How to Use a De-esser on Vocals

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Fab explains what De-essers are and how to use them on vocals using 6 different plugins and hardware units.

De-essing is one of the biggest voodoo in the mixing world. Sometimes it works... and ssssssometimesssssss it does not. This is why you have so many plug-ins on the market that do just that. They all have different algorithms and work in their own special way.

This is why it helps to have a seasoned engineer show you how they work, show you pros and cons and most importantly point to you what to listen for during this risky exercise.

Equipment & Software
  • Avid Dyn3 De-Esser
  • DBX902 Hardware
  • Massey De-Esser
  • Waves Renaissance De-Esser
  • Sonnox SuprEsser
  • Eiosis E2 De-Esser
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Fab Dupont

Fab Dupont is an award-winning NYC based record producer, mixing/mastering engineer and co-founder of

Fab has been playing, writing, producing and mixing music both live and in studios all over the world. He's worked in cities like Paris, Boston, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York just to name a few.

He has his own studio called FLUX Studios in the East Village of New York City.

Fab has received many accolades around the world, including wins at the Victoires de la Musique, South African Music awards, Pan African Music Awards, US independent music awards. He also has received Latin Grammy nominations and has worked on many Latin Grammy and Grammy-nominated albums.


David Crosby

Queen Latifah

Jennifer Lopez

Mark Ronson

Les Nubians

Toots And The Maytals

What do you have to say?
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2020 Oct 02
Once again, thank you Fab for this fantastic and useful tutorial. Before, by my own trials with my DAWs I was lost with all the buzzwords ans different jargon. Vey instructive tutorial. Thank you so much.
alejandro uriarte
2020 Aug 24
Genial Fab gracias por tanta informacion!!!!saludos de Argentina.
Frank Zimmermann
2020 May 13
Thank you so much, Fab! Very helpful! :-)
2020 Mar 02
I love this guy, what a great energy he has! He goes straight to the point and make his best at being objective at the topics he teaches! Thank you!
In the Mews
2019 Dec 20
Why not just add a dynamic EQ to the channel chain and as they sat cut to the chase ... ?
2019 Jul 20
Interesting. The Sonnox worked best for me, although I think it's fair to say I like a bit more S than you, then again, I know my speakers are kind of forgiving around 8-10 K. I'll certainly be bearing this in min though. You do get a nice smoothness by doing this, it's certainly better than just dipping the EQ. Cheers for the tip!
2018 Dec 11
2018 Dec 10
Perfect video thank you!
2018 Feb 20
Thank you Fab, nice demonstration! It appears I experienced Subjection Bias while watching the Ren D-Esser. The display ballistics gave the audio on the first ess, a slightly over compressed sound. Closed my eyes, and it sounded much better. This is why I always listen critically with my eyes closed, yet the effect has not been so blatantly obvious. Fun stuff, the brain, CNS. Love what you folks are doing, and that you share so kindly with the industry. Sincerely, John Chase
2017 May 17
I love the R-Deesser! Thanks Fab! Love your videos also. So helpful. Game changing!
2017 Feb 20
I just got the renaissance desser, so this was very helpful because you listed the plugins used thanks a lot
2016 Dec 20
Loved all your videos man, incredible stuff! The things you are telling, equipment and the software you use and the way you explain and make your videos. Just Brilliant! Definitely going to pay for some videos cuz' it's worth it. One question I have is - does it worth your time to go through all of the deessers to find the right one instead of just automating any 1 of them?
2016 Dec 09
cool video - just a note: in the EQ video for vocals it says that S-sounds are around 6000-8000 Hz. In this video all S-sounds though are around 4000-5000 Hz. For a beginner a little bit confusing - though you say that frequency ranges are not absolute in all de-essing plug-ins.
