De Essing on Audacity


I am recording podcasts and I notice a lot of ssss in words like systems. I have tried playing with my mic and I am now looking at de-esser effects.
I can’t use the spitfish everyone recommends as I am on a Mac with Intel.
I have downloaded a demo of wave deEsser and TBdeEsser.
Does anyone have a better suggestion?

Also. I am not a sound engineer and am really struggling using them to change anything productively in my tracks.
Does anyone have an idea of the settings to use like frequency and attack or release for a female voice recording.

Thank you so very much!!

Which Mac? Which version of the OS? Which microphone?

Are you published anywhere with the sharp vocal tones that we can hear?

If not, can you record a test and publish it here? We’re interested in the first-pass, raw recording. No effects, no filters and no helping it out. Doesn’t matter what it is. Read the milk carton, but do it in the voice you normally use.


Ok thank you. I will send you a sample of unedited recording.

I am on Mac OS X El Capitan.
I have two mics. One is a blue spark xlr and the other is an Oktava 319, both run through an apogee one interface. Mi have a 2012 MacBook Air.

I have a couple of published sounds but I will send a clean raw file on here. Can I send a Dropbox link?

Can I send a Dropbox link?

If you’re sure we can open it. Some DropBox accounts don’t allow downloading.

If you do that, you don’t need the 20 second limit. That’s a forum thing.


There is a free de-esser for Mac in MDA-VST:


Good to know. I’ll mess with that when I get back in the house. That was one of the questions I was going to post: “What about us down here in the Mac trenches?” Between that and the poster’s clip, it should be an interesting weekend.

There was another poster with a particularly ‘crisp’ delivery. I wish I’d kept a link.



Here is a sample for you

Thank you again

I’m on Windows , not Mac, but I believe that Paul-L’s de-esser plugin , will work cross-platform on Audacity …
''For a popsicle'' before-after DeEss with Paul-L's plugin #.png

I believe that Paul-L’s de-esser plugin , will work cross-platform on Audacity

I believe you’re right. At least I get the expected control panel under OS-X.

And now [drum roll] how did you determine those values? And what are they? I can’t read the graphic.

I know you’re going to tell me to get some of them them from the Spectrum View. My Spectrum View (default, since I’ve never used it before) looks like attached.


I had four different DeEsser.ny files and diff seems to confirm they’re all the same. I speak enough linux to be a hazard to myself and those around me.

Correct me but it’s Version 3 with no release value? The notes seem to suggest earlier versions. Were they actually Ver 1 and Ver 2?


This clip is terrific. It’s exactly what we need.

The DeEsser filter seemed to work miracles, but we don’t need miracles as much as easy-to-use, reliable tools. So that’s where we are right now. I’m following along in my hymnal, but I don’t appear to have quite the same music.


Text is readable on this version …
''For a popsicle'' before-after DeEss with Paul-L's plugin - (actual size).png
The frequency range [ 5KHz -13kHz ] I got from the white-hot “sicle” part of the spectrogram.
The threshold is by trial & error . -20dB threshold may reduce the sibilance too much, try -19dB , -18dB etc.
Use the least number of frequency bands to have the desired effect , as more bands means longer processing time.
[ Annoyingly after adjusting frequency band setting , the threshold has to be readjusted ].

I got from the white-hot part of the spectrogram.

But you didn’t do it with the default spectrogram, because that looks like mine.

The threshold is by trial & error .

Maybe not so magic. This is the same problem I addressed for using Compressor.

As we go.


I’ve chosen the logarithmic frequency scale on spectrogram [ “log(f)”], yours is on linear scale.
The inverted colours on your spectrogram indicate the spectrum-editing-tool is activated …

Still. How did you get a 13KHz value from a spectrogram that stops at 8. All the spectrograms on the info page stop at 8.

I must have zoomed-out* on the frequency-scale to show the full frequency range,
because the maximum frequency on my spectrogram preferences is still on 8000Hz …
Spectrogram preferences.png
[ * On Windows that’s achieved by putting the cursor on the spectrogram frequency scale, where it becomes a magnifying-glass icon, then click on right mouse-button , full audio spectrum is then shown ]

Paul’s De-Esser is I think quite slow (?) and requires quite a lot of knowledge/preparation. That was why I posted the link to MDA-VST as a possible alternative.


If you keep the number of bands low [ <6 ] then Paul’s De-Esser reasonably quick.
On my 5 year old computer, using 3 bands, the processing-time to DeEss is ~1/10th of the playback-time.
[ SpitFish does it in ~1/20th of the playback-time ].

Many moons ago I did try the MDA DeEsser VST in Audacity on Windows : it had no DeEssing effect.
[ I think I’ve tried most of the MDA VSTs , the DeEsser was the only one which has never worked, in my experience ].

That was why I posted the link to MDA-VST as a possible alternative.

So we progress. I’m modeling Clueless User. If I can’t figure it out/sort it, normal users are going to be stunningly lost.

I’ve said multiple times, slow is not a deal killer if it produces a desirable result. Trebor’s patch appears to be a desirable result.