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User reviews on Software de-esser products

Free Useful Tool (Digital Fish Phones - SpitFish)

By stompboxjon, 18/09/2012
The Digital Fish Phones SpitFish can be for mono or stereo vocal tracks. This free VST has the tools needed to get those “S” sounds or “SHH” sounds out of the vocal mix and it does it very good for it to be a free plug in. The interface is very small with only a , Tune Knob, Sense Knob, Depth Knob, and listen, bypass, stereo buttons. Most of all the stuff that Digital Fish Phones has made is awesome and they try to keep all of the VST’s free. I haven’t seen manual for SpitFish and I don’t think they have come out with one, but they do have an actual help button on the VST dashboard so if you need help you can click on it. I think it will take you to a help page on their website. Setting up this VST was simple and quick, it installs in only a few seconds and it is extremely low on your CPU.


I run the SpitFish on my MacBook Pro 2.66 Hhz i7 Dual Core 4GB laptop. I have not been using the SpitFish long and I really don’t use it that much. It was free so I downloaded it. I have other paid plug ins that can do exactly what The SpitFish can do and they are a little more in depth. But if you can afford to have the paid VST’s that can handle vocal tracks , I say it is a easy decision that you must go download the SpitFish right away. You will love how well it can take those sounds out of your vocals and clean up your mix.


SpitFish is very easy to use and to install, there is nothing to it. I wish that tit was a little more in depth though with more options to it. I would use it a lot more if it was more in depth. Since it cant compete with some of my Waves plug ins, it will just have to sit on my computer and never get used. But for free, you really cant beat what it can do. It is a must have for someone who can’t afford those expensive plug ins.

Basic DeEsser (Waves - DeEsser)

By tarrtime, 14/12/2012
Waves DeEsser is a software effects plug-in to be used in a DAW. All Waves plug-ins can be installed by downloading them off the Waves website. Authorization is completed using a USB stick as a dongle, or using an authorization manager application if your computer connects to the internet.
Waves plug-ins are known for working well without bugs. The 'DeEsser' plug-in has been around a long time and works in all popular DAWs.


De-essing can be a very important part of mixing.Sometimes you can get by without it. However, if a vocalist makes really loud 'esss' and 'essshhh' sounds, it can ruin everything. If do almost any mixing, and don't have any method of 'de-essing', you really should consider adding a 'de-esser' to your arsenal. The Waves DeEsser is cheap. It is really simple to use, and the controls are pretty self-explanatory. But, it has just enough flexibility to get good results.
I received the Waves DeEsser as part of the Gold Bundle. I have tried using it, but found that I actually like 'de-essing' with the 'C1' better. It adds a little bit more control than the DeEsser.
Although, 'de-essing' is most commonly used for vocals. I also recommend using it on electric guitars, especially if they have a lot of distortion. In this case, you would only want to compress the problematic high-frequencies using split-band mode rather than wide-band mode.


De-essing is often over-looked as a mixing technique. A de-essing specific plug-in a really nothing more than a frequency specific dynamic compressor. This kind of processing can be achieved with a standard compressor by using a side-chain input. Waves made it really simple to 'de-ess' by creating a specific plug-in where the side-chain is set up internally. Not only does this plug-in make it possible to compress a signal based on the energy in a specific frequency range (wide-band de-essing), it also makes it possible to compress a particular frequency region without compressing a lower frequency region (split-band de-essing). Depending on your application it may be more appropriate to choose one method over the other.

Sibilance be gone (FabFilter - Pro-DS)

By S2D, 11/11/2014
De-esser's are very common these days, it seems every audio company under the sun have their own version of a De-esser plugin. They all do pretty much the same thing - eliminate sibilant 'esss' and 'efff' sounds of vocal recordings that are normally found in the high frequencies (around 5khz to 11khz normally) and the volume and frequency of these sounds is very dependant on the vocalist, microphone used and their gender. So with all these de-esser plugins from different companies doing the same thing, you would imagine they would all sound the same too? Well not quite. Some do better than others at first off eliminating the sibilance itself, and then secondly the effect or colour they have on the audio itself when not de-essing - which is normally a slight loss (or a big loss) in presence in the vocal and sometimes a lisping effect if overdone. In my experience there is no such thing as a perfect De-esser plugin, but there are ones that come closer than others. Enter FabFilter's Pro-DS.

