Speakers Popping the mic solutions anyone?

I record a lot of luncheon speaking engagements and master classes with both video and audio.
I master the speaking in Cubase.

One particular new speaker (a high ranking board member of the organization) has a consistent problem of popping the mic.
I tried moving him back from the mic, yet still his method of speaking elicits blasts of air.

I can’t retrain the speaker, he’s an older fellow and has no time for instructions or lessons.

I can’t put a pop stopper type of screen up like in the recording studio, since I’m video taping him in front of a live audience. So I need to see his face clearly on closeups of him talking and asking questions.

Has anyone found a good plug in and settings or combination that works well to remove pops from speech?
These audio tracks are 2 hours to 3 hours long, so going into every single pop is not a economical option.
I record these events as a volunteer and master the audio to match the video for the sake of having a nice clear record of the event for our archives. Sometimes we distribute these to members so I like it to be as professional sounding as possible since our membership is mostly musicians. (arrangers/composers/orchestrators/copyists - behind the scenes music professionals in the studios)

It would be just great if someone who has conquered this often neglected topic could give me (and hence others reading this) a working method for fixing this problem.

Another related problem is that I have to record the audio levels a little low as a safety matter since I can’t do a 2nd take as this is a live event. And due to the popping from the one one person speaking, I can’t normalize the audio track like I might be able to do in other circumstances to get the levels up and then use a Waves compressor to get any extra needed volume.

If I do try to do that here, the blasts from the popping consonants sound like John Bonham’s kick drum…if you know what I mean. I’ve been experimenting with a really short bandwidth eq and dipping it way down, but that seems to take too much vocal character out of the sound, especially for the 2nd speaker who may be speaking fine with no pops. However it is coming off the board mono, so I can’t separate them into L and R during the event and again on the recording.

So I’m really (in the end) trying to accomplish 2 things: getting rid of the popping blasts,
so I can then get more volume from the track (mono of a board) by running it thru a compressor like Waves L1, L2 or L3.

any professional advice would be welcome, but please no quick jabs at the talent (haha)…thanks

el profe

This is where a side chained compressor can come in handy, use an EQ to exaggerate the low frequency of the pop/air blast and feed that to the compressors sidechain with the compressor strapped across the vocal channel.

Strap a small condenser (lapel) mic to the main one (or strap it to his lapel) and use the main for the PA and the condenser to record from.
Or. As you give him the mic “accidentally” biff him in the mouth with it. :mrgreen:

Have you tried something like this?


I would go for the two mic solution one for the live sound and another (preferabaly small in size) further back for the recording.
Can work in the studio too , mike up front mainly only used for foldback, one slightly off to the side and further back doing the work

Two rubber bands and a pencil might be all you need…

First of all, thank you all for you replies.

Right now all I’ve done to some effect is
to use a Waves C4 in a preset called BassComp/De-esser and moving the 2nd frequency (which is the dipped one) down into the low range to find the area that most minimizes the blast. It works so-so. Not a huge difference, but some.
There’s got to be something better.

I haven’t done a side chain before, so I watched a Waves compressor tutorial, but by the time they got to that part,
I was exhausted (1hr video) as it was near the last quarter. I guess I’ll watch it again and try to fast forward to that, now that I know that it’s there. But I didn’t get how to actually step by step set that up. Everyone just says to do it, but nobody shows how they did it, if you know what I mean.

Somebody can say ‘eq’ the section, but that’s not the same as:

  1. select an eq, turn it on, select a band, move the center freq around as you move the gain up and down to see the effect, etc.
    if you know what I mean,
    One is a command: ‘do it’ ,the other is an explanation of ‘how to do it’…haha… :astonished:

Anyone have a preset(or presets) that work(s) well for this?
I have the following plug-ins (or family):
Waves Diamond Bundle ver
some Brainworx stuff
all the Steinberg default plugins

The concept is to find a solution for an already recorded track.
However, the suggestions for future avoidance are welcome.
Yes it is best to record it with the least or no problems to start off with.

The other consideration on the already recorded track is the fact that it’s anywhere from
a one hour recording (luncheon speech) to a 3 hour speech (master class) recording.

I’ve been using shure sm-58 ball mics, so I can try the windscreen foam on the outside.
Someone also suggested putting a 2nd internal foam screen inside the ball.

I attached a jpeg of the lips to mic distance.
speaker popping mic.jpg
I love the pencil and rubber band concept and would like to rig up something like that for the ball mic.
I imagine the solution there is an aerodynamic division of the frontal edge of the blast, slicing into 2 halves
therefore preventing a direct wind collision across the flat internal mic surface at 90 degrees, instead shearing it off to the sides.

also, there’s no budget at this time for a lapel mic or 2nd mics since the venue supplies all that stuff including the mono board mix. (I’d love to be in more control of that aspect, but unfortunately can’t at this time).

but those were all great suggestions to and I wanted to thank you for planting those in my head for future situations where I do have more control.

el profe

I will also try the foam outer wind screen, but I’m not certain that will work as an effective ‘pop’ filter or not.
I was also told to try an extra inner ball mic screen, so that’s another option.
I just hope that it won’t make the sound too muddy eliminating the softer high freqs in the process.

el profe

Duplicate the vocal channel, ch a and ch b

put the stock Cubase compressor on ch b, switch on the side chain

select the side chain input on ch a send 1 (0dB)

either use the inbuilt cubase EQ or use a plugin eq on channel a

Find the low frequency component of the wind blast and boost a lot, cut the surrounding frequencies.

