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Sibilance friendly Mic
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Kookster
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Joined: 01 Mar 2014
Posts: 40
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:21 am    Post subject: Sibilance friendly Mic Reply with quote

Hello VO-BB'ersssss!

I'm a tad sibilant... There, I said it! Whether my teeth are too buck or I just don't project my vowels enough, it's there. Screeching in my ear when I least expect it. Oi, you! Sssssssssss! I'm working on it with exercises, coaching, positioning off axis etc but aside from having some sort of mouth surgery I have to work with it for now. Some people don't seem to notice it, others do - I'd rather get to the NO-ONE notices it ratio!

My 3rd and current mic, CAD E100S (into Audient iD22) seems to be accentuating my snakiness so it's time to put it back in the box.

I would say price isn't an issue, of course cheaper is always better for the pocket, but I'm willing to pay for the right mic this time!

I have a list of mics I'm currently researching - AKG 414 XLS, Neumann U87ai, TLM49 TLM67, Senn MK4, Senn 416, Gefell M930) but I am totally going around in circles (and have been for about 6 months!). Any of you wise folk have a favourite?

Would a classy pre-amp be beneficial also?

Thanks!
Cari
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Jack Daniel
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Joined: 23 Jun 2016
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope you get more knowledgable answers, Cari, but I'll toss in my two cents with the caveat that the actual value of said cents might be closer to 1.5...

Those are some great mics, to be sure. I run a 416 and a U87ai, and I'd say the 416 tends to be a bit more crispy, so I might put that one at the bottom of the list. More importantly, though, I wonder if a mic is the answer. I have no doubt that some mics suit different voices to varying degrees, but these are all fine ones, and my thought is that you'd get more out of testing different proximities. Even the 416 might suit if it's not running right up against your mouth. I see you've worked with off-axis positioning, but I'd be curious as to what difference moving back might make, assuming space and noise floor/treatment allow.

Some people have great success with De-Essers. I've never been able to dial one in to my liking, and instead went with technique fixes, but you might get some telling responses from De-Essing adepts here.

In summary: Since a better mic and preamp will present you with more detail and accuracy, this might be a path taken after other fixes are ardently explored. That said, I've heard the Gefell is more friendly to sibilance, though I've not tried one; and mics like the 416, U87, or 414 might actually up the sibilance because of their detail, though as is always the case so much depends on proximity, position, and environment. Also, be wary of advice from people whose Summaries are as long as their Bodies.
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Bish
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Joined: 22 Nov 2009
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Location: Lost in the cultural wasteland of Long Island

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, I'm acknowledging that it's all about the person, the voice, the environment, whether or not it's a Wednesday... and then the mic... so this won't be one of my simplistic speculations Smile

I run both the e100s and the MKH416 side-by-side. My personal findings are that I have to dial-in a tad of de-ess on the 416 and not on the e100s. It's an extremely subtle thing and it may just be my ears. If you find the e100s needs treatment, then I guessing you will with the 416. But, your critical frequency is probably vastly different to mine... so find a place with a good return policy and try a couple of mics (remember that the u87 is one of the best mics out there, but also probably the most unforgiving when it comes to recording environment).
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Kookster
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Joined: 01 Mar 2014
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks chaps! I realise this is never a one size fits all thing, which makes it all so much of a punt - aaah!

My sibilance on the E100S is actually a tad better when I step back from the mic a bit more than I usually would but the amount of projection then required makes me sound less like... me! Well at least, the style of voice that I usually get booked for. Weird!

I'd like to steer cleer of de-essers if at all possible. I've been de-essing in my DAW and noise removal-ing (is that even a word? Laugh) for too long. Just want to get a good clean input that doesn't need a bunch of processing before it's usable.

Does anyone know of mic stores in the UK that allow you to try and send back? The returns policy on the ones I've looked at insist the mic is still in it's wrapping!
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vkuehn
DC


Joined: 24 Apr 2013
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Location: Vernon now calls Wisconsin home

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:02 pm    Post subject: How we talk to our mic Reply with quote

When we finish ruminating over sibilants, I might start the process all over again with clicks as in mouth clicks as the topic line.

Responding to your latest post: just because you increase the distance between you and the mic, why do you feel you have to change the way you talk to the mic? Is it really necessary to "increase your projection" because of the distance? I must confess I tend to do the same thing but it is interesting to move the mic around but make no change in the way you speak. (You may have to wear a blindfold to do this! Rolls Eyes )
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Kookster
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thought! Doesn't the distance affect the volume entering the mic?

Standing futher back from the mic where the sibilance is a tad better, I'm peaking at about -8

I'm going to try the blindfold test. Would be interesting to hear the results! Smile
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DenaliDave
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on where on frequency spectrum where it's happening.

I'd recommend playing around with a good de-esser that lets you see/hear where the de-essing is being applied. Something like FabFilter's DS.

When you find where exactly on the frequency spectrum you are having to apply the de-esser, you can then look at frequency response charts for mics.

Now, before everyone hounds me -- yes, I realize that those graphs aren't tell-alls, or end-all, be-alls.

However, they CAN give you a really good idea if a certain mic will boost or cut a certain part of your sound.

For me, I noticed that I had to apply de-essing in a certain spot and went on the Neumann website and compared their graphs. The TLM-49 and TLM-103 all had boosted responses in those areas, whereas the TLM-67 actually had a slight dip.

I'm happy to report that the little bit of time I invested in studying my own voice and comparing it to what the manufacturer claims their microphone reproduces worked! I dont have to apply nearly as much de-essing (if at all). The mic simply fits my voice better.

