The Sound Effects Encyclopedia: Human sounds

Recording human sounds is often straightforward, as performers can follow directions and quickly produce the necessary sounds. However, working with infants and children is more challenging, requiring patience and multiple sessions.

Microphone Selection for Voice Work

There are two main approaches to microphone selection for recording human sounds:

  1. Large Condenser Microphones: Using mics like the Rode NT-2000 or the Neumann TLM-103 can provide a rich, full-bodied voice. Position the mic less than a foot from the performer’s mouth and use a pop filter to reduce plosive sounds from words starting with “b” or “p.” Avoid using outboard processing gear for sound effects to capture a clean and natural sound.
  2. Short Shotgun Microphones: Place the shotgun mic a few feet in front of and above the performer, angled toward the mouth, similar to an ADR session. This setup helps match the dialogue typically recorded on film sets, providing a sense of air and room around the voice.

Recording Tips

  • Ensure the performer wears over-ear headphones to prevent sound spill.
  • Avoid recording immediately after meals or sugary drinks to prevent mouth noises. Room temperature water is best for hydration during sessions.

List of Human Sound Effects to Record

  • Blow Nose
  • Breathe
  • Burp
  • Chew
  • Clear Throat
  • Cough
  • Cry
  • Fart
  • Gag
  • Gargle
  • Giggle
  • Grimace
  • Groan
  • Grunt
  • Hiccup
  • Laugh
  • Moan
  • Phrases (Hello, Goodbye, I Love You, etc.)
  • Raspberry
  • Reactions (Ah, Oh, Aww, etc.)
  • Scream
  • Shush
  • Sigh
  • Sip
  • Slurp
  • Smack Lips
  • Sneeze
  • Sniff
  • Snort
  • Spit
  • Swallow
  • Whimper
  • Whistle

These tips and sound effects can help you effectively capture human sounds for your projects.

Below you can listen examples of Human sounds recorded and edited by me. You can also download it for free (BURP, AHH SATISFIED, PUNCH, GAME OVER, SCREAM MALE).

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