DeEss the Low End? How is that even possible when there aren’t any S’s in the bottom end?
Well truthfully it’s not possible but what I am trying to achieve with this post is to flip your thinking on dealing with the lower frequency problems and treat them like we would with the higher frequencies (i.e. the S’s).
So in order to understand the process of “DeEssing The Low End” we first need to understand why we would even DeEss a vocal in the first place.
Let’s say you had a vocal with a lot of S’s in it, would it make sense to pull out an EQ and then Low Pass all the top end? Or maybe even use a peak filter and then take out 4-6 dB’s at 8k (for example)? Probably not, I mean it could happen under a particular circumstance but more often than not it wouldn’t. The reason you wouldn’t do that is because it dramatically alters the tone and character of a vocal.
So ultimately the reason why we would go for a DeEsser is because it will only take out the problem we don’t like whenever it presents itself
A lot of times when a vocal (or any acoustic instrument really) is recorded in a home studio it is probably done in a not so desirable sounding room. Every room has a fundamental frequency (as well as harmonics that are multiples of that) that will cause resonance in a performance if enough energy is in that frequency, from the instrument. You end up with a boomy sounding track and almost always is hard to place in the mix.
Other reasons could be the recording gear or maybe even poor microphone technique by the artist.
Usually though the resonance is not constant because if notes or chords are changing then the performance is moving outside of that resonant region. So instead of grabbing an EQ to do “static” equalization, why not grab a dynamic EQ that will only pull out the frequency when the problem exists?
If you can’t hear the problems because of your room or maybe you are new to the game so you are still learning what to listen for than you can always grab a Frequency Analyzer and look for the problem that way.
Once you know where the problem is just load up your favourite Dynamic Equalizer or Multiband Compressor. I find myself using the Waves C1-sc a lot for this particular kind of stuff but realistically anything that will split the frequency bands, so you can isolate the low end, will work.
As far as settings are concerned these will be pretty personal from engineer to engineer because ultimately everyone hears differently. I’ll give you a general idea of what settings I would use.
So hopefully you understand now why I was talking about “DeEssing The Low End” because ultimately that’s not what we are doing but the concept is very similar.
Again if you are still confused about the concept just remember this. Just like how S’s poke out every so often, resonance in the lower frequencies do the same thing. So try using a plug-in that works like a DeEsser but will allow you to apply it to the Low End.
Video Source: DeEssing The Low End?