Video Production

How to Remove S Sound in Audacity

Recording vocals in Audacity and running into a whole load of annoying ‘s’ sounds? Learn how to get rid of them with our helpful guide!

Audacity is a free, open source digital audio editor that you can use to record and process audio. Although musicians and producers prefer paid DAW software like Ableton, ProTools or FL Studio, many content creators rely on the software for its simple yet powerful functionality. With multi-track audio editing and recording options, Audacity makes capturing and processing audio easy, and is perfect for podcasts and interviews.

Onboard Audacity there are a wide range of effects that you can use to modify your audio, meaning you can use the software to shape your recordings to your liking. This might involve creative processing, or more practical audio repair tasks. One audio task that commonly crops up with recordings is removing ‘s’ sounds, otherwise known as sibilance. In this article we’ll show you what to do in Audacity to remove sibilance.

Why are my S's so sharp?

Speaking and singing are both complex processes that require a number of body parts to work in unison, including the lungs, throat, jaws, tongue and lips. When you make an ‘s’ sound, your tongue draws up to the top of your mouth, and you direct air towards the top of your teeth. This creates a natural hissing sound, so it’s normal to expect some sibilance when you say phrases like “She sells seashells by the seashore”. Try it and you’ll see what we mean!

However, some people create harsher sibilance than others when speaking, due to the shape of their mouth, tongue and teeth. If you find that your ‘s’ sounds are very sharp when recording, you might just be a naturally sibilant speaker.

The microphone that you use can also have an effect on how pronounced your ‘s’ sounds are in recordings. Low quality mics have a tendency to be very bright, and can make sibilance sound extremely harsh when it’s picked up. 

Do pop filters help with S sound?

The main effect of a pop filter is to prevent plosives, which are caused by outbursts of air from the mouth after voicing consonants like ‘p’ and ‘b’. These consonants are formed by completely closing the mouth, cutting off the air flow from the lungs, and then releasing it quickly. 

When you’re recording into a microphone, the quick blast of air from a plosive can overload the mic capsule, causing an intense volume spike in the audio recording. Pop filters are constructed from semi-transparent material that serves to diffuse the air that comes from plosives. Unfortunately, they aren’t really that effective in stopping ‘s’ sounds.

How to Remove S Sound in Audacity

How do I get rid of the S sound on my recording?

The method of removing ‘s’ sounds in audio recordings is called ‘de-essing’. By using plugins (de-essers) that have been specifically designed to target and remove certain frequencies, you can reduce and often completely eliminate annoying sibilance from your recordings. 

How do I remove s sounds in audacity?

As mentioned previously, Audacity supports external plugins, as well as coming preloaded with a few of its own. There’s a number of de-essers on the market today, both paid and free, so you’ll need to take a look at the options available to you and decide which one suits you best. For a guide on which plugins Audacity supports see here

Here at Accusonus, we have our own de-esser that you’ll get as part of both the Standard and Pro ERA bundles. De-Esser is a powerful piece of software that allows you to remove sibilance from your recordings with the turn of a dial. It’s effective and easy to use, so if you want to fix sibilance in Audacity - look no further!

How do I reduce sibilance in audacity?

Getting rid of sharp ‘s’ sounds in Audacity is easy when you have a plugin like Accusonus’ De-Esser. After you’ve downloaded the plugin (or any de-esser that’s compatible with Audacity) you’ll need to add it to the Audacity plugins folder. You can see instructions on how to do this here.

How to Remove S Sound in Audacity

Load up Audacity, and open up the Effects dropdown menu. Click Add/Remove Plugins, and search for your de-esser plugin in the list of plugins. Select the plugin, and hit Enable and then OK. When you go back into the Effects menu, you should now see your de-esser plugin in the list of external plugins (below the list of Audacity stock plugins).

Select your de-esser from the Effects menu and you’ll be presented with the plugin interface. From here you can control the sibilance of your recording using the controls of your plugin. Some de-essers overcomplicate what should be quite a simple process with fiddly controls, but our De-esser comes with a single dial - just turn it up to hear the ‘s’ sounds drop out!

How do you filter curve in audacity?

The Filter Curve EQ on Audacity is a handy tool that allows you to shape sound with surgical precision. Using the Filter Curve EQ you can increase the volume of some frequencies and reduce others.  

