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"eSSes" those freaking ESSES

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by Pedro Teixeira, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Pedro Teixeira

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    I know this thread's title sounds like a hispanic gang calling.

    Basically, my main problem is and always has been the fucking "Ss" in vocals (not shouting, not guttural, but singing), be it female, be it male, whatever mic and pre-amp I use, I get the same result. So I know this is the user's fault, mine, and it's really really frustrating, the last record I just wrapped needed around 3 instances of fucking dessing on each track, there was NO boosting on the vocals, only cutting, so it went to mastering, and here we go, those FUCKING "SSs", it doesn't MATTER what I do, they WILL come through, no matter how I cut it, no matter how much dessing, be it wide or narrow frequency wise, how much is reduced, it will sneak up on me!

    Basically, with all this rambling about my inability to control this, what exactly do you guys do? What dessers do you use? Where in the chain? How? How the fuck do you control the fucking Ss?
     
  2. vespiz

    vespiz Mixing!

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    Volume automation for the really troublesome.
     
  3. ahjteam

    ahjteam Anssi Tenhunen

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    Can you send me a short audio example of just the vocal track, I'm usually pretty ace with de-essing. Also what De-esser are YOU using?
     
  4. Pedro Teixeira

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    I don't have one right now, I'm at home. I use Spitfish, it's basically the only desser I own
     
  5. jipchen

    jipchen ForesterStudio

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    I'm also ALWAYS having trouble with the damn de-essing. Very interested in more helpful tips that might come up.
    A quick volume automation is a great tip already, I honestly never thought of that. Keep them coming :D

    I use either the Logic De-Esser or the Waves DeEsser. My problem is that (mostly) by the time I finally found the exact frequency and necesessary amount of reduction for one specific "s", I realize there are like hundreds of them and the frequency is different everytime. DO NOT WANT
    While writing about it, I just realized automating both the frequency and the amount of reduction would probably work. But that's just overkill.
     
  6. Pedro Teixeira

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    Max, that's exactly my problem. There's overtones so it spikes between various frequencies, hence me using 3 dessers in the last project, AND STILL it was there, but I listen to most commercial records (most, some do have a bit of essing) and some of them, the "ss" are SO smooth, it's unbelievable, I want that, but I just can't... I know I'm doing something wrong, it's really frustrating me
     
  7. Fbarre

    Fbarre Member

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    Esses have a certain waveform shape, identify them and simply use volume automation to make them quieter. For me de-essers always made the esses sound worse, so I don't use them at all. Also most de-essers tend to have an impact on more than just the esses.
     
  8. arv_foh

    arv_foh Brian K

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    multiband comp when de-esser won't grab em all
     
  9. pikachu69

    pikachu69 mixomatic 2000

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    I would think back more to the source if it is a consistant problem.
    Check your mic technique:
    Is the mic too close to the singer?
    Try moving the mic up/down, left/right the general area of the singers mouth. Every singer will expell the air from their mouths in a slightly different direction when they talk/sing so learn where that is by moving the mic around and then avoid that area altogether.
    Different parts of the face have a different tone, similar to moving a mic round a speaker. Off axis can work well on vocal too.

    Check the frequency response of your vocal mic. It may have a natural boost right in this problem area. Try a different mic/pre combo.
    (I know the OP said you had done this, but still good general advice)

    Try using two pop shields.

    All plosives and esses should be sorted before tracking vocal begins.

    After all this any normal de esser will be able handle any artifacts caused by eq/compression.
     
  10. pikachu69

    pikachu69 mixomatic 2000

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    Maybe the Aphex Aural Exciter doing that?
     
  11. Audiosprite

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    Waves' desser has always done the job for me, try grabbing a freeware multiband comp like ReaXComp or C3 and with a very narrow Q comp at 4.5kHz for male or 6.7kHz for female.
     
  12. BLUElightCory

    BLUElightCory Member

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    What other processing are you doing, and what mics are you using? If it's such a consistent problem then odds are there is something else going on that's causing it.
     
  13. DestroyTheColossus

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    I never have much of a problem with esses. Identify when it's going to be an issue when you start recording and maybe rethink mic placement to the vocalist in order to reduce the esses. Then 1 instance of a de-esser is enough for me.

    One thing to remember is some ess is good for intelligibility and is part of our natural speech. Its easy once you start listening for esses to have it bug you no matter how little or quiet it is, when really a little bit of it is a good thing.
     
  14. 26

    26 Muzak by request

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    maybe not. i'm by no means an AE pro that worked with dozens of vocalists, but i made the experience that if that problem is demonstrated to a singer, chances are, they try to work against it within their style/pronuncation/redusssssing.
    i admit, from a daily recording routine perspective this may be complete BS :)
     
  15. ang3

    ang3 Member

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    has anyone used izotope nectar? im having the same issues with vocals and came across this plug. just wondering if its worth checking out
     
  16. Wohma

    Wohma Hearing sounds and voices

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    Just out of curiosity, what mikes have you tried?
    P.S.: I use Spitfish and I haven't had problems de-essing, but I've so far recorded just 2 singers (growlers) and used Oktava MK-319 both times, which is rather dark.
     
  17. if6was9

    if6was9 Ireland

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    I've also had huge problems with "esses". I often find the de essers hurt the sound more than help so generally I go a little easier on the compression and do a few small cuts with EQ to help solve the problem. I'm getting some nicer mics, pres and converters as for me, I think a huge part of it comes from the fact I'm using a Rode NT-1 into a Firepod. Bright and harsh results which especially is apparent with cymbals and vocals.

    Also, try playing around alot with the attack and release of the comps. Often a badly set up comp will really bring out the unwanted "s" sounds and make your life hell.
     
  18. Mago

    Mago Austrian Blech Machine

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    I think thats mostly part of the setup and vocalist...if it sounds good to begin with you dont need to boost anything that ehances the esses
    usually one time de-essing is enough for me if needed
     
  19. jangoux

    jangoux Member

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    atm I am doing one multiband comp before the compressor and a desser after the compressor...and it is still not smooth. I am trying new mic positions, but so far got nothing...
     
  20. Pedro Teixeira

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    Like I said, I don't generally boost on vocals, I probably hear it too much because I get to fixated on it that it ends up being the most prominent thing I can hear in a mix.

    It's got nothing to do with compression btw, I believe this may lie right on the source, last time I used a c414 with the cover + pop shield, still the same thing, I think the fucking singers get too close all the time when I tell them not to, even if they don't notice, that may be the case, I don't know. I also don't like Spitfish that much, as soon as I put it on something I can hear something different in the audio although it's doing nothing
     

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