Eliminating annoying mouth noises?

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mattskywalker95
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Post by mattskywalker95 » July 18th, 2017, 12:20 pm

Hello! I'm just getting started with Librivox, and I just made my first recording. I'm listening to it now and I'm discouraged by the fact that I'm making lots of annoying mouth noises. Wet sounds, you know. It's pretty distracting, and I'm pretty sure it would drive people crazy listening to it.

How do I stop these noises when I'm narrating? Do I need to be closer to the mic or further away? I'm already about 6 inches from it. Should my pop filter be helping with this? I'm drinking a bit of water as I read, and I think that's the main source of the issue. I thought about just not drinking water, but I can't exactly read my best if my mouth is dry.

Any help is appreciated!
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tovarisch
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Post by tovarisch » July 18th, 2017, 4:23 pm

I don't pretend to have those answers, so take this as it's intended - as just thinking out loud.

First off, many of us have those. If you can identify them in the recording, you could try editing them out. I do, mine. I am sure I leave some in, and nobody has complained so far (not that I look forward to hearing/reading about that :wink: ) They do occur naturally, and it's up to the listener to ignore them. To help the listener to ignore extraneous sounds, make sure that your delivery is engaging.

Second, there is probably a way to train yourself to make fewer of such sounds. If you know that you smack your lips or click with your tongue at the beginning of a sentence, try starting with your mouth slightly ajar. Perhaps make a touch longer pause between phrases. Trouble with trying to watch out is that you begin thinking on how to avoid those, instead of thinking of how to read correctly. Our brain can only think of one process at a time...

Third, no, the pop filter or the distance from the microphone most likely have no effect. If those clicks are loud, they will be recorded. Pop filter only protects your mic from directed air movement (like exhaling), not from vibrations. Sounds are vibrations. Clicks are vibrations. You could try speaking louder, which should make those clicks less noticeable, hopefully.

I've heard of a "declicker" (along with a "de-esser") sound effect, try looking around for recommendations on how to use those, perhaps.

However, don't get your hopes up with editing (especially automatic, using effects). It's better to avoid noises than to try to get them out later. And, try not to think too much about those.

Good luck!

ETA: just came across this thread, but didn't read it through.
tovarisch
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Availle
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Post by Availle » July 18th, 2017, 5:56 pm

Hi there and welcome!

First of all, don't worry too much about mouth noises. As tovarisch says above, we all make them all the time. We are our own worst critics, so even the fact that you find your own mouth noises terrible and distracting doesn't mean that anybody else will notice them at all.

Second, with those noises the issue is often not too much hydration, but too little. Try to stay well hydrated all day when you record, don't just start drinking while in front of the microphone. Another reader has put it well in another thread on here (which I can't find right now): "don't see your body as a bucket, see it as a sponge." And hydrated means water in this case, nothing else :wink:

Other readers have also stated that adding a little bit of lemon to your water may help eliminating those mouth noises altogether. It's probably worth a try.

Third, if things are really, really bad (and I don't believe they are), you can always try to cut out those noises during editing. I do this to eliminate obvious clicks (meaning those that are visible in the recording) during my normal pass of editing. I don't actively seek them out, but if I encounter any - mostly they are before starting a sentence - I just zoom in very closely and cut them out. It isn't much work, and whatever I leave in, nobody ever complained about those ;-)

All in all, don't worry too much about them. If the story is interesting and people like your voice and reading style, they will not notice.
Cheers,
Ava.

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mattskywalker95
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Post by mattskywalker95 » July 18th, 2017, 8:03 pm

Thank you both for the feedback! Gonna try recording again tomorrow, and I hope I'll be happier with the results. Gonna try not to judge myself too harshly. :lol:
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mightyfelix
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Post by mightyfelix » July 18th, 2017, 11:16 pm

Clicks drive me crazy, personally, although I didn't notice them at all when I first began recording. I now use the De-Clicker plugin for Audacity. It's basically magical. :lol: Before I found it, I often did cut individual clicks out during editing, but now I just let De-Clicker do its thing. It can take awhile, but it doesn't bother me much. I can go make a sandwich or check some newbie test files or something while I wait.

If you want to give it a try, you can find a link in the wiki. Be warned that it will also affect some of your harsher consonant sounds, so it's a good idea to test it on a smaller section before running it on your whole recording.
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Post by annise » July 18th, 2017, 11:22 pm

mightyfelix wrote:.........

If you want to give it a try, you can find a link in the wiki. Be warned that it will also affect some of your harsher consonant sounds, so it's a good idea to test it on a smaller section before running it on your whole recording.
And always save your reading other than as an aup file before experimenting with anything , takes seconds, saves rereading if something goes wrong. :D

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Post by Penumbra » July 21st, 2017, 9:09 am

Clicks that result from popping bubbles of saliva tend to be constant volume, so if you speak up (as if reading to someone across the room) then the relative loudness of the clicks will be less (not really a solution, just a way to diminish the impact). Also, loudness varies inversely with the square of the distance so you can try pushing the mic a little further away (again, obviously not a fix).

