What are the best De-Essers?

A de-esser is a tool commonly used to tame excessive sibilance, an issue often associated with harsh frequencies in the mid-high range. Some de-essers will have a frequency range low enough to deal with plosives occupying the lower and sub frequency ranges.

A de-esser operates by allowing you target a particular frequency in the source material and compress it to taste depending on the plugin's parameters, including attack, release and in some cases Q.

It should be noted that a De-esser is very similar in its purpose to that of a dynamic EQ.

There are LOTS of choices out there and the decisions can be daunting.

www.trcoa.edu has compiled a nice list of things to look out for when making a decision on what to look for when buying a de-esser plugin.

1) Ease of setup

2) A nice balance of features that give you flexibility with a GUI that is easy to navigate. See below for a good list of features to look out for.

Things you should consider: The ability to adjust sensitivity/ threshold/dry-wet ratio/Q/and specific frequency range affected.

3) Coloration, do you want your de-esser to impart a sonic characteristic? or do you prefer a more transparent result?

Can’t afford plugins? No problem. Another great alternative to dealing with sibilant vocals is to just isolate the sibilant regions of the track and clip gain or automate down to taste. Here’s a list of some of our favorite De-Essers at the studio.

Which De-Esser do you think works the best?

  • Fabfilter Pro DS
  • McDSP AE4000
  • Eiosis E2 Deesser
  • Waves DeEsser
  • Waves RDeEsser
  • Massey De:Esser
  • UAD Precision De-esser
  • SPL De-esser

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