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Waves DeEsser

Waves DeEsser.Waves DeEsser.

Formats: VST, MAS, RTAS, Premiere, and TDM

Reviewed: TDM version

De‑essers are an essential studio tool for ridding vocal recordings of excessive sibilance, and so it should come as no surprise that they are now available as software plug‑ins. Waves' DeEsser is a professional tool with a simple, yet powerful user interface. If you look at the screen above, you should be able to see four buttons on the left of the control surface. The top button lets you select either Split or Wideband de‑essing; Split only affects high frequencies, for more accurate de‑essing while Wideband suits gentler de‑essing. The second button lets you set the side‑chain filter frequency to match that of the 'esses' you want to fix while the third button lets you choose the type of side‑chain filter used. DeEsser normally works in a High‑pass mode here, but a band‑pass filter can also be used to isolate just one type of 'ess'. Finally, the Monitor button lets you select whether to listen to the full output or just the side chain. It's much easier to adjust the Frequency control accurately if you just listen to the sound in the side chain until you are hearing only the 'esses'. To the right of these are the Threshold slider with its associated level meter, the attenuation display, and the output meters at the far right. The Threshold control sets the level above which attenuation of the 'esses' takes place so you just slide this control down till the 'esses' sound natural — whilst keeping an eye on the meters to make sure the levels are OK. There is much more detailed control available than on the SPL De‑Esser (also reviewed here) so the Waves plug‑in demands more technical knowledge than the SPL one, making it less suitable for novice users. Nevertheless, this is my personal preferred choice, as it gives just the right amount of technical control from a well‑designed and effective user interface. Mike Collins