I’m wrestling with getting some good de-essing, for a spoken vocal track (think: podcast type), and I’m getting the opposite of what I want, when trying the Spitfish de-esser (my post-processing track seems to show what it took out, rather than what I want it to leave behind).
I’m ready to buy a plug-in, if it’s good enough, but I don’t know which one to buy. With this being the start of a brand new decade, I’d say it’s time to get some expert input and updates on the best currently-available de-esser plug-ins, and/or on any equalizer graphs that can effectively do the same things.
So . . . I’d appreciate it enormously if any experts would weigh in, with any opinions on the best de-essers, in each of the following cost categories:

Free (I’ll edit this post, or add another, with a link to a thread on Spitfish, which is free; maybe I’ll get an answer there).

Less than $100, such as:
Accusonus ERA De-Esser ($59 from places such as sweetwater.com)

More than $100, such as:
Soothe, by OEKSound, $149: https://oeksound.com/plugins/soothe/)

Equalizer curves?
I can’t help but suspect that if one were to create (and then store) an equalizer curve which rolls off somewhere about 6 khz,
that likely would provide an answer to this problem with about a 70 to 90 percent quality level, compared to a purchased program. Can anyone post a screen-grab, showing such a curve which they have tested, and optimized?

Sounds like you’ve clicked on the “listen” button on SpitFish, which plays what’s being removed.

If the problem is whistling esses, those require surgical-precision, (SpitFish can’t do that).
Paul-L’s free DeEsser plugin is capable of dealing with those … Updated De-Clicker and new De-esser for speech - #37 by Trebor

TB Sibilance CM* is is a very good free DeEsser: IMO as good as $50 -$100 DeEsser plugins. (It won’t cure Herbert-level whistles though).

[* Windows & Mac]

A VERY helpful response - many thanks!!
I also got this email from a professional musician (both stage and studio; he actually has a PhD in some branch of music, and he does studio work (arranging, mixing, etc) when not on the road:

I would suggest one of the Waves plugins (Waves.com). They essentially have 3 de-esser plugins available as VST plugins (which you should be able to use in Audible). De-esser, Renaissance De-esser, and Sibilance. They all do essentially the same thing, but in a little different way. I have used the 1st two with great success before, Sibilance is just a newer/more advanced version that you may or may not need. I would suggest going to the website, spend 10-15 mins looking at the short tutorial videos for each one, and grabbing the one you like. Again, they’ll all get the job done (assuming I understand the job) and are very easy to use. They are currently on sale (Waves plugins are always on sale!) for $30, $40, and $50.

Always check the list of compatible software. Most Waves plug-ins are not compatible with Audacity. And don’t assume it was just an oversight. It’s legit.

I had been experimenting with simple repairs for spot-fixing extreme sibilance/whistle. The roll-off curves suggested above can work, but you have to analyze the area and really limit the repair to the painful spot - which usually starts a fraction after the first “s” sound and can continue as a kind of echo distortion for a fraction afterwards. I made samples of the moment (about a half second, within a 2-minute clip) before and after fixing, with screen shots of the EQ curve used, saved as De-S-MedHvy, and 2 shots of the rough waveform. The 5 files are in this drop link: [Files uploaded to forum by moderator]


De-S_Med-Hvy Curve.JPG

Spot fixing is easier with Audacity’s built-in spectral editing tools …

sbad, spot fix.gif

Look this plug-in. The sugested center frequency is 4000 hz. De-Esser by Steve on my topic