buzzing sound when recording

I’m a voice-over actor new at recording and trying to figure it all out! The problem I’m having now is that there is a buzzing sound when recording my voice, which I hear through any headset. Strangely, I don’t hear the buzz when I listen through my Mac’s built-in output without a headset. I’ve tried changing some Audacity volume settings, and nothing has worked. I sent the recording to a friend, and she heard it through her headset on her Mac. Any suggestions of how to eliminate this buzzing sound?


Details are good. We need to split the phrase "headset’ from “headphones.” Headphones don’t have a microphone. This is a headset.

Do you hear the buzzing when listening to YouTube?


I read that three times now and I can’t build your system in my head. We need to do that to straighten out what you’re doing.

How are you creating your shows?


Hi Koz,
Thank you for helping me to use the right wording!! I definitely meant headphones, NOT headset!! (As I mentioned… I’m an artist new to this technical stuff…) Here’s my equipment… I have a Blue Yeti USB Mic plugged into my MacBook, and Sennheiser HD 202 headphones plugged into the back of the mic. I do not hear a buzz when I listen to music on itunes through the headphones, or voice-over I’ve recorded on another system, only what I’ve recorded on this computer. I am now noticing that I hear a buzz coming from the actual computer, so I think that must be where it’s coming from! Hope that doesn’t mean I’ll need another computer…

Perfect. I got that and I need to go to the web sites and see how the equipment is supposed to work. Koz

Could you be recording the MacBook’s internal microphone instead of the Blue Yeti? Start a recording and scratch the top grill of the Blue Yeti and then scratch around the computer. My MacBook Pro internal microphone is just to the left of the left-hand Shift key. When you hit the hot one, Audacity will go crazy. This is good troubleshooting technique. It’s hard to tell what’s recording without knowing where to look or doing tests like this.


Hi Koz,

Thank you again for helping me to troubleshoot. I am definitely recording with the Yeti mic, not the internal mic. I brought my computer to Apple yesterday, and they seemed to think that it was the fan in the computer causing a vibration. They suggested I put the computer and the mic on a soft surface instead of the wooden desk, and that definitely helped cut down the buzzing by 90%. I have a feeling that getting a newer computer at some point will help tremendously.

There is sooo much to learn about recording, I’m not sure where to start first! There are so many ways to change the settings that I’ve only just begun to learn. I suppose I should start with the Audacity manual?? For example… the voice-over agency I’m working with recommends “normalizing the volume to -3 db and uploading files encoded with the following attributes: 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, mono, 96 Kbps.” I wouldn’t even know where to begin to figure that out!! As you can see… I really am a novice at this, but learning!

Thanks again! I welcome all support at this point.

Live recording is not for the easily frightened.

People are frequently surprised how loud their environment is because their ears “tune it out” in daily life. The computer noise (or the refrigerator or the traffic noise) suddenly becomes obvious when it’s competing with your voice on a recording. That’s why people still rent sound-proof studios.

I had a PowerBook that would cycle its fan on and off as it got hot. I had to keep it on a chair lower than my desk and place both the PowerBook and the microphone on folder-over towels to keep the noise down. One time I put the PowerBook on the desk but behind a pile of towels and on top of one. Don’t put the machine under a towel. It needs to breathe.

I’m sure you figured out by now that recording in your kitchen isn’t a good thing.

Pick the room with the most furniture, rugs and heavy drapes that you can. The current fashion of bare polished wooden floors is not good. It’s like recording in a cave. If you have one of those you may need to find a different place to record.

The person who owned my house before me played drums and he soundproofed the third bedroom. I lucked out.

Select Cardioid on the Blue Yeti and then put the computer (or any noises) directly behind the microphone. Cardioid means heart-shaped, but it also means no sound can arrive from the back of the microphone with that setting.

Normalize is a simple tool in Audacity. After you record your performance and press Stop:

Effect > Normalize > Check all three boxes and change the value to -3. > OK.

Their computer file specifications are a little odd. Ask them what kind of file they want you to deliver. It’s a word like MP3, WAV, AIFF, etc.


We wrote a lot on recording.

Sometimes, instead of plowing through all the variations, most of which won’t apply to you, it’s good to just make a poor recording and post it on the forum and we will analyze it and tell you how to fix it.

How did the client say to post the work? FTP, DropBox, SoundCloud, Email?

Hi Koz,

Yes… figured out a lot by just changing the position of the computer, now sitting on a blanket, and separating it from the mic. I actually have a 3 sided foam box around me which helps make the sound a bit less “hot” as my friend described it. Seems to work well! I have sent in a few recorded auditions so far… not clear about the quality yet, but I would love to post one on the forum to have it analyzed! I am able to send the files in MP3 format, which is what is preferred by the voice-over site. I followed your instructions on “normalizing” a recording and I think it made a difference in the sound quality.

I’m attaching a new recording using normalizing. Please let me know if this is good sound quality or if I need to do more.

Thanks again so much for your help!!!

Cape Treasure