Why You're Getting Wind Noise ...

SalvageSV

Hopes he doesn't crash this month
Feb 18, 2016
643
264
43
Birmingham, AL
I ride a
Salvaged SV1000S
#1
So I've seen post after post about wind noise, so I figured I'd just share all of my info in one place. As I've mentioned before, I'm a video professional and have worked with video and audio for around 15 years at this point.

In pretty much every case I've seen, the wind noise that motovloggers experience is caused by poor microphone choice.

Yes, I know we don't have many options so people get the usual lav/lapel mic and shove it behind a cheek pad or cover it in fur. But my statement is fact. Lav mics aren't meant for motovlogs.

Lav mics are designed to be clipped to a shirt/jacket and pick up a person speaking in a controlled environment from about 6" to 12" from their mouth. And motovloggers take this same mic and run it down the highway at 65 mph and expect it to pick up clean audio.

Let me explain why a lav mic is generally bad for this purpose, and why the foam you stuck on it is only minimally effective.

First, lets begin with a basic understanding of pickup pattern ...

court-reporting-microphones.jpg


Lavaliere mics are generally cardioid or omnidirectional microphones. The image above shows a cross section of the "on mic" area of each ... or where you get clean, natural-sounding audio. Imagine the images in 3D, where the center of a graph is the tip of the mic and the pattern shown rotates all the way around it.

As you can see, the omnidirectional pattern will pickup audio from any direction and the cardioid is focused on the 180* directly in front of the mic. This is great for a lav becasue when the speaker turns their head the dynamic range of the audio is maintained.

So, with that explained, let's look at the actual mic options ...

lav 1.jpg


This is a standard form factor for a lav mic. Looking closely you can see open areas for sound waves to pass through uninterrupted on the tip and also on the sides. While great for a presentation, when you put this thing in 60 mph winds, those areas catch the air and if they don't direct wind directly into the mic itself, they create turbulent vortices right beside it that's picked up in your recording. Even if the mic is pointed right at your mouth with the wind behind it, the air will still catch on the sides and wrap around the tip and be picked up.

And then there is this kind of mic ...

lav2.jpg


This choice is even worse with dual microphones exposed in all directions. There is literally no direction to face this thing that would begin to shield the mics from wind.

So, why can't you just put foam or fur on it and fix the problem? Because that's not what the foam is designed for.

Mic windscreens are designed to stop a stray breeze or breath from hitting the mic directly. When you increase that to 60 mph there is so much velocity it will make it's way to the mic through any "standard" foam. Even professional shotgun mics with foam and fur will pick up a decent breeze on location.

You can get a super dense foam that could possibly stop the wind at speed, but you will do that at the expense of audio quality and volume.

Volume is a notable problem becasue the cameras we use are generally auto gain controlled, meaning that they constantly ride the input level to average a certain dB. When you make the mic less sensitive with dense foam, the gain is increased introducing signal noise and likely still picking up the wind that you are trying to get rid of, but more of a dull roar than the sharp hiss you're used to.

The same goes for fur. It's designed to stop low velocity wind and works better than foam as it's more irregular. But it won't stop noise from wind hitting the mic directly.

So, how do you fix it?

You get the mic out of the wind.

You can have some luck tucking the mic behind a cheek pad, and if successful you'll hear yourself, but you'll likely have a lot of high frequencies cut out and your voice will sound deep and boomy. Maybe you're cool with that. Personally, I'd rather have my own clear voice.

To do that you need to keep the mic itself close to your mouth, unimpeded by dense layers of foam ... and you need it out of the wind.

So, you divert the wind. That's the best option. You can do this in several ways. If you have a full face helmet with ways to block wind in the mouth area, put the mic there and face it toward you. Close the front vent. If this isn't working it's likely that there are vortices swirling in that open space coming in from under the helmet and there is still indirect wind hitting the mic.

