BOSS Audio: Inside the Booth

What’s that noise? VO Tech Guru Tim Tippets joins us again for our BOSS Audio Series! Listen as Anne and Tim talk about those annoying extraneous sounds inside the booth like mouth noises and tummy grumbles, headphones, and fans. Learn about booth ventilation and how to keep cool while keeping quiet. You don’t want to miss this fun, informative episode of VO BOSS!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Sometimes your headphones can cause noise in the booth – it’s not always mouth noise

  2. You should record with fully over the ear headphones to avoid audio bleeding into your mic and recording

  3. Your mic will pick up sounds that you do not hear with your ears

  4. Whether you record with headphones on is a personal choice – but they are a must for directed sessions

  5. When you’re stressed, your mouth noise might increase

  6. Room temperature water will help reduce mouth noise

  7. Try adding some lemon juice or throat spray to your water to reduce clicks

  8. Don’t record on an empty stomach – but also don’t record while digesting

  9. If your computer fan makes noise during a live session, it will be a big problem

  10. If you try to blow a candle out with your mouth completely open, it will not work. In a similar way, if you distribute the airflow of your ventilation system properly when building a booth, the air will not be picked up by your microphone 

  11. The goal is to have airflow distributed over a wide area (in Anne’s case a plenum above her booth ceiling), so it is never concentrated enough to make any nois

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

  1. Learn more about audio by taking Tim’s Courses!

  2. Follow Tim’s Instagram where he posts all of his builds

  3. Find out more about RX Elements

  4. Get some of your own VOcal Spray

  5. Find out more about ReaLemon Juice

  6. Learn about the Vornado Fan

  7. Here are the headphones Tim uses!

  8. Recorded on ipDTL


>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.

Anne: Hey everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my very extra special guest co-host, Mr. Tim Tippets. Hello Tim!

Tim: Hello Anne, how are you?

Anne: I’m doing good, but you know, I got a question for you. [laughs]

Tim: Ok.

Anne: Yesterday I was in booth, recording a job, and I kept — normally I don’t have clicking noises. I mean I’m fortunate where typically either I’m well hydrated, or I don’t know what it is, but I typically don’t have mouth clicks. I have a few, but not like everybody else that always says, “oh my gosh, how do I get rid of them?” Well, all of a sudden, I noticed all these clicks in my waveform, and I was like going crazy trying to figure out what it was. And I finally realized that it was actually noise from my headphones moving around on my head.

Tim: Ah yes.

Anne: So what, I mean, what — that’s like crazy. [laughs]

Tim: Yeah. Well, it may not be as crazy as it sounds, because a lot of headphones are actually made with plastic parts, ok?

Anne: Yes.

Tim: And where these joints meet, these plastic parts, will become non-lubricated, if you will, over time, or they wear, etc. And so as a result of that, when those plastic parts are moving against each other, they can end up causing these clicks and pops. And you know, some, I’ve heard —

Anne: Yeah, because it never did that before, and my headphones must be getting older then.

Tim: Yeah, that’s typically what it is. Usually people come to me, and they say, “hey, I’ve developed a click in my jaw,” you know?

Anne: Mmm yup.

Tim: And I say, “try talking without your headphones,” and sure enough, the click in their jaw goes away. If you think about it, when you have headphones on, they are in an area — especially fully enclosed headphones that are larger than on ear — when you are moving your mouth, you are moving those headphones. It’s inevitable. You can’t help but do that.

Anne: Absolutely.

Tim: Now — yeah. When your jaw is moving, and it’s going up and down, the joints of those headphones are moving in and out and up and down, ok? So I had the same problem at one point before I switched to my current favorite headphones, which I can tell you about here in a minute. But I had a pair of headphones that are very well known. They’ll go unnamed. And I kept getting the same click, and I had determined just through trial and error by holding them next to the mic and moving them around, that they were in fact causing the clicks. So I went on this every two week maintenance thing where I was dropping in graphite powder, which is something that I tried that worked well and then also lubricating silicone. So if anyone is experiencing that, take a look at the joints. Move them around in front of the microphone, and see if you’re having — or if they’re the culprit. If they’re not, and it’s mouth noise, well, then that’s a different story.

Anne: Right.

Tim: But my favorite headphones are the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm, with an emphasis on 80 Ohm. I get a lot of people asking me about 30s, about the 250s — I believe it’s 250. But the 80 Ohm, that’s the answer. They are, as I like to say, they’re fully enclosed headphones that feel like kittens hugging your ears, right?

