Multiband Compressor DeEsser

Having a good sounding and clean VO is very important for radio production. Before getting into further processing like EQ-ing and compression, your voice needs to be free of dirt and any noise. Having a voice file with a lots of sibilants is a pain. If you already have a hard time listening to this file with all its sharp sounds, it will get worse after compressing and limiting. Not all sibilants can be cutted with an EQ without making the voice sound worse than before.

A DeEsser is a producer’s tool to get rid of these noises, but not every DAW or plugin bundle features a DeEsser.

Don’t become desperate if you don’t own a DeEsser. There’s a pretty simple trick to recreate the DeEsser effect just by using a Multiband Compressor in only a few steps.

Chose any Multiband Compressor and insert it into your VO track. First, you need to find the frequency range of the sibilants.To do this, put your higher band in solo mode and start moving from lower frequencies to upper frequencies. Move around the frequency range of your solo band, until you find the spot, where most sibilants are heard, but as less voice as possible. If you hear lots of fizzling noise and a little bit of voice, you’re good to go.

The other bands are not needed. You can bypass them or set their compression to zero, so they won’t affect your VO. Exit solo mode on your band, so you can start compressing.

Set up fast attack and release times and then start increasing the threshold. Start with a little bit of threshold and then move up, until you hear less sibilants. Don’t overdo it with the compression at this point. Too much compression will make your VO sound dull.

I recommend using this self-made DeEsser before EQ and compressor, so you don’t have to worry about compressing non-wanted noises.

You don’t always need to get more tools. Just by clever using of the tools you already have, you can create great sound as well.

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