Mixing Vocals 101: How to Mix Vocals Perfectly

by Ilan Adar, NoiseWorks CEO  15.08.2023
Mixing Vocals 101 - NoiseWorks
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5 Steps to Build Your Own De-Esser

There are a lot of different de-essers out there, but to be honest, they aren’t always necessary if you understand your DAW.

You need to know how to use an EQ and a compressor with sidechain, and how to route a track to your compressor’s sidechain input.

  1. Duplicate your vocal track and rename it (e.g., “Vocal De-esser”).
  2. Add an EQ to your track and use two bands: one with a low-pass filter and the other with a high-pass filter.
  3. Adjust these filters to focus on the sibilants you want to reduce, then mute this track. Your EQ settings might look something like this.
De-esser EQ
EQ for De-esser
  1. Next, load a compressor with sidechain onto your original vocal track and choose the duplicated vocal track as the sidechain input.
  2. After adjusting the threshold, ratio, and release, you’ve constructed your own de-esser.  I recommend using a slow release and a fast attack, as this approach tends to be more subtle. However, be cautious: if you set the threshold too low or the ratio too high, your vocals might start to lisp. 😉
De-esser Compressor
De-esser Compressor
With De-esser

Without De-esser

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