Thread: Signal flow/de-essing position

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  1. #1
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    Default Signal flow/de-essing position

    Where in line do you put your de-esser?
    Assuming you also have an eq and a compressor, and for me the eq is usually before the compressor.

    The placement of my de-esser (should it be needed) has been jumping a lot lately, from all the way at the top to the last thing in line.
    Where do you put yours?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    On a whim? Does it work for the answer?

    I heard people advocating placing it last, so it would see all the sibilants brought up by the eq and compression.
    Though, I mostly tend to place it first. I feel that when I place it in the end it kinda like punches little holes in a vocal sound, and if it's first overall sound is more cohesive. But all in all I don't think it matters (even if it does make a difference).
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  3. #3
    Frustrated Chick Rock singer...now doing jazz standards poorly! Fletcher's prison bitch
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    Just wrestling with this very conundrum 20 minutes ago.

    ...and winding up with a house of cards... compress, de-ess, eq, maybe de-ess again.

    Lead vocal winds up routed to a non-automated buss for ease of 'end-game balance moves' and that might lead to more de-essing...

    And then sometimes I bypass all my added schmotz and am happily surprised at how usable the raw track is, and how it may only need a little help.

    And then I get off my fat Irish kiester and automate.
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    I usually place it at the beginning of the chain too because otherwise I usually don't like what it does on the high end (kinda like the "holes" meLoCo talks about) and that lets me an opportunity to correct it and make the sound "more in control", whatever that means
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    I typically put it at the beginning as well. Seems less destructive earlier in the chain. My experience is limited though.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    From my amateur dabblings, I've settled on:

    Preferable Outcome: No de-essing required.

    First Port of Call In A Storm: Gentle gain riding.

    Shit Is Getting Serious: 3 band de-esser between EQ and compressor (there might be another comp before the EQ).

    Custers' Last Stand: Dynamic EQ near the end of the chain.
  7. #7
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    My latest position has been first, before the eq makes things worse, but previously and for a long time I was putting it last.
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    My latest position has been first, before the eq makes things worse, but previously and for a long time I was putting it last.
    How's that working out for you?
  9. #9
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    Fine ATM. I won't really have a solid opinion about it until I've mixed quite a few songs that way and had some time to look back. It takes me forever to decide if I like a new thing/way.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    From my amateur dabblings, I've settled on:

    ...First Port of Call In A Storm: Gentle gain riding...
    Let me reintroduce my inexperience ... but isn't that basically what the de-esser is doing? My understanding was that it acted basically like a compressor/limiter on in a certain frequency range, to grab the unwanted sound as it peaked or crossed your threshold?
    If that's a halfway close understanding of what the de-esser is doing, what advantage do you find in riding/automating the entire signal, as opposed to letting the de-esser do it?

    thx,

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    Let me reintroduce my inexperience ... but isn't that basically what the de-esser is doing? My understanding was that it acted basically like a compressor/limiter on in a certain frequency range, to grab the unwanted sound as it peaked or crossed your threshold?
    If that's a halfway close understanding of what the de-esser is doing, what advantage do you find in riding/automating the entire signal, as opposed to letting the de-esser do it?

    thx,

    -r
    Don't take anything I say as in any way authoritative, but if you've just got a handful of sibilants that are too loud in comparison to the rest of the vocal, why not just turn them down?

    Gain riding is not quite the same as compression, and multi band de-essers are different again. Plus, gain riding is never going to give someone a lisp or introduce her funky artefacts. It does depend on the source though.
  12. #12
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    My general take on mixing in general is, fix problems first, make everyone pretty and happy afterwards. This, of course, provided it actually works. I've already been in a few situations where I go against my usual steps because the end result sounds better than what I'd usually do. But in general terms, that'd be it. (And de-essing for me falls in the fixing things step).
  13. #13
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    Don't take anything I say as in any way authoritative, but if you've just got a handful of sibilants that are too loud in comparison to the rest of the vocal, why not just turn them down?

