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Earlier, I was recording a podcast and realized that in certain parts of the voice track, there is this metallic-sounding noise while I talk. Any idea what could cause this?

I record with a Samson Q2U using the USB interface on Garageband (Mac).

Here`s a link to a short piece from the audio: sample (complete audio file here)

Thanks a lot.

  • Can you cut this down? Putting a >130Mb file full of huge swathes of silence isn't going to endear you to people, can you cut this down to a small file that contains an example of what you mean? – Keef Baker Dec 18 '15 at 15:44
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    I had a quick listen to the first couple of words and only heard a slight metallicness on the 2nd one which could be caused by a standing wave. If you have the person speaking pointing at a wall with a wall behind and it's short you could end up with a small amount of slapback that could cause some phase issues. – Keef Baker Dec 18 '15 at 15:46
  • This is really hard to say with a 3 sec sample. Could you send us a longer sample please?! – JSmith Dec 18 '15 at 22:29
  • This is the whole audio file:dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/322971/Gui%C3%B3n%203.2.aif The sounds starts towards the end. Many thanks for all your time – J.J. Dec 21 '15 at 11:50
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It might be your headphones leaking into your microphone. The sound of your voice in the headphones is a tiny bit delayed from the acoustic sound of your voice, and the leakage from the headphones is likely mostly higher frequencies, and so the result is a sort of a robot effect on your voice. It may come and go as you lean in closer to the microphone and it picks up your headphones or lean back and the headphones don’t get picked up.

You can test this by turning your headphones up and leaning in close to the microphone and see if you can reproduce the effect.

The solution might be to turn down the volume of your headphones while recording if that is practical. Generally speaking, they should be as low as they can be while still providing the monitoring you need. Another solution is to get a new set of headphones that don’t leak as much. If your headphones are open-ear, get over-the-ear or in-ear.

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It sounds very much like some sort of noise reduction/gating/expansion is "taking out" most of the noise, which is why you only hear it when you speak. It is there on the source the whole time actually.

See if you temporarily can disable that noise reduction effect whereever it is. This will allow you to identify the noise origin and do something about it.


The issue could be related to one or more of these points:

  1. the room has reflective surfaces (tiles etc)
  2. you used some badly isolated headphones
  3. you didn't use headphones and had monitoring on with external speakers or laptop speakers

About #1: get some carpets, curtains etc things that dampen the room, and if you do not already use a microphone reflection filter get one.

About #2: You'd be surprised how much head phones can leak, and how well high gained large diaphram mics will pick that up ;-) Combine that with #1 and its bad. Get a decent set of closed back on ear headphones and keep the volume down.

About #3: This should be obvious: having your own voice monitored as you speak will create echoes, feedbacks etc, because it gets picked up again by the mic. Combine that with #1 and it gets really really bad ;-) Don't do it, get decent headphones.

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It's probably from your voice. It will sound metallic when you hit certain notes. Try forcing air out from your diaphram and you will sound cool like a radio Disk Jocky

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