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Author Topic: Mastering De-Esser?  (Read 41026 times)

Jerry Tubb

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Mastering De-Esser?
« on: February 24, 2007, 01:41:34 am »

Wondering what all you guys are using for a Mastering De-Esser?

Haven't seen much discussion about it lately. One of the following?

1. Weiss
2. TC 6000
3. dbx Quantum
4. plug-in (which one & why?)
5. EQ alone
6. selective ITB processing (one "ess" at a time, rather than overall processing)
7. other approach
8. combination of the above

What kind of technique as well.. standard, M/S, etc?

Just curious, thanks.

JT
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Terra Nova Mastering
Celebrating 20 years of Mastering!

carlsaff

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007, 05:52:30 am »

I still use the horribly-named but wonderful (and wonderfully freeware)   Spitfish, written by Sascha Eversmeier who now codes the Samp/Sequoia plugins (amtrack, amphibia, variverb, etc.).

One of the best freebies ever, tho it'll probably never get the respect it deserves. It can be extremely hard to detect even when doing quite a bit of de-essing. Til I can afford a hardware unit dedicated to de-essing, I can't see a reason to use anything else.

lowland

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2007, 06:32:20 am »

I use bands 3 or 4 of the Quantum's MB compressor for all de-essing at the moment: I find it better and easier to use than the Q's dedicated de-esser. It's mostly satisfactory but there are times when I'd like an alternative - it'll be interesting to see what this discussion throws up. I'll try and look at Spitfish during the week.

A consensus I've noticed is that Weiss is the one to beat in the digital world, Maselec in the analogue. I thought the TC 6000's approach good too when I had one for review some time ago.
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Nigel Palmer
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carlsaff

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2007, 06:48:32 am »

lowland wrote on Sat, 24 February 2007 05:32

Maselec in the analogue.


Pretty sure this is where I'll end up... eventually.

aivoryuk

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2007, 07:10:46 am »

still using the waves desser at the mo, i did download the spitfish a while ago but just haven't got around to testing it.

i tend to use dessing in m/s in samplitude to try and concentrate it on just the lead vocal although on the occasion where panned vocals are a problem i just put it on normally. But obviously being very aware if it is messing with anything else.

just out of interest, does anyone use a desser other than for vocals, if so what??
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carlsaff

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2007, 10:00:53 am »

aivoryuk wrote on Sat, 24 February 2007 06:10

just out of interest, does anyone use a desser other than for vocals, if so what??


Hi-hats!

Andy Krehm

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2007, 10:16:27 am »

Jerry Tubb wrote on Sat, 24 February 2007 01:41

Wondering what all you guys are using for a Mastering De-Esser?

Haven't seen much discussion about it lately. One of the following?

1. Weiss
2. TC 6000
3. dbx Quantum
4. plug-in (which one & why?)
5. EQ alone
6. selective ITB processing (one "ess" at a time, rather than overall processing)
7. other approach
8. combination of the above

What kind of technique as well.. standard, M/S, etc?

Just curious, thanks.

JT

JT:

As usual, a good post with well a thought-out, detailed list! I really think you should be writing a book about mastering, maybe call it "JT's practical Appoach To Mastering" and I'm only half joking!Idea

For the most difficult de-essing, the Weiss DS1-MK2 works the best for me.

For mild de-essing, the Weiss EQ1-DYN-LP is pretty good.

I also have a Tube-Tech SMC 2B (multiband) which can be effective also in the analog domain.

Of course eq can be used in conjuction with a de-esser but doesn't do the trick by itself (for me).

I have the TC 6000 but when I first tried the de-esser, I didn't think it was as effective as the Weiss but I see that some swear by it so maybe I'll try it again.

Viitalahde

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2007, 12:03:13 pm »

Been thinking of an analog solution for de-essing and also taming harsh upper mids. Optical compression, no cross-overs, only wanted frequencies pulled back. The biggest problem is going to be stereo tracking, I might need to go M/S with it.

Spitfish can work fine, but it's a bit too fiddly to use. A tiny mouse movement can make a night & day difference, don't like that.
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Jaakko Viitalähde
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Bob Boyd

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2007, 02:43:20 pm »

For tasks where straight stereo is acceptable, nothing beats the Weiss DS1-MkII IMO.  

For M/S tasks, the System (Mastering) 6000.

The Weiss is more transparent than the TC but if you really need M/S, then the TC can be fantastic.

I had the Maselec Limiter/DeEsser in here for a demo last year and thought the DeEsser was fantastic.  Kind of a "one knob wonder" and it has a very effective M/S.  OK, make that a "one knob, one button wonder".

I had the Maselec sent in because I was curious about the limiter.  If I didn't have the Weiss, I probably would have bought the Maselec on the spot for the DeEsser alone.  And come to think of it, it's half the cost of the other options.

