Vocal FX

edited May 2023 in How to's

I’d like to put together a vocal rack in Drambo.

A simple chain of eq, compressor/limiter, de-esser, distortion, noise gate. Perhaps others like doubler and widener. This is a very quick one I’ve put so far. My knowledge on the matter is pretty shallow so any comments to improve this are welcome.


  • Just to be clear, as I wasn’t quite in my introduction:

    I’m asking for help from anyone who has an idea as to how to build what is essentially a channel strip that is specific to vocals.

    That would include specific tools such as de-esser as well as the order in which individual blocks should be placed.


  • So I’ve just learned that to build a de-esser I will need a compressor that only works on the specific freq band where sibilants reside.

    Would I do that by splitting the signal, take the sibilant frequencies out of one stream and channel just those frequencies through a compressor in the other and then mix them together?

  • edited May 2023

    There are various ways to do this. You could route your signal into a highpass filter, use the Compressor's "CMP Env" output or the output of an envelope follower and let that control a Morph knob.

    The Morph knob would then control 1..3 peaking EQs and reduce the gain at frequencies where your voice profits best from.

    This way, you wouldn't even have to split the signal and just have dynamic EQs reduce the sibilants to a good level.

    To make the rack more robust and not reduce the high frequencies from loud tonal parts, you could add a low pass filter cutting off the sibilant freq range and acting as a second envelope that will defeat the sibilants reducer in case lower frequencies are detected.

  • edited May 2023

     de-esser is kind of essential to make vocals listenable

    i was watching Charles 3 the other day, music was nice, choir was nice, sound was shit. no deesser. every time they sang "th" or "s" there was this ssssssssssssssssssssssssss in the church. 🤐

    careful to not deess to much, that sounds like ppl lisp.

    there can't be to much frequency variation - "s" is more or less always the same, its like vowels ...

  • edited May 2023

    4-7 khz

    deesser should be last in the chain (after compressor & eq)

    but before creative things like reverb delay what have you

    (just dont push the frequencies you are trying to tame ...)

    hope this helps

  • 4-8 khz

  • edited May 2023

    keep in mind you can also use the "s" and totally overdo it to great effect if you want to be dirty

  • Cool, thanks for the suggestions. @rs2000 @lala

    Probably mostly for the lack of time and willingness to stay indoors with such fabulous spring weather in the uk right now I’ve gone with the lazy choice of purchasing tc helicon harmony voice 2 pedal that seems to tick all my boxes.

    • battery powered (4 AAs!)
    • small
    • has compressor, de esser and harmoniser
    • i can feed it audio from the guitar as opposed to midi.

    I’ll post a vid here once it’s arrived on how I get on with it.

  • Oh that's cool, looking forward to hear about your experiences. Also I'm very much interested in the difference between Harmony Voice (Harmony Singer?) 2 and Perform-VE.

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