EVP Handling Noise is something I hear a lot on recordings, it can sound like a low grumble to something more in the vocal range. As a film and television professional specialising in sound and camera work, one of the golden rules of a sound recording is that you should isolate the mic. Handling noise from the user manipulating the mic or recording device is very distracting and produces false positives with EVPs. There are many tools for mics that are separate to the recording device, not so many for EVP recorders that have mics built-in. Many of these tools cost money, there is a simple free trick to remove all handling noise. Put your EVP recorder or other recording device and mic down. Don’t touch it!
EVP Handling Noise and how to avoid it
As stated above put your device down, preferably on a flat surface, that is stable and not likely to be bumped or moved. Usually, this is the ground. You can also get a cheap camera tripod or stand for your EVP recorder. This removes all human contact from the device for the majority of the recording.
If your EVP recorder has a mic input it might be worth picking up an external mic, this will give you greater clarity and once the mic is set up and stable you can touch the recorder for adjustment. As just pushing buttons will be picked up by the recorder.
I use the Rode Video Micro as it is small and handy, it also comes with a windsock. It is advisable to get an extension cable for this as the curly cable is way to shot for anything other than mounting on a camera. For its price and size, this is a capable little mic, it is also directional so you can use multiples of these and multiple recorders for directional recordings. The added advantage of this mic is it comes with inbuilt suspension, though it’s not great it will help reduce most of your handling noise if you do have to move the mic.
Another big problem with EVP recordings is wind noise or breathing near the mic. This is one advantage of the Rode Video Micro, is the windsock that comes in the box. However, most reasonable quality microphones offer some form of windsock you can buy. If it just a sponge windsock then it is only good for taking out hard syllabicance in voices and would be next to useless in real wind.
The fuzzy and furry ones are designed for windier conditions so where you can get one of these for outside recordings. A windsock has the added advantage of taking out any air noise from moving the mic to fast. As this can have a low grumbling rushing sound which you do not want on your EVP recordings.
If you do not have access to a windsock, you can get away with some furry fabric with long hairs wrapped around a piece of light sponge. Though this is not perfect and may muffle the sound it the materials are too dense. So have a practice with and without it just recording your own voice. This DIY Windsock tutorial from Instructables will give you an idea of what you can make.
Vocalise your Actions
One other useful thing you can do when doing EVP recordings is vocalise all your actions when touching the recorder. For example, say your name, time, date, and location then once you have put the recorder down in a secure place say you have placed the recorder. This gives you a good time stamp and a start point where you will not have any handling noise.
If you touch or move the recorder, then say your name, time and date and that you are picking up or touching the EVP recorder before you touch it. Then once you have moved it and it is stable say something like EVP recorder stable in a new location, and state that location.
The same rules go for stopping the recording, say your name, time and date and that you are going to stop the recording. This gives you clear markers as to when the EVP recorder and mic have been touched by human hands. And it should help rule out any false positives from your EVP recordings.
Observe the Soundscape
As part of your investigation notes, you should make a note of any sound you heard in the environment before you hit record. Anything and everything should be written down so you can rule this out later. E.G. cars passing by, birds, insects, frogs, wind in the trees, the list goes on.
Also, keep a log of times you pick up any new sounds that are part of the environment. This will help greatly when it comes to your post-analysis of the investigation, it can help rule out anything you heard that the microphone did not clearly pick up. It will help rule out audio Pareidolia, and any suggestion that may have come up during the investigation.
Manipulated EVP Recordings
Through my test and years of experience recording audio, handling noise can sound like voices at times. So always put down your recorder and mic or use suitable high-quality suspension systems.
This brings me to the manipulation aspect in EVP Handling Noise. Some people can get so good at manipulating the way they handle an EVP recorder they can make it sound like voices, not clear and not always coherent. A slight rub or scratch can be made to sound like a growl, or a yes and no answer to a question.
In a thorough investigation if the EVP recorder and the mic is not secure and stable then you should rule out that recording completely. A third-party sceptical examination will hear the handling noise and might instantly rule it out along with many of your EVP recordings. So a good practice is vital for giving your investigation validity to anyone outside your group.