You can get the stereo limiter/deesser or a dual mono deesser.  I think both list for $2995.
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Bob Boyd
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TotalSonic

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2007, 02:57:08 pm »

Definitely something that I'm searching for other solutions for also.  

My usual go to tool currently for de-essing is, like Carl's, the Spitfish de-esser.  To my ear it definitely gives superior sounding results than the Waves De-esser  - but I agree with Jaako that it can sometimes be a little "tweaky" so I am trying to find other solutions.  But usually I find it very fast to dial in and get decent results with it.

Other plugin solutions I use are also are either with the SAW native Sonoris Multiband Comp plugin, or with the RML Labs Levelizer set to key its sidechain off of the sibilant frequency.

If there are only a few isolated esses I definitely find automating eq and volume tweaks on just these spots in the DAW can be one of the most transparent ways to go though.

Been meaning to demo out the inexpensive DX plugin dB-Audioware De-esser - http://www.db-audioware.com/dB-S-de-esser-more.htm as a few engineers I know have recommended this as a very good bang for buck solution with a number of settable parameters that allow it to be flexibly adjusted.

I demoed out the de-esser Brainworx BX Digital - http://www.brainworx-music.de/index.php?nav=12&um=2 - and was fairly impressed with it so thinking of purchasing this also.

Regarding hardware choices:
At this point the price of a Weiss DS-1 (or especially a DS-1mkII) is simply too much of a chunk of the new toys budget to justify relative to other more pressing priorities (such as a better chair - Smile ).   This budget constraint might change in the future though.

As far as the Maselec - the lack of control over the parameters besides threshold and whether it detects via M/S plus its price makes me less apt to jump in.  It seems this box is more aimed at vinyl cutting where the de-essing and high freq limiting needs to be stronger than more subtle applications needs for CD mastering.  Can anyone who own one of these comment as to whether my impressions are correct or not?

The BSS DPR-402 - http://www.bssaudio.com/includes/product_sheet_include.aspx? product_id=18 - seems to be a choice found in a number of European vinyl cutting studios such as Heathmans.  Again wondering whether it is suitable for CD mastering needs also.

Anyone ever try the Drawmer MX50??   Seems to be more aimed at the live sound or tracking studio though  - so I'm not sure whether it's "thru" quality is good enough for mastering - but seems it could be one inexpensive possibility that hasn't been explored by many.

The dynamic eq band on the Empirical Labs Lil Freq seems to get very good reviews by mixing engineers for its de-essing - I'm wondering whether getting two of these would be a good choice - it would be nice if Empirical would put this out with stepped controls as a dedicated stereo masterring de-esser.

I guess another possible hardware choice would be the older dbx 902 which can be found racked for less than a g these days - again not sure if this would be superior to digital alternatives.

Best regards,
Steve Berson

chrisj

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2007, 03:18:59 pm »

I wrote one to be more transparent than Spitfish, but I can't say that I'm getting comparably extreme results out of it- I can get very good transparency, but it so far only likes to work on condenser-mic, extended-top vocals. It doesn't go for 6K or anything like that, it only jumps on stuff that is literally producing impossible accelerations, and if the essing is not producing those it tends not to mind.

Which is fine in a way, but I can see it's a limitation, half the time people want to suppress esses lower in frequency than the 'digital glare' esses I set the plugin up with.

Mine is for sale, but it's very likely I'm going to try and tweak it a bit. I myself have a mix I'm working on (the latest IMP) which has esses that my de-esser doesn't mind. I might try to get it to take a little bite out of them.

NoWo

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2007, 03:24:59 pm »

Hi Steve,

I am using the BSS DPR 402 for tracking here, but not for mastering.
The guys praising the Spitfish seem to forget that it is only mono, or does a stereo version exist?
BTW I never found a sufficient deesser in the vst world.

Norbert
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carlsaff

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2007, 03:29:27 pm »

NoWo wrote on Sat, 24 February 2007 14:24

The guys praising the Spitfish seem to forget that it is only mono, or does a stereo version exist?


It has a "Stereo/Mono" button. The default operation is mono, but one click and you're stereo.

Bob Boyd

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2007, 04:30:02 pm »

TotalSonic wrote on Sat, 24 February 2007 13:57

As far as the Maselec - the lack of control over the parameters besides threshold and whether it detects via M/S plus its price makes me less apt to jump in.  It seems this box is more aimed at vinyl cutting where the de-essing and high freq limiting needs to be stronger than more subtle applications needs for CD mastering.  Can anyone who own one of these comment as to whether my impressions are correct or not?

You'd be surprised by how well this box works.  During my demo period it didn't leave me wanting more parameters.  The M/S thresholds are internally set 6dB apart and work very well.

Definitely worth evaluating it yourself.
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Bob Boyd
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jdg

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Re: Mastering De-Esser?
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2007, 05:13:10 pm »

spitfish too.

used well, it sounds great!
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john mcCaig
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