A de-esser is a type of compressor that exclusively affects the frequency range where sibilance occurs in human speech. Sibilance is controlled with de-esser plugins in mixing, allowing strong and bright vocals to be front and center in the mix without these harsh artifacts taking over.
Traditionally, de-essing was accomplished by using an equalization to emphasize the problem frequency and putting the EQ output into the sidechain input of a compressor. The compressor would then apply gain reduction anytime the problematic “s” noises were present. Standalone de-essers are available as hardware and software in today’s audio industry, enabling for dedicated units to react to issue regions in your mixes and masters. This list includes the most effective de-esser plugins currently available.
FabFilter vst plugin have earned a great reputation for being extremely functional. This tradition of pro-grade performance with a user-friendly interface continues with Pro-DS. It gets my vote for the best de-esser vst plugin on the market because of its transparent sound, adaptability, and ease of use.
Some of you may be familiar with the Fab-Filter plugins’ ‘secret’ advanced functions. For a change, the ProDS main page shows everything available. There are modes designed for’single vocal’ sources or ‘all-round’ sources like cymbals or entire mixes, as well as wide-band and split-band modes. For FF veterans, the elegant-as-ever UI feels right at home. De-essing is a simple two-knob task with an astonishing level of control thanks to the easy controls. To be honest, the ease of use and brilliant interface design, at least in my opinion, puts it ahead of the competitors.
The Pro-DS algorithm, like its Sonnox competitor (which I’ll analyze next), excels at intelligently recognizing sibilants regardless of volume. However, when tracking high-end sibilants in guitar fret-noise, cymbals, and singers, it sets the bar for visual feedback.
The Audition feature is based on two sliders that allow you to adjust the sibilance detection range. When a sibilant event occurs, a flashing colored band illuminates. The amount of sibilance detection algorithm is determined by the strength of the flash. The selected frequency band of the signal is played back by holding down the ‘Audition’ button. Only the events recognized during playback are played if you hold down the headphone button.
The look-ahead capability is another notable feature. While there is considerable lag involved, it can apply de-essing up to 15ms before sibilance develops. It’s useful for situations when you need to catch quick, harsh transients or other issue frequencies.This de-esser may easily become your go-to de-esser for mixing and mastering projects thanks to the two modes, external sidechain, numerous parameters, configurable stereo link, and mid/side options.
The ProDS from FabFilter is a versatile workhorse that produces a remarkably transparent result in both modes. The visual aid, clean UI, and full frequency and optimized versions can handle whatever you throw at them. This is the Best De-Esser Plugin in 2023.
Sonnox Oxford SuprEsser
The Oxford SuprEsser V3 is ideal if you want complete control over your de-essing or require a VST tool that can do more than simply de-essing. It’s available as a standalone Universal Audio plugin or as a native plugin. In any case, it’s a feature-rich beast that’s as precise and adaptable as they come.
First and foremost, the V3 comes with a hefty price tag and a steep learning curve. It has little to no use as a set and forget tool when compared to the Pro-DS. However, if you’re serious about quality, you can’t dispute that whatever time/effort you put in is worth its weight in gold.
The SuprEsser V3 is primarily a dynamic equalizer with the normal array of de-essing modes and sibilance soloing choices. It has a huge display that shows the sibilant reduction range, threshold, and real-time waveform as it is applied. A wet/dry mix knob is a nice addition that allows you to taste some unfiltered signal. The SuprEsser V3 can work on the entire frequency spectrum, ranging from 20Hz to 20,000Hz, unlike most other de-essing plugins or hardware de essers.
This weiss deess opens it up to new applications in music production, such as reducing plosives or lower-frequency disturbances. The ‘Advanced Controls’ button allows you to change fine-grained characteristics such as the compression’s attack, frequency control and release controls. Your vocal tracks will sound beautiful and smooth as a result of waveform display.
