De-Ess Plug-In For Audacity


I have been using Audacity for many years! Many! It is my comfort zone! And, I have tried them all!

I use the Low-Pass Filter plug-in to De-Ess. Lately, I have read a lot of hype and good reviews of Waves new Simbulance plug-in (Nov 2018). However, from what I have been able to find out it does not run on Audacity. I could buy it and run it through GarageBand, but I would rather not use multiple editors for post-processing my audio.

First Question: Is it a fact that Wave Plug-Ins do not work on Audacity or is there a workaround?

I have also looked for a de-ess plugin for Audacity, but what I have found is either no longer supported or just plain doesn’t work.

Second Question: Is there a free alternative for de-essing in Audacity?

Looking forward to any help!


BTW: Running version 2.3.0 of Audacity on MacOS 10.14.3 with no issues.

Paul L wrote some plugins.

You may not like most De-Essers. They try to take the sound apart and only compress or reduce the “essy” bits.

I think the Low Pass filters sound the best. They can gracefully push down the harsh, crisp, gritty sound to match what would happen had you been shooting with a Dynamic (moving coil) microphone all along.

The latest postings from ACX actually recommends dynamic microphones instead of condenser types.

I posted a “wool blanket” filter (throw a wool blanket over your microphone), and any minute now I’m going to find it…


Here’s DeCrisper1 and DeCrisper2.

They are plugins for Effect > Equalization. They dip musical tones about the place that Home Condenser Microphones try to boost them. You might find that it helps with mouth ticking and tongue smacking—all products of a harsh microphone.

A common complaint of this kind of fix is it makes the sound a little muffled. That’s why there is a version 1 and 2. 2 is more aggressive. I’ve made several custom versions of this curve and this one design seems the most generic.

Or if you want to mess with DeEsser, there is that, too. The first control “Threshold” sets the volume that the tool grabs the sound. The quieter (higher negative number) the more show it grabs.

Good luck.

DeCrisper2.XML (350 Bytes)
DeCrisper1.XML (349 Bytes)

This Audacity de-esser plugin does work, and is capable of surgical precision, but it’s complicated to operate, (the default settings are wrong IMO)

This Audacity de-esser plugin is simpler & faster, but less precise … Please help with de-sser. - #14 by steve

I will try a few of these plug-ins. I had no idea there were some many.

Thank you,


I tested all of these and found that the Low Pass Filter option is still the best for me. What I did was if I run it through LP/Normalize and then compress/normalize I get what I want and without any additional costs.

One problem I ran into was I had to test the plug-ins on my windows box. For some reason, I could not install any of these plugins on my Mac set-up. Which is Mojave 10.14.3 and Audacity 2.3.0. In fact, there wasn’t even plugin directory. I have just reinstalled Audacity after a clean install of Mojave and this was the time I had a need for anything, but the pre-installed effects. Not sure what is happening there.

Best Regards and Thanks!


found that the Low Pass Filter option is still the best for me.

At what settings?

In fact, there wasn’t even plugin directory.

It’s hidden.

From a clean desktop, Go (top of screen) > Go To Folder.

Screen Shot 2019-03-06 at 17.16.22.png

Screen Shot 2019-03-06 at 17.16.37.png
Don’t leave out any part of that address. The squiggly line at the front is important.


Low Pass Filter Effect - Freq = 6300.0 Hz with a roll-off of 24 dB - Subtle, but it SSSSSSeems to work :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, There’s that peaky plug-in Directory! Thank you for that. I had not installed a plug-in since I went MAC a few years ago.

Thank you,



This is DeCrisper1.
Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 19.44.08.png
The object was to find the little high-pitched “haystack” that these microphones cause and gently squash it back to where’s it’s supposed to be.

This is a Before. That’s 5KHz to 10KHz haystack or harsh presence boost.

So your filter crashes anything over 6300Hz. That means at 12600, most tones are gone. I need to try that.


Number One is Audiobook Mastering and no EQ. One has “SS” sounds that will drill wood and fog glass.

Two is the same clip with DeEsser carefully applied and tuned. Someone posted the DeEsser defaults could use work. They’re right.

Three is the same clip with 6300Hz-24dB applied.

Two has a pleasant balance between the SS sounds and the rest of the voice tones.

Three has the same problem DeCrisper1 has. It muffles everything down but leaves the haystack and slightly piercing SS sounds.


I like the second recording better as well. I have both Macro’s installed now and will play with the DeEsser.ny plugin using the defaults. Thank you for all your help on this. We will desssssstroy this evil SSSSSS and TTTTT!


I like the second recording better as well.

I can show you how I did that when I get back to the grown-up computer.

There is a trick to it.

I, too, found the default DeEsser settings didn’t do squat, so on a whim, I Audiobook Mastered the test clip to guarantee technical standards and volume no matter how I started. Then I adjusted DeEsser Threshold more and more sensitive until it started to “grab” the essing. Then, from the clip’s spectrum analysis, I broadened the processed tones or frequencies more to match the ones I knew were causing problems.

