Best De-Esser Plugins

  • by Marco Biraghi

What is a de-esser?

A de-esser is a dynamic processor engineered to tame harsh frequencies in the high end, especially the one where the S/Z/P/T/D/C/F/V sit.

 

Free

These plug-ins are all available for free. However, this doesn’t make them not worthy of your attention.

 

Techivation T-De-Esser

Simple, easy to use, and the four frequency range.

 

 

Sleepy-Time DSP Lisp

It’s a nice-sounding plugin, but the GUI isn’t any appealing. Still nice for being free.

 

 

Digitalfishphones SPITFISH

It looks like it came out of Windows 98, but the Tune knob ranging from 4k to 12k allows for an appreciably accurate tweaking.

 

 

Budget

These plug-ins are all for sale. We can say that they’re all worth more than what they cost. If you want to commit to some expenses without breaking the bank, this is the place to start.

 

Antares Sybil

It’s basically a compressor with a high pass filter to adjust which high frequency content will get compressed and to ensure that the sibilance is reduced while the rest of the voice remains pristine.

 

 

IK Multimedia T-Racks De-Esser

This plug-in is one of the most versatile on this list. The amount of control offered by it covers whatever you need in most cases.
When set as 2 band mode the De-Esser works in a broader fashion, effectively reducing the high end content of the area set by the frequency selector. Switching to 3 bands mode allows more precision and control, particularly useful in situations like vocal tracks where sibilance is in a narrow range, and where there is the need to leave the higher part “air” untouched. The dedicated control set also allows you to precisely tailor the operating mode, and audition the de-essing action or the part of the audio spectrum the processor is working on.

 

 

Waves Sibilance (Best Value)

Unlike most de-essers which act like narrow-band compressors, Sibilance uses Organic ReSynthesis spectral filters to identify undesirable bursts of sibilant energy, then completely separates the nuances of sibilance from the vocal signal, leaving the rest of the signal untouched.

The detection knob offers a simplified yet limited way to control the timing.

The top panel allows monitoring of which imperfections are being corrected and how much.

 

 

Waves R-De-Esser

Renaissance DeEsser’s distinctive features include phase-compensated crossover and adaptive threshold. With its modern, updated GUI and enhanced visual feedback, Renaissance DeEsser makes it easier than ever to accurately clean up problem frequencies.

Being able to see how the processor is affecting the frequency spectrum is essential and the addition of the filter type makes it really versatile.

 

 

Top Tier

These are the elite of the digital realm. They require some commitment to your wallet, but the number of features and the quality of performance they offer is among the very best you can find around nowadays. The sonic character is the main thing you should consider when pulling the trigger on the buy button.

All these tools will make your mix sound the way you want. They don’t have the magic of doing the job for you, but they will definitely help shape the tone in the best way possible.

 

Fabfilter Pro-DS (Our Pick)

Tied for the best de-esser around. Its visual approach is great, the sound is great as well, and the preset library offers enough solutions to start from.

The display shows when gain reduction is being applied and how much.

The most difficult parameters are the ones in the Mode section, and that’d be best to learn them while studying the presets.

The only con is the crossover section which is too narrow and the extremes have unnecessarily big triangular sliders, but the overall mixing experience is fantastic.

 

 

HOFA IQ-Series DeEsser

This plugin offers one of the simplest GUIs on this list, and it also comes with a notable feature, which is the Mode menu for different applications:

  • WIDE – the standard for successful vocal de-essing
  • DARK – perfect for bright vocals
  • PEAK – hissing and resonating sibilance are no longer a problem
  • BUS – ideal for mix groups, mastering, stems, and unbalanced vocal- & instrument sounds

 

 

Oeksound Soothe 2 (Innovative)

This plugin is one-of-a-kind.

soothe2 is a dynamic resonance suppressor. It identifies problematic resonances on the fly and applies matching reduction automatically. This results in a smoother, more balanced sound and saves you from having to notch out the frequencies by hand.

It saves time and effort on both individual tracks and on busses while finding applications in sound design scenarios too.

 

 

Oxford SuprEsser

Whether you need to remove harshness from an electric guitar, or simply remove the sibilance from a vocal track, the Oxford SuprEsser is the solution.

Operating between 20hz - 20kHz, this plugin goes deeper than your standard de-esser, letting you hear and see problematic frequencies across the full audio spectrum before dialing them out.

This is the plugin that’s offering the widest variety of controls, especially the “Listen Outside” function is something unique. This pro comes with the con of an old-looking and clogged GUI.

 

 

Softube Weiss Deess

This plugin comes with an interestingly lean GUI. 

It offers two operating bands, making it unique on this list as it requires less serial processing than usual, but it’s also true that the way these bands can be set isn’t as fluent as it looks at first sight.

It isn’t as simplified as it looks, luckily, thanks to the settings window where you can tweak each desirable parameter such as timing, ratio, knee, etc on each filter.

However, as it’s meant as a mastering de-esser, surgical accuracy is welcome.

 

 

SPL De-Esser Collection

This collection contains 2 Analog Code plugins that emulate both the classic single and modern dual-band versions of SPL’s analog hardware de-essers - considered by many to be the very best in professional recording.

While mixing, instead, some people might not appreciate them for their simple interface featuring a couple of knobs and switches.

Using these tools requires a trained ear.

 

Related Posts

10 Best Parametric EQ Plugins
10 Best Parametric EQ Plugins
This type of equalizer is highly versatile because it gives continuous control over any parameter which allows shaping t
Read More
Best Limiter Plugins
Best Limiter Plugins
A list of the best limiter plugins.
Read More
Tagged with: Plugins

Older Post Newer Post

Tips Bundle

250 mixing tips

125 mastering tips

SEE MORE

Everything Bundle

All our courses and PDFs

with 40% OFF

SEE MORE

Charts Bundle

Over 100 music production charts

SEE MORE