Deesser plug in

…other than spitfish

Hi All

Can anyone recommend a decent deesser plugin that works with ntrack.

I tried Spitfish but got lots of nasty crackles and buzzes :( as well as the de-essing which seemed to work well :).



strange, I’ve used spitfish with n-track for ages with no probs v3.3 tho’

crackles and buzzes…

Maybe high CPU utilization / buffering problem. Does increasing buffer size have any effect?

A trick that sometimes helps: When you have some plugins that dont want work in a direct way on n-Track or other host, you can make them to run un-directly. Load in n-Track xlutop chainer, and then load the plugin you want and try. Maybe it do the trick.

I checked CPU and Memory utilisation in Task Manager and it seemed pretty low and I haven’t had the problem with other effects.

I was wondering what others’ experiences were as NTrack crashed at one point while I was using Spitfish. I’m not sure what version I’ve got. I’ll check when I get home.

I noticed on the website that the guy who wrote it has given up on it now.

Thanks for the replies.

It’s pretty easy to do de-essing by hand. Just learn to recognize what too much sibilance looks like in the waveform view (it’s pretty easy to see), and then do volume automations at those spots. True, a de-esser generally uses a bandcut filter, but I find that in most cases just dropping the track volume about 10 or 20 dB works fine. Leave a bit of slope to the volume automations so that it doesn’t sound like a dropout.

I was going to say the same thing as Learjeff just said.

So, I will anyway. :D

Sibilance can be tamed far better manually. OK, it’s not initially as quick and easy as a plugin, but you’ll achieve far more natural results and lose less of other stuff by using a carefully tuned notch filter.

Just start with a fairly deep but wide notch around 5k, then tune in for the optimum frequency, amplitude and Q, and as Learjeff says, have the EQ automated so it only comes in at the right times.

With a bit of practice it becomes as quick and easy as searching your VSTs for the right plugin.

The guy who masters my stuff recommends fast narrow band (2k - 9K) downwards compression, but I’ve never tried that yet.


I just looked at the plugin and I’ve got v1.1 which might be part of the problem.

I was reading somewhere else today where they were talking about doing this manually.

learjef I think I understand what you’re saying (I’m pretty new to all this), can I do this by drawing volume envelopes on the tracks and dropping the level down on the esses and tees?

Gizmo, you’re a bit ahead of my iunderstanding but I’ll have a look at it again. I’m not sure about what you mean by a notch filter. I’ve had a look at parametric eq and I see low/high pass and shelf filters and boost/cut. Bit confused but I’m sure I’ll get there in the end.

Thanks again for the help though



hey, martin. Welcome to N.

few ways to handle S’s…
- control volume of syllables with sibilance
- control frequencies susseptible to sibilance
- re-record tracks

I’m no expert, but re-recording is prob the best method. If you can’t, the next best is probably controlling frequencies. You can do that by applying an EQ with a narrow but deep cut (notch filter) at the offending frequency. You’d use boost/cut since it enables you to change the width.

But applying a notch filter means removing that frequency from the entire track (unless you clone the track, apply the notch filter on 1 track only, and then use volume envelopes to switch back and forth between tracks… messsy).

The method i prefer to use is to find the offending syllables, zoom WAY in, and reduce the volume (via volume evolutions) of those syllables. This way, only the offending syllables are affected. But it can be tedious. Works best at the beginning or end of a word, not so great in the middle.

hope this helps.


Teej, you can use envelopes/automations/evolutions (whatever you want to call them) with EQ for the best solution, by just notching the offending spots. However, I just checked using n-Track V3.3 and the EQ built into each mixer channel doesn’t support it – you’d have to find a parametric EQ plugin (like the one provided with n-Track – which I believe is free starting in V4) and plug it in.

You click the little menu arrow next to the “Draw volume envelopes” tools and select “effect”, and then choose the EQ effect, and automate the boost/cut amount parameter for the band in question.

That is a more advanced method, preferable to simple volume edits and way better than notch filtering the whole track. But I’ve found that simple volume dips where you see that fuzzy line is good enough and pretty easy.

