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We have a male actor who tends to breathe heavily and enunciates his p's quite distinctively. What could we do to reduce or completely remove the pop-like sounds during a live performance? Any eq settings or filter recommendations would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

  • We have high pass filter, compressor, gate, limiter, and eq available to us
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If you are using lavalier mics [tiny headset or tie-mics that look no bigger than a knot in the wire] then you should not set them directly in front of the mouth, but at the side, or even in the hair, if you really want them hidden. Hidden in clothing is also an option, though you can get a lot of movement noise that way.

Example images [stolen from Google, sorry copyright holders]

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Regretfully, this is not an easy thing to deal with on a technical level even in editing, during a live performance I'd say he has got to learn how to perform properly. This is a performance issue, and can't really be treated at all on the fly. Had it been heavy esses, then at least you could had tried de-esser on an insane setting, but P's are in a wide area shared by lots of other vital sounds in voices.

You could use a limiter though. It's not ideal for things like live performances, but if you can't replace him, then you will not have much choice. Is he aware of his flaws? I don't know if you're the director or the soundie, but if you're the director, then you must make him deal with this and train that away, if you are just the soundie, make the director aware of the problem and do your best with the limiter. It will probably not sound good, but at least it will not blow the speakers...and ears....

The breathing though, there is absolutely nothing to do about. For you.

  • By "not an easy thing to deal with even in editing", I of course mean that it's easy to treat in editing by manual editing, but it will mostly still sound like a far too over the top performance and take a whole lotta care to sound acceptable. – Christian van Caine Nov 5 '14 at 17:10
  • This is a highschool play, so perfect sound is not required. We have just tested the mic, and repositioning it below the mouth helps eliminate the pops. We'll try the limiter, thanks – NPESlayer Nov 5 '14 at 17:40

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