Here Are Some Tricks For Removing Plosives
There are certain things that separate great tracks from clearly amateur tracks. And bad engineering is one of them. If there are plosives in your track, that could ruin the whole experience. So how do you remove plosives?
In this post, I’ll go over what plosives are, how to keep them out of your recording, and a few methods and plugins that can help reduce these unwanted sounds.
What Are Plosives?
If you forget what a plosive is, just think “explosive.” This is what it sounds like in the recording.
It’s when a vocalist sings something that causes a shot of air to leave the mouth, hitting the mic. Plosives usually involve Ps, Bs, Fs, CHs, and others. Once that blast of air hits the mic, you can’t simply remove it in post production. It doesn’t sound good or professional, and it can also make the input levels peak.
Plosives are unacceptable if you want your song to be industry level. So how do you avoid them in the first place?
How To Keep Plosives Out Of Your Recording
Simply put, the best anti-plosive method is prevention. If the plosive never hits the mic, there’s no editing to do after the fact, and even that can fully remove it.
That’s why it’s crucial to know how to properly record vocals.
So here are a few tips on preventing plosives in your recording:
- Use a fabric or perforated metal pop filter between the singer’s mouth and the mic
- Place the mic between nose and forehead level — this keeps the trajectory of the air blast away from the mic
- Place the mic to one side of the mouth
- Use an omnidirectional mic as they are less sensitive to pressure
- Encourage the singer to use good mic technique, which included slightly turning away when they sing certain words
Methods And Plugins That Help Remove Plosives And Unwanted Sounds
Unfortunately, sometimes plosives still end up in the recording, despite everyone’s best efforts. Maybe you didn’t notice it during recording, or maybe you only realized there was a subtle plosive after you mastered the track.
The good news is that there are post-production fixes for this problem.
Here are a few plugins and methods you can use to reduce or remove plosives (and any weird sounds).
If you’re trying to save a recording with a plosive in it and you’re not able to re-record the part, you can use the ol’ cut, copy, and paste method.
Find the plosive syllable and see if you can replace it with a non-plosive syllable from somewhere else in the song. Cut the little sliver of audio, then copy and paste the “good” sliver of audio from somewhere else in its place.
Then all you have to do is properly crossfade those items and it should work!
Drastically Drop The Gain
If you can’t find another syllable from another part of the song that will fit in place of the plosive, you can try dropping the gain at that point.
You can cut either side of the item, leaving the plosive alone as its own item. Then you can reduce the volume of that item drastically, until the plosive is not so plosive-y.
It’s sort of like manual de-essing. You need to reduce the sound, but not so much that it disappears.
Use A Noise Removal Plugin
If that still doesn’t get rid of that nasty pop, there are noise removal plugins you can try.
I use Reaper as my DAW, so I like to use its built-in noise removal plugin called ReaFir.
For other DAWs, here are a few plugins that get a lot of praise:
However, the thing with all of these plugins is they can tend to negatively affect the overall audio quality. So it’s best to use them lightly and make sure the rest of your audio doesn’t get screwed up.
If none of these work, you can slap a high-pass filter on the section that has the plosive. This works similarly to ReaFir, it’s just manual so you have more control. But if you do it just right, it can help reduce the presence of the plosive.
Would you add any tips for removing plosives? Let us know in the comments below!
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Audio Production, Recording Tips, Recording Vocals