen, I catch all the refrigerator pump electrical noise.
The quietest room in my flat is my bedroom but I only found this out by trial and error. It is also pretty good acoustically because I only have a bed in there so the walls are a bit echo-y.

Timing:
I cannot record in the hours of daylight because of cars, motorbikes and people slamming doors. I find that dusk is pretty good for reducing chances I have to go again.

Shielding:
My microphone is super sensitive, I have to turn off all sources of noise and then shield the mic from what I cannot turn off with books.

Recording:-

I make sure I get a lot of takes. My best takes are often spoiled by something noisy... It is possible to stitch good bits together (sometimes)

I keep my mouth away from the mic so you don't get that horrible pop from plosives. You can totally buy a special pop-shield. You could maybe even make one with some MacGyver know-how, a pair of tights and a coat hanger??

I record onto Audacity. It is free and simple (though it took me a while to get to grips with after garageband)

There will always be a low hiss because of the nature of recording. You can take it out really easily with Audacity. (With garageband, you have to play around with the noise gate and often it mistakes signal for noise.)

First you select a bit of your recording when you are not making any sound.
Then you click "Noise Removal". Then the button which allows Audacity to make a noise profile.

Then you select all the bits you want to remove noise from (control or cmd-A is quickest)

Then you click noise removal again and then click on the lower button which removes noise.

And tada! No more hiss.

Audacity also has "Clear Speech" I have played around with it and it is really good *but* it truncates silences so if you paused for dramatic effect, stay away from the button!

As I get better at this, I will add more of what I have found out!

Created: Feb 19, 2011

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