Mute and unmute microphone while recording?

I record telephone prompts and need a way to add 5 sec. silence between each prompt, so my clients can easily split them even when they don’t speak the language.
I record thousands of phrases and can’t spend time adding silences one at a time while editing the final file.
SO…is there a way to easily add 5 sec. silence in between phrases either while I am recording (muting and unmuting the mike using a keyboard shortcut) or in editing adding the same length of silence in between all prompts? If I use the silence finder, I still have to do a lot of “by hand” editing , so opening and closing the mike while recording would really be preferable.

Anyone, please?


Perhaps I misunderstand, but if mute/unmute the mic would help, why don’t you just stop speaking for 5 seconds between the prompts? Do you want to reduce the low level noise that would create between prompts, so as to produce absolute silence? If so you could use the Noise Gate plugin.

If the prompts are the same length and you don’t want to wait before speaking the next prompt, you might be able to use the Regular interval audio splitter plugin.

If the prompts are not the same length you could try the experimental Extend Silences plugin.

Those three plugins above are Nyquist plugins. See for how to install Nyquist plugins.

If you still want to a shortcut to mute the mic, it can be done by creating a toggle input mute “service” with Automator then add a shortcut for the service:


For new recordings:

  1. “R” key to start recording.
  2. Record a phrase
  3. “Space” to stop the recording.
  4. Click on the waveform a few seconds beyond the end of the recording.
  5. “Shift + R” to “Append Record”. The recording will insert silence from the end of the previous recording up to the cursor position (where you clicked) and recording will resume.

You may need to zoom in/out to use this technique most effectively. I generally prefer to use “Ctrl + mouse wheel” for that, but see here for other ways:

Some other “navigation” tips:

You want a cough button. Broadcasters have a microphone supervisory button right in front that allows them to make unfortunate noises without them becoming part of the show.

It’s a button, not a series of activities.

My head went into low earth orbit when I read this post because this is old news. Not easy to execute, however. Conventional cable switch systems don’t work with condenser microphones, for example.

I couldn’t think of a simple key or key cluster to do it.


OK, so maybe not in software. What’s the microphone? Details. How are you recording?


I’m just playing this in my head. You were using the five second interval for breathing. That’s why you can’t just hold your breath to create the blank spot. You have to put respiration somewhere.

This is far harder than you would think. You can place a label with hot keys in real time and then use them later to place the gaps, but that means you have to constantly talk and not breathe.

I got exotic. During the five second gap, breathe and set off a five second tone generator, say from your cellphone. Find the tones later and substitute silence.

The best bet may be actually changing the microphone…as soon as we find what it is.


Maybe what plbio needs is an effect which is the opposit of Truncate Silence

I.e. one which would detect a short silence and expand it out to “n” (parametrisable) seconds, 5 in this user’s case.

Then they could record each prompt with a one-second or half-second gap and have those gaps auto-expander.

Or maybe we just fix up the existing Truncate Silence so thait it becomes an expander too - I tried expreimenting with shortgaps and asking for a “truncation” to 5 seconds but that doesn’t work tigh now.


That is what Extend Silences does - see my first answer. We don’t have that officially published on Wiki yet. Truncate Silence “could” have an option to Expand Silences, but don’t people complain when they hear their room noise suddenly expand into absolute silence?


Try not to solve the wrong problem. The five seconds is already there. That’s where you breathe and clear your throat. Our job is silence it in real time.


There has been no answer from the original poster, so we can only guess what they want. If the messages are only a few seconds long, they could probably save time by not clearing their throat between each message and expand the silences later.