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De-essing your vocals


Blog Post: 

Something I rarely do is de-ess vocals. It's always been something that didn't really bother me in the past. The other day I wrote a new song that included the lyrics: Floating through space, haven't seen a face in so long. You spin you go round the sun.

I played it on the home stereo and it was very apparent. The S sounds were nasty sounding. They didn't pop out on my studio speakers or headphones, but they really distracted on the consumer equipment for some reason.

I busted out the de-esser and got to work. It made the track sound like I had a bad lisp. Reducing the attenuation didn't tame the S sounds enough.

I ended up simple dropping the volume of each S sound by about 6db by drawing automation. Much better sounding!

If you don't know, most de-essers work by listening to the high frequencies and reducing the volume of the track when those high frequencies pass a threshold. Using such a plug-in can reduce all high frequencies - and make you sound like you have a speech impediment.