So, you can create a physical barrier of some type to shield the mic from the wind that's still there. A small piece of plastic glued behind/around the mic will work fine for this. It should be a decent distance away from the mic in case it's creating it's own vortices which could be picked up.

Personally, I've been suggesting the Sena 20s mics to people with issues. I use a Sena wired mic from a SMH10R that I had to custom wire. The 20s versions are the same mics but have a 2.5mm plug that can be easily adapted to the common 3.5mm plug needed for action cameras.

I recommend these mics becasue they are engineered to reduce wind noise in our specific application.

sena-20s-microphone-close-up.jpg


Look at the design of the Sena boom mic. Notice the small opening and large plastic shield with tapered edges. This is engineered to divert wind coming directly at the back of the mic around it. And it does so far enough away as to not let any created vortices reenter the mic's pickup area. The tapering on the edge reduces the turbulence created as the wind is diverted.

This mic can capture clean audio at speed from an open face helmet. Sure, Sena uses advanced noise cancelling technology, but they can only apply that to the audio that's captured. With only one mic, you have to kill the wind noise to effectively clean up the voice because you don't have a secondary audio stream to compare to and remove the unwanted frequencies.

And yes, the Sena mics come with foam windscreens. These are no different than the same ones I've said don't work for other mics. In the case of the Sena application, they are there to reduce noise coming directly toward the front of the mic, like breath or a crosswind when you turn your head. If you look hard over your shoulder, the Sena mic will still pick up wind noise with the shift in direction.

So, all that to say that while foam and fur and position can help, the only way to actually cure the wind noise issue without sounding like you're speaking from another room is to divert the wind around the mic. And there are mics out there specifically designed to do this. Maybe don't reinvent the wheel and spend $25 on a mic designed for the job. It's worth it.

 
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RoadSprock

Original Vlogs
Mar 7, 2016
892
175
43
United Kingdom
I ride a
KTM 690 Supermoto/ Triumph Speed Triple 1050
#5
+1 on the Sticky idea.. now to make a post "How to reduce wind noise", just joking really good information and has helped me understand more about the issue to hopefully resolve it better!
 

MotoDynsty

Putting the Nasty in DyNasty
Mar 11, 2016
431
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31
Las Vegas, NV
I ride a
K8 GSXR 600
#7
fantastic post. Do you have any recommendations on mics then? Would using another one of my sena mics attached to my gopro work or should i look at a specific brand maker of mics to accomplish not sounding like darth vader
 

SalvageSV

Hopes he doesn't crash this month
Feb 18, 2016
643
264
43
Birmingham, AL
I ride a
Salvaged SV1000S
#8
fantastic post. Do you have any recommendations on mics then? Would using another one of my sena mics attached to my gopro work or should i look at a specific brand maker of mics to accomplish not sounding like darth vader
If you have a spare Sena mic, use it. They are the best I've seen so far. I use the flat wired mic and I think it sounds great. I only get wind noise with the front vent open and looking far over my right shoulder. Even then it's minimal.
 

MotoDynsty

Putting the Nasty in DyNasty
Mar 11, 2016
431
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31
Las Vegas, NV
I ride a
K8 GSXR 600
#9
awesome sauce! will it help eliminate my labored breathing noise? I sound like jabba the hut and vader had a asthmatic baby
 

SalvageSV

Hopes he doesn't crash this month
Feb 18, 2016
643
264
43
Birmingham, AL
I ride a
Salvaged SV1000S
#10
awesome sauce! will it help eliminate my labored breathing noise? I sound like jabba the hut and vader had a asthmatic baby
Well, no. Breath is another issue. Well, a similar issue but micing a person speaking in a helmet you have to deal with possible breath noise.

First, adjust the mic angle to see if it helps. The Sena mics should still be cardioid pattern, so you can move the a few degrees in any direction and not lose frequencies. But too much could reintroduce wind noise.

Some type of pop filter could help, but I don't think that's a good solution in tight quarters.

