The goal of de-essing is to reduce excess sibilance in a dialogue or vocal track to ensure a smooth overall sound, without harming the intelligibility of the dialogue. The zero-latency dynamic EQ in RX Final Mix allows you precise and transparent control over inconsistent sibilance and “ess” sounds in a dialogue track, with a variable, program-dependent attenuation of only the specific resonances.
“Ess” sound is not simply an abundance of high frequencies. Sibilance actually contributes to desirable clarity. However, the acoustical environment enhances peaks and resonances present in the voice. These start to overload, requiring an intelligent tool and a good dialogue editor / re-recording mixer to fix.
RX Final Mix is more effective and transparent than a traditional de-esser. Traditional de-essers engage audible crossovers as well as more simply adjusting an entire band of frequencies (as opposed to using a more specific EQ filter shape). This can introduce noticeable artifacts. Using a dynamic EQ as a de-esser gives you more precise control and affects less of the desirable dialogue you don’t want to process.
Why is RX Final Mix’s Dynamic EQ well-suited for de-essing?
- It reacts dynamically to a changing frequency spectrum. More resonant energy in a sibilant range will trigger more reduction, and vice versa, with the resulting output being a consistent, smoother dialogue sound. This is crucial, as no voice talent is fully stationary, and the “ess” sound will vary sonically, particularly if the dialogue is changing within an acoustical environment.
- Unique Proportional Q filters offer precise adjustments. This filter’s shape varies in proportion to the amount of cut or boost. As the cut or boost is increased further away from center, the shape tightens for more precision, which is particularly useful for suppressing resonances, hums, or other narrow frequency bands that need to be removed.
- Targeted adjustments of specific resonances within a sibilant area. You may engage up to six discrete and narrow dynamic filters. These reduce the overall “ess” sound as well as the harsh resonance that bothers the ear or livens the acoustic response of the environment.
Three steps to transparent de-essing
- In the EQ module, hone in on specific “ess” frequencies and locate harsh resonances. Use the Alt+left-click shortcut to engage a temporary bandpass filter that you may sweep through in search of these resonances.
- Apply frequency cuts with the Proportional Q filters to the harsh resonant areas, ensuring they are set to dynamic. These cuts should be quite deep, perhaps 10 to 20 dB, and the Q should start between 20 to 30.
- Adjust the Threshold and Q values to find a balance between notching out specific resonances, and gentle overall de-essing. This helps reduce the most problematic sonic issues, while simultaneously gently reducing the overall sibilance where necessary.
- Once you have a good de-esser dialed in, save it as a preset. This preset can be used time and time again. As RX Final Mix’s presets are saved as .XML files in your documents folder, you can share them across multiple machines to ensure everyone benefits.
- Use a Band shelf filter for a gentler overall reduction of the sibilant area in addition to the more surgical ess reduction that’s mentioned above.
Stay tuned for more tips!