Remove "harsch sound"?

I have a heavily distorted guitarr and some VST-Choirs. These sound good, but when played loud there are sharp, harsch sounds that are annoying for the ears. Is there a good way to remove these? If EQ, what frequencies? A Deesser maybe?

The easiest way is to purchase soothe2

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I will check that out.
Is it expensive?

I don’t know what version of Cubase you are using but… DeEsser might help. Give it a try if you have.


Could SpectraLayers help?

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I think it is really hard to give any solid advice before hearing what these “harsh sounds” actually sound like. It could be a multitude of things such as digital clipping, over compression or just frequency imbalance.
Is it possible for you to share a snippet of the audio?


Don’t cheap, but it cost it’s price

Thanx everybody!
I use cubase 12pro, the guitar is shreddage3 serpent, the choirs are EpicChoir by spitfire audio.
I tried soother2, it was a trial. It does help but not 100%.
I will try deesser.
I lowered the electric guitar one octave and that did wonders. It actually sounded a lot better musicaly as well.
If I want to post a audiofile how large can this be? Is there a limit?.
If I use spectral layers, is that a lot of work?
I have posted clips of the audio on youtube and facebook and it actually gets better, I gues they use kompression and other effects, also the lower resolution maybe removes some frequencies?

Its 200usd but there is a 20day trial.

There is also TBProAudio as an alternative, which roughly does the same but is much cheaper. Not that buying a plugin is necessarily the solution to your problem…
There can be other reasons, maybe your room and monitors that have an emphasis in the annoying frequency regions, or your headphones if you’re listening through them.
Electric guitars that are distorted through amp simulations can sound very nasty around the 5Khz region. If you cut that with a sharp EQ band, it can do wonders.
Sometimes simple EQing with a hi shelf can be enough, maybe with a dynamic equalizer. Sometimes a tape simulation or other saturation can work. Lots of possible solutions :wink:

You don’t need any dynamic EQ/Deesser thing for distorted guitars. These harsh frequencies are mostly static and therefore you need to use a normal EQ.

Nearly all distorted guitars usually have a lot of 2-4 kHz which often need to be tamed. I think in the last 7 years I had about 1-2 guitars I mixed which did not need to be tamed there. If the guitar was recorded through a V30 (which is the most used guitar speaker for distorted guitars), then try to tame around 2,5 kHz and 3,3 kHz. Here is a frequency plot of a V30 speaker, should be self explanatory.

If you are talking about “Fizz” then look in the 4-6 kHz range.

To find the offending frequencies, take an eq and make a narrow boost in those frequency ranges and move it around left and right. Stop where they are most annoying and cut frequencies there. Repeat if the nasty frequencies are still there (don’t go overboard as they guitars will sound muffled if you do too much).

Hope that helps!

EDIT: Oh and use a HiCut filter at around 12 kHz, above that range there is nothing really useful for distorted guitars.


Thanx a lot, I am convinced this is the problem. All the presets with distortion in Serpent have these nasty frequencies. I will try EQ. I include part of the track, the vocals are bad because of laryngities, its just a test-recording. Its a lot of dynamics in the EpicChoirs, I like that but its to much I guess. Any suggestions are much welcome. Its only a MP3 so quality is not optimal. There is a 4MB limit on this site.

What I do usually.
Frequency : 3780hz
Q : 8 to 12
Gain : -4 to -8

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Thanx, but what do you mean by ”Q"?
How do you do this, what plugin do you use?

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Q is how narrow your band is. Some EQ’s have very narrow bands for surgical work while others are for general EQ. George Massenburgs MDWEQ5 is an excellent example, and with his Iso-peak feature, it’s very easy to detect resonating issues. But it does cost a lot. I would not suggest Soothe2 for the issues you describe. Soothe2 is generally for much more subtle processing.

I would suggest really learning EQ. Listen and hear the problem areas, then address them.

As far as other tools, the only thing that pops into my mind is PA Brainworx BX Refinement. That could assist beyond general EQ. It has a delta option so you can hear what has been removed. It’s a joke at $200, but if you are patient, you can probably get it for around $30.


Yep, that guitar has some fizziness that is a bit annoying. Try the god ole EQ sweep techniqe: Take an EQ (Cubase channel strip will do fine), set a band to +5-10dB gain, narrow bandwidth (high Q) and slowly move the frequency between the 4-6KHz area until you find a frequency that is really annoying, then reduce the gain until it is not annoying anymore. If the guitar needs a bit more bite after that, you can add a little bit of hi shelf. The guitar could probably also do with some careful cuts at the bass frequencies, it has some rumble there.
The female vocals have some very strong resonances at around 600-800Hz. As they move with the notes sung, they are harder to tame with just an EQ. First thing I’d do is just simply lower the level. If that doesn’t help, try a cut with an EQ in that area. A dynamic EQ or multiband compressor would probably even better.
I would also suggest you get a pop filter for your microphone, the vocals have some very loud plosive sounds on each “p”.


Its actually a boys choir.
I have tried a deesser and its great for the choirs, the tenors as well. Now I can play very loud without getting annoyed.
The guitarr was much worse regarding harsch tones before when it was a octave higher, but now it has, as you point out, some rumble, I will try your suggestion.
The mic has a pop filter but the singer (me) was sloppy and sang to close to the mic.

I will check the EQ-plugin you suggest, its an ambicious project and I want good quality software. Actually its possible I have the Brainworx plugin you mention.

Its a problem with some of the notes getting very loud, thats a thing with the EpicChoir,short notes are low level, long notes are louder. I can fix that by working with the volume but if I ad a limiter, can that help? You suggest a compressor, but that will affect the choirs voices also? I also feel the whole track needs dynamic control, is that something you would do “by hand” working with volume on each track or would you compress the whole track? Like something you would do when mastering?

There is a 30-day trial on the massenburg: