We’ve been doing a series of articles and videos showing you how to produce better sounding audio even in (especially in) bad-sounding rooms, such as the converted bedrooms that so many of us use as home recording studio spaces. You can find the first post in the series is here, if you have not seen everything in order yet. Today marks the fourth week and fourth tip to help you sound more professional. This one is applicable primarily to vocal recordings – for voice-over or for singing. It’s time to tame the dreaded p-pop!
Whenever we record words with a “P” or “B” in them, we’re creating a sound that linguists call a “plosive.” But when recording into a very sensitive microphone such as a large diaphragm condenser (LDC), which is probably the most common type of vocal recording mic, these plosives tend to create an unpleasant burst of low-frequency noise sounding like a small explosion. Sensitive microphones don’t like sudden blasts of air, so the result is an excessively loud plosive often called a “p-pop.”
Can’t I Just Use A Pop Filter?
It’s common practice to use a pop filter when using an LDC mic. You place them between your mouth and the mic to help tame the p-pops. But some still get into the recording. And if you are recording in a poor sounding room, our first tip – getting your mouth 3 to 4 inches from the mic (unlike the girl in the picture on the right) will instantly improve your sound. However, even with a pop filter in place, getting that close to the mic will increase the problem of p-pops.
So though you can use a pop filter to help minimize those misbehaving plosives, you have to make peace with the fact that some will end up in the recording.
So what do you do now? You edit. You can fix p-pops using audio software after they have already been recorded. I tend to use Reaper for all my recording needs. However, though you CAN use Reaper to fix p-pops in an audio file, it is pretty time-consuming and cumbersome, as you’ll see in the video above. This is definitely a job for an audio editor, such as Audacity, Adobe Audition, Sony Sound Forge, etc.
In the video, you’ll see how much faster and easier it is to use an editor. I demonstrate how to do it in Audacity, which is free. So hey, once again you get a tip that won’t require you to buy or build anything. that’s four for four!
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