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Old 12th February 2003
Here for the gear

for what it's worth....

It seems to me there are two types of de-essing situations - single channel de-essing, as in the recording/mixing process, and complex program (stereo) de-essing, as done in mastering.

For single channel de-essing of say, a voice, I would prefer to use a fast (attack time zero, fast release), full frequency range compressor with eq'd sidechain inputs to pull down the whole signal when the eq'd sidechain reaches the threshold. The toppy part of the 's' rarely occurs at the same time as another sound from the voice, so it works well. (The C-2 does this very nicely).

For mastering or complex program you need to operate only on the frequency range that causes the problem, so a proper de-esser might be more useful. If you don't have something to do that, it's best left to mastering engineers, it's one of their stock tricks.