[AUDIO] Remove that S whistle sound?

Listen to the high-pitched whistle after the “S” in the word "forces:


I have several audio tracks with this “S”

Is there a process that can “seek and destroy” these?


A De-Esser plugin

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The de-esser is set to precisely remove the whistle.
The audio would benefit from a second pass with the de-esser set to a broader range of frequencies.



I am trying to use the “De-esser” plugin, but it is taking forever. I’m at 4 1/2 hours right now and it is only halfway done according to the estimating remaining time. Help!

to do a 3 hour book, with my audio stack, it takes about 7 hours of computer time

There is a much quicker de-esser plugin, here … Please help with de-sser. - #14 by steve
but it’s less precise: it does esses but not whistles.

I have tried using the “de-esser” on a 30 minute recording, but it takes 9 hours to complete the process. What am I doing wrong?

DeEssing is very computer intensive. Does everybody have a solid-state drive in their machines? If you try to do this job with a busy machine or one with older spinning metal drives, it could take until the sun cools off.

Busy counts, too. Does it help if you restart the machine and don’t let anything else start? It’s a common error in studios where there is only one computer for the company and it has processes waiting back there competing for computer time. I got suspicions one day when the machine was dragging more than normal. I found one web page process was cheerfully soaking up 95% of processor time.

Does it help if you split the job up into smaller, faster jobs? You have to be careful about that because ACX likes all the chapters to match.


It can be that slow, it depends on the settings.
The lower the number of bands the faster it goes.

Store-bought de-esser plugins are MUCH faster.

This de-esser plugin is free-ish, it’s very fast : takes ~1/10th of the playback time

I just sent a mono 28 minute voice presentation (one blue wave) through classic, legacy DeEssing and it took just over three minutes. This is a MacBook Air sitting in the back yard and with the FireFox browser running. The machine has a solid state drive and I restarted it…I think last night for a backup.

This wasn’t one single live performance. I took a short performance and looped it until it reached 28 minutes. So it wasn’t a test signal. It was a real voice.

That’s more or less what I expect to happen. If you have spinning metal drives can you see the drive light flashing at you as Audacity cleans up the show?


I have been able to use these settings to good advantage on some of my essy tracks. I’ve been processing to Audiobook standards and then apply DeEssing. I found that’s a lot more reliable with fewer adjustments.

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