De-Essing on Temple by Beautiful Losers
Songsmiths has recently released Temple by South African Rock band, Beautiful Losers. I produced the track here at The Cooler and it was one of the bigger mixes I have taken on. In addition to all the vocals, guitars, etc. the band wanted to add orchestral elements to create a big ending. And, the cherry on top of that big, orchestral ending there was a guitar solo. So, lots of competing elements.
I’m not put-off by lots of instruments. If arranged properly, they will all sit together nicely. Besides, I like the cacophony of a big finish when everything, including a new element or two, is firing away, bringing the song home.
The one problem/solution I would like to share with you now is about taming that guitar solo so that it would sit well with the strings and other high-frequency elements in the mix. Those instruments were competing for space and there was a frequency in the guitar that was spiking and making a mess of things. The solution? A de-esser.
A de-esser is really just a compressor that targets a specific frequency. It gets it’s name from it’s original purpose, which was to tame sibilance in vocals, but a de-esser can be used on any instrument. On Temple, I inserted a de-esser on the guitar solo track to tame the ear-splitting frequency that was assaulting my tweeters. I just had to isolate the offending frequency and adjust the threshold on the de-esser to get the right amount of attenuation. Voila! No more spike. No more bleeding eardrums.