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NPR mouth noise
Old 27th January 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
NPR mouth noise

Does the mouth noise of any of the NPR broadcasters annoy anyone? I'm in the Dallas area, so maybe it's just the local station (90.1), but the little high frequency mouth noises (lip-licking, saliva-sloshing, etc) gets on my nerves. And it's not just one broadcaster; it must be the way the mics, gates, or EQ are set in the studio? Does anyone ever hear this?
Old 27th January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
WOW, i thought i was the only one! i listen to NPR podcasts everyday.

the shows "all things considered", "here and now" and others are annoying sometimes. i wonder what the engineers are doing during the recording of these shows. are they outside having a cigarette? or sleeping?

once there was a really old guy being interviewed by terry gross on the "here and now" show. the mic was picking up sounds that sounded like the guy had a live lizard in his mouth. gurgling, smacking, thick goo in the back of his throat type sounds. blech i wanted to puke. i had to turn the show off.

it sounds like they use condensers.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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andsonic's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A couple of AES's back, my local affiliate (KQED) had a technical tour of their new facilities (servers everywhere!). They mentioned that they had been trying to decide either to stay with the RE-20, or go the "NPR" route and install u-87's. They kept the RE-20. I think they sound pretty good. NPR (Washington & LA) use u87's. "Fresh Air" originates from WHYY. Their interviews are recorded all over the place. I think lip smacks come from the processing more then the mic.
I heard that a lot of the reporters now have a rig where they can plug a mic into their cell phone. A lot of reports from the field are done that way.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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jomo1234's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The WORST is Jonathan Schwartz on WNYC in New York. He tries to sound 'jazzy', hepcat, cool and totally plays with the proximity effect of his mic. You can hear every gurgle in his throat....totally unlistenable.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Most of those NPR folks can't do real radio. Nasty voices, and no discipline with their mouth/vocal control. They've got their job, they do their "journalism" bit, and the company politics keep them employed.

Most people who listen to NPR make horrible mouth noises and are nasal and have slack tongues and jaws too, so who would notice?

I HATE listening to NPR, despite enjoying the "content".
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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Jimbo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj_who ➑️
once there was a really old guy being interviewed by terry gross on the "here and now" show.
Do you mean Terry Gross' "Fresh Air" or Robin Young's "Here and Now"?

Here's Robin speaking into a u87:
http://www.here-now.org/wp-content/t...logo_right.jpg
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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iluvatar's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo ➑️
Do you mean Terry Gross' "Fresh Air" or Robin Young's "Here and Now"?

Here's Robin speaking into a u87:
http://www.here-now.org/wp-content/t...logo_right.jpg
Why do radio people never look like I expect them to?

-Dan
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimbo ➑️
Do you mean Terry Gross' "Fresh Air" or Robin Young's "Here and Now"?

Here's Robin speaking into a u87:
http://www.here-now.org/wp-content/t...logo_right.jpg

oops, i meant robin young.

imo robin young and terry gross sound very similar actually. i think they both have very smooth and sexy voices.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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dannygold's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Wow, I disagree. NPR sounds great to me. I mean, compared to commercial radio? C'mon! NPR sounds like dry studios, Neumanns, no weird fake verb like oldies stations, no overlimiting like all commercial radio. I guess this american life sounds odd, but I think it's supposed to have an ameteur type sound.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've noticed it a lot more in the past couple of weeks than before. It sounds like there's an awful lot of over compression, to me.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Nut
 
soundeziner's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The program stream on their website has a lot less level compression according to my meters.

U87 and mouth noise has made me quite proficient with the PT pencil tool...

Last edited by soundeziner; 30th January 2009 at 06:01 AM.. Reason: sky is blue
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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Makinithappen's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It's weird that I found this thread today.

I listen to NPR all the time and this drives me nuts... Today, I was going through my podcasts and there was a "This American Life" with this African-American minister that started a MegaChurch. You could hear spit and lip smacking between EVERY word!! I don't notice it as much with Fresh Air or the news shows but some of the broadcasts are terrible about it. The pictures I've seen from their newer Washington DC headquarters have U87s everywhere. On the other hand... they use RE27s on "Prairie Home Companion" (I've seen the engineer for that show here on GS, BTW) and I think the lip noise and compressed breathing sounds really add to the feel of the stories. I guess it depends on the voice and the context.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannygold ➑️
Wow, I disagree. NPR sounds great to me. I mean, compared to commercial radio? C'mon! NPR sounds like dry studios, Neumanns, no weird fake verb like oldies stations, no overlimiting like all commercial radio. I guess this american life sounds odd, but I think it's supposed to have an ameteur type sound.
I do prefer to listen to NPR over the overhyped bass, silly sound effect laden, wacky character DJ, predictable playlist, Clear-Channel (Borg) commercial radio, for sure. That's why I commented about the mouth noise
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Short answer: I live in LA, am an avid NPR listener, and don't notice any of the complaints you mention.

