De-essing a Choir

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by audiokid, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    The room is really live with some wild hot spots. I did much better this year, I'm pretty happy with my recording but would love some help to be better on the sibilance now. These sss are impossible to take out. I could hear them live and know this is a common thing for choirs but I'm sure you guys can do better here. I ran a de-esser but can I do better. What tools do you use? I tried a multiband too but it didn't work for me. Is this as good as it gets?
    The directors love the tip of the tongue, top of the teeth" but ... What do you do with something like this?

    Thanks for your help!

    Choir-Lavry-AD11-Royer-SF24-Clip by audiokid on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free
  2. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    I did not listen from the studio but from the link you provided, it sounded good to me. Manual editing could be the key if nothing else seemed to work.
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    What are you using? Have you seen Fab Dupont's tutorial? The Eiosis looks very interesting. If you decide to demo it, let us know. I have not tried it yet.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Here's the raw track , which is how it had to be sent (festival rules).
    But, for my own personal fun and experience I tweaked the track heard on the OP. Thanks for your vote of confidence Richard, that meant a lot to me! I like it much better but it only accentuated those sss these choirs and classically trained singers go out of their way on pronunciations. Drives me nuts.

    Bob, I used Samplitude's de-esser which always cuts it well. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try the Eiosis , it does look pretty cool!
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    For the interested, I'm getting a second UA LA-2A this week specifically for experimenting with choirs and harmony vocals. I'm expecting them to tame those highs and help tame the ugly lower mids you get from these mid heavy recordings. If the results are positive, I'll be posting some clips.
  6. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    Good job, Chris! This is a good recording. I doubt you'll get much better then the version in your original post without losing other articulations along with the esses. Though I haven't tried all that many de-essing solutions. But the piece has great depth and good spread and balance. You can use Izotope's Spectral Repair or similar software to remove the coughing near the end of the piece.
    Getting a second LA-2A should be fun, I'm tempted to do that myself as the unit has quickly become my favorite! Can't afford it now but will eventually I think.

  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    What a nice way to wake up this morning and read your comments. Thanks! I guess I'm worried a bit too much. These are very important recordings that are being sent away to be judged for the Nationals. Its a big deal.
    The cough cannot be removed. rules. But thanks for the tip!

    There was a track that got hit hard with some guy having a coughing attack all the way through one. He ran out into the Foyer thinking it was safe and found himself being handled by the cowd controllers (300 lbs noise hounds ladies) :eek: They chased him all the way into the basement. You should have seen his face! Poor bastard didn't know what hit him! I saw him sneaking around like a bad dog trying to find his way back into the hall lol. Face all red from coughing and embarrassment! The guy was about 6'4" too boot! Hilarious.
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Duh, I posted the wrong link on the OP. This is the one I tweaked ( for my personal growth) and was wondering about de-essing it better and what you all thought. Choir-LavryAD11-RoyerSF24-Clip by audiokid on SoundCloud - Create, record and share your sounds for free . Its huge compared to the original above but it increased the sibilance. Dreaming about a Bricasti too.

    I'm going to download that plug-in Bob and also use two LA-2A on this when the second one arrives.

    My dream has been to achive a sound like this:

  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    While this seems to not sound excessive in its sibilance to me. Although I believe I am listening to a buffered ribbon microphone though I don't quite remember if that model is buffered? It has a bit of that condensery sound on the sibilance sections. And why I keep recommending the passive ones. Otherwise it sounds like a condenser microphone with all of that wonderful sibilance which can be cool to some and not cool to others. I would have thought you would have found it cool? Maybe all you need to do is to stick some foam gobbledygook on the inside walls of your church? Of course I'm not serious but I could be?

    Ribbons rule if they're as passive as the Virgin Mary
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hi Remy,

    The sss were audible live, just sitting listen to the choirs, I could here them. I did look at the side of the walls though :) Between the BIG windows are nice spots to but some acoustic treatment like you'd see in a theatre. The choirs love the sound of this church though, so it ain't going to happen.

    It would be interesting to compare an SF12 next time which is passive. Maybe it would tame that to my liking but then I would loose the clearer lower freq. Its a trade off isn't it. I'm working towards the SF24V which is a whole new animal but expensive. I may have to sell off all my ribbons or something to get it.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I really think you'll like the natural sound of the passive ribbon better on choirs with this kind of sibilant action going on. It's not the low frequencies you're going to lose but that smooth role of you'll get starting at 5 kHz right where that sibilant stuff is going on. That would be the natural way through engineering technique to control that. Then they will sound all the more full & lush. That SF 24 V is an amazing sounding active tube ribbon that sounds more like a condenser microphone than a condenser microphone. Great perhaps for an orchestral pickup but not so much on the sibilant choir. I'd be looking at that R101. It's just the way I see it in my head which has parts missing and extra rooms.

    Why do choruses always sound gay?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Re phantom on Ribbons. I actually contacted Royer about this because its concerned me that my SF24 might be slightly top heavy after reading so many posts about this from you Remy :) I was told by Royer that this in not the case with their SF series. The SF12 and SF24 and SF24v are virtually identical in the top end. If each one was plugged into the exact same ( high quality) preamp and gain staging was precise, they would have the same high end. The SF24 advantages more available preamp choices. Royer is going to write something for me.

    Here is what John wrote me and said he would explain this better:


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