Five Things to Avoid When Recording

You prepare your space. You’ve cleared your schedule. You hit record, hop in the booth, and…uh oh, what’s that sound? 

Whether through your monitor while recording or listening back later, you’ve found an unidentified noise that means – quelle horreur! – you’ll have to re-record. 

It happens to the best of us. Whether it’s your third time behind the mic or your 300th, everyone can use a little refresher from time to time. So today I’ve put together a few things to avoid before and during recording time.

#1: Drinks That Aren’t Water

While occasionally an herbal tea with honey is appropriate – if you’re fighting a cold on a tight deadline, for example – nothing besides room temperature water has any place inside the booth. Yes, I did say room temperature. Cold water constricts your vocal cords and removes the protective layer of mucus your voice needs to perform its best. Besides water, nothing should be consumed. Caffeine is dehydrating, and anything fizzy will have you holding down burps or re-recording a LOT. So just save yourself the trouble and stick to water.

This probably does not bode well for his VO recording!

#2: Tummy Tones

Speaking of burps (yeah, we’re going there)…digestion in general isn’t a quiet business. Recording is like swimming, it’s best to wait half an hour after eating whenever you can. You’ll have a much easier time in the editing process. Otherwise, there’s bound to be one gastric gurgle that makes it through, and then, just like that, you’re adding to your pickup load. 

#3: Inconsistent White Noise

Anything that turns off and on automatically will create inconsistencies in your recording. While you don’t have to unplug everything when the mic is on, you do want your room noise to be consistent so you (or another editor) can isolate it to edit out later on. For example, I turn my AC off when recording and leave my air purifier on. The air purifier is on all the time so the noise is consistent, but the AC pops on and off based on the temperature. Sure, I get a little sweaty toward the end of my recording sessions (especially these last eight weeks!), but what’s art without some light suffering?

#4: Updating Equipment

Upgrading your equipment? Awesome. Go you. Make sure you wait until you’ve finished a project before you go around messing with your equipment settings, levels, and recording space. If you’re in the middle of an audiobook project or other long-form recording, don’t change anything until you’re finished. This includes finishing with pickups too! Just because the equipment is better doesn’t mean you can start using it right away. Consistency is key when completing a project. 

#5: Jewelry and Accessories

Hats, earrings, bracelets – heck, even some rings can make noise in the booth. Best to leave them all outside to get the best sound possible. You may not notice while recording, but you’ll wonder what that recurring thump or pop is during post-production. 

Caroline Turner Cole is a voice-over artist and coach based in Dallas, TX. Reach out and connect via Instagram @carolinecolestories or Twitter @ccolestories. 


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