The ‘Auto Level Tracking’ feature, which dynamically adjusts the amount of gain reduction applied to the sibilance based on the volume of the incoming sound, is another notable feature. SuprEsser V3 will modify the threshold properly if a voice recording is louder in the chorus than in the verse, for example, so that the de-essing isn’t too drastic. In general, the SuprEsser V3 is the VST for surgical control without any colour. Once you get the hang of the ‘listen’ feature organic resynthesis sibilant sounds, it shines on particular sources and doubles your bang for your dollars.
Sonnox gave FabFilter’s Pro DS a run for its money, but the UI and simplicity fell short. The SuprEsser, on the other hand, has a slew of ingenious techniques up its sleeve that enable it to do dynamic equalization, de-popping, and a variety of other tasks outside the scope of classic de-essing. It’s simple to use, straightforward, and packed with features. V3 is capable of handling your worst nightmare. This is the Best De-Esser VST in 2023.
McDSP DE555 Advanced De-esser HD v7
In the area of high-quality plugins, McDSP has always done well. Due to their lightweight, smart plugins that offer great stability, McDSP has become a household name in the field of live sound reinforcement. McDSP brings all of these developments into the world of de-essing with their DE555.
One of the DE555’s best characteristics is the way the plugin recognizes input. McDSP devised a signal analysis technique that can efficiently de-ess with any input level without the need to alter the threshold settings. Switching between shelf and band filtering for precise or broad alterations is possible using the key filter settings. In the Frequency Response/Key graph, all of the filter parameters are also visually depicted. Many important factors for influencing how the DE555 handles incoming sibilance are available in the reduction settings, including a ratio, range, and release controls, as well as the ability to watch what you’re effecting. The McDSP DE555 provides consistent and effective de-essing for all of your corrective chores, with enough processing power to maintain consistency at any level. Give it a try on your next project.
Softube Weiss Deess
Softube reimagines classic de-essing with modern flexibility and visualization, based on the famous Weiss DS1-MK3 hardware de-esser. This plugin essentially has two bands dedicated to de-essing. Each band’s filter style, threshold level, and activation mode can be changed separately. Furthermore, you can adjust both bands at the same time to achieve comparable results.
There are two bands to provide you exact control over the tone of your de-esser: a low and a high band. The band-pass and notch filter shapes are shared by both bands, while the high-pass filter shape is unique to the higher band. You can select a wider range of frequencies with the band-pass filter (controlled by dragging a box across the graphical display), but the notch filter allows you to focus on a particular frequency. Another point worth noticing is that the high band filter can be brought over the low band.
Additionally, if you enter the left-hand side menu, you can access many other controls, such as attack, release, knee, and so on, that can help you further tailor your sound. Overall, we think you’ll appreciate this plugin if you like having complete control over your de-esser, not to mention its beautiful user interface.
The sleek, simple user interface and superb sound of this plugin are both highly praised. This plugin is unrivaled in terms of flexibility and ease. Despite its value, however, many customers may be scared off by the price because de-essers are not valued as highly as other plugins. Even so, before you dismiss it, make sure you analyze its features.
Sybil provides a reasonable level of control and a user-friendly interface. There’s no way you haven’t heard of Auto-Tune, the infamous vocal plugin. Sybil is a traditional type of de-esser from its manufacturer, with an adjustable high-pass filter for the best amount of control over the effect. You’ll feel right at home with this one if you’ve used classic de-essers before.
Nobody wants to learn new terms and concepts for something as simple as vocal de-essing. As a result, Antares opts for the tried-and-true approach of incorporating a whole compressor for de-essing. Threshold, compression (ratio), attack, and release are all present. Sybil has a side-chained high-pass filter with a frequency selection knob starting at 100 Hz. This setting allows you to manage your de-essing effect with as much precision as you desire, or even use the plugin for other creative purposes. It is, after all, a compressor.
This plugin will feel quite familiar to anyone who has used a vintage de-esser or compressor. The sound quality is excellent, and the effect may be applied in a natural-sounding manner. It’s worth mentioning, though, that its price may not be to everyone’s liking.