De-essing Room Mics

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trodden
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De-essing Room Mics

Post by trodden » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:25 pm

Its been nice mixing this current project since basics were tracked at a much larger and better sounding place than mine. the room mic's are providing a nice sense of ambience and i won't have to really so much on reverb boxes and that excites me.

Getting a lot of cymbal wash though when bringing up the room. I'm finding that i like the sound of a de-esser on the track rather than just an EQ cutting stuff out.

I'm sure a lot of people do this all the time, but a first for me. Normally my "room" mics are in my small room and I don't get a lot of options with them besides smash and bash with a compressor and then mangle with an eq to add a "texture".. while this time around, the M/S in front of kit mic's and the other room mic 20 feet back and 15 ft up is giving me nice room ambience.

I'm finding a de-esser is pulling down all the info that i don't want to hear, while letting it sound like the room, much better than eq.

Is this a regular practice for many of you?

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:37 pm

Sometimes.
I also use it on snare tracks too if the hat bleed is out of control.

Also on slap back tape delay for rock vocals, I'll hit the tape hard and then de-ess the delay to keep the sibilance under control.

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Post by firesine » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:38 pm

No, but it's a good idea! What frequency band do you find yourself not liking? I usually like the tippy top of a nice room, so I frequently use a parametric to cut some harsh upper mids. I hope I remember to try this instead next time.
Last edited by firesine on Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by firesine » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:41 pm

junkshop wrote:
I also use it on snare tracks too if the hat bleed is out of control.
Awsome! This might save me a lot of automating in the future.

What de-essers do everyone find most useful?
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Post by trodden » Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:54 pm

firesine wrote:No, but it's a good idea! What frequency band do you find yourself not liking? I usually like the tippy top of a nice room, so I frequently use a parametric to cut some harsh upper mids. I hope I remember to try this instead next time.
right now i got it at 2000. pulling down pretty good on the heavy handed stuff.

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Post by joel hamilton » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:03 am

I use a super slow compressor for this. you can effectively turn down anything with longer duration that 150 Ms by setting the attack at , um, well, 150 Ms or so, and at a really low ratio, like 1.5:1. release at like 500 Ms.
then listen as you pull down the cymbals when you pull dow the threshold, but the leading edge of the drums remains intact. The de-esser, without atack and release, can really fuck up my snare and toms. I have done it, but I dont love it. I would rather have a sidechained compressor in extreme cases, with the same type of ratio/ time constants as above, but high passed to let EVERYTHING through under like 1k at least.
Either that or I will give up on the shitty balance in the room mic, lowpass one of them at 60hz, and use it as a killer tom and kick "bloom" mic with an expander before the 24db lowpass.
Also, the SPL transient designer is GREAT for shaping room mics like this, by adding a little attack, and removing a little decay, then compressing a little... you effctively "re-bias" the room mics towards drummy-ness rather than cymbally-ness...
Lots of tricks, but it depends on the source so much, as always.
one of the most common misconceptions about compressors is that they do not exhibit the attack characteristic until the release cycle has ended, and it is simply not true. The atack function goes chugging along perfectly even when the needle is buried at 20 db of reduction.
Remember that when trying to "mine' some attack out of a washy track. the needle doesnt have to come back to "0" to be shaping the heck out of the first 30ms or whatever you set it to. effectively, that means you have turned down everything "after" the first 30 Ms, which can read as more snap from the snare and toms and kick in the room mics, with less cymbal wash when mixed in with the OH and close mics....
Also, another very siple approach that I will use often when the room mics are cymbal heavy: turn them down. a lot.
Last edited by joel hamilton on Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by vvv » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:08 am

Good stuff guys, thanx.
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:03 am

