• Mix/Production : De-essing
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Mix/Production : De-essing
on: April 05, 2017, 00:17:47
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 04:20:28 by Mar T. »
I know that this topic has been discussed but I thought I might bring it up again.

You know that I listen to everything that is posted here in The Kitchen and the one thing that I think we can all do to improve our vocals is to get comfortable with de-essing. It is the single biggest issue that I hear. Even folks who are not doing much real mixing can use this process as long as they are getting their tracks into in DAW for even minimal processing.

Sometimes we just are not hearing those hard sss's and t's until it is too late.

Who de-esses? Who wishes they knew how?
"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach....but use your head." Julia Child

 "In a world of robotic conformity, the only originality left in music is the imperfections" Eric Craptone

"Special thanks to Steve Gleason for making me who I am today." Leonard Scaper

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Re: De-essing
Reply #1 on: April 05, 2017, 01:29:19
That's a great subject @Leonard Scaper , thanks for bringing that up!
I'm guilty of using too less de-essing myself, because the downside is I always hear those unnatural sounding consequences. I'd love to hear how everybody applies de-essing, that'll be a great thread to follow!
My shot would be: try to record the vocal in a way the s-sses are omitted at record time..
I heard one mixing engineer suggest to use a pencil, wrap a 'ball' of elastic (Is that an international word? I mean the elastics used by oldfashioned mail delivery to tie envelopes for the same street together).
Put that pencil with that ball before your large diaphragm mix and sing right at that ball. The bass frequencies will travel right to the diaphragm. The higher frequencies will be shattered and only a part of them will reach the diaphragm. Experiment with the size of the ball until you 'got it right' in your recording in the first place. Maybe that's an idea to expiriment with? Haven't tried it myself, but I think that might work perfectly ;)
Cheers, hope to read a looooot of replies!
:mart:


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Re: De-essing
Reply #2 on: April 05, 2017, 02:19:31
@Mar T. .......I have certainly heard about the pencil trick but, frankly, anything that impinges upon a perfectly natural vocal capture is, in my opinion, something to be avoided. From what I read, de-essing is simply considered a fact of engineering life, especially since most of us don't have $5K microphones in $20K rooms. Even those folks do it, though.

Microphone and singing technique can go a long way but......it is hard to avoid the need to de-ess.

I use the compressor based de-esser that comes stock with protools and I use it on every project. Sometimes I use two in sequence, only asking each one to do a little because you are SO right about the potential for those nasty lisping artifacts.

I'm hoping just to get folks aware of the problem because I really hear the need for it in many tunes. Perhaps folks who do it already will chime in with their methodology and other folks who are mixing in a DAW will be moved to explore it and ask about it. Once you get comfortable with it you'll wonder how you ever lived with those nasty ssssssss's.  8)


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Re: De-essing
Reply #3 on: April 05, 2017, 02:27:31
I completely agree I hope we'll read a lot of us are aware of this problem and of course I can't wait to read all experiences! Chime on in @Jambrains @junemay @cosignsessions @Mark Luto @Bill from November Love @budhabuilding @Cool Hand @Siobhan Dakay @eblossman @Mr Sydney @The C&D Project and everyone I forgot to mention.. Let's debate!  ;) ;) ;)


Re: De-essing
Reply #4 on: April 05, 2017, 11:40:22
good topic @Mar T. and @Leonard Scaper ! i dont do it much any more on my own stuff since its the only high frequencies
in it  :-\  but when i do it i do it manually by lowering the volume on them. its really easy,
you have total control over its new volume and dont have to worry about the deesser affecting other stuff in the vocals.
the ssses are so isolated in time that you easily actually can replace one with another if you happen to dislike one. 

the reason for this is that the `digital fish phones`-deesser i started out with was also distorting everything i ran through it slightly.
so i went from free stuff to DIY i guess. and one more thing - im pretty sure editing it away is widley used too. i read about it somewhere.

and recording it so you dont get the ssses would be ideal but i think it wouldnt let us have the mic in its ideal spot for the rest of the
vocals too sound right many times... 


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Re: De-essing
Reply #5 on: April 05, 2017, 12:35:14
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 14:44:41 by Cool Hand »
I'm so lazy about de-ssing. Sometimes I apply  it and other times not.  On releasing my music, I would pay more attention to this procedure.  I mostly experience this problem when I am too close to the mic and have recently started to include a little distance between myself and it's placement.  In all honesty, I need to forego the urge to create and concentrate more on aspect of recording  and mixing.

