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I'm editing some spoken word audio (lectures recorded on a wireless lapel mic). I am using the following effects in Pro Tools 8. I am proficient with using these effects individually. But does it matter what order I put them in? I suspect so. What order should I put them in, and why? Is there a "best practice" among professionals?

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I would apply them in order of de-esser, EQ and compressor. The first two could be done in either order, but the compressor should generally be last.

You could EQ with or without the De-esser applied, but the De-esser will offer you less control over the sound than a good EQ.

The compression should be last because it deals with overall signal power, which will be impacted by the rest of your manipulation of the frequency response of the tracks, thus you might not get consistent levels of compression if you EQ'd after compression was already applied.

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    +1 for compression after EQ. De-essers often work better after compression, though (you can put the threshold lower without having non-ess sounds triggered in loud passages). Of course this depends on how much the de-esser already compensates for that effect internally. At any rate, since de-essing never boost anything, the levels shouldn't be a problem. – leftaroundabout Jun 4 '14 at 18:56
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    @leftaroundabout - hmm, that's a fair argument. I suppose the other option is to apply one of the effects more than once too in order to further refine things. – AJ Henderson Jun 4 '14 at 19:00
  • The EQ 7 Band is fully Parametric except for the highest and lowest bands I think – coaxmw Jun 4 '14 at 21:21
  • @coaxmw That's correct in Pro Tools 8. I added images. – Crowder Jun 6 '14 at 18:47
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It kinda matters what order you put them in but everyone has a different order that they like and then sometimes you adjust for issues. Most Channel strips let you change the order of at least some of the modules. I tend to default to EQ/DYN/De-es/multiband but everyone is different. Sometimes you might need 2 of certain processes, 1 to fix an issue, another to improve the sound. The best thing to do is use your ears. What are the issues? What sounds good? what sounds bad? What is it being used for? and go from there.

  • I have noticed that the particular De-esser I'm using doesn't have a threshold parameter, so with spoken word audio that is quieter (say below -20 db) it helps to compress (and increase gain) before de-easing. Hence +1 here for advocating for "user your ears". I would add, "use your eyes", at least with the wonderful visualization tools Pro Tools offers. My ears and eyes caught the de-esser not doing its job until the input audio had some gain applied. – Crowder Jun 10 '14 at 15:41
  • I think the "Range" control will change the threshold or at do something that is similar. I don't use that De-Esser much but I know some really like it. – coaxmw Jun 10 '14 at 16:03
  • The "Range" control only affects how much Gain Reduction is applied when sibilance is detected. This is a pretty rudimentary De-esser. @coaxmw – Crowder Jun 10 '14 at 18:41
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    Yea I guess it is a simpler De-esser. You could put the EQ first and use the output control to hit the De-esser at the level that you want and then put the Comp/Limiter last in line. Generally you want a limiter to be the last processor. – coaxmw Jun 10 '14 at 19:08

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