Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

September 6, 2011

Popping Problem? Probably Positional Placement.

Filed under: Recording, Technology — Tags: , , , — connieterwilliger @ 8:16 am

Every once in a while I’ll pop a “p” and have to do some editing to fix it, or even a redo, but plosives have not been a real problem for me. It is the sharp “s” that seems to be my biggest issue.

I have learned to hear the worst of my sibilance issues as they come out of my mouth and do a quick adjustment to my articulators (usually tongue placement more than anything else) and the next pass is usually sans-sibilance.

But the popping “p” doesn’t present itself until I listen to the recording. So preventing them from happening in the first place is the best plan of attack.

Dan Friedman, working voice talent and author of the book “Sound Advice,” is a frequent contributor to Procomm’s Voiceover Industry Articles. This one is all about that popping problem that plagues many voice actors.

Microphone Technique for Voice Over Talent

It includes a few pictures too – to help you find the “sweet spot” on your mic. Here’s one of them.

If you have a popping problem, read this article and experiment with your mic placement.



  1. Ahhh, sibilance. I must admit that I too tend towards being a tad sibilant at times. Certain microphones tend to bring out the sibilance more than others, while other microphones are actually specifically designed to help aleviate the issue.

    Low sounds tend to be measure from 0 – 150 or so hertz. Many projects use a filtere to “roll offf 80hz and below, which is sometimes called rumble, which will help with the preception of a “muddy” recording. Sibilance tends to live at the other end of the spectrum, somewhere betwen 5,000 and 7,000 hertz, or more typically referred to as 5k – 7k. Often, using a compressor, tends to attenuate those frequencies and can make the “ess” even more pronounced. Special software or hardware algorithms, which themselves are also compressors (yeah it gets confusing), often referred to as de-essers are most often emplyed to cut the edge. It’s a bit of an art to get it to sound good, but with the help and guidance of a trained recording engineer, one can learn many of the basics of how to apply “just enough”

    Some microphones have a scooped response, which means that by design some of the midrange, going into the “sibilance” range will be less pronounced. Other microphones tend to slope up at 2k and continue to do so util 8k or 10k. Those microphones, many of them expensive LDC’s or large diaphragm microphones, will often give even a more pronounced sibilance to recorded speech.

    Some mic pre’s can also have an effect on speech, coloring it one way or the other.

    Similarly, microphones have differenet capsules, may be solid state or tube and employ different headbaskets and design. One great idea, if for example you are working in a new studio and/ or a new microphone, is to askl for a few minutes to warm up. Tell the engineer that you would like to work the microphone from different distances and placement to get an idea of the response, and then ask to listen back. One way is to work it like a clock and start at 12 O’clock and move around until you finish at 11 o’clock. Listening back will give you an understanding of how your sound changes as you change position on microphone. It helps you develop a better trust in your relationship with the microphone.

    Here is a really nice little blog from Michale Joly, world renowned microphone modder and expert on a few basic aspects of microphones.

    Comment by J.S. Gilbert — September 6, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  2. I sure is nice to have friends who know stuff! Thanks J.S. I’m going to repost that link over on my class blog.

    Comment by connieterwilliger — September 6, 2011 @ 9:15 am

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