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Fixing Explosive P’s

May 7, 2010


Did you know that certain sounds can prevent a Voice Over Artist from getting great jobs? 
It’s true . . . & believe it or not, there are quite a few!

For example, below is a list of things a professional may think about when voicing a “P” word.  Here’s why:  Put your hand in front of your mouth about 1″ away. Now say the word, “probably.”  You will definitely feel air from your mouth hitting your hand.  & when that little burst of air is recorded — it makes the mic “pop.”  That sound is NO BUENO.

So, here’s a quick look into some things we concentrate on to fix the explosive P.  
(Have fun trying some of these out!)

  • Obtain a pop filter that is metal, not just a mesh fabric.  This is set up in between your mouth & the microphone. That will filter some of your air from the mic, & help soften the pop.
  • Make sure that your mouth is roughly 45 degrees to the mic. Also make sure that your mouth is an inch below the center portion of the sweet spot of the mic.
  • In editing, sometimes you can highlight that beginning of the sound in your audio file, & fade it in. Or normalize it a bit below the rest, to soften the sound.
  • Practice proper breath control. Breathing from your diaphragm is key. Your diaphragm is a band of muscles in the midsection of your body (think of a belt around your waist) that helps push air up through your lungs.
  • A slight smile works. Not so much though that your copy sounds like you’re smiling. Just widen your mouth as if to smile.
  • Lighten the pressure on your lips to make the “P” sound.  In that way, air is released more gently & can eliminate the poppy sound.
  • Rather than forcing air out from your lips on a “P,” try rolling your bottom lip from inside your mouth to out — as you go more gently on your “P.”
  • Try to combine a “P” & a “B.”  Sounds odd, but when you get it, it works well!
  • Gripping a pen between your teeth, proceed to read a line of copy, while trying to accurately pronounce every sound in every word. Remove the implement & your mouth will fly just like your feet do, when you remove the training weights!
  • Practice in front of a lit candle until you can make the sound without making the flame flicker. It’s low-tech, but it’s tried & true.

Now, did you ever think recording a “P” word would ever be that involved? 
As always . . . the professionals know!

Rose Caiazzo of Rose Consulting, LLC & Rose Recordings, LLC
The Art of Voice. The Power of Social Media.

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