Quickly switch your USB mic to mute with this must-have app

If you’re looking for a cough button for your podcasting microphone, you’re in luck: I have a great digital mute switch solution!

I feel naked if I’m recording without a mute button on my microphone, and you might feel the same way. If you can’t quickly and quietly mute yourself while recording a podcast, your mic will pick up each sneeze, sniff, cough, and any other weird noise that shouldn’t be included in your show. You and your co-hosts’ audio recordings should only have your words. None of that other grossness!

As a freelance podcast editor and host, I’m adamant about creating a great sounding podcast. Bodily noises are a reality of putting your mouth right in front of microphone, and if you don’t want those bad sounds being recorded in the first place, you need a mute switch.

This is a problem that’s as old as radio. Most radio hosts have something called a “Cough Drop” for a microphone — it’s a physical button that hooks up to your mic and lets you quickly mute yourself. But us modern day podcast hosts don’t have access to one of these because we have USB mics, so what to do?

Cough Button Microphone

Sure, some USB microphones have a physical mute button built in to the device, but some mics — like Blue’s Yeti — will make a physical clicking noise every time you hit the stupid button. There’s no point in being able to mute yourself if your listeners will notice that you’re hitting a clunky button.

Digitally mute your USB mic

Thankfully I found an app that lets you quietly mute your microphone from your keyboard, creating a quick USB mic mute switch for podcasters. Better yet, your listeners won’t know that you’ve hit the mute button. It’s a completely silent digital switch!

The app is called Shush and can be purchased for $4.99 from the Mac App Store. Any time you need to clear your throat, sigh, sniff, sneeze, cry, etc, all you have to do is hit a button on your keyboard and the mic will go silent.

I rely on this little app for every podcast that I do. In fact, I’ve come to rely on it a little too much. I’ve found myself leaning on the mute button for most of the show, and only lifting my finger off the keyboard when I have something to say. Sometimes I forget that I’m holding the button… and then realize no one can hear me only after I’ve finished my thought.

You can assign any key on your keyboard to control the mute button. I assigned it to the ‘fn’ key, located at the bottom left of the Mac keyboard. It’s an easy button to find without having to look at your keyboard since it’s in the corner of your keyboard.

This app is a must-have, and if you’re serious about how good your audio sounds, you’ll be addicted to it. The app works seamlessly with digital mics and recording software. Get it and instantly take some stress out of your recording process!

Mute App For Windows, and Other Options

Unfortunately the above Mac app is not available for Windows, and I have been unable to find a dedicated mute app for Microsoft’s operating system. You will have to rely on the physical mute button on your microphone, or use the mute button built into your internet telephony app (like Zoom, Skype, etc).

The mute button built into apps is not as easy of a solution, but it is still an answer for those of you who need a button.

If you need help starting your own podcast or want to hire a podcast editor, contact me!