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Best de-essing plugins to improve SQ and decrease fatigue

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
For me, once I have the sound of a system dialled in with EQ, the biggest remaining fault i hear is usually sibilance and listening fatigue in extended listening. I find that de-essing processing in a form similar to multiband compression helps alleviate this a lot. It also gives pretty graphs to look at while playing the music biggrin.gif
Until yesterday I was using a complicated setup with two crossovers and 4 broadband compressors in a free-linking VST host. Then I found this: wavearts multidynamics

http://wavearts.com/products/plugins/multidynamics/

It supports up 6 six bands for multiband compression and is a simple stereo in, stereo out VST plugin that can be used in a simple VST chainer or even a player that only loads one VST at a time. I split the sibilance range from 2500Hz to 16000Hz into 4 bands and leave the top and bottom bands untouched.

Here is the preset I made:
https://db.tt/DDGnCMP3
When the VST plugin is loaded with this preset, just adjust the threshold for all the bands (the scroll wheel second from left at the bottom of the Multidynamics interface) until the compression kicks in at sibilant points and not elsewhere.

If one is looking for something similar there is the spitfish plugin
http://www.head-fi.org/t/503126/anyone-use-the-spitfish-de-esser-dealing-with-sibilance
post #2 of 9
Why not a headphone that isnt sibilant or doesnt already exhibit those problems?

But then again, i see what you are saying in terms of eqing giant killers costing very little that only need a bit of help
post #3 of 9

Best sibilance reducer?  Songs without sibilance.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

Why not a headphone that isnt sibilant or doesnt already exhibit those problems?

But then again, i see what you are saying in terms of eqing giant killers costing very little that only need a bit of help

 

Never heard a pair of phones that "isn't sibilant" that doesn't just smear away all the treble detail like vaseline, or a pair of phones with good resolution that aren't sibilant to some extent.  Sibilance is a broadband phenomenon that you can't avoid with choosing phones or EQing except by largely compromising the overall sound.  At least that's the case for me and my sensitive ears.

 

Smoothing out resonance peaks in the treble using parametric EQ went some way towards creating sibilance-free phones for me but de-essing processing was the next step forward, and the bigger step IMO.  With the right settings it doesn't impact general music quality at all (even where no sibilance is present).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

Best sibilance reducer?  Songs without sibilance.

 

In terms of music selection that's cutting off your nose to spite your face?

post #5 of 9

Part ways with x amount of sibilant songs, find 10x new songs.  Such is life.

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

Why not a headphone that isnt sibilant or doesnt already exhibit those problems?

But then again, i see what you are saying in terms of eqing giant killers costing very little that only need a bit of help

 

Never heard a pair of phones that "isn't sibilant" that doesn't just smear away all the treble detail like vaseline, or a pair of phones with good resolution that aren't sibilant to some extent.  Sibilance is a broadband phenomenon that you can't avoid with choosing phones or EQing except by largely compromising the overall sound.  At least that's the case for me and my sensitive ears.

 

Smoothing out resonance peaks in the treble using parametric EQ went some way towards creating sibilance-free phones for me but de-essing processing was the next step forward, and the bigger step IMO.  With the right settings it doesn't impact general music quality at all (even where no sibilance is present).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

Best sibilance reducer?  Songs without sibilance.

 

In terms of music selection that's cutting off your nose to spite your face?

True. Though I must say some of the nicer headphones I've heard have been pretty good at keeping the sibilance down, but again they're not always perfect.

 

Yup, if you're that picky about music, then you're probably more into listening to gear than you are the actual music... :rolleyes:

 

Excellent guide as always Joe Moe! As usual I'll never use it though because it isn't compatible with iTunes... 

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechgamer123 View Post
 

Excellent guide as always Joe Moe! As usual I'll never use it though because it isn't compatible with iTunes... 

 

You could try using VSTHost and Virtual Audio Cable to process all sounds your computer plays?  That's actually how I'm doing it now, and it's actually better coz you then get to place the dynamics plugin after the software volume control in the chain and have more consistent control of its actual compression thresholds.  I still use foobar but actually don't use its DSP engine anymore.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechgamer123 View Post
 

Excellent guide as always Joe Moe! As usual I'll never use it though because it isn't compatible with iTunes... 

 

You could try using VSTHost and Virtual Audio Cable to process all sounds your computer plays?  That's actually how I'm doing it now, and it's actually better coz you then get to place the dynamics plugin after the software volume control in the chain and have more consistent control of its actual compression thresholds.  I still use foobar but actually don't use its DSP engine anymore.

I thought you were having issues with getting that to work without a physical cable or some really expensive software?

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechgamer123 View Post

I thought you were having issues with getting that to work without a physical cable or some really expensive software?

But I do have a physical loopback connection. There is a bare digital i/o header on my motherboard, I just shorted them and voila, instant digital loopback. I got lucky smily_headphones1.gif Seems not to be a feature found anywhere on current mobos these days so when I eventually upgrade my computer I may have to shell out some bucks for an extra soundcard with digital i/o. Totally worth it imo. smily_headphones1.gif
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