Cool Hand


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Re: De-essing
Reply #6 on: April 05, 2017, 13:57:24
@tuff bransch ...I can see that you are very aware of the issue and have looked at all of the ways to deal with it. Volume automation definitely helps. For folks who are not familiar with that......your DAW will have a way for you to get the volume of the track as a line and you can use one of the editing tools to draw in dips in the line where you are hearing (and seeing) the offending sss's.

By manually editing those places you may be able to use your software de-esser at a much more conservative setting.

@Cool Hand ......keep in mind that every song that you post is in a way a release....you never know who will be listening on a popular site like this. So.....no being lazy. C:-) 8)

Has anybody used a de-esser on instrument tracks?


Re: De-essing
Reply #7 on: April 05, 2017, 15:26:28
Great Topic:

i rather not change the way singers sing because they get very uncertain. So this is one of the few things i fix in the mix. I use eq (high shelf) to enhance the brilliance in the vocal and then use the de-essing to fix the sound. My favorite deesser is the waves stereo-de-esser. Sometimes i add some air with the 1973 eq from stillwell after that. The standard tonebooster deessers is second choice and third choice reaxcomp.

Against harshness i use the Manny Marroquin Triple D or create some silkiness with tape emulation of tone boosters, psp vintage warmer.

I use also deessing on drumbusses for cymbals and on complete mixes for mastering.







 
Just set all my solo  music free at https://budhabuilding.bandcamp.com


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Re: De-essing
Reply #8 on: April 05, 2017, 17:25:36
@budhabuilding ...excellent post. Once we get comfortable mixing with tools that we have come to understand we can do very creative things like boost highs for sheen and then de-ess for frequency specific tight control. That is a very cool concept.

I have de-essed cymbals as well. I also sometimes de-ess a fingerpicked acoustic guitar track that may be a bit too percussive. Think of this kind of de-essing as using an ultra-fast compressor that is keyed to only compress a single frequency band. With an instrument that is sounding spiky at, say 5KHz, you can just take the tops of those spikes off by carefully de-essing. It's a bit like polishing that track with fine grit sandpaper or emery cloth.

Not so sure I would use one for mastering, though. I'd like to hear more about that approach.


Re: De-essing
Reply #9 on: April 05, 2017, 22:06:07
If you download the Lursen mastering plugin from Ik multimedia you see the deessing added in the chain...

When I was in a great mastering studio in Hilversum in the Netherlands 10 years ago.. I saw for the first time the use of deessing in mastering.... (they mastered a couple cd's from Faithless and more sonylon cd's.  )


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Re: De-essing
Reply #10 on: April 05, 2017, 22:14:13
ha @budhabuilding

thanks for the tips....
and yes, many thanks for pointing me to the Lursen mastering plug in recently  ::thumb:: ::thumb:: ::thumb:: ::thumb::
even i couldn't screw up a final mix with that..... so far  :o :o :o :o

i probably soon will though  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
(but thanks!!!!)
me, myself, and Pie


Re: De-essing
Reply #11 on: April 05, 2017, 22:21:49
wow @budhabuilding, mastering with deessers! i assume tey must have had some really overly bright mixes coming in then :D

@Leonard Scaper thanx for clarifying! everything was correct exept from the last thing there. im guilty of not using deessers afte lowering
the esses manually. im thinking why do it twice? The manual way would be very close to the compressor version that just lower the over all volume then certain frequencies hit it. there might be something im missing, i assume some dessers does it with EQ right?


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Re: De-essing
Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 23:10:52
i assume some dessers does it with EQ right?

Some do it with EQ but I'm not sure how they work. Mine does it with super fast compression. When it's dialed in at the right frequency you can watch it hit fast and recover just as fast.

I use a pretty bright microphone so I don't tend to have to boost the highs as @budhabuilding was describing, but I still really need something global on my vocal tracks to tame the overall sibilance but still keep the sheen. By automating the gain on the individual esses that really stick out I can keep that de-esser dialed back enough so that I don't get lisping.

I have not heard much sibilance in your material @tuff bransch .....I wonder what your vocal mic is?

Thinking about the mastering thing more, I can see how a carefully set de-esser might work to polish off some of that digital harshness. I'm going to look into that. @budhabuilding ...where is the de-esser in the mastering chain? I'm thinking right at the front of the chain.


Re: De-essing
Reply #13 on: April 05, 2017, 23:34:33
@Leonard Scaper yes! great excuse to bring some gearslutyness in here :)
usually U89 for close vocals, its not at all bright but i do have to cut some esses out.
on the last few songs KM84 as a stereo pair for both guittar and vocals and not so close.
with that setup i havent been cuting much at all. whats your choise of wepon?


Re: De-essing
Reply #14 on: April 06, 2017, 00:09:40
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 00:11:56 by budhabuilding »