I work as a voice artist and recently dealt with an international client with a several page script. I recorded it, delivered it, and it was rejected 4 times (over multiple days) with the same conversation over and over:
Client: Too much ISSSS. Remove ISSSS sounds.
Me: I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Do you mean the sound of the recording, or the way I pronounce words?
Client: Remove ISSSS sounds, we cannot use with ISSSS.
I then applied incremental de-essing to the track (which stunts vocal ’S’ sounds) to the point of making me sound like I had a severe lisp (far outside of what would be considered an acceptable mix) but no avail. The same rejection reasons over and over ….with an ever-increasing fury level from the client.
Client: How can we use this?! Unacceptable! Still ISSSS. Remove now!
Me: I’m sorry, I still don’t understand what you mean by that.
Client: Sounds like amateur, why the ISSSS?! Thought you were professional in studio. Remove ISSSS or we demand refund!
Me: I record upwards of 2,000 voiceovers a year in a sound-treated studio – I apologize, but I’ve never received this complaint before. I truly don’t know what you mean by ‘ISSSS’. I’d be happy to help if you can clarify.
After four re-recordings, a novel-length email chain and enough vocal processing to kill a horse, I finally realized the client had been listening on broken speakers. I suggested they listen on another playback device and never heard back from them again. At least the check cleared.