As for editing, clicks that fall at the end of or between words you can just cut out. I find that clicks in the middle of words can be eliminated with a low pass filter set to (for me) 800 hz. But this is tricky. You can run the filter on a few cycles and not notice it, but if you run it on an entire word it will sound distorted. It can also be tricky to actually find the click in the middle of a word. And it is rather tedious.
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Post by beeber » July 23rd, 2017, 11:12 am

As one who has been plagued by mouth noises, I would reiterate Availle's suggestion that it's probably not a question of too much hydration, but too little. As the mouth dries out, the cheeks and tongue become "sticky" and adhere to the gums and palate; when these mouth bits pull apart, there are little popping sounds.

For what it's worth, here are three observations.

• I listened to your test recording, and if that's typical of your recordings, you sound very good. Don't fall victim to the delusion of being hyper-critical of your own voice. Yes, on high-quality playback equipment, I can hear tiny mouth sounds, but they're not terrible, and that's not the way most people listen to LibriVox recordings. Still, if you're a perfectionist, it will probably bother you.

• I do use the De-Clicker plug-in which has been mentioned here. I leave it at the default settings, and, yes, it really works. It does, however, muffle some consonants like t and p. Your reading is so nicely crisp, I think it would be a shame to muddy it. Listen carefully to alternate versions — with and without De-Clicker — and see if you think it's worth it.

• Here's what has been the best solution for me. I used to always have a glass of water with lemon added to it, because a voice coach had recommended it. However, I've now found something that works way better (for me). It's a commercial product, available in drug stores. (No, I'm not getting paid to plant this plug in the forum!) There's a line of products called Biotene, designed for people who suffer from "dry mouth." My recording routine is now to first brush my teeth with their toothpaste, then take a swig of their mouthwash, and hold it in my mouth for the 3 or 4 minutes it takes me to get the recording set up and ready to go. Then I spit out the mouthwash and I'm good to go for about 30–45 minutes of recording. (During that time, I don't drink any water, because you don't want to wash away the lubrication that's left in your mouth from the mouthwash.) The company claims that the treatment should last for 4 hours, but they probably don't have in mind someone who's doing a reading. This, more that anything else, works for me.

Good luck.
Bruce

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Post by AprilWalters » January 11th, 2018, 6:33 pm

I looked up Biotene on Amazon, and reviewers are saying the formula significantly changed and is no longer helpful. Apparently this happened when GlaxoKline bought the company and removed the enzymes, in 2016ish?

I also avoid alcohol-based mouthwash and have found a prescription toothpaste to be better for me (better mouthfeel and far better results), but I'd be interested in a mouthwash if it would help dry-mouth (noted side-effect of so many brain meds). I hydrate pretty well, but clicking less would be nice. Thanks!
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Penumbra
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Post by Penumbra » January 12th, 2018, 9:57 am

FWIW, I found a better technique than using a low pass filter for deleting mouth clicks. For my voice (and clicks) I now use a notch filter set to 3300 Hz and Q of 0.5. This is a wide enough notch to catch all the click but not so wide as to distort my voice, at least over short time spans. It isn't necessary to locate the exact edges of the click so it isn't impossibly tedious. Unfortunately I can't just notch filter the entire file since that tends to deaden my voice more than I like.

The biotene thing didn't work for me. I have better luck sipping water and keeping my mouth clear of saliva buildup by frequent swallowing.
Tom Penn

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Post by TriciaG » January 12th, 2018, 12:57 pm

The DeClicker add-on is a miracle worker! But it works best on short pieces of audio since it will take away some of the T and K sounds as well, if you're not careful.

Old thread on the de-clicker: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=52753
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Post by MagicMan » January 16th, 2018, 7:03 am

mattskywalker95 wrote:
July 18th, 2017, 12:20 pm
Hello! I'm just getting started with Librivox, and I just made my first recording. I'm listening to it now and I'm discouraged by the fact that I'm making lots of annoying mouth noises. Wet sounds, you know. It's pretty distracting, and I'm pretty sure it would drive people crazy listening to it. How do I stop these noises when I'm narrating? Do I need to be closer to the mic or further away? I'm already about 6 inches from it. Should my pop filter be helping with this? I'm drinking a bit of water as I read, and I think that's the main source of the issue. I thought about just not drinking water, but I can't exactly read my best if my mouth is dry. Any help is appreciated!
You can check out this post I put up a few weeks ago concerning your issue. I now use this methought before I sit down to record speech. :wink:

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