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"S"ssss ON VOCALS

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by griff1096, Sep 15, 2001.

  1. griff1096

    griff1096 Guest

    I love the sound that I am getting from my vocal mic now.... BUT THE "S" sounds are killing me...

    I know the first thing you might say is.. DE-EESE........ I don't have one.. So what can I do to rid myself of this?? :confused: :confused:
     
  2. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    Certainly a de-esser should be treated as a last resort.

    I'd first try a different mike position higher or lower given the limitations of the studio acoustics. Sometimes singing at a 45 degree angle to the face of the mike or even 90 degrees across the face is a solution. Finally, because different combinations of mikes and singers produce different results, having a selection of good vocal mikes available is very important.
     
  3. griff1096

    griff1096 Guest

    Thanks.. I'm e-mailing you a question. If this is a problem just let me know....

    Again thanks..
     
  4. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Bob is right, proper microphone technique must be employed.

    I ask (have them) my singers to sing across the patten of the mic, never into it.

    If you get a track that you are working with terrible simbilence, you need to take that track into a wave editor and clean it up. That is if you have no control over the production...ie, tracked elsewhere for mixing in your studio...where the vocalist is not avalible..otherwise, retrack it. Same thing for P's , b's, d's, k's, V's.

    Take your hand and put it 2 inches in front of your mouth ans speak the alphabet. any air motion on your hand or echo of sssssss sounds are the problem.
     
  5. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    In my esimation the art of using the mic has been lost. Singers want to sing directly on a large diaphragm mic, with the vocal so comressed they can hear every little nuance of lip smacking. They don't want to back up from the mic at all. This being the case, de-essing is almost an absolute necessity.

    It's rare that I don't have at least one de-esser strapped on a vocal chain these days.

    Now if you want to do it right, you might be able to avoid a de-esser, and that would be preferable.

    Mixerman
     
  6. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    The advantage to doing it right is that the vocal will cut like a knife. You'll be able to feel its impact because it will be focused and that impact will translate on any speaker and on the air.
     
  7. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I had a copy of a Tina Turner vocal session on my Pro Tools rig. The PT operator had 'hand de-essed' her vocal. It was easy to see his handywork on the DAW screen's volume graph display view.
    I played it back on my PT rigs ProControl desk that has automated moving faders on it. The faders freaked out and were slamming up and down wildly as they played back the PT operators drawn in fader volumes - it looked MAD. The sound? Amazing! Totaly smooth.
    I got the impression they put her up on a quality vintage mic, got the HF/'sheen' sound they wanted and took care of the 'essing' later, within PT.
    I have DBX 902 and Manley de-ess outbord units, they are among the best IMHO but still leave a little to be desired, the plug in de-essers for PT are kind of average.. I realy want to get zippy at this hand de-essing within PT, it realy does seem the coolest...

    Jules
     
  8. Steve_RME

    Steve_RME Guest

    Julian, have you tried the new Waves Renaissance De-esser? I find it pretty useful.

    Steve
    RME
     
  9. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    I'm glad to see somebody else has noticed the possibilities for gain riding, hand deessing and hand de-popping in Pro Tools.

    Cal Harris, who was my boss at Motown, tells me that he did all of the Commodores and Lionel Ritchie hits using DBX noise reduction on a Studer 24 track with no compression or limiting whatsoever in tracking, mixing and mastering. He ONLY used console automation.
     
  10. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Cool Guys!
    No! But I am DESPERATE to try the new Waves Ren de-esser!It might become my virtual DBX 902 - or in other words not bad at all.

    :)

    Jules
     
  11. PlugHead

    PlugHead Active Member

    I support use of a DAW - I use volume/EQ automation on Vox tracks, addressing all sibilence within Pro Tools. IMO, it's alot cleaner, lessens any coloured sound from another box in the signal chain, unless, of course you have all the best tools at your disposal.

    YMMV

    Jay
    PlugHead Productions
     
  12. griff1096

    griff1096 Guest

    So most of you think I should record the vocal and then remove the "S" by wave editing???

    I thank you all for some great input...
     
  13. Mixerman

    Mixerman Active Member

    I know that's not my reccomendation. But it is an option.

    While you're still drawing out the esses, I'll be done the mix with a de-esser on the vocal, and that won't be the difference in which vocal sounds better.

    Mixerman
     
  14. griff1096

    griff1096 Guest

    Mixerman...

    So you think I should........????
     
  15. arneholm

    arneholm Guest

    Griffin, I think that Mixerman thinks (sorry for putting words into the mouth of Mixerman, but from his posts it's kinda obvious) that you should do exactly the thing that suits you the best, giving you the best results with minimum hassle needed.

    Mixerman obviously can get a killer vocal sound with de-esser, comp and EQ, and that with shorter amount of time than with manually futzing the fader, but the results would be similar. If you can get sonically much better results with manual editing, I guess you should do manual editing, but if you can get very, very close using a de-esser, EQ and comp with a shorter amount of time, and time is the issue, well, it's kinda obvious that you should do that.

    I know I did not say anything new to you but sometimes it's the plain stupid and obvious things that should be said out loud, to break the jams in thinking process and you just seem to be having one right now...
     
  16. griff1096

    griff1096 Guest

    Thanks all.......... PROBLEM IS SOLVED..
     
  17. erockerboy

    erockerboy Member

    Great thread. Coupla observationz...