If you open up the Filter Curve EQ in Audacity you’ll be presented with an interface showing a frequency spectrum from 20Hz to 17000Hz. You can draw filter curves on the spectrum by either clicking in the graph at any position, or clicking on the blue line and dragging it. Doing either creates a control point at that position, and by then creating further control points you can shape the curve. To remove a control point, drag it outside the graph.

How to Remove S Sound in Audacity

Does Audacity have de Esser?

Audacity doesn’t come with a de-esser preinstalled on the software, but you can download one for free here. The De-esser plugin you’ll find in this link was created by an Audacity user in 2014, and has become a popular free resource on the platform. 

After you’ve downloaded the plugin, add it to Audacity’s plugin folder, and when you load up the Effects menu in the program all you have to do is follow these steps:

  • Click Add/Remove Plugins, and search for your de-esser plugin in the list of plugins. 
  • Select the plugin, and hit Enable and then OK
  • Go back into the Effects menu, and select De-Esser from the dropdown menu 

Can I use VST plugins in audacity?

You can download and install plugins to add extra functionality to Audacity. VST effects are supported by the program, but not VST instruments. For a guide on what plugins you can use on Audacity, see here.

Is there a de-Esser on audacity?

Although Audacity comes with built-in plugins and effects, it doesn’t have a dedicated de-esser. Don’t worry though, our De-Esser works great with Audacity, and can be used to easily remove annoying ‘s’ sounds from your recordings with the twist of a dial! To find out more about De-Esser and the rest of the powerful audio repair plugins in the ERA bundle, see here.

How do I use de Esser in audacity?

When you’re using a de-esser in Audacity, you need to be mindful of a couple of things. The first thing is that it’s recommended to isolate and loop a piece of audio that has sibilance in it, so that you can really hone in on those pesky ‘s’ sounds and hear what the plugin is doing. 

To enable playback looping, simply click on the loop button (beside the record button). Once you do this, you’ll see the looping region appear in the audio timeline. You can then move this region and adjust its in and out points individually by dragging it. 

Next, you’ll need to select a centre frequency, which is basically the frequency that’s causing you the most trouble with sibilance. Usually this frequency will lie somewhere in the range of 5,000 to 9,000Hz.

How to Remove S Sound in Audacity

You’ll now need to set the ‘threshold’ of the de-esser, or the volume point the audio has to reach for the de-esser to start suppressing your chosen frequency. Like a compressor, the lower you set the threshold the more sensitive the de-esser will be.

There are usually more controls on de-esser plugins, depending on which software you’re using, but those are the basics of de-essing! If all this technical stuff goes way over your head, our De-Esser plugin is definitely for you. With a clean, single-dial interface, all you have to do is load it up and set the processing level!

How do I remove specific noise from audio?

Removing specific noise from audio is all about targeting the right frequencies and treating them accordingly. As we’ve shown above, de-essing requires you to target and remove sibilant frequencies, which usually reside in the 5-9kHz range. 

Sibilance isn’t the only thing that you might want to remove from audio. There are a whole range of plugins available today that are designed to remove hiss, hum, clicking and all sorts of other sounds from audio. Targeting and removing these sounds yourself would be a painstaking process that you can easily avoid, especially if you’re using ERA plugins. 

In the ERA bundle you’ll find a dedicated Noise Remover plugin, which can be used to remove unwanted noise from almost any environment or object. Like all of our plugins, there’s an easy to use single dial interface, and you can even choose the specific frequencies you want to remove with a Focus tool. 

How do you remove clicks in audacity?

Clicking sounds in audio are sharp transients that are caused by inaccurate sample values. The sudden jumps in the waveform that they cause can be very unpleasant to listen to, so it’s important to remove them from your recordings.

There are several ways of removing clicks in Audacity, which you can learn more about here.

How to Remove S Sound in Audacity

De-essing is a crucial part of processing vocals, as nobody wants to hear the hiss of sibilance when they’re listening to recordings. Once you develop a de-essing process in Audacity that works for you, you’ll likely use it over and over again, especially if you regularly record content like podcasts. Thankfully, removing ‘s’ sounds in Audacity is easy – all you need is the right plugin, and a little bit of knowledge on what you’re looking for in your audio. If you’re looking for Audacity-supported plugins to help you with your audio processing, check out the ERA bundle now!

December 28, 2021
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