The Background Noises of Life

We’re not always recording our audios, teleseminars, and webinars in sound proof boxes. We might be in our office, at our kitchen table, or even recording an interview on the go at an event or meeting. Sometimes the background noises of life sneak into the final audio. Sometimes we’re not even sure what they are at first because we didn’t think there was any noise when we were recording. If it’s just you doing a presentation or podcast you might have the option to just redo the recording and eliminate whatever caused the noise, or maybe it’s easily isolated and you can have it cleaned up in editing.

Here are a few background noises that we’ve noticed sneaking their way into recordings lately. Some required redoing audio segments, but others were left in as the background noise of life in general…

  • ceiling fun hum (re-recorded the segment)
  • dog snoring (left in)
  • furnace kicked on (cleaned up in editing)
  • phone ringing (left in)
  • dishes clanging during an interview in a restaurant (left in)
  • birds chirping (left in)

What you do with the background noises in your audio is up to you and can depend on what audience the recording is for. In many cases it’s actually okay to leave in a slight noise, in other cases you might want to have it edited and remove the extra noise.

Birds chirping when you’re recording outdoors can be considered ambient noise and is to be expected. I can say from experience that ceiling fans frequently ruin audio recordings in the summer months.

Surprisingly, the things we don’t notice as noise in our day to day lives, like the hum of a ceiling fan or the dishwasher running, can be the most annoying sounds to pick up on a recording. While they’re just white noise to us during the day and barely even noticeable, they seem magnified on a recording. And because they’re long and constant noises that last a long time, they’re often the most difficult to edit out afterwards.

Before you hit record, take a moment to do a quick check of your surroundings for anything that your microphone might pick up, even the things that you wouldn’t normally consider noisy, like that ceiling fan or a nearby air vent. When you’re finished recording, be sure to listen through your audio all the way for any sound inconsistencies that may have found their way in.