    "Capture it correctly AT THE MIC and you shouldn't have to de-ess." I certainly appreciate this sentiment, and have successfully used off-axis mic'ing angles and/or cowed the poor singer into singing with a lisp. But...

    a) I find that when I do the off-axis thing, the esses DO get reduced... along with all the "air", the detail, the breathiness, the top-end sizzle of the vocal. And,

    b) when I work on the singer's performance in an effort to get him/her to tame his/her esses, I find that the overall quality of the performance takes a dive in equal proportion to the singer's success in mellowing out their esses. I mean heck, there's only so much that the poor singer can concentrate on at once... it's tough enough trying to get the right emotion in a performance when you're NOT thinking about pitch, rhythm, diction, and minding your plosives/esses.

    In short, while problem esses may be tamed or eliminated using these techniques, in practice I find it to be too high a price to pay in exchange for losing all the top-end detail in the vocal sound, and/or losing some or all of the "juice" and intensity in the vocal performance.

    On top of all this, I still find myself reaching for the high shelf EQ when I'm mixing the vocal. The majority of my work is in R&B land these days, and I work with a fair number of singers who want that uber-breathy, present, compressed, "airy" Brian McKnight or Toni Braxton sound. Well guess what, all that hi EQ in the "air" range will make those esses rip your eardrum off. The punchline: de-essing is an absolute necessity for me, and I defy anyone making this style of record to say otherwise.

    With that said, I've found a non-de-esser "shortcut" that really helps when mixing from DAW. Some people have mentioned that they draw the volume curves on each and every friggin' ess sound. What I've been doing instead is to split regions (or better yet, have your assistant split 'em :) ) around all those problem esses, and drag them all down to a new, parallel DAW track assigned to the same output. Then you can yank the "ess" track's volume fader down to taste. If done right, this is totally seamless and is a LOT cooler than drawing down every last ess in the vocal track, only to realize that you pulled down the sibilance TOO MUCH (or not enough). No problem, just adjust the volume fader rather than manually re-drawing all those volume curves.

    And finally... a question for the gearheads out there. I need a couple of de-essers for my personal "producer's rack". Love dbx 902's but don't have the rack space for that big ol' 900 series frame. Any options? I was thinking about a couple used Orban's or something, only I don't think I like 'em quite as well as the dbx's. Thoughts anyone?

    Thanx in advance...

    -e
     
  18. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    "What I've been doing instead is to split regions (or better yet, have your assistant split 'em ) around all those problem esses, and drag them all down to a new, parallel DAW track assigned to the same output. Then you can yank the "ess" track's volume fader down to taste. If done right, this is totally seamless and is a LOT cooler than drawing down every last ess in the vocal track, only to realize that you pulled down the sibilance TOO MUCH (or not enough). No problem, just adjust the volume fader rather than manually re-drawing all those volume curves."

    FUCKIN' GENIUS! Cue choir - "Oh happy day!"

    Re 902's - GOOD NEWS! DBX make (made?) a one U rackspace in which 2 902 units sit pretty - on their sides. That's how I have my two, neat & tidy!

    Jules

    BTW to be a real gear hound, I have to say the sweetest ever de-eesing I heard was that in the Manley VoxBox. My favorite mastering engineer here in the UK - RAY STAFF @ Sony has two Manley standalone de-essers (discontinued) he uses from time to time. I found one second hand. Pleased with myself, I was talking to Eva Anna from Manley and was fairly crushed when she informed me that the type me an the mastering guy have (the standalone de-essers) aint quite as fast acting as the one in the VoxBox - AAAGGAHH!!!!! Anyhow, I like it!!However... That Vox box one is AMAZING IMHO anyone looking for a voice channel that KNOWS they need de-essing could do a lot worse than to buy one...

    Final P.S.

    Anyone actually had the nerve to get someone to sing with chewing gum pushed in between their teeth? Is that an urban myth like white alligators in NYC sewers? Or has someone here done that to cure 'essing' trouble?
     
  19. zap

    zap Guest

    With that said, I've found a non-de-esser "shortcut" that really helps when mixing from DAW. Some people have mentioned that they draw the volume curves on each and every friggin' ess sound. What I've been doing instead is to split regions (or better yet, have your assistant split 'em ) around all those problem esses, and drag them all down to a new, parallel DAW track assigned to the same output.


    There are a ton of de-essing plugins (I use SPL DeEsser), but this sparked an idea:

    Someone could write a plugin that takes any frequency range out of a recording, with the sharpest possible filters. Then you have a switch where you choose if you keep or loose the range. (Sorta like EQ, but the filters should be made such that the two signals (range kept, range removed) when combined is DIGiTALLY IDENTICAL to the input).

    Then, you can split these ranges to two tracks in your DAW, i.e. clone the track, apply the plugin for "range kept" on one and "range removed" on other.

    Then you can do ANY effects, completely separately, on each track!

    /Z
     
  20. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    I really don't care for what most de-essers do to the vocal sound when they are not de-essing. Once again the choice of mike can probably make the biggest difference of all.

    While I advocate not using limiters, compressors and de-essers, in many cases there is really no choice due to time constraints or problems in front of the mike. But those occasions with a great singer and the right mike are heavenly so I really hate to see knee-jerk use of processing when it might be doing more harm than good.
     

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