Audio Daily The Audio Production Blog

6 Tips for Removing Breaths from Audio Recordings

By Lin Parkin

May 9, 2013

Comments (5)

Sergiu Bacioiu Flickr.jpgDo you struggle with editing audio tracks?

Audio Daily reached out to industry experts to get their advice on the best way to remove breaths, pops, and other unwanted noises from audio recordings.

From the technical perspective to the performance based point of view; audio engineers, musicians and voice actors offer up their professional advice on editing the breaths out of audio tracks.

Scott Horton
Online Music Mixing and Mastering
Virtualmixengineer.com

The absolute most effective way to remove breaths is with automation. Though time consuming, manually turning down or removing breaths leaves no chance for error and you have control over how natural the end result will be. Breaths have a distinct shape when looking at the wave form so it can often be done quicker than real-time.

Apart from this, Waves has a plug-in called De-Breath which automatically reduces breaths by a set number of decibels based on level settings in the plug-in. While it works decently, it can take time to set it up just right and if the program material changes, it is either going to miss breaths, or reduce actual words.

Side note: often times voices are compressed, which effectively limits the dynamic range of the voice, which makes breaths appear to be much louder, sometimes as loud as the spoken voice.

Phil Magnotti
Grammy award-winning audio engineer
Phlimagnotti.com

On the Vocal, track you can either insert an EQ or automate out the low freq that is the issue. Or set a high pass filter from 100 hz and down, for every time the breath or Pop happens, automate and reduce the gain (DB) enough to remove the breath or pop .

Set up a new track with an EQ inserted on it, set the same values and find all the breaths or pops and drag them down to the processed track. Plus this way you can also adjust volume of the pops also.

In Protools, you can use the "audiosuite" drop down menu select an EQ, use same settings and process the audio file (waveform) in order to get rid of the breaths & Pops. But this way will make it harder to go back and make small adjustments.

Christian Deane
Mix Engineer
LethalMix.com

An engineer can listen through the recording and manually automate the volume of a track to dip wherever there are loud or distracting breaths. This is probably the most effective and natural sounding method, as each breath is listened to and worked on individually by the engineer. An experienced engineer can go through an entire recording rather quickly using this method, simultaneously reducing the volume on all of the breaths and increasing the volume on quiet words. With this method, there is no danger of ending up with an unnatural sounding recording (at least there shouldn't be). Any engineer worth his pay should be able to produce a very smooth vocal track with very gentle and virtually invisible attenuation of breaths.

Oliver Dukcevic
Voice Over Artist
Voiceoverartist.org.uk

I am a sound engineer by day and VO by night and I use Adobe Audition CS6 for removing or reducing breaths. It's a very simple process by simply adjusting the level or volume of the breaths between words to your desired taste. There are other programs out there that can perform this task but I find Adobe Audition to be the simplest and most effective in my everyday work.

Anthony L. Ybarra
Guitarist/Educator/Contractor
YbarraMusic.com

Breathing through your mouth as opposed to breathing through your nose will help reduce the presence of breaths in the recording. The air that is pulled through the nose creates a higher frequency than that through the mouth, which will stand out in the recording. A studio musician must be aware of breathing noise constantly and must practice breathing in a silent matter in preparation for a recording session. Finding the right balance is the key, and these tools will make the mixing process much easier.

Ann Timmons
Communications Artist
Phlimagnotti.com

As a voice-over artist myself, I know the pros usually breath naturally to avoid taking an audible breath on mic. Less experienced speakers who practice upper-chest breathing often lapse into taking big gasp-y gulps of breath (because they are nervous and not breathing efficiently) and that is what the mic picks up. So the best way to remove those breaths is not to have them recorded in the first place!

Do you have editing tips of your own to share?

We welcome your comments below.

All the best,
Lin

FlickrCC/SergiuBacioiu

Related Topics: advice, audio editing, breaths, recording

Comments


    I'm surprised nobody mentioned this in their materials, ACX recommends pasting in recorded room tone. That works perfect, esp on spoken-word stuff where a >6dB volume dip is noticeable and distracting. Great for teeth sucks, too.

    Posted by:

      Hi Rick,

      This is another great tip! As I understand it, recording room tone also makes the editing sound more like a natural pause compared to simply cutting the breath out.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Lin

      Posted by:

        YES, Cosigning. I thought I was the only one who did this. My prerecorded room tone is my lifesaver.

        Posted by:

          For audiobooks, I keep a small library of clean, click-free, quiet breaths (one long and one short) as well as ending consonants (d, t, p, k, th, p-d), all copied from another mastered audio file of mine. I mark problem breaths or consonants clipped by TwistedWave effects stack processing. Using TwistedWave's "Markers Window," I can quickly return to the marked problems and paste over the problem breath with a suitable one or replace the consonant. For commercials, I silence overly loud breath and cut the space they took up by 1/3 or 1/2 depending on how it sounds (you never want to completely eliminate the breath gap unless maybe you're direction is to sell cars frantically)

          With both audiobooks and commercials, part of my mastering includes replacing all silences with room tone, using TwistedWave's "special paste" function.

          Posted by:

            I'm fortunate to have a really silent recording room, so, generally, I'll just snip out the breath (in ProTools), then pull the files on either side together by approximately 25% to account for the missing breath. And, of course, every now and then I'll leave the breaths in, usually reducing their levels a bit. If I'm working with audio from another studio or location, I'll cut and paste the room tone. That works well. Happy editing and best to all.

            Posted by:

Leave a Comment



Recent Articles

The Sound Studio Search

How On-Hold Recordings Help Increase Revenue

Preserving the Sounds of America

How Smartphones are Helping Audio Dramas Reach New Audiences

Review of the Neumann TLM 103 Condenser Microphone

How the vOICe Helps the Blind See with Sound

Favorite Audio Recording Software - for Free!

Audio Editing: From Razor Blades To Keystrokes

Now You Can Pronounce Ikea Product Names Correctly Too

6 Tips for Removing Breaths from Audio Recordings

   

Do You Have a Project?

Request a Quote

Looking for voice talent? You've come to the right place. Post a job and you'll get sample recordings of your script and price quotes.

Tell us about your project

Subscribe by Email

About This Blog

Audio Daily provides you with updates and engaging discussion on topics including reviews, audio recording, software, production, editing, mixing, mastering and use of the end product. Read this blog if you enjoy hearing about the latest in audio recording technology.


Follow Us

   

Our feed & social options update you with special offers and news as it happens.