Poof. A much tamer, pleasant presentation, and it should be repeatable.

As we go.


OK. To repeat.

Attached is the Steckler clip mastered according to this…

…but otherwise clean. It passes ACX Check just fine but has very serious Essing.

Apply DeEsser, Attached.

DeEsser.ny (55.6 KB)
Effect > DeEsser…

At these settings…

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 17.40.26.png
Seems to work well.

If you watch the timeline blue waves as the tool works, you can see tiny blobs of wave here and there vanish. Those are the harsh SS sounds in the clip. If you don’t see it, you can Edit > UNDO and then Edit ReDo to see it again and again.

I did a frequency run before and after.

That haystack bump between 5000 and 10000 is Essing.


After DeEssing, it’s gone.

You might think you could just use an Equalization curve to do that, but that doesn’t work. I tried it. That just makes everything dull, muffled and muddy. DeEsser senses when the SS sounds are in excess and otherwise leaves everything alone. So it can turn acoustic ice picks into normal conversation.


This probably isn’t perfection. Having the tool start looking for trouble at 2500Hz is probably wrong. The Essing tonal boost doesn’t start until around 5000Hz, but again, this seems to work. I may have hit something desirable by accident. 3000Hz is baby screaming on a jet/fingernails on blackboard sound.

Wouldn’t hurt to have a few less of those.


I will try those setting now that I have the DeESSer plugin install on my MAC. Thank you for that!


Well, I finished looking at the settings and I think I like them. I will have to see how it works on a full podcast before I add it to my post audio macro, but so far I like the subtle effect. It is not as harsh as my Low Pass Filter. Below you will find three tests. The first is the raw recording. The only thing I did was to silence the breaks. I would normally do this with a noise gate of about -32 dBish.

The second file is with Just the De-Ess plug-in (Settings: Threshold -25.0 dB Frequencies 2500 to 9559 - Everything else was left default)

The Third file is with my current Post of ( EQ - Normalize - Compress - Normalize) I ran my macro right after the DE-Ess, so it includes that as well. If you want the setting for those plug-ins I can share them with you.

Love to hear your feedback and thank you for taking the time to help a podcaster out.

Best Regards


The De-Esser setting used.png
Steve’s De-Esser plugin for Audacity is here …

It still needs compression.
If you can find a multi-band compressor plugin for MAC*, that can de-ess & compress in one pass.

[ * I only speak Windows ]

EQ - Normalize - Compress - Normalize

Do you get anything desirable with the compression step? Really desirable? Compression can cause problems. For one thing, it means you are required to put noise reduction at the beginning of the process instead of at the end. Compression > Noise Reduction can cause noise pumping because Noise Reduction and Compression level shifting are fighting each other.

You mentioned Noise Gate. That’s another caution tool. It’s rough to get Noise Gate to sound natural and prevent leading and trailing noise tails. Also, it can sound a little weird when periodically, your monolog fades into blackness of space silence.

It sounds particularly weird if you have lots of noise because interword silences and intersentence silences won’t match.

[dead silence] shHELLOshANDshWELCOMEshTOshOURshSHOWsh [dead silence].

A reasonable microphone in a quiet, echo-free room goes a very long way to reducing your post production processing list.

I produced a voice test with a small, stand-alone sound recorder in a quiet room. I can pass ACX Audiobook Standards with just the three mastering tools.


I know this is an old post, but my answer might help people navigating here in search for DeEsser plugin support. My answers to Rontro809’s questions:

  1. Wave Plugins must be Waves Version 9.3, as this is the last version which supports 32bit Windows apps. Audacity on Windows is 32bit only, even if run on a 64bit OS. Waves Plugins 9.3 can still be installed, google “How to Run Waves Plugins on Windows 32bit” how to do it. The Sibilance plugin was introduced with Waves Version 10, so you are out of luck, but you can try the older Waves DeEsser plugin which is available in V9.3.
  2. I use “Paul L’s De-Esser plugin” and the “Airwindows DeEss and DeBess VST plugins”, all of which are free and run under Audacity for Windows. The user interfaces are not very intuitive, I suggest you study the instruction videos carefully. Make sure you install the 32bit versions of the VST plugins.

I know this thread is OOOOOOOLD, but I’d like to resurrect it. I’ve never had great luck with this De_Esser (though I did hit upon some settings that worked for MOST character voices in an Audiobook.)
The one shown above gave me a wicked lisp that I don’t actually speak with in real life.

“Thith ith a thtory about a thtoat and a wathp.” (This is a story about a stoat and a wasp.)

A couple years ago I wound up with:
747 - 22050

… which seems to do better, though for female characters there’th thtill a little bit of a lithp, if you’re not careful.

I’m guessing the tool is fine if you apply it as tuned to a voice type, but if you’re swapping back and forth between 16-40 different characters ranging from bass to soprano, it’s a little less predictable. I’d love to find a good, modest, one-size-fits-all setting.