Are you trying to improve some recorded vocals or edit a podcast?
In this article, we have for you the top plugins to do so!
This selection of DeEssers plugins will make both musical and spoken vocal performances shine!
But why should you get a De-Essers in the first place?
Many microphones tend to be quite bright in the high frequencies, resulting in recordings with harsh “s” sounds. Those recordings can be quite annoying and sound unnatural, and the mixing engineer has to handle them in post-production.
Eliminating these sounds can be done with a combination of equalization and compressors on the tracks. Luckily, there are standalone plugins called DeEssers that make this job much easier. Additionally, most of them can detect and eliminate the annoying sounds almost by themselves!
There are a lot of De-Essers out there… To find out the best ones currently on the market, scroll down!
The 15 Best DeEsser VST Plugins of 2021 include:
My first choice is the FabFilter Pro-DS.
Do you know why?
It is a premium-quality plugin that is very easy to use.
But before we go into that let’s clarify this: easy-to-use doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a ton of features for more advanced users!
In fact, the FabFilter Pro-DS comes with an intelligent detection algorithm that can help you locate the “s”, but you can also tweak it to your liking…
You can choose between mid-only or side-only processing.
And the best feature?
You can do everything in real-time! That means that you can hear what you do as you go…
Other perks include perfectly tuned knobs, MIDI Learn, and Smart Parameter Interpolation...
If you are a beginner, there are also helpful hints available that will make your life easier
It all boils down to this: the FabFilter Pro-DS is a great de-esser plugin for beginners, but it can also work as well for advanced users!
Are you concerned about making the de-essing process sound natural?
Do you need a VST plugin that will be gentle with your vocals and just remove the troubling frequencies?
Then you should take a look at the Sonnox Oxford SuprEsser!
This VST plugin comes with Auto Level Tracking that lets it apply the filter correctly both for quiet and loud sections of the same song.
To top it off, you can easily control parallel processing with the wet/dry control, just with a single click.
Additionally, the interface is pretty simple to use and you will learn it in no time.
Be warned: that doesn’t mean that it lacks features!
On the contrary, it also comes with a visualization that lets you see the process, besides hearing it.
All in all, the Sonnox Oxford SuprEsser is a great plugin that will make your audio still sound natural after processing!
Do you sometimes wish you could get a de-esser plugin that can do the job by itself?
We’ve all been there…
Don’t worry. There’s a solution.
The McDSP DE555 is an intelligent de-esser plugin that does the job almost by itself!
I know that you wonder “How is that possible?”
Well, it comes with an intelligent signal analysis that can remove the harsh “s” from the vocals.
But, in addition to that, it allows you to fine-tune the de-essing to your taste, by giving you many controls such as adjustable ratio and release controls…
You can choose between high pass and bandpass filtering as well.
It also does the process in real-time. That means that you can hear every tweak you do on the go.
In a nutshell, if you are looking for a clever plugin that will do the boring part of the job by itself, then the McDSP DE555 is certainly the one for you!
The Softube Weiss Deess De-Esser is a really powerful plugin…
Imagine having double power over the harsh “sss” of your audio tracks…
That’s exactly what this plugin offers: it comes with dual-band action that is suitable for complex stuff such as mastering.
But that’s not all: it features powerful filters that can narrow down your edits, without damaging other parts of your song or podcast.
The best part is that you can customize every filter, so that you can tweak the sound to your liking.
The interface is very intuitive and easy to learn, while colorful visualizations allow you to see in real-time the effects of the plugin on the original waveform.
The low-latency mode lets you de-ess your vocals while tracking, saving you more time.
To sum up, the Softube Weiss Deess De-Esser is a very powerful and professional VST plugin that still manages to be quite easy-to-use.
Does the interface of complex plugins make you scared?
I know how it feels…
If you are just starting out with audio programs, all these weird knobs and buttons seem discouraging...
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple plugin with as few controls as possible that would do the job effectively?
Check this out: the Antares Sybil EVO is a powerful de-esser with a minimalist interface that won’t scare even the absolute beginners.
