What do I use to De-ess a vocal?

I know you’ve had this problem. You get the vocal sounding bright enough, then you notice that the “S” sounds and “T” sounds are making your ears bleed.


The solution to this problem could be a de-esser. I’ll show you how to use one in an upcoming post. Finding the right de-esser is the trick though. They are definitely not created equal. If the de-esser you are using is not doing the trick, you can try another kind of de esser… they all sound different.

I use the Pro Tools version usually. Massey has one, but I don’t like it so much. I used to have a Waves rennaisance DeEsser that I though was the best… now I use the C4 (Waves) to get rid of those pesky “S’s”.

tip: the waves C4 usually works with the default setting or the “Pop Vocal” setting works well too

One thing that I’ve noticed people doing (who have more time to mix than I do) is manually go in and fade the esses down with the pencil tool… (ouch) … mind-numbing if you ask me, but what ever gets the job done.

I have noticed that once I get the sibilance taken care of, my track may sound a little dull again. Sometimes you can add an eq AFTER the de esser just to brighten it back up.

Let me know what de-esser or other way that you take care of sibilance.

Til next time


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