Removing Saliva Noise From Voice Recordings

Removing Saliva Noise From Voice Recordings

October 14, 2019 30 By Kailee Schamberger


Now that we’ve seen how to fix plosives or
P-pops using EQ, we’re gonna take a look at how we can prevent or fix another common problem
when recording vocals, saliva noises. So last time we talked about how to use an effect
called EQ, short for equalization, to fix plosives or P-pops in vocal recordings. Today,
we’re gonna talk about fixing saliva noises, those sounds that happen when you have too
much sticky spit and saliva under your tongue and around in your mouth. As with most things
with audio or just most things in general, it’s better to prevent problems than to fix
them if possible. And here are some ways that you can prevent saliva noise from getting
recorded at all. For me, eating some tart apples works, along with drinking some water.
Most of the advice you see around the web is drinking water, but experiment with other
things, some people swear by tea, some people swear by beer. So whatever works for you,
try that and see if you can use it to prevent the saliva clicks from getting into your vocal
recordings. But if and when they do get recorded, just like with editing out the P-pops in the
last lesson, it will be EQ to the rescue. Here’s an example of some audio I recorded
that had a very loud saliva click in it, and I was not able to prevent it, obviously, so
I’m going to edit it out and show you how to use EQ to do that. Let’s take a listen
to what we’ve got first. Though I usually record all my audio in Reaper so right in
here audio. Wow, that’s pretty loud.Now I know that the saliva click noises reside in
a frequency much different from the plosives. The P-pops were down in the low frequencies
and the saliva clicks are in the high frequencies. So first, let me zoom in to the selection
that had all of the awful audio. Yeah, it’s gonna be right in here. Then let’s go look
at the equalizer, Effect, and Equalization, EQ. Now I know from experience that most saliva
clicks can be reduced by starting at 5 kilohertz. By the way, I clicked the Graphic EQ button
here to load the Graphic EQ, which gives you the little sliders for each band. And we’re
gonna start at 5 kilohertz, and let’s drop that by about 12 decibels, and then let’s
go to 6.3 kilohertz and go down to about 15. And then we’re gonna take the next three bands
all the way up to 12.5 and just pull them all the way down to negative 20. So we’re
gonna scoop out these high frequencies right here and then just click Okay. Now let’s take
a listen my audio in Reaper. Pretty amazing huh. That got rid of the saliva clicks.The
problem however, you might have noticed that the audio that was treated was all of this
audio, and reducing those higher frequencies actually kind of muffled all of that audio
here. Record all my audio in Reaper. And we’d rather not affect all the audio that doesn’t
actually have a saliva click in it, so I’m gonna undo that audio in Reaper. And we’re
gonna try to zero in on areas of the voice that just have the saliva click in it.Well,
first of all, you can hear that it isn’t in the word ‘in’ at all, so we can exclude that
entirely. Audio in… Okay, there isn’t a whole lot in the first part of the word audio
either. So we can focus just on this area here. And I think there is a couple of actual
saliva clicks. So let’s see if we can narrow it down. Yeah, it sounds like there’s one
in there, so we’re going to go to Effect/Equalization. And since we’re gonna be applying this effect
multiple times throughout our audio, assuming we’re having a bad spit day, it doesn’t make
sense to keep going through and dragging these down every single time, so let’s do it one
more time here just so that we can save it as its own curve. And that way, at least,
we won’t have to drag these down again.So you go to Save/Manage Curves, and where it
says “unnamed,” you just go to Rename and type ‘saliva click’ in there and click Okay,
and click Okay again. And now, instead of having to pull down all of those sliders the
next time we use the Equalizer, just come in here, and go to Select Curve and select
Saliva Click, and it does it for us, and click Okay. Audio in…Okay, so… We got rid of
a click that was in this section, but there are other clicks we wanna get rid of. Now
it would be really cool if you could just save this preset as a keyboard shortcut, but
you can’t save custom presets in Audacity. What you can do is repeat the last effect
by clicking CTRL R on your keyboard. So we know that our next saliva click is there.
So if I click CTRL R, that takes care of it. Then if you find one down here and down here,
instead of having to go to Effect and load our curve, you can just hit CTRL R and reduce
the saliva clicks all away across your audio.So let’s have a little before and after to see
how effective this whole thing is. Save/Manage Curves, saliva click… And the next one is
there, so all we have to do is CTRL R to repeat our last command. Audio in Reaper, and we’ve
cleaned up our saliva clicks just that quickly before audio in Reaper after audio in Reaper.
So if you just can’t seem to get the saliva clicks out of your voice, here is one way
to do it using Audacity.