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Vocal Compressor / De-esser help please...

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by corrupted, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    I would like to find a nice warm compressor to use for vocals, but also one with a de-esser so I don't have to multi-band that out in post. Is that something that is usually combined? Or is that something that needs to be a separate piece of equipment?

    If I get a multi-band compressor, does it still have an overall compressor that is not band-specific?

    I don't want to spend a fortune, and I don't want to go on a 6 month hunt on the web for some discontinued piece of gold... Just something standard that has a solid sound.

  2. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    Are you looking for outboard gear or a plug-in?

    ALL De-essers suck!

    I don't use them. I use automation and EQ in ProTools to knock those occassional issues out. Often I use a multiband compressor, like Roger Nichols new plug, or mainly a Waves C4. I LOVE the C4. I never leave them on all of the time. I use automation and you it sparingly.

    If I am mixing live and have hardware, I use a sidechain on a compressor. Get a good quality compressor (I used dbx 166s, BSSs,, whatever) and insert a parametric or graphic EQ into the side chain. Whatever frequency is bothering me, I boost in the EQ, and the compressor compresses only that frequency. This is dynamic EQ. That what your EQ is flat at that frequency, below your specified threshold, and then compressed only as needed above it.

    Understanding that there are some people that have physiological traits that cause an excess of sibilence, if you are having many problems with it, you have a mic placement and or incorrect mic applied.
  3. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    Ah, sorry... outboard. 1-2 space rackmount is preferred.
    I think I'm going to pick up a dbx 286A, but I'm open to suggestions...

    It's not an excess of "ess", really... but I usually use a band specific compressor for that as a plugin. I would like to find a hardware unit that had one that worked well.

    I understand the side-chain approach, and I've done that, but from brief experience with hardware de-essers, they seemed to do an okay job of eliminating 75% of the slight esses. It seemed to be simpler and smoother overall.

    But, taking your points into consideration, what would you suggest (sans the de-esser)?
  4. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    If you don't mind throwing down some dough for a whole preamp channel strip, you could try the Focusrite ISA220 or ISA430. Also in the pricey vein is the Weiss DS-1.

    Wow, that's a pretty strong opinion, mr. sheet.
    I think there may be some misunderstanding floating around about how sidechains work though. This quote I found from "easychair" sums it up pretty well I think:
    So the compressor is still compressing the entire signal when it clamps down, but the processing you do in the sidechain makes it more sensitive to the level it senses when the particular frequency range that you boost with the sidechain processor hits it. I didn't really explain that very well... :?
  5. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    If a guy comes to this forum, and asks about a de-esser, then he is likely not going to have the budget for anything as expensive as what you have recommended. Who in their right mind would by a Focusrite just to have a de-esser function anyway? I wouldn't buy a Focusrite for any reason anyway, but that is just me. None of the designs have Rupert Neve's console circuits, and it is not worth the cash. None of it.

    Today we have too much hyper marketing and too many boxes dedicated to do what a good engineer ought to be able to do with some basic tools and skill. We have Radio and Telephone voice plugs for crying out loud. We have all kinds os silly cheap crap. Budget de-essers are in that group if you ask me.

    If you had to buy a dedicated unit, buy a BSS DPR901. Atleast you get more function out of it. You can find them used if you look.

    To say that the compressor is compressing everything may or may not be the case. That is all in the settings. As I stated, I don't need a whole lot of it, so on a live vocal, I am using a comp with 2:1 ratio, with a threshold no greater than -10. I am using it in conjunction with my normal compression. The fact remains that this is still better than blanket hack on the EQ.

    Again, in post, I use automation and EQ, maybe a C4.
  6. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Focusrite Red-7 has a mic pre, compressor and de-esser all in one unit and is meant specific for vocals. I must admit though, I have not used the de-esser in it much in the last 10+ years.
  7. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    I know how a sidechain works... and it's not a simple setup by any means. I prefer the onboard de-esser. But at any rate... on with the show? Meh?
  8. corrupted

    corrupted Guest

    Yea, well, to be honest that's out of my price range... but I'm sure it's worth the price.

    I'm not surprised that you'd have no need for the de-ess on something with such nice tone. It's partially the mic for me as well.

    Of course, if you have an extra R-7... toss it my way! :lol:
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    You pretty much get what you pay for. If you want an all in one box for cheap, you end up with crap.

    A used Focusrite Red-7 is a real sleeper these days as many think the new ISA stuff is better. You are very unlikely to find an all in one type of box with the features you need that is going to be as good in sound/tone quality and cost as little money as a used Red-7 can be bought for.
  10. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    Now I really don't know what you are talking about. Unless you are talking about the Attack? It sort of relates to frequency, at least for the part of the signal that sneaks through before the compressor has time to clamp down...

    Oh BTW, I forgot another solution: The TC Finalizer (c'mon, don't laugh). While it may not be the "warmest" of compressors, it does have a decent de-ess function (true dynamic EQ) that you can use along with the EQ, compressor, and limiter all at the same time. You can get the old 48K version for about $600-700 on the ebay if you look. It is fairly transparent, and you can use the SPDIF output to hook digitally into your soundcard or whatever and take advantage of its decent conversion. You could actually use it as your AD/DA and put it in bypass to feed your monitors the output signal.

    (And Spitfish is pretty cool for de-essing in da box if you haven't tried it)

    EDIT: I just saw that part about not wanting to search for something discontinued, so nevermind? But any cheaper than this or the Red and you will really be in danger of buying carp.

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