Used in Logic Pro 9 on a macbook with OSX 10.6.4 and 4GB of RAM, the pro-DS runs smoothly and fairly efficiently. The setup and configuration are straight forward as the installation and registration prompts are all there so that even the most computer illiterate of people can get started. FabFilter are always top class at providing helpful tips and pop-up menus to guide users through not only the installation but for the use of the plugin itself.


The stability of the Pro-DS is rock solid. FabFilter have done a fantastic job coding this plugin to work on all systems and has never crashed a session i have worked on in the year-and-a-bit i have been using it. As a rough figure i would say you could easily run 10 instances of this plugin without any problems, although you would probably never need to run this many at a time anyway. There is an option in the Pro-DS to turn oversampling on for x2 and x4 which will in turn use up a lot more processing power so just bear that in mind.


In practise, the Pro-DS works exceptionally well. It doesn't come cheap but you definitely get your money's worth if you are serious about audio mixing quality. For a start the GUI is beautiful, the controls are large, clearly labelled, easy to read and the colour scheme is attractive to the eye - not that any of this contributes to the sound but it does make you feel comfortable using it and helps with the workflow of your session. It features controls for threshold and range which are 2 of the main parts of a De-esser plugin as this dictates when the de-essing begins (threshold) and how many decibels it takes off the offending frequencies. The threshold features an extremely useful 'listen in' button attached the side of it which let's you hear every 'ssss' reduced and the red meter to the right hand side will let you know how much gain is being reduced off of each one. The yellow horizontal bar is the frequency range where you can set the scope of the frequencies you wish to De-ess, underneath that is an 'audition' button which lets you hear the selected frequencies you have chosen to de-ess or if using the wideband mode - the sidechain area that triggers off the pro-DS into gain reduction. With the mode section, Pro DS has a choice of 'single vocal' and 'all round' which as you can probably guess is suited to be used on single vocals and group vocals depending on the track you are using it on. Below that is a choice of 'wideband' and 'split band', Pro DS recommends 'wideband' for vocal tracks on their own and 'split band' for full mixes to hone in on a very particular frequency. Split band also introduces latency so this can mess with the timing of vocal tracks if not careful, so i personally use wideband mode for single vocal tracks as it is the most subtle mode for this purpose and only drops the volume of 'Sss' sounds when triggered as opposed to just taking away 1 frequency (because sometimes sibilance can occur at more than 1 frequency within the track depending on the vocalist) The waveform display can be turned on or off at the users preference and there are lookahead and stereo link controls for added precision. The colour added to the overall audio by the Pro-DS is manageable with a little EQ after the insert, or if time is not an issue - by automating the plugins threshold or bypass so that it is only on when you know an 'ess' or 'eff' sound is coming up. The final result on the sibilance is super smooth sounding gain reduction, the best i've ever heard and if you have the processing power available then turn the oversampling on as well. Just be cautious that as with many other de-essers, there is gain reduction in action even before it starts to show on the meters so listen out carefully for that. A little bit of look ahead is recommended in any case.

I have tried at least a dozen or so de-essers by different plugin companies, both free and paid, but FabFilter's sits at the top of the pile for me. This will always feature on my lead vocal tracks, or if editing dialogue or narration then the main narrator/voice over artists track. You will never need another de-esser plugin if you purchase the Pro-DS. Compare it to something like Logic's own de-esser and the difference is night and day.

If you want a second opinion, ask top mixing engineer Mick Guzauski who recently mixed Daft Punk's latest album 'Random Access Memories'. When interviewed about his favourite De-esser plugin, he name dropped the FabFilter Pro-DS. See the full interview at this link -

So basically if Daft Punk's mix engineer gives something the thumbs up, then it's definitely worth a look and then some. The FabFilter Pro-DS is in my opinion the finest De-esser plugin available as of November 2014, so do yourself a favour and get rid of sibilance properly with the help of this incredible mixing tool.

News Software de-esser

48-hour flash sale at Plugin Alliance

Published on 04/22/16
For 48 hours, the Plugin Alliance offers discounts on a total five different plugins.

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Published on 04/20/16

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