Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by sammyg, Jun 12, 2004.

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  1. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Dec 12, 2003
    Hey guys,

    recently recorded some vox which had a fair bit of sibilance goin' on, so i think its time i invest in a de-esser, was looking at the dbx range, anyone got any recomendations??

    Also, wondering if its a pro or con tracking with a de-esser on the way in. The reason i ask is because i applied a plug in de-esser to the mentioned vox track, and it just seemed to take away that little bit of sparkle. It wasnt bad, but i think better can be achieved.


  2. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2003
    Do you have any parametrics? You could side chain a compressor to EQ notched to the sibilant frequency. That's basically what a de-esser is anyway. I've always found they tend to dull the vocals as well.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    Best de esser I ever used is a DBX 263X ...

    With one of those puppies, you can make 'thomeone 'thound like they have a 'theepch impediment.. Cheap too!
  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    Next time spend the time up front in choosing the right mic and mic placement to help avoid trying to fix it later. I even try to educae the singer about the problem as they are the source of the problem and very often they can learn to better control it.

    having said all that, the eq into the sidechain of a comp works well and when combined with a very good surgical parametric eq, that usually gets the job done.

    As far as tracking with a de-esser, I'm not brave or bold enough to try that. To me, that is just asking for trouble...
  5. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Dec 12, 2003
    thanks a lot guys,

    the seeds have been planted!!

  6. Aziel

    Aziel Guest

    i just read from George Massenburg that he treats the sibilances on a paralel, then, he can treat the problem without affect the rest of the track...i think DAW`s have good dessers at least in protools...worth to try... :wink:
  7. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    I have a dbx 263A, and love it! I use it sparingly, and on moderate settings, and have achieved great results.

    As has been mentioned, work with mic placement and choice first, and use the de-esser only as a last resort.
  8. Don Grossinger

    Don Grossinger Distinguished past mastering moderator Active Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    just north of NYC
    Home Page:
    Sibilance is one of the biggest problems that I have to deal with in mastering, so I definately encourage you folks to keep looking for a solution in tracking. By the time it gets to mastering, the problem becomes much more difficult to correct because of the dulling of other instruments in the same frequency range. At Masterdisk, I use a Weiss de-essing module from their studio rack or a Waves de-esser. I have also used the de-esser in the 24/96 Finalizer with some success. There is also a de-esser built into the Neumann lathe rack I use for cutting vinyl. Sibilance is really nasty when encountered in cutting. It can really push the current draw & temperature of the cutterhead and cause real (expensive!!) damage.

    Please make any effort you can to de-ess before mastering. I would be glad to help out a client by auditioning a mix for sibilance problems before starting work on the entire project. Hopefully we can then nip any problems in the bud.

  9. tomtom

    tomtom Guest

    I can suggest this too:
    If you are working with a DAW such as pro tools, you can probably automate levels very accurately. Esses are very easy to locate on a waveform track. If you reduce their levels manually by 3 to 4 dBs, you get great results without offending the performance or making it sound funny.
    It can take some time depending on how many esses you have but it works!
    If this an none of the previous replies are helping, change the lyrics! :lol:
  10. Sen

    Sen Guest

    I would agree with tomtom, ..that's what i do most often lately.
    If you find that your automation doesn't quite work with the initial attack of the "Ss" try pulling the envelope down a bit earlier then it starts visually on the screen to give it "faster attack"..even if it means going back a little bit into the sound before your sibilant one.

    :) cheers
  11. splurge

    splurge Guest


    I don't know what mic you are using but it might be better to buy a new mic rather than a de- esser. Using a de-esser will always be a compromise.

    Good Luck

  12. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Used properly, a de-esser works great. With analog a used dbx 263x is the ticket for cost/performance. In a D.A.W. I like the WAVES de-essr, or jut ride down the volume of the "s". It's really easy in a daw.
  13. EricK

    EricK Guest

    I wouldn't recommend using a de-esser during tracking. To easy to mess it up. Wait until the mix. If you're on a DAW, just go in and locate the S's, and reduce their volume a few dB. I just did this on a particular vocal track where the the "S" was always at the end of a phrase. Worked like a champ. Much better than any de'esser I could throw across the track.
  14. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    double ditto
  15. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    I use a de-esser during tracking quite often. I record in DAW and find the De-esser plugins lacking on most sibilance problems. I'm currently using the Drawmer MX50. It works great. I try to find the best mic and mic position, work with the singer, and sometimes edit the sibilance in the computer manually if it's not ot bad. But if I have a real problem with sibilance I have no problem tracking with a de-esser. Just like any compression though, make sure you don't over do it. And I'll choose an analog de-esser over digital any day.
    The DBX 902 is also a great peice but is modular and requires seperate power supply.
  16. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Dec 12, 2003
    thanks all,

    more seeds have been planted! I now have plants sprouting out of each ear!!

  17. Doublehelix

    Doublehelix Well-Known Member

    Oct 7, 2001
    I'm with you here. It is a last resort imho, but if mic positioning and mic type won't fix it, and I have tried every other option, then I will track with a dbx de-esser on moderate settings. Too aggressive, and it will ruin the sound.
  18. StevenGurg

    StevenGurg Guest

    I think most of us agree that using a de-esser during tracking is a compromise usually born out of desperation... that is, we run out of choices and the job has to get done somehow. Of the outboard de-essers I had tried (Drawmer, DBX 902, DBX263a, SPL) I find the SPL to be the most transparent while still controlling the sibilance. The DBX 263 following next. Among the software de-essers, I like the Waves Ren de-esser best. Recently, I have been experimenting with the de-esser built into the Millennia Origin which is very, very light, but a good intermediary step before the software de-esser. All factors considered, the best solution is a great popscreen, mic selection and placement, experienced voice talent, and de-essing only if necessary.

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