Set ch a output routing to no connection (so you cannot hear it but still sends to ch b side chain input)

Play with compressor threshold with a fast(ish) attack and release time, auto makeup off.

There are many good advices here about what to do about the bad recordings, but instead of recording it bad every time and spending time on fixing things there are some things you could try to make the recording as good as possible from the start.

First of all, try to increase the angle between the microphone and the mouth of the speaker, you can easily move it 60-80° in either direction (pointing at the mouth) and still achieve a good voice sound with much less risk of plosives causing problems.
The second tip is to try a pressure microphone (omni) instead of a pressure gradient type, these are a bit more forgiving regarding plosives but if there is much reverberation in the location and/or the crowd is near it may sound too “roomy”.


IZotope Rx appears to do everything you’re after & more.


I’ve not used it for this, but it looks to be fairly effective from the video & probably more importantly for such long recordings is pretty much automated. It’s not the cheapest solution but it’s a pretty handy tool to have anyway. Izotope often offer time-limited demos which might be enough to clear any backlog you have.

For future recordings perhaps you could look at using a PZM?

I’m 100% sure I read an article of a new company recently who produced popshields you could place inside dynamic mics. Just checked all my recent magazines but I couldn’t find it again :frowning:

yes what conman says is the best idea . although you could always make it so the mike is live so if his lips touch it hell get a little belt or maybe a big belt ,that generally keeps people at a good distance from the mike and im speaking from lots of experience… ouch!! only kidding.

Thanks again, some great suggestions as always.

Re: Speakers Popping the mic solutions anyone?

  1. Duplicate the vocal channel, ch a and ch b.
  2. Put the stock Cubase compressor on ch b, switch on the side chain.
  3. Select the side chain input on ch a send 1 (0dB).
  4. Either use the inbuilt cubase EQ or use a plugin eq on channel a.
  5. Find the low frequency component of the wind blast and boost a lot, cut the surrounding frequencies.
  6. Set ch a output routing to no connection (so you cannot hear it but still sends to ch b side chain input).
  7. Play with compressor threshold with a fast(ish) attack and release time, auto makeup off.

I will try this, as I was really curious on how this process works (side chaining).
And if it works I will proceed with the couple videos with this one speaker who has the plosives problem (a sax player by trade, so I guess he’s just trained for many years to get the air into the sax and can not unlearn that technique).

I did download a C4 bundle of presets from Waves made by celebrity engineers/producers.
One particular C4 preset bundle I uploaded to my C4 were by a fellow named: Hale.
His preset called Hale Plosive Catcher 3 seemed to work best.
Here’s a picture of the setup:
I’ll A/B this with the suggested sidechain above.

This setting worked best, but did chop a lot of beautiful low end off their voice quality. (there were 2 speakers going back and forth, but a mono recording of them on the same track). If I tried bringing up the low end afterwards it just brought the pops back up, so I’m hoping the side chain is more narrow yet yielding good results

I think the real deal would be for someone to make (and I would purchase) a 360º dual screen pop filter that could clamp down and encircle a ball mic. This would not be intrusive for live video taping of speakers or even singers. It would add a small extra circumference to the SM58 ball and kill the pop. A big flat pop filter screen is better for studios.
The pencil idea mentioned above is still interesting though, just need a miniature golf scoring pencil and a good rubber band setup to keep it from rolling off. (I guess grey rubber bands and grey pencil with no point would look best on camera.

or a small clip on pop screen say 2" in diameter that clips onto the barrel of the ball mic and can be adjusted to be right at the top of the ball which seems to be where everyone tries to aim their speech or singing to. If they are an exception and talk to the side of the mic (which seems that it wouldn’t create a lot of popping, but say it did) they (or the sound/recording man, me) could quickly spin it around to the side.

all the very best,

el profe

Here’s the C4 with the Hale: Plosive 3 setting on and off for comparison.

(hmm, tried uploading as attachments, but not seeing them as attached or offering for me to place them
guess it didn’t like them as aif files)

it’s not totally eliminating the plosive, just reducing it’s impact on the audio, but still there.

The Isotope demo on youtube of their plugin and process is impressive, but it isn’t a setup and go for 1 to 2 hours of audio fixed on export like the C4 is.
It’s more like - doing surgery on each plosive, or did I get something wrong.
It didn’t seem so ‘automatic’, which is what I’d be interested in at this moment.

With good paying clients I often go plosive by plosive and can just get rid of the initial attack while retain the syllable’s consonant enough so that it’s not noticed as surgically altered.
With this low budget/semi/volunteer work, I just don’t have the time.
Especially since these audio tracks are from 1 to 3 hours long.

Again a small ball mic pop filter would be the ultimate solution.

all the best,

el profe

This is killing me :imp:
Can anyone with the latest few SOS magazines check for it please, it must’ve been there or in Future music max 2 months ago.