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How to remove chirping sound from S's in recording?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Mark101, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. Mark101

    Mark101 Active Member

    Hi, I'm the farthest thing from a recording professional, but I found this forum and thought I might be able to get an answer to this question...

    I want to do some recorded interviews and start a podcast, but whenever I record anything, all my S's have a horrible shrill chirping sound. I tried a couple filters in Audacity (and Audition - I think) a year or two ago, which didn't work, and when I tried to remove the shrill sounds manually, it took too long and messed with the actual words too much.

    Other than fixing my teeth or whatever's causing the sound in my mouth :) is there any easy solution for removing these shrill chirping sounds from my recordings?


    I attached an mp3 file with a few seconds of my shrill, chirping S sounds.

    After I posted this, I did a search and downloaded the Spitfish De-esser for Audacity. That didn't help, so I'm still looking for a solution.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!


    Attached Files:

  2. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Can we hear a sample because I can't quite get the chirping sound? Could be many things. An example might help people come up with ideas, but a chirp?
  3. Mark101

    Mark101 Active Member

    Just posted one up above :)

    By the way, I've tried several different microphones and nothing seems to improve that shrill S sound. I think it's caused by the air passing through the small space between my two front teeth. I wear a mouthpiece that keeps that space there, but even when I've closed the space overnight using a rubberband, the sound is still there.

    So I have to find a way to remove the sound from my recordings, since I don't know how to stop my mouth from making the sound :) As you can tell, the sound is so annoying, I can't really record anything until I figure out how to get rid of the sound...
  4. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Great - that sounds like typical over level distortion, but the clip itself is not over level, so we need now a bit of info on how you are doing the recording. Your microphone. What is it? I'm guessing it's a USB type. The usual problems with many of these is that their gain is fixed, so if your voice is louder than they can handle, they can easily distort, and if you have a natural sibilance to your voice, this can distort in a similar way to the clip, but the output level of the mic is still managed by your recording system.

    First thing is a few experiments. How close are you to the mic? Increase it a little, distance wise and see if that helps. Go too far and it will get thin and weedy sounding. Other things to try are placement. I assume it's a cardioid mic? Try and aim it at your mouth at an angle so your direct breath goes forward and the mic looks at your mouth from above or the sides. If you can hear yourself through headphones while doing this you will soon sort it. You can of course try some kind of shield - foam or mesh of some kind. This might tame the sibilance a bit.

    With USB mics, these niggly problems are common, and a pain. They're rarely equipped with gain controls that ordinary mics require for proper matching, so you are stuck with a very narrow window for too little or too much level - you need to find out where it's happiest and organise everything around that.
  5. Mark101

    Mark101 Active Member

    Thanks Paul - Yeah, I've tried several mics (all USB), and my S's sound horrible on all of them. I've tried putting the mic up high where my breath is nowhere near it (on a headset mic). I've tried using an HD webcam mic backwards, so my breath isn't going into the mic. My S's are just so shrill that I'm basically 'unrecordable' no matter what I do.
  6. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    All these mics are condensers, so quite suceptible to HF noise, but there is always a solution. What exactly is the mic? If you have lots of USB mics to try, that's unbusual, but they could all simply be rubbish? Possible. Do you have anything that can record decent audio and video? iphone, android etc? Maybe you could do a little password prtected youtube showing us you using the problem mic from maybe three feet away? That could give us a clue?
  7. DogsoverLava

    DogsoverLava Active Member

    Like you say Paul -- it sounds way too hot and way to lo-fi ---- what are your settings? What are you using to record this with -- what are the settings on that? -- what bit rate and all that technical stuff? What drivers? Is this using your internal sound card? Sounds like it could be your computer using a windows driver instead of ASIO --- give us the tech specs of what you are doing.
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Sounds like very poor electronics, especially the AD.
  9. Mark101

    Mark101 Active Member

    Thanks for the tips. I'll try recording from a distance and see what happens. Late last night, I tried the De-esser in Audition CC and that helped more than anything else has to this point. Paul mentioned recording up to three feet away, and to do that and get any kind of quality, I'll probably have to buy a different kind of microphone. I'll keep trying... and will post any updates here. I thought there might be some kind of simple solution to this problem, but I guess not. (My PC is an i7 with 8GB ram, so I don't think that's the issue, though I am using the standard Beats Audio sound card that came with the HP Envy computer). Anyway, thanks for the tips!
  10. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    You forgot to say what the mic is, how you are using it and anything that really helps. Almost every microphone makes horrible noises if you use it badly. You are trying to use audition as a repair tool, and that works for mic placement when the person accidentally moves in, or away, or sneezes, but your problem is more fundamental. Your comput is fine. I wonder what driver it uses for the mic? Most of the generic ones give little control, but some do have a purpose made driver that has adjustments. These usually come with the mic if it's a serious one.