Anne: [laughs] I like that. “Kittens hugging your ears.”

Tim: Yeah, and they really do. When people put them on, it’s just kind of this “ahh” type of thing, right?

Anne: Well, I think that I should probably mention, because I have a feeling people are going to say, “well, Anne, why are you wearing headphones,” right? A lot of times, people are like, don’t wear headphones so you can sound natural, and you know, you’re not listening to yourself in your headphones. But there are certain obviously times when you need to have your headphones on, like right now, because I need to hear you, or in a directed session. So that is one reason why I had the headphones on. And you know, I mean, I couldn’t get away from not having them on. I needed to be able to hear.

Tim: Right, well, this one’s almost like religion to people. It’s unbelievable.

Anne: Yup.

Tim: Usually they’re in one camp or the other. And that’s fine. If you’re more comfortable voicing with headphones on, great. If you’re not, great. I’ve done both for various reasons, mostly experimental stuff. But for me personally, I like to monitor in real time, because I like to be assured that nothing is going wrong, nothing has changed.

Anne: Right.

Tim: But I also don’t mind the sound of my own voice in the cans. It doesn’t seem too — I know that there are —

Anne: It doesn’t distract you?

Tim: No, it doesn’t distract me, and I know that there are theories out there — maybe they’re proven theories, I don’t know — that it takes away from your performance. So far it hasn’t taken away from my performance, that I can tell.

Anne: It’s so interesting. I’m glad that you brought that up, because for the first, I’m gonna say, year after I built my booth when I was in my other location, I had to have the headphones on, just like you’re saying, because I had to do real-time monitoring because they were working construction outside my home. And so I needed to know if any of the vibrations were coming up and were going to affect, and you know, “when do I start recording and when do I stop?” [laughs]

Tm: Yup.

Anne: So yeah, that was one of the reasons why I would record early on with the headphones, and then of course, we’re recording right now, and I need to be able to hear you. Now I have a question. What about — ok, because I mean, yes, I have the headphones that go over my ears — is there a certain amount of sound, that’s coming back from obviously you talking in my ear, right, because I’m fairly close to the microphone, that’s coming back into the microphone?

Tim: Ok, so that depends on a few factors. One is how loud your headphone are turned up. Some people will turn them up louder than others. I don’t turn them up very loud when I’m speaking. What I try to do is emulate what I would hear for myself in real life at that volume level, so there’s that. There’s another factor: are they fully-over-the-ear headphones, and if so, are they high quality fully-over-the-ear headphones? Will they not leak what’s happening out into your microphone? And then they have what are called open-back, which are typically for monitoring music, etc., which I have here. I have a different set of headphones for when I’m monitoring music at certain times. Usually I’ll still wear the Beyerdynamics. But those are the various things that can cause, you know, anything, any audio coming from your headphones to leak into the microphone. Now we also have to remember that the microphone itself is like a superhuman ear, ok? It’s going to pick up sounds that we don’t hear with our ear, because we are putting something on our heads that is going to magnify what it is that we would otherwise hear in the real world. So for instance, when I’m voicing, and I have some sort of sound outside of my room that kicks on, I’m gonna hear it more than likely. And if I’m not wearing headphones, it’s highly likely that I wouldn’t have heard that.

Anne: Oh right, mm-hmm.

Tim: So ok? So then I go back in my editing session, and now I’ve got to deal with this mess, because this thing got recorded that I didn’t hear the whole time. And that’s just a personal choice for me. You know, I’ve actually heard some people say “I just feel claustrophobic with headphones on, and I feel like I can’t perform.” And if that’s the case, that’s fine.

Anne: I’m wearing them all day, personally.

Tim: Me too.

Anne: Because not only am I recording, I’m also, you know, I’m also coaching students, and I’m wearing headphones when I’m doing that, because I’m coaching them online through ipDTL. I constantly have to have — well, I have to have a really comfortable pair of headphones. But I always have them on. And interesting enough, when I swing my microphone on the boom arm, you know, away from me, I do hear like every single bit of like room noise and outside my window, if I happen to have it open. And it’s funny, because once in a while, I’m like, “wait, where’s that noise coming from?” It’s like, it’s, the microphone is picking up everything. So I’ve gotten like a new sense of awareness about noises that are happening through my headphones. But Tim, what other noises have you heard, let’s say when you’re evaluating a file, that have come from