Ableton Tutorial: De-essing; 3 Methods & What it is

In this video tutorial I tell you what De-essing is, why it’s done, and 3 ways of how to do it in Ableton Live & iZotope Ozone.

First, De-essing‘s aim is to reduce or eliminate the excessive prominence of sibilant consonants, such as “s”, “z” and “sh”, in recordings of the human voice. What all that jazz means is it’s trying to get rid of the harsh sounds in and around h 4 kHz – 10 kHz range of a vocal / dialogue recording.

The harshness can and will vary between person to person, mic to mic, and amp to amp. Luckily there are a number of ways to accomplish De-essing.

There are dedicated plug-ins designed specifically for this process.

However, there are a number of other methods that can be utilized as well. This video tutorial will walk you through 3 methods; 2 of which use native Ableton Live devices and a third the uses iZotope Ozone’s dynamic EQ.

Watch the Video Tutorial

Written tutorial below

Written Tutorial

Live’s compressor preset “De-Esser”.

This is a really good place to start if you are new to the concept. It delicately reduces the “esses” right off the bat. You can also add more attenuation, adjust the frequency target, and of course the compressors threshold to get more or lest of the effect.


De-Esser preset for Ableton Live’s Compressor Device

Using Live’s Multiband Compressor

Getting the main ideas from the De-esser preset we can apply those same principles to the Multiband Dynamics compressor. Simply put in the frequency target for the top band and then begin to add compression via the threshold and input volumes.


De-Esser preset for Ableton Live’s Multiband Dynamics

iZotope’s Ozone – Dynamic EQ Module

This is my preferred method. Using the Dymanic EQ in Ozone we can really refine the area of the actual sibilant and only effect the ess-iness. Again the principles are the same as those mentioned above, but here we just have more control and fantastic visual cues to help!!


De-Essing with iZotope Ozone’s Dynamic EQ

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Author: Joshua Casper

Joshua Casper is an Artist, Musician, and Blogger.

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