Transform Your Muddy Mixes Into Powerful, Radio-Ready Records With Your FREE EQ Cheatsheet

3 Ways to Reduce Harshness in Your Vocals

Is there harshness hiding in your vocal track? Want to find out how to wipe it out? Read on true believer!

I got a revision request from a producer who thought the vocals were a little harsh in the 9 – 10 kHz area and he wanted them to sound a little smoother.

Now, harshness is generally found in the 2.5 kHz area, but you always want to consider the harmonic multiples as well, so it’s not surprising that the 10 kHz area (2.5 kHz * 4) will add its own hissy-harshness (a new term I just made up).

I found three ways you can tackle this problem and I thought you might find them helpful.

Multi-Band Compression

You can use a multi-band compressor with only the top-band activated. That way the compressor leaves the entire signal alone, except for region above 9 kHz. Think of this as a “shelving compressor,” another term I just made up. Man, I’m on fire. That’s what a 5 am run to the new Post Malone album does to you!


A de-esser is really just a frequency-dependent compressor so it’s not exclusively useful for sibilance. You can easily use it for a different frequency area by tweaking the area the de-esser should “hear.” This would be the equivalent of having a compressor compress a bell-curved region instead of everything above a certain frequency.


Of course, the simplest solution is to just use an EQ. Find the offending frequency that’s causing the excessive harshness and wipe it out.

As always, if you want to master the frequency spectrum and wield your EQ plug-in like an Infinity Stone, there’s no better place to start than with EQ Strategies – Your Ultimate Guide to EQ.

Hit the link below to wield the power!

Transform Your Muddy Mixes Into Powerful, Radio-Ready Records With Your FREE EQ Cheatsheet

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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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