View Full Version : Please help: my microphone picks up my breathing

Apr 16th, 2005, 07:39 PM
Thanks for this groups help in finding a microphone setup! I have solved my volume problems by going with:

Griffin iMic
Logitech "Skype compatible" headset with microphone (Premium)
Garage Band and iTunes

Now, teh sound is good except for "breaths" pick up between phrases as i pause to breathe. This sound is low but barely audible and it ruins the effect for me, since my podcasts are just me talking and the breaths are distracting.

I have never worn a headset before so i don't know the proper way to do so. Maybe I had the microphone too high, thus too near my nose? If I put the microphone a little lower, it sometimes touches my chin and this bothers me. What is the best technique for wearing a mic?

I have done three experimental podcasts and this group has helped me a lot. But the sound quality is still not quite there.

Has anyone else ever experienced this problem? How did you solve it?

Woudl a stand alone mic be better in this regards?

Ron Stephens

Apr 16th, 2005, 09:13 PM

These are good questions and you are definitely NOT the first to encounter these type of problems!

Some breath is going to be heard no matter what you do but there are some things you can do that will help.

First of all and probably most importantly, get a pop filter. A lot of breath sound comes from the 'plosive' consanents like b and p. A pop filter does a great job of eliminating these. For the headset mic, I'm not sure - but I guess you can make sure you have a 'wind-filter' on the mic.

Second of all, good mic technique usually consists of a) moving your head different distances away from the mic depending on how loud you talk - if you look closely to singers, you'll notice this - it's usually not instict, it does have to be learned -BUT it's also not that hard. You want you voice to be as consistent sounding as possible. If you laugh hard - pull back a bit for the laugh, if you have a quiet passage, move in for the passage. If you are not talking, pull way back. Generally the rule is to be about 6" from the mic but it can vary depending on the mic, etc... But if you are breathing and not talking , you shouldn't be up close to the mic. Oh - and speak directly into the mic. Above it will sound more nasal and below it will sound deeper (actually knowing this can also be useful).

Finally, if none of these quite work for you, you can talk slightly off-axis to the mic. i.e. talk into the mic at an angle. I believe the headset mics tend to be omni - and this technique works better for directional mics (cardoid primarily) BUT if the first two techniques don't help, you can certainly try it.

Good luck!

JM Campbell
Apr 16th, 2005, 09:21 PM
what qualifies a microphone as being "skype-compatible"? I'm not seeing that as a feature listed for any.

Apr 16th, 2005, 09:26 PM
AAAKKK - I just reread my post and realized that much of it wasn't very useful for a headset mic - sorry. I was going to delete it but thought maybe someone else would find the info useful..... I think there are many here that use headset mics that could probably provide you better direction....

Apr 17th, 2005, 12:15 AM
I don't Podcast, but I work in video. Last summer I worked on a project that made a lot of use of headset mics and lav mics.

The majority of these are going to be omnidirectional, that is, they pick up in a fairly even pattern all around the head of the mic, and fall off fairly uniformly.

Jeff is absolutely correct about where you speak into a mic being important. With a headset, unless you have a long stem that you can move to under your jaw, just beneath your chin (more bass that way, but not as nasal and no breathing or popping), the best place to run it is slightly to the side of the mouth, so that you don't breath into it when you speak, and so it does not touch your skin. Never run it below your nose.

Most headsets are designed for people using them for hands free phone operation. As such, their fidelity can't really compare to a nice mic made for vocals. But I don't think most people need a pristine sounding, $300 Shure to have a good Podcast.

If you still have the problem and do any post-production on your Podcast, try a program called Soundsoap. It's awesome at filtering out that kind of noise (be warned, it cost me a hundred clams when I bought it)!

Good luck!


Apr 17th, 2005, 08:13 AM
Thanks to all! I find my headset mic can be put just below my chin, i think I'll try that. I had it too close to my nose. JeffOest, your descriptions of how to use a stand alone mic were wonderful, I'm so glad you didn't delete them , they are educational. JN, the "Skype compatible" was just an advertiisment on the packaging of my headset I think ;-)))

I'm actually going to music store today jsut to look around and get ideas. But I'll try positioning the mic better with my headset on another experiment today ;-)))

Thanks to all!

Apr 17th, 2005, 02:32 PM
i notice sometimes when it picks up my breathing, sometimes i move the mic without noticing it, so i try to make sure its in the area of my chin (as eric said) or just below my mouth, which is around the same area, if you still get breathing in there...well..."luke, i am your father"...

Apr 17th, 2005, 08:05 PM
I personally wouldn't put to much faith in windscreens. While they are an additional line of defense, good technique (as cited above) will be the best solution.

Then again, you could get a decent mic processor and that could resolve some issue too...but technique will still be the key.

Apr 17th, 2005, 09:01 PM
yes, we have the same mic and what we do with ours is that we bend it a little farther away from our mouth. Cory and I both use them on our mobile podcasts and sometimes it takes a few seconds to find a good position for the mic. Work on how far away from your mouth it is and where it is placed. It is good to put it near you chin so you don’t get breath from your nose, and you can almost stick the mic straight out. I will still pick up your voice but it will also pick up less of you breathing and lip smackin!
Good luck and just keep trying different places until you find what works with you.

Apr 17th, 2005, 09:35 PM
"luke, i am your father"...

Ahhhh yes.... Darth Vader! The scariest mouth breather in movies this side of Adam Sandler! :P

Apr 18th, 2005, 12:19 AM
yea eric, bibb is a huge star wars geek, and i myself am i big fan (i don't think i quite reach the geek level) so there are many references to star wars on our show...

Apr 18th, 2005, 12:25 AM
The headset mic I use while commuting (a Plantronics .audio 70) works best about two finger widths away from the corner of my mouth. I've tried it pretty much everywhere and that's what I settled on. Of course, in order to position it there your boom has to have the capability to slide forwards and backwards.


Apr 18th, 2005, 12:38 AM
What you need is a Golden Wang (trademark). I think you can still get one from Just Pete on Illinoise.

Bazooka Joe

Apr 18th, 2005, 11:27 AM
What you need is a Golden Wang (trademark). I think you can still get one from Just Pete on Illinoise.
The only way a Golden Wang is going to work with a headset mic is if you wear the stocking over your head, in which case it won't be long before you're arrested.

Could make for an interesting soundseeing tour though.


Apr 19th, 2005, 02:37 PM
Patchett-san, you have dishonored the Golden Hwang. May you live many moons with sour rice.