Should one take out all breathing sounds?

I notice in listening back to audiobook tracks, that where all narrator breathing has been taken out, the track sounds flat. Almost non human, and where breathing has been left in, it sounds more natural. It’s easy enough to paste room tone over breathing but as I say… it tends to flatten the story. Taking all naturalness out of it.
What’s the “norm” with this? Or is it really just a choice one has?
Anyone have an opinion on this?

I have had this discussion many times, in other podcasting forums. The end result was always left to the Podcaster. The ACX may have a different opinion though. At what point does listening to audio that is so “clean” that it removes human nature, become pleasant. Even a boring old tec manual, should have a little humanizing added in. I think that is what makes some Professors, stand out from others as well as some classes more enjoyable. (Lecture wise)

The metaphor for this is someone on the other side of the kitchen table telling you a story. I can hear most people breathe when they do that.

The ACX note on this is to remove distracting noises. I think hearing someone take a deep breath before telling you an important message is part of the theater.


I like the kitchen table analogy. Very true too, because one forgets that as we listen we are not just listening to the words, but the whole ‘communication’.

The ACX note on this is to remove distracting noises.

This of course refers I would think to the usual. The distracting “mouth noises”, outside mechanical sounds, computer whine and so on. Anything … distracting. Particularly repetitive noises, and any breath noises where one may be sucking in huge lungs full of air. Don’t go jogging before a recording session :slight_smile:

So so far, I’m pretty much on target. I’ll leave the ‘drawing a breath’ speaking moments in, as I feel they give the speech a certain continuity by filling the gaps between words with that faint whisper of breath sometimes. They are also very visible in Spectral view, that I use when editing mouth stuff…

Thanks for the comments guys. Most helpful.

That is a very good point. Maybe the best thing to do, is just that, take out the distracting noises while leaving the natural tone of light breathing in. Then submit the example and see if they want more cleaning of the file. It may just save an hour or two, during post production.

An excerpt:

Each uploaded file must be free of extraneous sounds such as plosives, mic pops, mouse clicks, excessive mouth noise, and outtakes.

This podcast is plosive city.

He’s probably beat me up if he found I was using his podcast as a bad example.


I would probably draw the line at someone asthmatically gasping for air between each sentence. Nobody can comfortably listen to that.


I think I know that guy. It sounds like a track from JDL’s group. 90% of that could be removed to a natural level, simply by talking past the mic. People think a pop filter will magically make the plosives disperse. As far as beating you up, he should be thanking you. I spend 6 to 8 hrs a day listening to podcast, mostly off of YT, when it is like the one you mentioned above, I simply click next.

Chase is a celebrity.

Reel Life Podcast

He’s also the one (1) who got Skype recording to work in Audacity, thus ruining it for hundreds of others unable to recreate his feat.


The breath sounds can be attenuated , rather than removing them completely , ( analogous to de-essing).
Steve’s noise gate has an adjustable attenuation, as does FloorFish.

I can record anything through my speakers with Audacity, Skype,, Google Hang Outs, ect. Is he doing another show?

I was talking with a producer at one of our local studios about mouth noises. He was saying that they spend the first 30 to 45 min of a secession, choosing mics as well as distance from the mic, to take out as much as they can, before they even hit the record button. I started playing around with his advice and was amazed, at the difference two inches could make as far as mouth noises. Not so much as they were completely removed, just the fact of how much they were reduced in volume. Slap on a noise reduction filter and let er eat. Since the db level was so small, the effect on the voice is reduced dramatically.

Back to the kitchen table. If you pushed your head against somebody’s face while they were speaking, you’d hear all sorts of trash. Unfortunately many microphones won’t work at long distances.


We are talking inches. Not miles. I really don’t push my face against someone, when I am having a conversation. So, back to your buddy…

Many USB microphones will not work at 3 or 4 foot distances to extend the kitchen table model. They will work very close-up which is where a lot of mouth noises come from. It’s a juggling act.


I use noisegate very effectively, after setting the attack and delay and the amounts–I de-amp all but the loudest breaths and nothing else. The loud ones get taken out as I edit–they’re easy to spot.

I’d be happy to share the settings if anyone is interested.
and in reference to the fish: (from their web/download site)

The mac version will most certainly not work on current Macs! They weren’t compiled for Intel-based Macs at all (due to the age of the code base…). So the software might only be of use for older machines…
Windows users: 32bits only here. Don’t ask for x64. No way