It resembles the good old analog compressors and very easy-to-use.
You can change four basic parameters: Threshold, Compression, Attack time, and Release time.
Plus, a sidechain high-pass filter lets you tweak your compression even more.
On the whole, the Antares Sybil EVO is a great plugin both for those who love analog compressors and for those who are just beginning their journey in audio editing and are looking for simple tools.
The next option is a sophisticated de-esser that will do any job: from musical vocal recordings to clearing audio in video material.
It is really fast and it manages to keep all the dynamics of the original audio track.
But yeah. I know what you’re thinking.
“Oh, that’s a nice choice, but it will be too hard for me...”
The XILS Lab XILS DeeS is particularly easy to use!
It doesn’t have too many knobs, but it still allows you to tweak the de-esser as much as you want.
You can get how it works from the very first time, as the signal path is pretty clear to grasp.
In addition to that, you can tweak the interface so that it will be easier and more intuitive for you.
In short, the XILS Lab XILS DeeS is an easy-to-use VST plugin that will satisfy even the most demanding users!
For those of you looking for a de-esser that is compatible with a variety of video and audio programs, I would highly recommend the ERA 5 De-Esser Pro.
Besides its wide compatibility, it is the right tool for perfectionists…
It lets you focus on the area of the frequency problem and fine-tune the de-esser as much as you need.
A dedicated button called “diff” shows you the difference between the original audio and your own edits.
It’s “sharp” control allows you to apply more or less subtle changes to the affected area.
What’s more, it can visualize your changes in real-time, so that you can actually see exactly what you are doing on the waveform.
To conclude, the ERA 5 De-Esser Pro is a professional de-esser that would be most useful to those who enjoy tweaking many parameters until they are happy with the result.
The HOFA IQ-series De-Esser is a highly recommended option for everyone who wants a de-esser with easy-to-use presets.
This one comes with four different modes.
The WIDE mode offers you pretty standard de-essing
The DARK mode can correct those vocals that seem too bright
The PEAK mode is suitable for those difficult cases where you have to face hissing and resonating sibilance.
And the BUS mode is the best part…
It is an innovative way to de-ess groups of tracks, such as mix groups, mastering tracks, and stems.
That mode also works for unbalanced vocal and instrument sounds,
These modes make using the HOFA IQ-series De-Esser very easy to use.
But easy does not mean less powerful!
This plugin can effectively remove unwanted sibilance sounds in an intelligent way, keeping the original quality of the vocals.
In a nutshell, the HOFA IQ-series De-Esser is perfect if you need a de-esser with presets for both individual tracks and track groups.
In life, sometimes you get what you pay for…
That is the case with iZotope Nectar 3: at first, it might seem too pricey, but when you consider the perks, it seems a pretty good investment.
The iZotope company is well-known for manufacturing premium-quality VST plugins, and this one is no exception.
One of the most important advantages is speed.
The Nectar 3 can perform de-essing really fast and accurately as well, without any damage to the original audio’s richness and quality.
It is an intelligent plugin that can recognize problems and fix them easily.
Additionally, it has a good-looking and professional interface that visualizes everything you need to see in order to edit more effectively.
This plugin also gives you extra tools, besides the de-esser, that you can use for vocal mixing.
Summing up, the iZotope Nectar 3 is a professional de-essing tool that won’t disappoint you, no matter how demanding you are.
For those of you who want to get a plugin that has been popular with users, I would highly recommend the Waves De-Esser.
Waves is a reputable brand that has created this simple but powerful plugin.
It is really good at cleaning unwanted sibilance, especially in podcasts and other vocals…
Can you guess how?
Well, it features sharp sidechain filters that can really clean those sharp “sh” sounds.
It comes with two different modes, depending on the edits you want to do: wideband mode and split compression mode.
It also offers you both audio and sidechain monitoring, to choose the one that fits your needs each time.
But what is the secret of its popularity?
Besides all the features I’ve mentioned, the Waves De-Esser is also pretty affordable.
All in all, this is a great plugin that many people have praised both for its power and simplicity.
