Mouth noise hell

I got my adapter in sooner than expected, so was able to do 2 quick samples (attached).
The first one is the iPhone built-in speaker
The second is using the iRig Pre HD adapter so that I could hook my XLR mic (Shure SM58) to the iPhone. It was done with gain setting on the iRig turned all the way up.
Both were recorded using an app called ‘Voice Record Pro’ with its ‘voice processing’ feature turned OFF.

What I’m noticing is the iPhone’s built-in mic is getting more hiss and sounds ‘boxy’.
The iRig sample with the SM58 is much less hiss than I’ve ever been able to achieve and vocal sounds pretty good to me.
In both of these iPhone samples, I’m getting a much better waveform size than I’ve ever got which is nice because it will mean less noise reduction is needed compared to what I have been doing in the past.

I still have to do a full reading so I can compare it to what I’ve done in the past, but so far I have a good feeling about this.


iPhone’s built-in mic is getting more hiss and sounds ‘boxy’.

Microphone amplification is hard. The signal falling out the bottom of a microphone is really tiny. How tiny is it?? It’s so tiny that when you design a microphone preamplifier, you have to design the parts to do what you want, and then you have to select quiet versions of those parts.

The atomic-level noise volume generated by electronic components is a stone’s throw from your voice volume. That’s why a too-quiet voice recording is very highly not recommended. It puts your voice volume too close the electronic noise volume making them hard to separate.

Now do all that and make it cheap enough for home producers.


There have been interesting accidents. The original Zoom H2 recorder was terrific. I don’t know what was in there, but it worked very, very well. Josh Turner did most of his early recording with one of those. That’s it sitting on the rock.

The NEW and IMPROVED!!! H2 features FIVE MICROPHONES!!! and features Multiple Different Recording Formats!!!

No word on whether it sounds any better than the original. My guess is no. Original H2 recorders are going for New Unit prices on eBay.

The Shure FP33 sound mixer is widely regarded as an award-winning microphone processor. It’s oddly designed and works very well.

That picture is fake but the mixer isn’t. It’s still running after being splashed with salt water in Biscayne Bay.

There’s a joke about knowing how to spot successful equipment or tools. It has no paint left, you can’t read the knobs and dials any more and you can’t see it right now because it’s out on a shoot.

I got this one when the original owner bought another one.


Okay, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been working with iPhone recording (thanks for that idea, Koz).
I can say after recording the first 4 short stories in my book, “Hidden Realms and Faraway Places” that I’m developing the audiobook version of, I am very happy with this method.

– No more audio ‘dropouts’ - that was killing me with my laptop. Yes, there are many things I could do to improve that situation, but no longer need to. I did have one very unusual dropout with the iPhone that cut off a few seconds of recording early on, but I haven’t seen it happen again so far.

– Recording results in a higher overall volume - which means I have to raise the noise floor LESS (or not at all), which means less mucking with the audio for noise reduction.

– It eats the battery a bit, but I can easily go for 2 hours (I rarely record for more than an hour without taking a break, though). Always good to refresh and come back to it.

– Need to have enough free space on the iPhone - not really a con, but something to watch for if you don’t have plenty available.


Now back to the main topic - mouth noise.

Now that I have the audio computer-generated artifacts out of the way, I get a clear picture (well, sound) of what all mouth noises I am dealing with. This is just going to be an ongoing challenge for me. Slight ‘ticks’ after the ‘s’ sound at the end of a sentence, sometimes crackling noises during words AND something that baffles me and I never knew my mouth did - weird flatulent-type noises - probably made by my gums condensing saliva around my teeth - or something.
The biggest solution for all this - and for most everyone else - is to stay hydrated. I have to constantly make myself drink adequate amounts of water because I’m not much of a water drinker.
I’ve also started drinking green tea with some honey - I can’t say whether it really helps that much or not, but doesn’t seem to hurt.
During the read, I take a good swig of water every so (very) often, but of course it is necessary to be hydrated also BEFORE you start narrating.

One last comment - I have also discovered I am being very anal about the mouth noises. I’ve been looking at almost every little blip, when many will not even register when played back. I’ve had to force myself to back off a bit on that. That way mouth noise hell doesn’t directly translate to editing hell. Editing is bad enough.


Very few people like the way their voice sounds. It’s very strange the first time you hear your voice without the bone conduction. “Eww. Do I really sound like that!?!”

I suppose it’s possible, but I’ve never known ACX to complain about human sounds. I have heard people trying to perform that probably should not, but ACX strongly objects to processing. One of the design criteria of Mastering 4 is neither you nor anybody else can hear it working. Their stated goal is to simulate natural conversation. My version of that is listening to someone telling you a fascinating story over cups of tea. Neither of those sounds like a bad cellphone over the blackness of space silences.

Our Noise Reduction tends to be gentle as well. Just enough noise reduction to make your background pass the specification and maybe a little more. ACX would rather you not use any. ACX also wants to to place a small sound booth/recording studio in your house. So some juggling is needed.


This is XLR-Sample with Mastering 4. No noise reduction.

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 15.34.29.png

So that’s good to go right there. Your voice is clear, good theatrical swing and doesn’t have any obvious mouth noises. ACX will love it.

[Dusting off hands]. Aaaaaand. We’re done.


Oh, I’m not worried about ACX. That’s a technical barrier and as long as you produce your audio right, you’re okay (Mastering 4 does just fine).
I mention my mouth noises only as a matter of performance and my strive for a quality performance is for the benefit of 2 different sets of listeners:

  1. The rights-holder I am sending my audition to - they need to hear a narration they will be impressed enough with to choose you as their audiobook producer,
    and (more importantly, imho)
  2. The audience - the people who pay real money for an audiobook - they deserve their money’s worth and the best performance the narrator is capable of delivering.