    I didn't mean you must speak from 3 ft away normally, but just that if your problem is overloading the mic, you could record further away as a test, see if it distorts, then move in a bit, and repeat until you find the danger area. You might also discover that audition is better at fixing the low level than removing the distortion. If you are spending a lot of money on your cc subscription, then using a rubbish mic seems a bit of a mismatch?
  11. Mark101

    Mark101 Active Member

    I hear ya :) I have a 'decent' Logitech headset mic, and I've tried every position I can with the mic -- even having it by the top of my head so there's no way my breath can reach it. The other mic I tried is a $70 Logitech HD webcam I just bought to talk with my son. I tried placing it in different positions at different distances away from me, and my S's sound as bad as they do on the headset mic.

    As far as drivers, I assume their standard Windows drivers or drivers that came with the software/hardware.

    I'm planning to experiment some more in the next few days, and if I can't get decent sound, I'll buy a free-standing mic, and then try cleaning it with Audition De-esser. (Audition CC didn't/doesn't really cost me ;)
  12. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Mark - What the guys have been saying is that you are trying to treat the symptoms and not the cause.

    Cheaper mics, like USB and the Logitech, are not going to give you the same quality as a good mic will; de-essers can be a bit helpful but you are also likely getting rid of "good" frequencies that you don't have to, and, if you are using cheaper converters in your sound device, ( Beat audio card) this will also accentuate the bad - and attenuate the good.

    And, some people are just more physically prone to sibilance than others are; if you find yourself having this problem using mic after mic, and you really want to do this on a professional level at some point, then you might want to talk to your dentist and see what could be done about fixing that gap in your teeth that you mentioned having. It might not even be a tough or expensive fix... until you ask, you won't know.
  13. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    You missed the key point here. Headset. In theatre shows, where I do most of my work, we pay a sound guy to look after them. That's the main part of his job, listening to all the radio mics and making small adjustments. I don't know which Logitech you have but if you can bend or manipulate it, the best position will be just behind the corner of your mouth. So it cannot get blasted. Sibilance, especially that caused by gaps in teeth frequently goes sideways. Headset mics always emphasise HF, and are the worst choice for quality podcasting. Cheap condenser elements, close in, and a problem sound source are just a really nasty match. Have you any budget spare to buy something more suited to your needs. Headsets are fine for the gaming people but avoided by people interested in sound quality. My budget for headsets in the shows treats them as consumable items, at over $300 each! We wreck dozens. If we could use something cheaper, we would. The Chinese make some cheap ones that schools use, but they are flimsy and break even more often. An expensive DPA can so easily blast, pop, overload and crackle. The usual gamer headsets are really comms quality, not studio quality. Just not what they are really designed for.
  14. Mark101

    Mark101 Active Member

    Thanks Donny and Paul -- I'll keep trying to fix the problem as you mentioned, instead of having to treat it after the fact :)
  15. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    The problem is a combination of plosives and clipping. If it's a headset mic then positioning should help the plosives. Turning down the gain on the mic preamp should help the clipping. If it's a USB mic with no gain control it's the wrong tool for the job. Then again, any headset mic may be the wrong tool anyway.
  16. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    I've been looking at logitech headsets - they're dirt cheap and you get a pair of headphones and a boom mic for a tiny sum. Divide the price by the components and the mic component is almost pennies, not pounds, so absolutely the wrong thing to use if you want quality! I also note their USB one has a pretty terrible frequency response too - 100 to 10KHz, which as a spec for a microphone for recording, we'd probably laugh at.

    It's the wrong tool, and is almost certainly going to be improved by spending just a bit of money. How much can you spare?
  17. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    How to remove chirping sound from S's in recording?
    Well, not recording any is a good start ! Any consumer mic relying on the computer sound card's preamp will sound bad... They are good for chatting and Skype.
    For serious recording get a serious mic.. Sad to say but true !
    audiokid likes this.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    there's the fix and reality. I heard it instantly.
  19. Chris Perra

    Chris Perra Active Member

    Try using a mixer in between.. If you are going right into your computer and you don't have solid control of the input gain it's going to do that no matter what mic you are using. You need to be able to monitor the input gain to the mixer, the output of the mixer to your computer and the input level into your computer.. Until you can be sure you can reliably monitor those stages it will be hard to get quality sound.
  20. Mark101

    Mark101 Active Member

    Thanks again guys - I can't afford a new mic right now, but I'll plan to get one soon and see if that helps

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