What is sibilance and how to avoid or fix its effect when recording vocals

Posted by Looperman on 2012-06-23 in Tutorials22 Comments53142 Views
What is sibilance and how to avoid or fix its effect when recording vocals
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About The Author

Matthew Weiss is a writer for The Pro Audio Files who records, mixes, and masters music in the Philadelphia, New York, and Boston areas. Find out more about him at weiss-sound.com.

Comments 1 - 22 of 22
  1. GameboiX
    GameboiX on Sat 23rd Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    Six sizzling sausages
    De-essing -> Thick thithling thawthigeth

    One way I avoid the sibilance in some of my mixes is to have the vocalist back off the mic a tiny bit, or by automating around the 6 band and making it go down smoothly when approaching sibilance.
  2. Spd2
    Spd2 on Sat 23rd Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    Very interesting post. Everything I've read I try to do as it says. Like GameboiX, I also stand back a few inches from the mic -- more if I have to scream. Fantastic thread, I recommend all vocalists to read this.

  3. Tumbleweed
    Tumbleweed on Sun 24th Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    This is definitely one of the most usefull straight up takes on the issue I have read...Happen to be working on a vocal track that it applies to and while I am familiar with the more common approaches (deesser & eq)the tactic of duplicating the track to get the attack a touch further in front is a great idea...I have yet to try it...but makes sense & has me thinking....thats always a good thing...even if it sometimes hurts the head...Thanks for this one....
  4. StereoMathematics
    StereoMathematics on Sun 24th Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    bring out the pop guard. make your own. take a wire coat hanger and bend it into a shape that can accommodate a crew sock. mount it on your mic stand in between the mic and mouth.
  5. Soap
    Soap on Mon 25th Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    "Pre-triggering De-esser"...

    Now this is what I call a tip !
    Didn't know about this technique, just tried it and.... holy $hit it works like a charm !!!!!

    I suppose there is a lot of things you can pre-trigger this way right ?
  6. Mahloo13
    Mahloo13 on Mon 25th Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    You can pre -trigger anything! The technique has been used for ages to trigger gates on snares, kicks, toms etc.....very good trick.
  7. JosephFunk
    JosephFunk on Tue 26th Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    Attach a spit screen (Mic Pop Filter), adjust your recording levels and ease off the aggressive treble.

    A good mic level with a vocal compressor and a careful ear at adjusting the attack and release times is what I do.

    With some De-essers you sometimes have to lower the freguency response and take a big bite out of the threshold.

    Use add needed, but individual results may vary, get a second ear opinion on those really important productions.
  8. JosephFunk
    JosephFunk on Tue 26th Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    Use as needed...
  9. Mahloo13
    Mahloo13 on Tue 26th Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    Nowadays every is eating the mic when performing....a bit of distance can help definitely not to mention it acts as an EQ...the further in the back you go the less emphasized certain frequencies are.

    @MrFunk - A compressor is most likely gonna bring out sibilants and not tame them...the compressor does not react to the sibilants as it's not high energy and it will react more to the lower frequencies below the S sounds thus you will compress the vocal and when you make up gain you are raising the S sounds as well.....not to mention most compressors suck out the low end (to a certain amount) thus emphasizing the mids and highs which will result in more (perceived) sibilants.

    A pop filter doesn't really help.....

    Experiment with de-essers and with the above tips....there is no wrong or right but you have to experiment and find the best solution.
  10. Mahloo13
    Mahloo13 on Tue 26th Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    If you record a good take you might use the EQ to CUT instead of BOOSTING.....I'm ready to bet all my money on the fact that you won't even have to use a de-esser yet you'll have a super nice and crisp sound.
  11. JosephFunk
    JosephFunk on Wed 27th Jun 2012 - 5 years ago
    I am glad you said there's no wrong or right way because in this blog we are sharing what works for you, correct.

    I've applied my methods and it worked for me. Experimenting and sharing is the way to go.

    The people at Logic Pro have a thread called:

    Using the Logic Compressor as a De-Esser

    I'd always experiment and see what works best for you and that's what this looper-thread was intended for anyway.
  12. Boogieskippo
    Boogieskippo on Tue 3rd Jul 2012 - 5 years ago
    love the de-ess technical into for the high end vocals good stuff.
  13. FreeRadical
    FreeRadical on Wed 4th Jul 2012 - 5 years ago
    Personally i like to use a pair of tights.
    Nothing to do with proximity effect or sibilence. I just like the way they feel.
  14. MarieDailly
    MarieDailly on Fri 6th Jul 2012 - 5 years ago
    Lol, FR!
    I've come to the conclusion Im a total moron when it comes to any kind of technical jargon!
    The only thing I really understood there what what Mahloo said (& that FR likes to wear tights, but.........)
    So looks like Im stuck with whatever sibilance appears since my voice is pretty quiet & I usually end up having to limit it etc!
  15. Looperman
    Looperman on Thu 19th Jul 2012 - 5 years ago
    Did nobody spot the relevance of the thumbnail pic that goes with this post ?
  16. Xtaticauk
    Xtaticauk on Thu 19th Jul 2012 - 5 years ago
    @looperman? no dude...
  17. djbladerunner666
    djbladerunner666 on Fri 20th Jul 2012 - 5 years ago
    I'm actually a little not too cognizant about the terminology used in this post or some of the following replies, But I understand what is being pointed out and I have to say I really like the suggestions.

    I use FL Studio to edit and record my vocals. I have found it to be fairly easy with a compressor and 2 Paramatic EQ's by having one EQ set up for mid boost with a low high end sizzle then the compressor set up for a master effect then add another EQ with a low end boost, medium high end torch and lower mid. For an added bonus if you add another EQ exactly as the previous one after that and drop the High end down a little you can also get rid of any white noise that the microphone may pick up and it will soften the s's and t's to match the rest of the vocals db.
  18. PottyEsq
    PottyEsq on Sat 21st Jul 2012 - 5 years ago
    Great thread, but I love the picture of Sybil the rat.
    Nice touch.
    Lord Potty esq.
  19. alividlife
    alividlife on Tue 31st Jul 2012 - 5 years ago
    I think angling the microphone is the best way.
    I got a lot from the article, so thank you looperman.
    IMO, sibilance, off-axis is the right idea. But just mess around with placement and find what works best because other things come into effect like the singer, mic choice, compression, etc, etc. You can also try using a de-esser, or switching mics to something like a SM7. But yea... that's all been covered here.

    I prefer a pencil over a pop-filter. But I am probably crazy.
    TONETIGER on Sun 26th Aug 2012 - 5 years ago
    I overstand the point of the subject.People lets put more focus on the feel of the track.
  21. Infrastation
    Infrastation on Sat 29th Sep 2012 - 5 years ago
    lol, all I do is put a sock on it literally. That just shows how much I can spend on goodies like new mics...

    Although it sounds like I'm joking, covering a mic with a cloth or a tissue can get rid of a lot of that annoying sth sound, or you could just remove the s and t sound from your lyrics...
  22. jediswift
    jediswift on Mon 15th Oct 2012 - 5 years ago
    SSSSSSSSSSSSSS sexssssssssssy
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