Tedious if there are a lot of 'em to fix, yes.

db Audio makes a plug for this… It isn’t free though…

db Audio

It comes packaged in a bundle… They’re pretty good plug-ins…


Thanks, Jeff. I’ve never tried automating an effect.


Just a note:

Bob Katz says it’s better to do de-essing in the mastering stage.

But he would say that wouldn’t he. :D

It’s a LOT easier to de-ess the original. However, when doing it, be sure you’re listening to the whole mix.

I don’t know why BK says it’s better in the mastering process. For a statement like that, I’d want a reason, not just a statement. As usual for rules, it’s better to understand the reasons than to just follow the rules.

Learjeff, I don’t want to do a direct quote of copyright material and I’m sure that Flavio wouldn’t want that either, so I’ll just put what Bob Katz says in my own words.

(1) Sibilance is media specific.

Something that might not be sibilant on a CD might be very sibilant on a radio transmission because of pre-emphasis.

And so on, vice versa, blah blah blah.

And it’s the job of the mastering engineer to be thinking about output media.

(2) A mixing engineer should not be distracted by considerations like that. A mixing engineer needs to produce a good musical mix.

Musical balance, the production of a good musical mix, is the job of the mixing engineer/producer.

It is the responsibility of the mastering engineer, with the output media in mind, to produce the best technical output designed for the specific destination media, and therefore, sibilance control is the job of the mastering engineer.

(3) The worst nightmare of a mastering engineer is an over processed mix by a mixing engineer who is trying to be a mastering engineer too.

If you’re mixing, mix. If you’re mastering, master. But don’t try to do both at the same time.

There, that’s more or less what he said, and I tried to be no more than a neutral translator and not impose my own POV.

Anyway, time to go and earn a few bucks. :)

Thanks for all the replies guys.

I only just started playing with drawing volume envelopes on tracks last week at about the same time I found parametric EQ. So you can see of got a lot of catching up to do to get up to your level.

After I started doing the typical beginner thing and applying loads of EQ, I went away and did some reading. I then came back and started with the dry tracks and used volume adjustments to mix them together which sounded much better.

So, I think I’ll have a try at using the effect automation thingy to try and cut some of the sibillance. Mrs Plumbum is the vocalist and she has always had problems with hard s’s and t’s when singing (and she has recoded professionally but went through hardware deessers in the studio).

I don’t know about the mastering as that’s way ahead of me at the moment. Anyway I have other questions but I’ll start some other threads for those when I have time.

Really enjoying it at the moment, seem to learn new things every time I open up Ntrack But it’s one of those things where the more you learn the more you realise how little you know.

Thanks again



it’s one of those things where the more you learn the more you realise how little you know.



Well, BK makes good points, but he’s probably assuming a pro quality performance in the first place. I agree that the recording & mixing engineer shouldn’t go overboard trying to achieve perfection in sibilance.

However, for us home-bodies, we often record tracks with obviously way too much sibilance on ANY medium, due to less than perfect performance or recording techniques. In this case, carefully notching the obvious problems will do more harm than good. Also, many of us do our own mastering (tsk tsk), or are using a budget mastering house, and not creating separate masters for AM, FM, CD, DVD, and MP3. In this case, Bob’s arguments valid as they are don’t apply.

[qutoe]If you’re mixing, mix. If you’re mastering, master. But don’t try to do both at the same time[/quote]
True. However, it’s hard to mix crappy tracks. Sometimes a good way to save a crappy track is to de-ess. Part of the recording/mixing engineer’s task is to come up with good tracks, and IMHO, careful de-essing is a part of that. However, BK’s caution against overprocessing is an important one.

Remember that BK is writing for the pros, not the amateurs. I still say that for most of us here, de-essing the original track is the easiest way to get the best results. The folks who are serious enough that this doesn’t apply know who they are!

Thanks for posting the reasons. BTW, the “fair use” clause of copyright law allows quoting small sections of printed matter for various purposes, including education and reviews, and I believe this qualifies. But your summary was clear and avoids any issues.


it’s one of those things where the more you learn the more you realise how little you know.

… Get used to that! :wink: