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Sibilance 500 Series Dynamics
Old 2nd April 2018
  #1
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Sibilance

What is Sibilance?
Old 26th April 2018
  #2
Sibilance is an onomatopoeic word.

The "sssssss" sound pronounced at the beginning of it, mimics the sound of an excessive "ess" sound on sung or spoken vocals.

People's voices have different levels of "ess" sounds.

If the ess sound is too prominent it can sound, unnatural and painful to listen to.

The following can increase ess sounds

Microphone choice / design (some cheap mics can cause excessive sibilance)

The vocalists position on the mic

EQ - Boosting high frequency signals

Compression / limiting

Reverb

So basically everything in a traditional vocal recording signal chain can be a risk to generate excessive sibilance!

Solutions to reduce sibilance while recording.

Try different microphones (don't just put up one mic and expect it to be the best, try several, you might be surprised what might sound the best)

Try different angles for the mic to the vocalist's mouth.

Try not using too much high frequency eq on the vocal

Try not to compress the vocal too much

Solutions to reduce sibilance on already recorded vocals

Use a hardware 'de-esser' (a fast acting compressor that reduces just the high frequency ess sounds.) Like a DBX 902

Use a software de-esser like a Universal Audio Precision De-Esser Plug-In

Use DAW editing to reduce ess sounds by isolating the ess peaks and automating them to be lower in volume.
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