Audio equipment for recording just voice

I’m creating a documentary and just need the minimal audio equipment for capturing clean, non-breath voice. No need for recording music and surround effects. What are the pieces you guys recommend?

Currently, I have only a standard computer headset with mic as the hardware… and Audacity as my recording software. The problem is that this setup still produces breath exhale sounds even with adjustments I’ve tried … and if I hold the headset mic too far off, the volume becomes too low.

Anyone got the recommendations of equipment to solve this? What do you use in this case?

Well appreciated!!!

  • Jay

Hey there,

Most singers will use a pop screen to stop their “P’s” and “B’s” from making an abrupt loud noise in the mic and to stop your “S’s” from sounding like a snake hissing. It will to some extend reduce the breathing but you will still get some. the microphone would not be doing its job if it did not pick up the sound in front of it and this includes breathing. If youve got any sharp breaths or particularly loud ones that annoy you then you could use the silence function in audacity and go through your text silencing all the breaths that are unnesessary and not attached to any dialogue.

You can buy pop screens pretty cheap or you can just make one yourself, Get a coat hanger and bend it into a circle 10-15cm diameter, then stretch some stockings over it and find a way to stick it between you mouth and the microphone (usually involves gaffa tape). Sounds funny i know but i can garuntee that a large percentage of people doing home recordings have done this at some stage in the past (including me).

As far as getting a good vocal sound for your documentary then i think you will have to do away with the headset mic and invest in something a little better. Ideally you will have a good mic plugged into a mixing desk and then run into your computer but it doesnt sound like you want to invest too much so maybe have a look at some usb mics. I have no experiencce with these so i will have to leave it up to someone else to help you with this though im sure the web has more info than you need. You may want to investin a mic stand also so you can be consistant with how far the mic is from your mouth but it is up to you.

Good luck

I have never stretched a stocking over a wire hanger. I use panty hose.

Actually, I bought a ready-made one, but I really needed to write that line.

This comes up all the time and I wish I could point to actual hardware that would do the job. Each job I’ve done involved using stuff that normal humans can’t get. The Left-Right sound test was recorded with a 50 year old ribbon microphone, a Shure FP-24 field sound mixer and my Mac PowerBook.

I recorded a bunch of vocal tracks at work using a conventional microphone and the PowerBook, but a good, cheap mixing desk that hasn’t been made in fifteen years.

USB microphones seem to be the way out, but people write in all the time having troubles with them–and they’re not cheap.

It is a puzzlement.


We have here a transatlantic language confusion (of which there are many - “knocked up” is another great example) - these two are basically the same thing (actually there is a slight difference as technically a “stocking” in the UK is the single-legged item whereas “tights” are the double-legged item).

But you get the general idea - some fine nylon, viscose or similar material stretched over say a bent wire coathanger …


Be certain to earth your mains so you don’t get a shock.

Plosives like “P” and “B” and wind noises tend to be produced by vigorous movement of air unlike most spoken and sung vocal performances. Those undesired sounds are forced to stretch the screen slightly which resists being stretched. Normal performances go right through, although you could make a case that the lower voice registers are affected. Overall, the benefits greatly outweigh the problems.