Need Recording Advice

Hello everyone,

I have been making YouTube videos for quite some time now, and I am also looking into doing livestreaming (I do gaming videos). I use a Rode Podcaster. I have always been a noise quality freak, but I just do not have the knowledge to make my quality top-notch.

I am looking for some recording tips to make my voice quality as good as possible. My main problem is, of course, noise. I do not have screaming or anything like that in the background, but I do have static noise. I have attached an audacity file with the noise (I am not sure if it is better to upload the project file or the exported file). Is there any way I can get rid of this? I know of the Noise Removal tool on Audacity, and it works to an extent. I can get the noise to get away when nothing is going on, but it seems to still linger under my voice when I am actually talking. I can personally notice it right before I talk and right when I finish talking as well as slightly behind my voice while talking. My keyboard and mouse clicks also get picked up, but I do not think this can be fixed. I will probably just use quieter peripherals for recording. Any help to fix my noise issue would be greatly appreciated.

Also, any advice to make my voice sound better overall would be fantastic :slight_smile:.

Noise Removal Settings: Noise reduction: 15 | Sensitivity: 1.79 | Frequency smoothing: 130 | Attack/decay time: 0.15

it seems to still linger under my voice when I am actually talking.

Yes, that’s what “smoothing” does. In order to keep your voice from going all honky and bubbly from noise reduction, Smoothing makes Noise Removal stop working during your words. The idea is your voice is supposed to be loud enough and the noise quiet enough that one swamps the other. If you’re in a noisy enough room, it doesn’t work.

You have directly competing goals. Gaming computers are expected to be large, theatrically lighted, powerful… and noisy. Gaming commentators are expected to be knowledgeable, quick, accurate, entertaining… and shot in a quiet studio. Most microphones sold for this purpose are variations on a studio microphone and completely out of their league.

Ideally, you should be able to walk into the room from lunch and not be able to tell that the computer is on. If it is on, you should have it behind sound baffles in a room with sound deadening on the walls and floor. I’m sure you figured out that you can’t separate a USB microphone very far from the computer, which in a gaming computer is a very serious problem.

You can’t fix this in post production filtering as you found. You just can’t. Noise Removal is designed to remove very quiet noises like air conditioning hum or background fan whine, not throbbing gamer cabinets and white noise fans. Even if it does work, the performance never sounds quite right. Noise Removal and Vocal Removal are the two tools that look a lot better in the advertisement than they work in real life.

Run that first video.

Also, getting close to a special purpose microphone can work well. I have used an AKG C555L headset microphone. These work remarkably well retaining good vocal quality in a noisy environment.

I know it looks like a torture device, but it’s designed to fit behind your head and vanish in use, kind of like a rock-band microphone. It’s designed to be used with a radio pack, but if you don’t happen to be Nine Inch Nails, you can use it hard-wired. It’s not perfect fidelity, but it can make a noisy room vanish.

Unfortunately, it takes a mixer to run it, so it quickly runs into bux and complexity issues. That’s it sitting on the left-hand computer in this experimental podcasting setup.

Some USB Gamer headsets work pretty well. They were designed to be close-talking and to block out room and computer noises. Many of them are communications microphones and give up on the idea of good vocal fidelity, so you do have to be careful.

Recording good voice in a noisy environment has never been a walk in the park for anybody. The only real answer is to make the room as quiet as possible and/or get close to the microphone.


That noise is not as bad as I was expecting :wink:

Where is the microphone positioned in relation to you and in relation to the computer?
Can you double the distance from the computer to the microphone?
Can you halve the distance between your mouth and the microphone?
Can you acoustically shield the microphone from the noise sources at all?
Does your room have lots of soft furnishings? Cutting down room echo can also help to cut down noise.
Do you use a “pop shield” ( essential when talking close to a microphone

As an example, I once shot a passable voice job with a noisy laptop (and separate microphone) by putting the laptop on a chair with a blanket over it facing away from the job. It was a very large room, so the echoes had a long way to go before they came back.

As Steve, above, distances can be your friend. Get close to the microphone (without popping your voice)…

…and as far away from the computer as you can. Deaden the walls and floor…

Turn the computer so the worst noise goes away from you. Do Not, put a blanket directly over the computer, it has to breathe to keep itself cool.

See, we’re not making this up. There’s a reason radio and recording studios look like they do.

One other note, it’s possible to be too obsessive. Microphones all have noise because of the way they work. Your job is minimize the trash and optimize the show. In practice, the noise will never go to zero and the show to one hundred and there are tricks such as always using background music and game sound.


My microphone position (YouTube video thumbnail):

Being in a dorm room, it is a bit difficult to move further from computer. I can probably move the microphone to the other side. This will be easier if I can get an apartment next semester.
I can definitely halve the distance from my mouth to the microphone.
I have little knowledge on acoustic shielding, so any advice would be helpful :slight_smile:.
I have a bed and the chair you see in the picture linked above. Again, hard to do in a dorm room, lol.
I have a pop filter, and I set it up when I am doing short commentaries. However, I have to place the filter in an inconvenient location. I wish I could attach it to the Rode arm, but the filter+mic weigh the arm down. I need to find a way around this.

Dueling posts.

Bare floor, ceiling and walls. That’s not a problem is it?

Get a piece of stiff cardboard, say 1M (3’) on a side, throw a towel over it and jam it between the computer tower (or wherever the computer is) and the microphone.

You can do noise suppression in real time. Put your headphones on, put Audacity in Playthrough mode, click Monitor and listen while you orient the microphone and slide your noise panel around. You can do it with your plain ears, too, but most people have spent decades learning to Tune Out noise, so trying to hear it intentionally is rough.

I once had to shoot a voice and my Usual Haunts were all busy. I picked a very large empty almost warehouse floor and just kept moving around until I found a place where the air conditioning rumble was least.

“Can we shoot this over here by the window?”
“No. We can’t.”


Thank you everyone for the help :slight_smile:. I will do my best to keep sound away from my microphone!

I will do my best to keep sound away from my microphone!

Unwanted sound, yes. Every recording technician has that phrase printed and mounted in a little frame on the wall.


Everybody spends decades learning to ignore sounds that don’t concern them. We tune them out. Ask anybody if their refrigerator makes noise and they’ll say no. It does, but we tune it out and that works really well for us until we need to make a recording in the kitchen.

“What’s that buzz in the background?”

Immediately followed by:

“Dear Audacity. How do I get rid of the buzz in my recording?”

That’s the compressor in your LG Chillmaker Pro. Turn it off or record in another room.