Sorry! Wish I could back you up on this one, but I can't.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
here is a bit of "day to day" from thursday.

warning: this is a doctor talking about STD's in the US population.

i don't know what made me feel sicker...the fact that almost EVERYONE has an STD or this guy's mouth noise.
Attached Files

lips.mp3 (579.0 KB, 1457 views)

Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Addict
 
Spookym15's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I live in nashville and went to tour the studios a year or so ago and they were using re-20's for most everything. The Nashville studio has a great set up. I would love to go back sometime soon, I should make a call...
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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jeremy.c.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannygold ➑️
Wow, I disagree. NPR sounds great to me. I mean, compared to commercial radio? C'mon! NPR sounds like dry studios, Neumanns, no weird fake verb like oldies stations, no overlimiting like all commercial radio. I guess this american life sounds odd, but I think it's supposed to have an ameteur type sound.
This is all news to me too (pun intended)... I never really noticed many problems. This American Life is produced out of Chicago and has many contributors, so I imagine the quality varies with what each interviewer/contributor is using. I listen to the podcast every week in my car and it drives me nuts they won't put a high pass filter on the voices. Ira's voice makes my sub thump and distort uncomfortably...
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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Fast_Fingers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvatar ➑️
Why do radio people never look like I expect them to?

-Dan
Haha, so true. In nearly every radio station I've interned at, I never encountered a DJ that looked anywhere close to what I imagined. I guess it's the ability of the RE20 to make you seem larger than life. A similar thing happens with voice actors and especially the people behind movie trailers (RIP Fontaine).
Old 2nd February 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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jeremy.c.'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast_Fingers ➑️
Haha, so true. In nearly every radio station I've interned at, I never encountered a DJ that looked anywhere close to what I imagined. I guess it's the ability of the RE20 to make you seem larger than life. A similar thing happens with voice actors and especially the people behind movie trailers (RIP Fontaine).
A bit like Harry Shearer's character from Wayne's World, Handsome Dan.
Old 4th February 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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SANDS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
John Diliberto

hahahaha, I was talking to one of my buddies about that the other day. The Echoes ambient music section with host John Diliberto is great. It sounds like the mic is mounted somewhere in his throat. Sounds like he is eating the mic.
It's like pop rock compression, makes me laugh.
Old 6th February 2009 | Show parent
  #21
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Greg Curtis's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've noticed these trends on NPR:

1) Female reporters always have more compression than males. Perhaps it sounds more authoritative? Or deeper? Annoying after a while to have to turn down the ladies and back up for the men.
2) Female reporters suck in breathes more forcibly than their male counterparts, although some males do this. All British speakers do this regardless of gender! Is this some sort of taught technique?
3) Lip smacking is non-existent in the local reporting from 89.3 in Pasadena, but more prevalent from NPR and stuff recorded at USC's studio (their afternoon money show, for example).

gc
Old 8th October 2018
  #22
Here for the gear
 
Add NBC's Kate Snow and Lester Holt to the lip smacking broadcaster Hall of Fame.
Old 8th October 2018
  #23
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
KCRW (NPR in Santa Monica, CA) used to have a General Manager named Ruth (nΓ©e Hirschman) Seymour. The most magnificent lip smacker ever, with a spectacular nasal Long Island drone. In the 80's and early 90's, every weekday at noon, she and asthmatic newsreader Mitchell Harding would tag-team, reading aloud all the front page stories from that morning's New York Times. Ruth would smack and Mitch would wheeze, and they'd read until the copy ran out, and then say, "hmm -- continued on page 26," and then flip and flap the pages until they found the spot where the article picked back up again. If you've ever tried to record paper foley, you can imagine what that sounded like.

It was awful.
Old 9th October 2018 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinnsrock ➑️
Add NBC's Kate Snow and Lester Holt to the lip smacking broadcaster Hall of Fame.
Must be pretty annoying... enough to dig up a thread from 2009 and make your first post a bump....

Old 9th October 2018
  #25
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Most radio sounds awful to me. And the lossy compression that their web and podcast versions use just aggravate the sibilance. But at least NPR tends to give me some content reasons to listen, unlike pretty much the whole of contemporary commercial radio.

Now, that disclaimer out of the way, let me say that my own pet peeve -- which seems to pop up way too often -- are phone interviewees who choose to use a speaker phone...

I HATE the bathroom short-heavy-verb vibe of such calls -- AND it makes such a call considerably less intelligible in difficult listening circumstances.
Old 9th October 2018
  #26
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Having worked with NPR on a number of occasions I can truthfully say they are really concerned with how things sound on air. I got one of my interviews rejected and not used because I was 2 dB under what they wanted. How much does it take to turn up something 2 dB? Anyway I redid it and they accepted it. Talk about being super picky. I agree most of what the OP was hearing was when they went to condenser mics. They picked up a lot more of the high end mouth noises than the RE-20s they were using for a long long time. FWIW
Old 16th October 2018
  #27
Lives for gear
 
AfterViewer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years

I will listen to NPR on my way home from work at night (2:00 AM- 3:00 AM) to hear the broadcast out of the UK on global events, etc. ..... During the day it's mostly the "church ladies" talking up their sponsors and interviewing other church ladies with different names about their new books just out. Have to pass on that.
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