How To Reduce Background Noise On Your Mic
There is currently no podcast equivalent to the Golden Rasberry Awards (Razzies), but it’s only a matter of time before there is. When that happens, you don’t want your podcast to get nominated on a technical issue like background noise. An AI tool like Cleanvoice delivers clear, effective, and popular podcasts.
Cleanvoice can handle background noise, ums, ahs, mouth noises, and a whole lot more. Let’s start with eliminating background noise, as it’s a basic issue that all successful podcasters have to address.
What are the different types of background noise?
The hissing and buzzing you often hear on your recordings is caused by a wide range of frequencies producing noise all at once. It’s commonly known as background noise or hiss.
As the name suggests, narrowband noise occurs over a much narrower range of frequencies. It is attributed to steady, unwavering signal noises.
Pops, clicks, and any other sharp, usually high-frequency sounds are called impulse noise. These sounds are usually short and high in frequency.
Other unwanted noises are termed irregular noise - anything that occurs on an irregular basis. Examples include wind and rain, traffic, and ambient conversations.
How can reducing background noise benefit your podcast?
Increased work productivity
You can’t create your best podcast material when you’re being distracted by, or worried about, background noises. Nipping them in the bud means you’ll be able to focus on what’s important - delivering a popular and successful podcast. You need software with a fast learning curve.
Removing background noise from your audio makes communication clearer and enhances your audience’s experience when listening to your podcast. You’ve put so much work into creating fantastic content, it would be a shame to lose listeners because they’ve been put off by poor audio quality.
Better sound quality
Keeping audio crisp and clear separates the pros from the amateurs. Sound quality is incredibly important for podcasts, as poor audio quality can result in higher levels of audience drop-offs. This is somewhere that harnessing the power of AI can really help by removing background noise more accurately than a human can.
This is where Cleanvoice can help! We use AI to help clean up audio, including background noise, mouth sounds, and equalize speaker volume, so you can deliver quality, crisp audio to your audience. If you’re not convinced, we have a free 30-minute trial, where you can see the benefits we provide with no credit card required.
Different Ways to Reduce Background Noise on a Mic
There are multiple techniques you can use to reduce background noise, from creating the right physical environment and tweaking your recording equipment to using a noise reduction AI app like Cleanvoice.
DIY a home studio
We’re not talking about anything fancy here. You’re not competing with Ocean Way in Nashville or Abbey Road in London, so KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) should be your mantra.
Your build doesn’t need to be large, just big enough for you and your collaborators to sit in comfort when you record your podcast. Don’t forget to personalize your space. Your podcast is all about you and your personality. Making the space you record in your own will help you convey your message to your audience.
Soundproofing - it’s unlikely you’ll be able to completely soundproof your space. Try to set it up in an interior room and, if that’s impossible, cover exterior windows and avoid rooms with appliances like boilers or dishwashers.
Sound absorption - soft materials absorb sound and reduce echo and reverb. Pro studios use custom panels but foam or soft blankets on the booth walls and a rug on the floor will all absorb sound.
Sound deflection - pro studios use shaped panels that diffuse and deflect sound. A popular alternative has always been cardboard egg cartons but using these has largely been debunked, and they’re a fire hazard.
You’ll find inspiration to build something, whatever your budget, on instructables.com
Take all the sound reduction and absorption precautions you can, then use noise-reducing software and our microphone tips and tricks below to prevent background noise from becoming an issue for your podcast.
Use noise-reducing software
Noise-reduction apps are becoming increasingly sophisticated, especially when they use AI. They can filter out unwanted sounds on any audio, leaving a clean and crisp recording.
Cleanvoice is an artificial intelligence tool that can be used to remove filler words (e.g. uh’s, um’s) and mouth sounds (e.g. lip-smacking) from audio recordings.
It can also be used to remove stuttering and dead air from recordings. The AI is multilingual and can detect and remove filler sounds in multiple languages, including German and French, and accents from other countries.
Cleanvoice AI has a timeline export feature that allows users to export the timeline of their recordings to their editor and have the Cleanvoice AI demonstrate an “ideal” edit, or you can edit yourself.
Check your environment
Turn off all the electrical appliances you can within the immediate vicinity of your recording space. We realize that may be tough in summer if an aircon unit is right overhead, but you may just have to suffer for your art.
Practice good cable management. Electrical cables to other devices and power sources can cause background hum if they’re left lying over audio input cables.
Talk to your neighbors. Recording a quality podcast is difficult if it clashes with their treadmill workout or spin class. You can often work around these kinds of short-term interruptions if you know their timing, and they may be sympathetic and willing to tweak their schedules to help you out.
Configure your microphone’s boost properties
Changing your microphone’s input level can help reduce background ambient noise, and adjusting the boost makes the microphone’s sensitivity just right for your recording environment. The boost setting may be in the volume tab, but drivers differ across platforms and brands, so you may need to hunt around a bit.
Play around with both volume and boost settings to get the best balance between volume and boost, as it’ll depend on your recording environment and how much unwanted noise there is in the background.
Check your distance to the mic
A good rule of thumb is to have the speaker’s mouth about a palm’s distance from the microphone. Too far away, and you need to increase microphone volume and sensitivity, both of which will pick up more background noise. Too close, and you’ll pick up more unwanted mouth sounds.
Re-adjust volumes and sensitivity whenever you have to change the distance between the speaker and the microphone, such as when you have guest speakers on your podcast or if you conduct interviews in another location than your own recording space.
Of course, you won’t need to play around with distance and sensitivity settings as much if you use Cleanvoice tools to deal with mouth sounds and background noise. That’s AI working on your behalf.
Invest in the right equipment
Buying the right equipment is the best way to prevent sound quality issues but remember that you get what you pay for. Go for recognized industry brands and aim for the highest specs your budget allows. All the major brands, like Sony, Sennheizer, Bose etc., have a wide range of microphones suitable for podcasting.
Ancillary equipment like windshields and mounts can help make minor improvements to your recordings. Still, a good quality microphone will minimize the problems at their source - where your spoken voice is recorded.
Install windshields and pop-filters
The foam or fur cover of a microphone is called a windshield and protects against noise from wind and air gusts. A pop filter is a secondary screen that attaches to the microphone and sits close to your mouth, reducing pop and hiss from the speaker.
You’ll definitely need one of these, and you may well need both. Experiment with your setup to get the best audio quality possible, and combine tweaking your physical equipment set up with the software settings to get everything just right.
Stabilize your equipment
Your microphone is supported by a stand or tripod, and it's simple physics that the taller the stand, the more a microphone placed at the top of it will move. Vibrations felt through the floor will cause movement, so keep tripods and stands as short as possible. Ideally, table mounted rather than floor mounted.
Further protection from vibration can be added by using a shock mount for your microphone. These come in two types, internal and external.
Internal mounts are built inside the mic itself, mechanically isolating the recording parts from the microphone body. External mounts hold the microphone body in place using a system of flexible, elastic straps that absorb and dampen vibrations.
Background noise can be the bane of a podcaster's life, but it doesn’t need to be. There are plenty of precautions you can take to minimize problems caused by the environment you record in and your equipment. Budget is a key factor, but there are likely to be some issues with where you record and the gear you have that not even the best-funded podcaster can solve.
Whatever background noise issues are left over can be handled by a good AI-based software solution. Cleanvoice cleans up your audio, removing background noises, ums and ahs, dead air, and much more, so sign up for free today!