6 Tips for Removing Breaths from Audio Recordings | Voices.com Blog - Where clients and voice actors can find valuable information on pre-production, technology, animation, video and audio production, home recording studios, business growth, voice acting and auditions, celebrity voice actors, voiceover industry news and more! Audio

6 Tips for Removing Breaths from Audio Recordings

Do you struggle with editing audio tracks?

Audio Daily reached out to industry experts to get their advice on the best way to remove breaths, pops, and other unwanted noises from audio recordings.

From the technical perspective to the performance-based point of view; audio engineers, musicians and voice actors offer up their professional advice on editing the breaths out of audio tracks.

The absolute most effective way to remove breaths is with automation. Though time-consuming, manually turning down or removing breaths leaves no chance for error and you have control over how natural the end result will be. Breaths have a distinct shape when looking at the waveform so it can often be done quicker than real-time.

Apart from this, Waves has a plug-in called De-Breath which automatically reduces breaths by a set number of decibels based on level settings in the plug-in. While it works decently, it can take time to set it up just right and if the program material changes, it is either going to miss breaths, or reduce actual words.

Side note: often times voices are compressed, which effectively limits the dynamic range of the voice, which makes breaths appear to be much louder, sometimes as loud as the spoken voice.

Scott Horton
Online Music Mixing and Mastering

On the Vocal, track you can either insert an EQ or automate out the low freq that is the issue. Or set a high pass filter from 100 hz and down, for every time the breath or Pop happens, automate and reduce the gain (DB) enough to remove the breath or pop.

Set up a new track with an EQ inserted on it, set the same values and find all the breaths or pops and drag them down to the processed track. Plus this way you can also adjust volume of the pops also.

In Protools, you can use the “audiosuite” drop down menu select an EQ, use same settings and process the audio file (waveform) in order to get rid of the breaths & Pops. But this way will make it harder to go back and make small adjustments.

Phil Magnotti
Grammy award-winning audio engineer

An engineer can listen through the recording and manually automate the volume of a track to dip wherever there are loud or distracting breaths. This is probably the most effective and natural sounding method, as each breath is listened to and worked on individually by the engineer.

An experienced engineer can go through an entire recording rather quickly using this method, simultaneously reducing the volume on all of the breaths and increasing the volume on quiet words. With this method, there is no danger of ending up with an unnatural sounding recording (at least there shouldn’t be). Any engineer worth his pay should be able to produce a very smooth vocal track with very gentle and virtually invisible attenuation of breaths.

Christian Deane
Mix Engineer

I am a sound engineer by day and VO by night and I use Adobe Audition CS6 for removing or reducing breaths. It’s a very simple process by simply adjusting the level or volume of the breaths between words to your desired taste. There are other programs out there that can perform this task but I find Adobe Audition to be the simplest and most effective in my everyday work.

Oliver Dukcevic
Voice Over Artist

Breathing through your mouth as opposed to breathing through your nose will help reduce the presence of breaths in the recording. The air that is pulled through the nose creates a higher frequency than that through the mouth, which will stand out in the recording. A studio musician must be aware of breathing noise constantly and must practice breathing in a silent matter in preparation for a recording session. Finding the right balance is the key, and these tools will make the mixing process much easier.

Anthony L. Ybarra

As a voice-over artist myself, I know the pros usually breath naturally to avoid taking an audible breath on mic. Less experienced speakers who practice upper-chest breathing often lapse into taking big gasp-y gulps of breath (because they are nervous and not breathing efficiently) and that is what the mic picks up. So the best way to remove those breaths is not to have them recorded in the first place!

Ann Timmons
Communications Artist

Do you have editing tips of your own to share?

We welcome your comments below.

Related articles

What Is Text to Speech? Part 1 in our TTS Series

Text to Speech (TTS) tools are a relatively new technology, but chances are you have already seen, or more accurately, heard TTS in action.

A female singer stands in the background. In the foreground is a microphone with a red pop filter in front of it.
Voice Over
The Art of the Audition: How to Make the Most of Your...

Auditioning for voice over jobs can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. Follow these audition tips to make the process less daunting.

Audio Technology
Best Audio Interfaces for Mac

Do you want to start a podcast? Are you getting into voice acting? Or are you looking to add a perfect voice over to a video you’ve been working on? Look no...


  • Avatar for Rich Sackett
    Rich Sackett
    May 11, 2013, 10:33 am

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned this in their materials, ACX recommends pasting in recorded room tone. That works perfect, esp on spoken-word stuff where a >6dB volume dip is noticeable and distracting. Great for teeth sucks, too.

  • Avatar for Lin Parkin
    Lin Parkin
    May 13, 2013, 8:56 am

    Hi Rick,
    This is another great tip! As I understand it, recording room tone also makes the editing sound more like a natural pause compared to simply cutting the breath out.
    Thanks for your comment!

  • Avatar for C Cohen
    C Cohen
    May 17, 2013, 8:01 pm

    YES, Cosigning. I thought I was the only one who did this. My prerecorded room tone is my lifesaver.

  • Avatar for Jack de Golia
    Jack de Golia
    May 27, 2013, 9:15 am

    For audiobooks, I keep a small library of clean, click-free, quiet breaths (one long and one short) as well as ending consonants (d, t, p, k, th, p-d), all copied from another mastered audio file of mine. I mark problem breaths or consonants clipped by TwistedWave effects stack processing. Using TwistedWave’s “Markers Window,” I can quickly return to the marked problems and paste over the problem breath with a suitable one or replace the consonant. For commercials, I silence overly loud breath and cut the space they took up by 1/3 or 1/2 depending on how it sounds (you never want to completely eliminate the breath gap unless maybe you’re direction is to sell cars frantically)
    With both audiobooks and commercials, part of my mastering includes replacing all silences with room tone, using TwistedWave’s “special paste” function.

  • Avatar for Joel Block
    Joel Block
    June 4, 2013, 12:26 pm

    I’m fortunate to have a really silent recording room, so, generally, I’ll just snip out the breath (in ProTools), then pull the files on either side together by approximately 25% to account for the missing breath. And, of course, every now and then I’ll leave the breaths in, usually reducing their levels a bit. If I’m working with audio from another studio or location, I’ll cut and paste the room tone. That works well. Happy editing and best to all.