T-De-Esser is a free alternative to the premium and advanced T-De-Esser Pro plugin. However, most essential features that you require in a de-esser are available in the free version. Here’s what Techivation, the plugin manufacturer, has to say about it.
“A simplified and easy-to-use De-Esser that smoothes out high frequencies while maintaining a natural and musical sound. Brightening up audio has never been easier.”
The plugin truly is simple and user-friendly and designed for effortless and precise adjustments. Its scaling option ranges from 80% to 150%, ensuring optimal display on various screen monitors to enhance the user experience.
Next, the plugin lets you A/B different settings and even copy the settings from A to B. Now, coming to its functionalities, its main function called the Processing knob, dictates the threshold at which the De-Esser engages compression, regulating the amount of signal that can pass through.
Decrease the processing setting until gain reduction initiates. As you fine-tune the processing, listen for the sweet spot where sibilance is effectively managed without introducing noticeable compression artifacts.
Tip: Reset the Processing knob to its default value by double-clicking on it. Also, double-click on the numerical value of the Processing knob to manually input your desired setting.
Further, you can select the band or frequency range from the following: Low-hi (1-4kHz), Mid-hi (2-4kHz), High (5-10kHz), and Hi-end (5-20 kHz). The plugin also has an ‘Intensity’ parameter that functions just like the ratio parameter of the compressor.
It dictates the extent of gain reduction applied as the signal surpasses a specified threshold level. To illustrate, an intensity setting of 4:1 implies that for every 4 dB, the signal exceeds the threshold, and the De-Esser permits an output of 1 dB.
Next, the ‘Sharpness’ parameter pertains to the De-Esser’s ability to transition between uncompressed and compressed states in the audio signal it processes. A “lower sharpness” setting facilitates a smoother and more gradual compression, while a “higher sharpness” produces a more abrupt transition between these states. It’s basically like the knee parameter in a compressor.
Finally, you get an audition section with two switches: dif and filter. When turned on, the dif switch lets you listen to the compressed audio data or the “de-essed” sound. On the other hand, the filter switch lets you only listen to the frequency range on which the de-esser is acting.
Suppose you want other additional features like controlling the mix, quality/oversample, setting the exact frequency range, L/R modes, setting a hi-cut filter, and adding a saturation effect. In that case, you’d need to buy its paid version.
However, if you just want a plugin that accurately brings down the sibilant frequencies and soothes your audio, the free version of the T-De-Esser would also suffice.
For me, the plugin instantly worked. It has a natural compression algorithm that instantly brings down the sharp Ss and Zs on my vocal track. Yes, I had to adjust the processing and frequency range controls, but that’s about it.
I didn’t even feel the need to touch the intensity and sharpness or any other controls. However, you can fine-tune your de-essing with these controls, which you can and must utilize when needed.
The T-De-Esser can easily replace the paid de-esser plugins I have used so far. It’s pretty decent in taming sharp hats and cymbals, mitigating harshness in vocals, and overall refining the quality of recordings. You can also use the plugin for dynamic processing, but for a more detailed compression, you can also try the free XTMax by Kiive Audio.
The natural compression algorithm embedded in the T-De-Esser works well to eliminate unwanted artifacts associated with sibilance, providing a polished and professional sound.
It is available in 32-bit and 64-bit VST and 64-bit AAX plugin formats on Windows 7 and above operating systems. For Mac users, the T-De-Esser extends its compatibility to OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) and later versions.
It operates as a 64-bit plugin for Mac platforms for VST, VST3, and AU. Furthermore, users on both Intel-based and Native M1 Mac systems can take advantage of the T-De-Esser’s capabilities through its 64-bit AAX support.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.