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Sometimes a vocal has short bursts of high-frequency energy where the S's are overemphasized, and this is known as sibilance. A se-esser, which is a selective frequency compressor, helps eliminate this undesirable effect. Let's see how to use it. The first thing we'll do is we'll listen to a vocal that has a lot of sibilance. Let's solo it up and listen. (music playing) Now you can hear the S's just jump out. There is way too much there. So the first thing we are going to do is insert, under dynamics, it says De-esser, and this is the plain-vanilla de-esser that comes with Pro Tools.
The first thing we are going to do is we are going to hit the Listen button and we are going to try to zero in on the frequency where the sibilance happens. (music playing) So it seems like about 6.1 kHz, right around there is where we have the S's.
So now the next thing is to set how much sibilance is attenuated. (music playing) Now it's attenuated a lot here. Let's listen to what happens. (music playing) So as you can hear, there are hardly any S's there, and it just doesn't sound good. It wrecks the vocal. But we don't really want a whole lot; we just want a little bit. We want to deemphasize the sibilance just a little bit. (music playing) One more. (music playing) Now let's bypass and have a listen before and after.
(music playing) Now let's listen in the track. (music playing) As you can hear, it sounds very, very natural, and that's what a de-esser does: it gets rid of the sibilance for us, makes everything sit in the track a lot better. So to sum it up, use a de-esser to eliminate sibilance from a vocal by using a frequency control to find the offending frequency. Then use the Threshold or Range control to dial in the proper amount.
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