DeEssing with a side chain gate
Step 1: Create a new AUX track (“Track > Insert new track(s) > New AUX bus”) and enter an eFX_Gate in the plugin slot.
Step 3: Start the vocal track and switch the AUX 1 track to “Solo exclusive” (Alt + Shift + S) so that you only hear the signal in the gate track.
Step 4: Now open the eFX_Gate graphical interface and activate side chain monitoring by clicking on the speaker icon. As well as that we’re also going to adjust the side chain signal so we can only hear the high frequencies, by setting the sc filter parameter to “highpass”, side chain to “int” and hold to “short”.
Let’s listen to the edited signal. Keep the attack and release times very short and move the range parameter to the right in order that the signal beneath the threshold is cut out completely. Finally adjust the threshold parameter so only sibilants remain audible.
Step 6: Now if change the phase in the AUX channel and unclick solo mode you can check whether you successfully got rid of the sibilants.
The advantage of this method is that sibilants are reduced separately from the vocal signal volume, as opposed to DeEssing with a multiband compressor where loud vocal parts lead to stronger damping.
DeEssing using EQing with a side chain compressor
Step 1: Duplicate the vocal take by selecting the object you need and dragging it into the track below while holding “Ctrl + Shift”. Pressing the shift key allows you to move objects vertically, so they are exactly in line with one another.
The duplicated track will provide the control signal when compressing sibilants.
Step 2: Load the advanced dynamics into the original track’s plugin slot.
Step 3: Activate the side chain input in the effect dialog (side chain in) and select the duplicated vocal track as the control signal for side chaining.
Make sure the “Pre-Fader” send setting is activated. This means that the signal is sent independently to the channel’s fader position. The send signal’s amplification in the compressor of track 1 is now regulated by the send level.
The duplicated vocal track can no longer be heard in the stereo mix. However, this track does provide the control signal for our EQ in the side chain compressor.
Step 6: Back to our compressor plugin: Activate “Side Chain Solo” to hear the rap track’s signal. Switch this signal to the side chain EQ. Click on “Side Chain Filter” to open the side chain equalizer.
Step 7: Now we’re going to boost the high frequencies by bringing them right up in the equalizer.
As this signal controls the compressor the boosted frequencies will be heavily compressed and in turn dampened.
Step 8: Deactivate “Side Chain Solo” and set the advanced dynamics mode to “Compressor”. Choose “Peak” from the reaction settings.
Step 9: Finally change the attack and release times, a ratio of 5.14 : 1 and a threshold value of -20.8 dB will compress the boosted sibilants quite heavily.
Step 10: To make fine adjustments to the damping either change the send signal’s amplification level or adjust the side chain equalizer’s volume fader.
DeEssing with the DeEssing plugin
The in-built Samplitude DeEsser is the fastest and easiest way to DeEss signals. Put simply it’s a compressor which affects certain frequency ranges.
Step 1: Select the eFX_DeEsser as the plugin for your vocal track.
Step 2: Select the most suitable preset for your vocal part. We’re going with “Male Vox”.
Step 3: If you click on the “Monitor” button you will only hear the attenuated sibilants. Experiment with the frequency settings. This will allow you to hear exactly which frequency ranges are being dampened.
Step 4: Deactivate the monitor button and using the “reduction” knob select how much you want to dampen the sibilants. The “Filter Q” parameter might be helpful to you here. Click on the wrench symbol and select a bandwidth between 0.10 (very wide) and 2 (extremely narrow) for the filter to work with.
One final tip: In most cases it’s best to apply the DeEsser plugin to the signal path after the compressor and EQ, but before distortion and amp simulation.
The DeEsser can also be really useful if it’s used as the first insert plugin in your reverb channel, as it stops sibilants from being processed by the reverb device.
Have fun DeEssing!
The Samplitude Team