Isn't there some quote about knowing something is half the battle?

Anyway, the lesson here is that it's worth learning your voice, learning where you spike/peak, and how far you extend in each direction.
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Rob Ellis
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if a different pre-amp might reduce sibilance. The Audient has good pres but they run very clean and pristine.
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Kookster
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Joined: 01 Mar 2014
Posts: 40
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Dave, I've just installed FabFilter DS to have a fiddle and I'm completely lost with it (doesn't take much believe me)!

I've uploaded a cheery subject raw recording here...Laugh (please excuse the read and concentrate on the sound lol) I'm struggling with the combo of trying to control sibilance by not getting in too close, but I can now hear my noise floor...or something?? I wonder if I have more than one problem going on...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/h3uktcp5jznums8/cheery%20news%20raw.wav?dl=0

Thanks Rob, I wondered that too re pre-amp. But then I'm wondering about a lot of things here right now!
Wink
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vkuehn
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Joined: 24 Apr 2013
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Location: Vernon now calls Wisconsin home

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kookster wrote:
Interesting thought! Doesn't the distance affect the volume entering the mic?


I captured the sample you linked and took a look at it. YES, if you back away from a mic to reduce clicks or S's that your mic and system captures is going to result in a recording with lower gain. If your studio is noisy, then adding distance will cause your noise level be higher compared to the audio. If you used a "denoise" software on that recording, then you may not have the headroom that a quieter incoming voice would create. Your noise level on that recording is a little better than -60 the way I measure noise. (peak readings. The RMS value would be even lower.) I don't know what noise level your customer will tolerate.

Just for grins I turned on my own rig and tried an "across the room" recording and on playback there was some abnormal noise when I brought the content level up. It was not increased room tone that jabbed me but some strange "spotty" noise. I will play with that tomorrow! Smile
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SteveToner
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Joined: 03 Oct 2016
Posts: 84
Location: LA & Sundance

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like the sibilance is in the 10.5KHz range, which is rather high & most microphones seem to have a rise in response in that area (adds "air").

Of the mics you listed, most seem to have a rise in response around 10K. The AKG in hypercardioid might help things a bit...

Another one to consider, based on published specs, is the Sony C38B. It's not clear to me from the spec sheet which setting on the function select switch gives you the flat high-end response, but as long as it's not the V2 setting you should be OK. As others have said, try before you buy.

Regarding preamps: yes, they can make a difference. I have one microphone that I never liked - sibilant - until I tried it through a particular preamp. The preamp tamed the sibilance and made the mic sound almost good. The specific mic and preamp aren't really important to this discussion because you're not likely to use that same combination, but the lesson is valid. So what made the difference? Well, it could have been a couple of factors: the load that the preamp presented to the mic may have been different than other preamps I tried (indeed, this preamp has variable input impedance to let you play with things like that); it could have been that the preamp has a transformer input while the others I had tried had solid state inputs. Anyway, it's best if you're auditioning microphones to audition them with the preamp you're going to use with them...
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DenaliDave
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you fire up ProDS, you can run it over your vocal track and see where the sssssharp sssssounds are.

I took a screen shot and circled the area where you can see this:



The darker the yellow, the more sibilant ProDS thinks the track is. The two sliders on each side are lower and upper ranges of where ProDS will operate.

I normally like to use a wide band, with the look-ahead all the way up and the oversampling on 4x. The defaults are generally pretty good when it comes to threshold and range (the two large yellow knobs). You can turn up the amount the plugin will reduce sibilance by turning UP the range. The threshold tells ProDS when to kick in.

So, knowing where it's sibilant -- and when ProDS should kick (and how much) you can dial in your de-esser with quite a bit of precision.

The key is not to overdo it. You really shouldn't be able to tell it's being de-essed. I suggest starting with the presets and working BACKWARDS and easing off the de-esser. In the waveform picture above the knobs, you'll see in yellow where the de-esser is acting. When you adjust the threshold you'll see that change.

As I said, the two sliders control the frequency range of where the de-esser will work. You can see the numbers, and really dial in the frequency range of where your particular and unique voice tends to register as "sibilant".

Laugh
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vkuehn
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Joined: 24 Apr 2013
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Location: Vernon now calls Wisconsin home

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kookster - hopefully you are getting a bit of sleep now while the rest of us close out our day. Before calling it a day, I went to the studio and tried several things. I was dealing with MY CLICKS an I am not getting the sibilants so I can't report anything on sibilants. On my mystery mic (not the CAD E100S)

I find that placing myself off-axis of the mic about 45 degrees AND instead of facing right toward the mic I face off about 30 degrees to the side of the mic, my clicks disappear on one mic and are reduced significantly on the CAD. So I guess when this book is complete, the CAD is going back into the locker for awhile. Lesson #673: Every mic, every room and every voice works a bit differently. Your Mileage May Vary.
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FinMac
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Joined: 14 Jan 2013
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Location: In a really cool place...Finland!

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:24 am    Post subject: Check out this link Reply with quote

Hei Kookster,

check out this link to an article about Sibilance.

https://theproaudiofiles.com/sibilance/

He has some suggestions regarding mics, mic placement, and even bubble gum Smile
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AlanTaylor
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Joined: 23 May 2014
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Location: Nashville

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was getting a good bit of silibance with my TLM 103. I love the sound of the mic, but the silibance was driving me crazy. I added a DBX 286 pre-amp and was able to dial it out with the de-esser, plus I could add a little warmth to the mic. Not the solution for everyone, but it worked for me.
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