My spoken "s's" are too prominent

Hi -

This is my first time using Audacity - in fact, my first time editing an audio file.

I have recorded a voice over for some e-Learning. It’s okay, but I “hiss” those s’s somethin terrible.

What effect can I use to tone them down?


The technical term for that is “sibilance”.

The first thing to consider is: Is it really a problem?
How are you listening to the recording? Some headphones / speakers (mostly cheap headphones) can exaggerate sibilance. When making corrections of this kind it is important that you are listening with headphones/speakers that are not generating problems in the sound, otherwise you end up correcting for your headphones/speaker, so that it sounds good on your playback equipment, but sounds bad to everyone else.

If you are sure there is a problem, then there is a (free) VST plugin called “Spitfish” (a “de-esser” effect) which is frequently recommended for dealing with this type of problem:

You can try the Equalizer effect. Pull-down some of the high-frequency sliders.

If you’ve never used an equalizer before, the low frequencies (bass) is on the left and the high frequencies (treble) are on the right. I recommend the Graphic EQ mode rather than the “Draw Curves” mode when you are experimenting.

This isn’t something you’d want to do with a music file because you’ll also knock-down cymbals and other high frequencies, but for spoken voice you can get away with more.

What kind of microphone are you using? Are you using a cheap computer mic, or a better quality stage/studio mic or “podcast” mic?

It’s best to get a good recording in the first place, and a good mic will go a long way toward that. (You can’t plug a stage or studio mic into a laptop or soundcard, so you need an audio interface with the appropriate low-impecance balanced XLR connection, or you can use a “studio-style” USB mic (AKA podcast mic).

You could post a ten second or so mono WAV file here so we can hear it. We may be able to recommend specific corrections.