As kids my brother and I used to have these throwdown word challenges. It would go something like this. “I’ll bet you can’t say ‘She sells seashells down by the sea shore’ 5 times in 15 seconds without messing up.” We of course tried, messed up terribly, and died laughing in the process. The alliterative sibilance in that series or words caused us to trip up. And it is sibilance that causes some podcasters, for perhaps different reasons, to trip up in their shows.
Sibilance is the intrusion of sibilant sounds, (the “s”, “z” and “sh”), when podcasting. It can be really grating for someone who is trying to get good content out of a podcast. Sibilance can be the result of podcasting vocal technique, compressions, and even microphone choice. Typically Sibilance occurs between the frequencies of 2–10 kHz. The good news is that sibilance can be controlled.
De-essing is the technique used to reduce and minimize sibilance. In a sense, it acts like a gate for sibilant sounds. My DBX 286s Microphone Pre-amp Processor has a de-esser built into it as many pre amps do these days. I prefer handling de-essing issues this way. However, many programs like Adobe Audition and Audacity have de-essing algorithms that can handle the issue in post production.
My preference is to always use hardware to take care of an issue when I can. If you would like to try out the DBX 286s Microphone Pre-amp Processor, you can find it here. Let me know what you think.