Keyboard noise is a common problem when recording audio with a mic, especially with mechanical keyboards. The sounds of the keyboard clicking and the typing can be distracting to listeners, or worse, make it difficult to hear what’s being said. Luckily, there are some steps that you can take to reduce keyboard noise on your mic!
There are several situations and approaches to the problem of background noise on a mic. It certainly depends on several factors, namely the type, position, and input gain of your mic and the position, ie the distance of the keyboard from your microphone. The most painless option is if your microphone is on a microphone stand (not on the same table as your keyboard).
Also if you are using a mechanical keyboard, it will create more keyboard sound and noise than a regular keyboard. One option could be to change keyboards.
That is because you either have a floor microphone stand or a boom arm. You may also risk using the built-in mic on your laptop, but that depends on what kind of keyboard it has and how noisy it is.
Of course, it also depends on your microphone sensitivity. The rule that applies to any type of audio recording is that the noise is killed at the source. If possible, of course.
Practical suggestions to get rid of keyboard clicks
The first suggestion is to try to distance the microphone from your keyboard as much as possible. Aim the microphone (ideally if it is dynamic) towards the sound source (your mouth) and reduce the gain so that only your voice is captured.
Input sensitivity of your mic could be your only comrade-in-arms in this case if you want to reduce keyboard noises. If you have no other option, so your microphone and keyboard are on the same desk, we strongly recommend that you place something soft, absorbent under the microphone and keyboard.
Something like a towel or a blanket. This will improve noise reduction but only to some extent. This method will keep low-frequency vibrations being transferred to your mic by a hard surface.
If you are using an inbuilt laptop microphone and keyboard, all of the solutions we have for reducing keyboard noise apply only to audio recording. These suggestions are even more critical when using a mechanical keyboard.
Get a Silent Mechanical Keyboard
Something else you could consider if buying a mechanical keyboard with the quietest keyboard switches possible. Buying a quieter keyboard may help mitigate against unwanted noise or continuous clicking on your livestream or recording. Not all mechanical keyboards are very noisy, so it’s worth shopping around.
Adjust microphone sensitivity
Another way to prevent your microphone from picking up keyboard background noise is to adjust the microphone sensitivity.
If your mic is too sensitive, it will pick up the sound of keyboard tapping or other background noises made close to it and this can be a problem if you are trying to record vocals for example You want as little interference from external noise as possible so that what the people hear in their headphones matches with what they see on the screen.
A good way to check if your mic is too sensitive is to use a sound meter app or any other background noise blocker in order to see what level of keyboard tapping you are getting and then set the mic gain accordingly until it’s at an acceptable level (this might even mean going back down one notch).
Use a noise gate on your mic
A noise gate can help reduce keyboard noise on a mic by muting the sound when it dips below a certain threshold. A software plugin or standalone hardware noise gate can be used to help to stop your microphone picking up keyboard noise.
A software plugin is a good option if you want to process an audio signal or track without any hardware. A standalone hardware unit is the best choice if your computer does not have enough ports for other devices and plugins. You may also need one with more features
Audio post-production to Reduce Keyboard Noise
Since the keyboard noise only seems to be in high mid and high frequencies, the fact that when hitting a hard surface they will transmit vibrations in the form of low frequencies is ignored.
Fortunately, there is a very simple solution to this; so that is a high pass filter. After we get rid of at least one part of the keyboard noise, we can move on to a slightly more demanding process. Softwares such as audacity and izotope rx can save our recordings and help to reduce annoying keyboard clicks.
Both software has a plugin that is used when removing clicks from audio tracks. In audacity, it is called click removal, while in isotopes it is called de-click. Both are very good at their tasks and can reduce the possibility of picking up everything from a keyboard as well as mouth clicks, and other unwanted clicks in your recordings.
Frank Edwards is the founder and owner of churchsoundtips.com and has over 10 years experience running sound in his local church.