Do you wish for a sophisticated de-esser that would combine the best parts of other de-essers?
There is the answer!
The Waves Renaissance De-Esser comes with the unique technologies that have been used in Waves’ C4, R-Vox, and De-Esser plugins.
It offers you all the controls that let you effectively remove sibilance, such as attenuation range control and adaptive threshold.
You can use them for vocals, annoying hi-hat sounds as well as unwanted plopping sounds.
All its sliders and knobs create a pretty intuitive interface that is quite simple.
In addition, it prevents unwanted phase modulation that will alter the original sound.
Do you want to know the best part?
It offers a spectral visualization that makes your job much easier, as you can isolate certain frequency ranges
In essence, the Waves Renaissance De-Esser is a great choice for demanding users that want to remove sibilance from vocal or instrument recordings.
Are you sick and tired of de-essers that tend to change the whole vocal track instead of just removing the harsh sibilance?
Then you would definitely take a look at Waves Sibilance!
The Waves Sibilance comes with an Organic ReSynthesis engine.
But what does that offer exactly?
This machine makes this plugin very precise, allowing you to identify the harsh “s” sound and remove it, without affecting the whole track.
What’s more, a sibilance detection graph can show you in a visual way where the problem is, making your work much easier.
Still not convinced?
Besides being clever, this plugin is also fast and powerful: that is true especially for vocal performances (both speaking and singing), where it does a really good job.
And to top it off, it’s glitch-free!
On the whole, the Waves Sibilance De-esser is an essential tool for everyone looking for a precise and powerful vocal de-esser.
Can you guess why the DMG Essence implies with its name?
I think you already have the answer…
Many de-esser plugins tend to sacrifice audio quality in order to remove unwanted sounds.
But this plugin has been manufactured to keep the “essence” and only get rid of the annoying “s” sounds.
But what does that mean exactly?
It can surgically remove the sibilance you don’t need, without touching anything else
Another cool feature is that you can monitor what you do in real-time. You can hear the vocal track “before” and “after” the edit so that you know what is the difference any time.
The interface is simple, with clearly defined buttons and knobs, and you can resize it to your taste.
The best part?
The DMG Essence is widely compatible with both Windows and Mac, along with a variety of audio software, so that you can be sure it will work with your system.
Picture this: a de-esser VST plugin that offers you as many modes as you need to edit vocals.
But it doesn’t stop there. It is also transparent enough to apply it without worrying about losing audio quality.
Sounds fake? You’re wrong!
The UAD Precision De-Esser removes sibilance in many different cases such as vocals, drum overheads, or hi-hats.
What’s more, you can isolate and monitor only the frequencies that have the problem by using the “Solo” mode.
If that doesn’t seem enough for you, then check this out:
It also gives you the option to apply either Modern band-pass or traditional high-pass de-essing.
That lets you deal with different sibilance problems in an effective way.
Plus, the Split mode minimizes both darkening and lisping.
Note that you can use the UAD Precision De-Esser both for individual audio tracks and for group tracks or mixing.
Finally, it has great customer reviews, so that you can be sure it’s worth it.
Do you find most de-essers too complex to use?
Do you feel that you struggle too much with weird knobs and parameters to get the result you want?
If that sounds familiar to you, you might want to check out the E²Deesser by Eiosis.
This de-esser plugin comes with two main parameters: Sensitivity and Amount. This makes it easy to use, while also providing you with visual feedback to actually understand what you are doing.
But don’t get me wrong!
Simple doesn’t mean simplistic: the E²Deesser actually features more advanced tools for those that want to fine-tune its performance. These include Sibilance Fine controls, as well as a Dry/Wet knob.
Note that this plugin also features a dynamic equalizer as well as a time-frequency display, so that you can both tweak and check visually what you are doing in real-time. Convenient, isn’t it?
So, what does it all mean?
Well, it’s as simple as that: there is a de-esser plugin for everyone out there!
Whether you need something simple or complex, cheap or expensive, for beginners or not, the variety of de-essers will cover your needs.
Now it’s your turn.
Write a list with your needs and then pick one that suits you!