Voice Recording Quality


I’m recording voice over for youtube videos, and want to try to improve the quality without spending a fortune. I have a decent XLR cartioid mic, a TUBEPre preamp and record using a Porta-Booth to block out random room noise. I still have some white noise in my recordings

Here’s the Frequency Analysis
I realize fighting noise is a never-ending battle, but what is the next step? What is a reasonable goal?

I have a decent XLR cartioid mic

Which is? We thrive on details.

Your test clip is equal parts gentle rain-in-the-trees white noise and a refrigerator compressor somewhere in the apartment. Maybe computer fan noise.

This is where we find you’ve been recording with the microphone on top of the computer and it’s picking up fan rumble. You are using a shock mount, right?

Now post a short clip of your normal performing voice with about a second of silence on both ends. No Processing. Raw capture.


You can get roughly twice as much work time as your last file in that configuration.


Re-run your spectrum plot with Size at maximum and Axis set to Log Frequency then stretch the window across the width of your monitor. You’ll see something like this:
You can see that you have several very large, sharp spikes. You might try using the notch filter on each of those spikes to see if one or more of them is the primary culprit. Remember that the notch filter will remove the selected frequency from ALL of the recording, so there’s no guarantees. I have used it successfully to remove the whine of a heavy duty water pump from location recordings made at a water mill. I was pointed in that direction by Steve on this forum.

I have a MXL 2001 mic. It’s inside a Porta-Booth, and resting on the Auralex pyramids, which isn’t quite a shock mount but probably prevents vibration propagating up from the desk.

I’ve recorded a second clip with voice and noise. When I do the frequency analysis of the noise portion I do see peaks at about 20hz and a narrow one at 60, which I guess is electrical. Peaks are about -48db.

What is a reasonable expectation for noise in a home studio for voice over?

I was considering upgrading to a USB mic to avoid the preamp and reduce the potential for electrical interference. Anybody had any luck with them?

Do you have a grandfather clock in the room? Anything that could cause that rhythmic ticking sound? Most of the problem is still room noise. You sound like you’re recording in your mom’s kitchen with the echoes and all that stuff going on in the background behind you.


Soundproofing behind the microphone is half the fun. Now you have to soundproof the walls where the microphone points – you and behind you. We have people who record in a closet with blankets and quilts lining the walls to get rid of room reverberation.


Shifting to a high quality USB microphone is going to make the ticking and background sounds much better and clearer.

I applied gentle noise removal starting at 3 seconds. Turn it up to listen. There’s no tools to get rid of echo.


You can squelch long silences down to true silence with a noise gate

oh here’s a resized version of the mic photo above …