De-essing - well that’s a new turn-of-phrase. Rather like the term “gain staging” which seems to have caught-on with many YouTube channels, who devote 20 minute videos to it.
Gain staging is nothing more than balancing every in-put and out-put in the recording chain - and thats nothing more than good studio craft. I believe it’s called nowadays, finding “the sweet spot”.
It’s something I was doing 45 years ago, from my Teac 4-Track to the mixer, mixer to the Fostex 4-Track, and mixer to echo/reverb, and so on and so forth.
When you record a vocalist, particularly one who has a “middley” voice, there aren’t many “esses” there to begin with. Unfortunately the “esses” creep in when adding a bit top (high frequencies) in post production. This is where art of mixing come into play - not too much or too little.
Listening to the YouTube clip, and purely from a technical perspective, Weiss is really good at “working” the mic, and the engineer, has got it pretty-darn-right in the mix.
You see, its mixed for the medium its aimed at, in this case computer speakers, earbuds and so on.
Getting back to reverb - make your own, its far more creative than moving sliders back and forth.
- Do a vocal track “dry” and don’t add reverb to it.
- Duplicate the dry track.
- On the duplicate track, use the Time Shift Tool to advance the track by 5 milliseconds.
- Duplicate the dry track again, and do likewise, but this time advance the track 10 milliseconds.
Keep duplicating and advancing until you feel there are sufficient tracks to make the desired effect.
Mix using the mixer board. Put the dry track centre and pan the time shifted tracks Left and right in increments. For example: the track with 5 millisecond delay put 25% left or right - the track with 10 millisecond 50% left or right, until the track with furthest delay (50milliseconds) is panned 100% left or right.
Each one a little lower in volume in the mix, until you have pyramid shape on the mixer board.
This will add perspective in the stereo picture - example, front to back as well as left to right.
When you are happy, mix and render.
Keep practicing, because you may not realise it, but you are learning the art of mixing. You have now taken Audacity out first gear and into second - wait until you put it into top and see what powerful tool it is.
I can almost hear the responses even before clicking the Submit button, pulling this post to bits.
“Things have changed since your day” - my response is no - the more things alter the more they stay the same, as the old adage goes. A business letter typed on an Remington typewriter 40 years ago will not look too dissimilar to one produced today using a word processor. Recipients address, date, salutation line, all still there.
The trend now is to make up your own new word for something that’s been around for donkeys years.