    Gain riding is not quite the same as compression, and multi band de-essers are different again. Plus, gain riding is never going to give someone a lisp or introduce her funky artefacts. It does depend on the source though.
    You also have full control over the levels you're getting... something a de-esser might not give you. Also, depending on the source material, using the same settings for all sibilants might be problematic.
  14. #14
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    You also have full control over the levels you're getting... something a de-esser might not give you. Also, depending on the source material, using the same settings for all sibilants might be problematic.
    I'm not going to lie, I'm too lazy to automate down particular sibilant instances in a song.



    Generally, I see eq and compression as exasperbating sibilants, so I guess it's a question of do you want to knock the bad bits down before you potentially make them worse (and hope they just don't get as bad) or deal with it after.
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    I'm not going to lie, I'm too lazy to automate down particular sibilant instances in a song.



    Generally, I see eq and compression as exasperbating sibilants, so I guess it's a question of do you want to knock the bad bits down before you potentially make them worse (and hope they just don't get as bad) or deal with it after.
    It depends how much you compress and EQ after. You might just end up having to do it twice.
  16. #16
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    It depends how much you compress and EQ after. You might just end up having to do it twice.
    Egg-zactly.

    So, I'll run lilt this for a bit and see if I feel like it's working better.
    Or maybe a little bit at both ends is the thing, ? Dunno
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    It's interesting to me how wildly people vary in the essiness of their sound.

    I generally compress and eq on the way in, so any de-essing will come after.

    if it's a really breathy essy kind of performance, I just resign myself to the extensive volume automating that's going to be necessary to get it to work. Unless I want the plug in to work on more than the esses, then I'll set it to mellow the vocal more generally, and automate post. The UAD Precision De-sser is great for that situation.

    If there's a lot of esses, but they aren't too bad I will set a desser to just get the objectionable ones. If there's not that many of them at all I will just automate them.

    If there's lots of background vocals I will usually get pretty heavy handed with the de-essers because I will have probably compressed the crap out of them.
  18. #18
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    I'm not going to lie, I'm too lazy to automate down particular sibilant instances in a song.



    Generally, I see eq and compression as exasperbating sibilants, so I guess it's a question of do you want to knock the bad bits down before you potentially make them worse (and hope they just don't get as bad) or deal with it after.
    I personally always deal with them before, if I see any problems, although I've found that in a few occasions I do have to re-touch them a bit post eq/comp.

    Obviously, all this depends on the singer and how good his/her technique is. Just like in everything else, it's up to the source material.
  19. #19
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    I generally compress and eq on the way in, so any de-essing will come after.
    It's funny, because a long time ago I was really wary of doing this. My line of thought was "I can mess with the sound once it's recorded, so I need to get the source material intact and not mess with it, since I have no idea what the mix will sound like and how it'll need to sit in there", boomy or screechy frequencies and all.
    But being a guitar player, it once dawned on me "Wait a sec... if I spend all this time getting a guitar sound "right" so I can record it, why can't I get a vocal sound "right", and record it like that too? EQ/Comp and all...". I then realized that having spent a good amount of time/work on getting the PRODUCTION to sound good would really determine where the mix is going in the end, and I didn't have to worry about the "guessing game" of wondering if my already EQ'd/compressed vocal would sit well in the mix. The production's sound would tell me that when recording the vocal (or anything else). At that precise moment, for me, the line dividing production and mix started to blur considerably.
  20. #20
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    Default Re: Signal flow/de-essing position

    Generally, I see eq and compression as exasperbating sibilants, so I guess it's a question of do you want to knock the bad bits down before you potentially make them worse (and hope they just don't get as bad) or deal with it after.
    well, they can work in the opposite way also. you can always find the annoying frequency and notch it out, or you can find a lower frequency that compliments it and boost that. if eq is about balancing the signal, then balancing it out this way may make the sibilant stuff less noticeable. eqing into the compressor is helpful for this as well.

    i always found de-essing more of a damage control thing. like, if all other options have been exhausted, then ill reach for one. but i could probably count on one hand the number of times I have.

    ymmv, and whatever makes it easier to get it done, by all means. theres no one way.

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