Your microphone can pick up a lot of unwanted noise that you might not notice right away. Listen for these common issues before you hit record.

Background Noise

Electrical Hum and Buzz Fluorescent lights, refrigerators, power lines, or improperly grounded equipment can cause a constant, low-frequency hum that can appear in your recording.

Traffic and Outdoor Noises Take care to avoid sounds from outside like cars, planes, sirens, barking, or conversations. These noises are often difficult to remove in post-production and can easily disrupt the training or conversion process.

Air Conditioning and Heating Systems HVAC systems can create a constant, ambient background noise. Their cycling on and off not only adds unwanted sound but also varies the noise floor, making consistency in recordings a challenge.

Computer and Device Noise Don’t forget the hums and whirs of your own equipment. Computers, hard drives, and even LED lights can contribute to a noisy recording environment.

Furniture and Accessory Movements Shuffling papers, creaking chairs, and jangling jewelry or keys can intrude unexpectedly into your recording.

Room Reverberation

Hard, flat surfaces can cause sound reflections, leading to reverb or echo in your recordings. This can make your tracks sound hollow or distant, taking away from the intimacy or clarity you might be aiming for.

Clap your hands sharply in the room and listen. If you hear a flutter or a prolonged echo, you’ve got reverb issues.

Soft materials absorb sound. Carpets, rugs, or even thick curtains can dramatically reduce reflections. Cover hard floors, and if possible, hang curtains over windows and place fabric-covered furniture in the room.

Hard surfaces are a no-go. If you can’t afford professional acoustic panels, consider using everyday items like canvas paintings, tapestries, or foam tiles to break up these surfaces.

Be mindful of where you place your microphone. Avoid recording too close to walls or in corners. Aim for the center of the room, or experiment with different placements to find the sweet spot with minimal reverb.

Pro Tip: Belting? Give yourself space

When belting, you might need more space: both in terms of distance from the mic and room size. Too much sound isolation (if you’re in a closet, booth, or if your microphone is surrounded with foam) can quickly lead to an overloaded mic capsule. When in doubt, opt for more room sound on belted phrases.

Headphone Bleed

When recording, especially vocals, headphone audio can bleed into the microphone. This is common if the headphone volume is too high or if you’re using open-back headphones.