joel hamilton wrote:I use a super slow compressor for this. you can effectively turn down anything with longer duration that 150 Ms by setting the attack at , um, well, 150 Ms or so, and at a really low ratio, like 1.5:1. release at like 500 Ms.
then listen as you pull down the cymbals when you pull dow the threshold, but the leading edge of the drums remains intact. The de-esser, without atack and release, can really fuck up my snare and toms. I have done it, but I dont love it. I would rather have a sidechained compressor in extreme cases, with the same type of ratio/ time constants as above, but high passed to let EVERYTHING through under like 1k at least.
Either that or I will give up on the shitty balance in the room mic, lowpass one of them at 60hz, and use it as a killer tom and kick "bloom" mic with an expander before the 24db lowpass.
Also, the SPL transient designer is GREAT for shaping room mics like this, by adding a little attack, and removing a little decay, then compressing a little... you effctively "re-bias" the room mics towards drummy-ness rather than cymbally-ness...
Lots of tricks, but it depends on the source so much, as always.
one of the most common misconceptions about compressors is that they do not exhibit the attack characteristic until the release cycle has ended, and it is simply not true. The atack function goes chugging along perfectly even when the needle is buried at 20 db of reduction.
Remember that when trying to "mine' some attack out of a washy track. the needle doesnt have to come back to "0" to be shaping the heck out of the first 30ms or whatever you set it to. effectively, that means you have turned down everything "after" the first 30 Ms, which can read as more snap from the snare and toms and kick in the room mics, with less cymbal wash when mixed in with the OH and close mics....
Also, another very siple approach that I will use often when the room mics are cymbal heavy: turn them down. a lot.

Thanks for this Joel. As i said above, I use a de-esser for lots of non vocal applications but I will fully admit that it's mostly to solve problems in the original track and lots of times it fixes one problem and crates another. I'll be trying the slow and side-chained compressors next time.

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Post by Recycled_Brains » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:24 am

Good info. Joel. I so often hear the argument that compression makes the cymbal/HH bleed issues much worse. Nice to hear a different perspective.

I've tried the de-esser HH thing a bunch, and have NEVER been able to get it to sound good. I am using the regular 'ol Digi Deesser, which could be the worst plugin ever, so that's not helping.

Is anyone using the new Massey Deesser, with good results?
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Post by suppositron » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:27 am

Great thread! I was just about to post one on this topic.

I'm looking for a Steve Albini snare/room sound. I notice he really gets the drums to come out a lot louder than cymbals in his room sound. I will definately try the compression trick. Has anyone tried to gate the room mic with the snare as the side-chain? That's what I was gonna try. I would probably have a low ratio and threshold so as to not hear any pumping. What do you guys think? Or do you think eq and maybe a de-esser is the way to go?

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Post by Electricide » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:32 am

junkshop wrote:Also on slap back tape delay for rock vocals, I'll hit the tape hard and then de-ess the delay to keep the sibilance under control.
my pet peeve (well, one of many) or modern american idol winner albums, etc. Reverby esses that jusht shlushes upshsss all the ssshoundsssh.

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Post by trodden » Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:07 pm

Cool, i'll try some of these ideas as well!

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Post by ott0bot » Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:46 pm

Wow great info. I have a small home studio, but a rather decent space to record drums in. It gets a bit cymbal heavy at times, but i don't want to lose the kit sound. Trying out this method for compression might be just the trick for getting my drums a little ahead of the cymbals in my mix. thx

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Post by bigtexasthriller » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:11 pm

I feel where you're coming from.....My drummer can't always control his ride sound and it was kills me.....I've used the deesser, but found the compression trick a bit better.....have you tried using a small amount of gating? I've found that to work too.....All of those have done well for me.....they all work better in different mixes....Also, do you know if Albini would have overdubbed cymbals? That's one way to make sure they stay out of your way....record all the drums and then overdub crash/ride.....
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Post by themagicmanmdt » Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:06 am

hey - cool topic -

it depends for me -

one, if i'm using my orban for drums (which has the deesser in it). two, it depends on what the stereo drum submix is like. mostly, I use solely overheads and room mics, and once in a while I'll throw something under the snare if the kit's unbalanced, or if it's a light snare hitting drummer.

so, due to the 'character' of the drums being all the same, any sybillance on the cymbals is sure to be on snare, too. it's a 'mic character'. so, that's when I'd de-ess. de-essing is usually the first thing that comes to mind for LOUD cymbals, since de-essing is a form of compression.

if the cymbals are balanced, and just need that shrill tone gone, then maybe EQ does it. 12k shelf on the desk works nicely. sometimes just a slightest touch, sometimes up to -2.

i find doing EQ hurts any kind of snare/cymbal balance worse than a desser does.

then again, since the move to tape, that's the best de-esser of all...and I found myself not touching drum EQ the past few times.

also, not using condensor mics on drums REALLY helps. ribbons and dynamics all the way.
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