2016 Dec 08
2016 Nov 24
2016 Oct 15
Great tutorial Fab, I love that you used a piece of hardware in addition to plugins to tie in the old and new methods of de-essing. The audio example was perfect for this too:)
2016 Sep 25
Free de-essing enlightenment, than you very much. Sonnox De-Esser seems to be very versatile... like for using in a backing vocals submix when they peak in some freq (1,9-2,2 khz).
2016 Jul 29
Awesome video. I finally get it! Deessers aren't an easy tool to use without a great amount of understanding and listening! Thanks Fab.
2016 Mar 25
very informative-the layers of sound just get more subtle-thanks Ray
2016 Mar 25
Very good, informative and short tutorial. Fab you're great at explaining how this units work. Great job. Learned a lot. Thanks.
2016 Jan 06
The king of tutorials :)
2015 Nov 12
Hi Fab. What about if you are dealing with both S's and SH's which are at slightly different frequencies? Would you use two narrow band de-essers, one for each problem area? Or perhaps just set one de-esser at the lower SH frequency to treat everything above it? Thanks very much.
2015 Oct 25
Rodrigo Cunha
2015 Mar 02
Bom Demais!!!
2014 Dec 22
Excellent tutoriel !! ;-)
2014 Nov 24
Exelente tutorial, me encanto el de-esser de Eiosis.
2014 Oct 22
Hi Fab This was a super video with all these plug ins never saw any of them... Thanks bro. T&T
Alexander Roca
2014 Sep 05
Excellent video lessons !
2014 Apr 05
2013 Sep 27
Hi Fab Great stuff here. But s il te plait .Veux tu bien arrêter d utiliser le mot "enfant en t adressant aux gens ? C est un peu dérangeant et je ne suis pas le seul a le dire. Sans rancune.
2013 Aug 29
Thanks for this viedeo, Fernando from Uruguay !!!
beau Jeffries
2013 Jun 27
Great clip. The E2 Eiosis is great too. My fav De Esser. Oxford is great also.
beau Jeffries
2013 Jun 27
Great clip. The E2 Eiosis is great too. My fav De Esser. Oxford is great also.
2012 Dec 13
you guys re gonna get my money....this site is brilliant.
2012 Nov 22
Great Video! Fabfilter's new de-esser has been the best I've worked with so far, and exceptionally transparent and easy to dial in.
2012 Jul 07
Great tutorial with super detail, I can't believe Fab & Puremix released this vid for FREE...
2012 Jun 23
Could anyone please tel me if it's best to put the 'Deesser' 1st on the channel strip before the EQ or after ?
2012 Jun 12
nice to see what different de-essers do. I tend to use the percision De-Esser from UAD. But I think that oxford is well designed with the mind what fits a fast edit and continue fastest to the next step in the mix. More time left :)
Fabulous Fab
2012 May 17
darrendrums: Wouldn't that be wonderful? YOu could but then you loose the proximity effect. For some music it's the best thing, for toehr music it's more difficult. Also most singers have no forward vision about the mix and will freak out because they'll complain that 'it sounds like I am faraway'. I always push singers back as far as they'll stand before they get upset :-) Fab
2012 May 16
Can't we ask the singer to stand further back ?
2012 Apr 25
thanks Fab!
2012 Mar 23
Great tutorial, thanks! I'm really interested in Demoing the Eiosis E2 De-esser. Thanks for posting this FAB.
2012 Feb 14
Another VERY useful video! Thanks!
2011 Oct 27
Really nice tutorial! Keep on likke this!
2011 Oct 07
Great tutorial!!! Love it, love it, love it!!! I have a question for you...are there frequencies that instantly come to mind when you think of solving sibilance problems? So for example when de-essing a male vocal what would be a good starting point for S, Sh, Th, F, etc.? I never know where to begin and tend to overly rely on the de-esser to compensate for my ignorance! I would love to know where to begin looking without the aid of a De-esser. PS Thanks for the heads up on the Eiosis De-Esser. It's a fantastic plugin.
2011 May 30
Excellent tutorial Fab!!! I will definitely be recommending and posting a link to this site. "Thanks Again" "Touch The World" F.L. Freeman, Audio Engineer/ Mixer 111 Entertainment LLC
2011 May 13
great video, excellent presentation and production.
2011 May 09
A great video...I sit here stunned.Thanks