Tips to de-ess vocals are very handy when dealing with artists who are very sibilant!
Tips to De-Ess vocals are important to mixing for professional sounding vocals. Sibilant sounds can be very annoying when not treated. It makes the vocals feel harsh as opposed to smooth. It can really distract from the awesomeness of the song. I personally like to put the de-esser plug in on an aux track that my specific group of vocals are bussed to. Before you even put the de-esser plug in on the aux track, you need to find the frequency of the sibilant sounds that is most offensive. Locating this frequency is the hardest part. As with all EQing, it is easier to hear what is bad, than what is good. Most of the sharp frequencies live around past the 4,000 Hz (4 kHz) mark. The easiest way to locate this frequency point is by using an EQ. Before you start using the EQ to listen for the frequency, make sure the vocals have no other plug ins on them, make sure that they are dry. Use turn up the gain on a frequency band of your choice EQ (I personally like to use the Q series because you can have a super tight Q) and sweep the frequencies from 4 kHz to 15 kHz. When you hear a well defined sharp “S” sound piercing into your brain that is super annoying, unpleasant… It’s very horrific actually to the ears… That’s the frequency you want to remember. Now that you have the exact frequency, type that into your de-esser plug in. Bring down the threshold to where the “S” sounds are smoother but not too far down where it thins out your vocals.
I hope this has been helpful! If you have any questions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Ksenia ‘K Sound”
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