What is De-essing and Why is it Important for Your Podcasts?

What is De-essing and Why is it Important for Your Podcasts?

In recording voice overs or vocal tracks, every person has distinct and unique characteristics. As you listen carefully to the audio and become more familiar to the talk and on how the words are pronounced, you will notice these characteristics.

All voices (let it be ordinary or a golden sounding one) on-air or over the internet, creates a noise that ruins the quality of the audio. These are the s, t, or z sounds. Recorded audio or shows that have two or more speakers (such as interviews) have more of these noises. As listeners, it annoys us. No matter how good the show can be, the noises will still give us a hard time listening to it.

As for the s, t, and z sounds, these are called the Sibilant sounds or Vocal sibilance as derived from phonetics. These are sometimes dominant in voice recordings and as unique our voice is, this seems to be common in recordings.

Parameters that also affect these would be on the equipment used microphone placements and other technical aspects in audio recording. Luckily with the advancement of technology, De Esser tools and plugins were created to help us treat these.

What is De Essing?

Putting it into simpler terms, it is the process of reducing, if not removing, those sibilant sounds with some given parameters like with the volume and the frequency of the audio. The De Esser responds to those parameters and help treat or control those unwanted sibilant sounds.

Since this is dominant in voice recordings, then the more that this process will be helpful for interviews and podcasts especially that some of these segments or show take minutes to an hour or so. So how will you let your listeners have a good time and make sure they are not distracted or irritated with the audio they are hearing? You make sure that you don’t give them a hard time in listening to your shows.


There are a lot of De Esser plugins out there in the market but right now, to give you an idea on how the de essers helps you in the audio production of your voice, we will use the Waves De Esser with our DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Logic Pro X to show you the basics in using a De Esser.

A Few Tips about De Essing

Knowing a little bit of the theory will give you a clearer picture on how to use the tool or the plugin. So here are some of those tips that you might find useful

  • Sibilance is often present in the audio frequency range from 2kHz to 8kHz, but it can go up depending on some cases. This gives you an idea that this is the range where you can setup your de esser in which it will respond to and give it a good kick with the Threshold parameter to let the de esser do its job.
  • Most commonly, the male ess is present around 4.5kHz and the female ess around 6.7kHz. But sometimes you have to depend on your ears to know which frequency is more effective once the de esser kicks in. Because there are times when the quality of the recorded audio will not give us the usual frequencies for the De esser to respond to.
  • The Attenuation parameter, with set frequency, will tell you how much reduction is being made in the process.
  • Too much De Essing will lead to loss of audio quality. So always be careful with that Threshold parameter. It should not be too much nor too little.
  • For people with audio background, knowing where to put the De Esser in your plugin chain will make a BIG difference.

Knowing the basics will get you to places. Eventually if you know how important this process is for your audio, then maybe next time, you won’t release a show without using a De Esser. Thoughts?

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