The usual fur (dead cat) treatment will help breath to a degree, but if you're blowing directly on the mic it won't cut it all out.

In general, I'd say be sure to use the foam screen included with the mic or upgrade to a fur wind buffer. Adjust the location and angle of the mic to see what works best. And lastly, work on your breathing technique. Take breaks from speaking to breathe if needed.
 

MotoDynsty

Putting the Nasty in DyNasty
Mar 11, 2016
431
118
43
31
Las Vegas, NV
I ride a
K8 GSXR 600
#11
Thats the problem. The mic is at my cheekpad with a foam screen. Havent tried dead cat yet. Im breathing completely normal too. No exertion and it still sounds wicked. guess i should try shifting the mic around my helmet more :/
 

SalvageSV

Hopes he doesn't crash this month
Feb 18, 2016
643
264
43
Birmingham, AL
I ride a
Salvaged SV1000S
#12
Yeah. And try to verify if it's your nose or mouth causing the most issue. From there you can logically adjust the angle to compensate.
 

Arctic Pride

L Plate Member
Mar 3, 2014
921
260
63
I ride a
lot of different things
#13
In the end you need to play around with different setups to find what works best for you and your gear...

You can buy sound deadening material (dead cat and foam) at craft stores, pickup a needle and thread while you're at it ;)
 
Likes: MotoDynsty

Sheepie

Wannabie Member
Oct 11, 2015
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New Zealand
I ride a
1995 Kawasaki ZZR600, 2016 Suzuki GSX-S1000
#15
Thanks heaps for this! Seems that motovlogging is full of 'received knowledge', it's good to hear from someone who knows what he is talking about.
 

RagingR6

Angry R6 Rider
May 5, 2016
22
3
1
Southern California
I ride a
2002 Yamaha YZF-R6
#16
Well shoot, I learned something new today. Totally different from my studio mic noise and breathing issues when I record my gaming videos. Got that all figured out and tried to apply it to my helmet mic and NOPE haha. I'll be getting a Sena next weekend, maybe I'll see if they sell just the mics for it while I'm at it!
 

SighBored

@thesighbored
Jan 18, 2015
2,332
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Malaysia
www.thesighbored.com
I ride a
2012 Kawasaki ZX-6R
#17
This choice is even worse with dual microphones exposed in all directions. There is literally no direction to face this thing that would begin to shield the mics from wind.

I use this type of microphone, front and center behind the chin bar with just a foam sock over the entire thing. LoL!

Oh, such irony! :D
 

SwissMotard

The Swiss Motard
Sep 19, 2014
3,284
914
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I ride a
Triumph Street Triple
#18
The problem with the Sena mics is that they're tuned for voice at the expense of all other frequencies. This can make your engine too quiet for some people.
 

Lurch

Administrator
May 5, 2014
5,534
2,060
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Yorkshire
I ride a
2016 Street Triple R and a 1999 Honda NT650V Deauville
#19
True, but you either want to vlog or you want to make music.

If you're talking use a Sena (type) mic, if you want pantomime then get a general mic and run it to your pocket.

Or look at parallel splitting the mics, @thunderous71 did a thread on getting more 'zorst in to the mix.

If you have a stereo cameea or recorder, use one side as voice, the other as the backing track.
 

SalvageSV

Hopes he doesn't crash this month
Feb 18, 2016
643
264
43
Birmingham, AL
I ride a
Salvaged SV1000S
#20
I use this type of microphone, front and center behind the chin bar with just a foam sock over the entire thing. LoL!

Oh, such irony! :D
It's not that those mics won't work. They just won't work in high velocity wind. Some helmets/bikes/people can use them due to the position or wind patterns. If your helmet blocks the wind well you might have 0 issues with one of those.

The info here is all assuming you have wind noise to begin with. If you don't, you're good to go. If you do, adjust the mic and/or block the wind that's hitting it one way or another.
 
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