Introduction – Drawmer MX50 Pro Dual Vocal De-esser User Manual

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The MX50 is a flexible, simple to set up dual De-Esser designed to fulfil the needs of
professional studio, theatre and live sound applications. It may be used in balanced
systems at +4dBu operating levels using the XLR connectors, or unbalanced at -10dBu
using the TRS stereo jacks.

Though De-essers are most often used with the human voice, there are other instances
where a De-esser is a valuable asset to an engineer, for example, reducing the level of
overtones or string squeaks from acoustic guitars, or for making dynamic timbral
alterations to cymbal sounds. For example, too harsh crash cymbals could be
'de-middled' by suitably adjusting the frequency control.

The MX50 has two modes of operation, one in which it emulates a conventional full-band
de-esser, and a more sophisticated mode in which only that part of the spectrum
containing sibilant sounds is subjected to gain reduction. At its most basic, a De-esser
is a Limiter with a fast release time which reduces the overall signal level in response
to a precise band of frequencies, then recovers quickly. The upper cutoff frequency of
the sibilance band is generally around 8kHz and in the case of the MX50, the lower
cutoff is variable from 800Hz to 8kHz allowing the process to be optimised to various
voice types.

Even when working in this basic full-band mode, the MX50 provides extra features to
improve ease of control and flexibility. Specifically, the circuitry includes a floating
threshold system that adapts to the dynamics and level of the incoming signal, so no
manual threshold adjustment is necessary. De-essing is set via a single control and is
independent of signal levels over a 60dB range. Very low level signals, however, are not
subjected to de-essing as experimentation has shown that this produces the most
natural sounding result.

For more transparent de-essing, the Split Band mode confines the gain reduction
process to frequencies above those set by the Frequency control. Furthermore, as
sibilance rarely occurs above 10kHz, an additional Air switch has been fitted to add back
any frequencies in excess of 12kHz so as maintain maximum signal transparency at all
times. By using a combination of Split Band mode with the Air switch set to on, the
de-essing process can be made very transparent.