TL;DW: DeEss is the best de-essing solution there is. A go-to utility plugin.


Now it can be told: I’m just back from PatreCon! I’ll have more of that (probably just on my website and youtube, as it won’t be a product release) but let’s just say: what I’m doing with Airwindows has powerful motives. I want to give people the ability to do their music and production, I want to give both the popular and unpopular tools so you can express yourself regardless of your resources or whether you’re niche or mainstream or WHATEVER. It’s important enough to me that I don’t care what it costs me, and I mean to do it right: it’s the right thing, for the right reasons, with the right determination, and I’m setting it up (with the open source) so it can’t be taken away. You’ll be able to have stability in your production life, and pick out stuff you can count on that won’t go wrong on you, letting you have control of your musical world. In a very real sense you own that (heck, you own the source code).

Turns out, I chose well when I chose Patreon for handling this, my life work. To some people you could paint me in a nice (perhaps over-nice, hard to credit) light by saying ‘oh, Chris is kind of like Jack Conte the founder and CEO of Patreon’. It tells a story though it also implies I’m set up for some kind of epic success story and sounds like hype.

But for you guys, you kinda know about ME and not necessarily Patreon: you do that because I ask you to, but you maybe don’t know Jack about Jack, or why it would matter. You want plugins, and you’ve got to know how I am because I keep making them for you. However, I went to Patrecon (big gamble, wrecked my finances real good) because I wanted to hear what Jack Conte talks about in private, get a sense of what Patreon’s really like, maybe even talk to him and see if he hears me, gets what I’m about. It could have been a mistake for me: I could’ve gone and found they didn’t really care, just wanted my fees and were watching to see if I became big enough to get behind.

It wasn’t a mistake, it was one of the most brilliant ideas I ever had, and I ran with it by doing some of the most terrifying stuff I’ve ever done. I told Sam and Jack (Sam Yam is the OTHER co-founder) about how I got to go see my Dad before he died thanks to still running Airwindows. And I doubled down and thought out some ideas about what Patreon means in practice, and I went and pitched those same guys on these ideas, knowing that I am just a broke 50-year-old with no health care and no credentials for counseling Silicon Valley founders. Turns out I saw Jack’s keynote… his PRIVATE keynote, the one where he asked people not to record it this time because he was going to get extra real… and he was already leaning towards the direction I saw. And I took him further along that path.

They got it. Seriously, they got it.

I can’t tell you everything (and none of it involves me no longer needing you; nobody’s offering to make me a silicon valley guy nor was I asking to be one: that is NOT what this is about and I wasn’t asking Jack for money or even promo) but what I can tell you is, turns out Jack Conte is a guy like ME, and that means very specific things. And what he’s doing with Patreon in general is very akin to what I’m doing with Airwindows, and he is every bit as brave as I am. I believe it’s gonna work, and that it matters: it matters hugely. I’m going to do everything I can to help Jack after what I privately heard at PatreCon, and if you’re a musician or producer also on Patreon I want to help you, too, ‘cos we’re very much all in this together.

Okay. DeEss.

If you need the best DeEsser, and especially if you know how to use them, this is the one you want: full stop. It’s the best one, it’s simple and quick to use and now it’s entirely free. It’s MIT license open source, so now everybody can ‘steal’ it. There’s a guy making GUI skinning tech for plugins, and he has the code for it: you’ll be able to use it and make whatever GUI skin you want on it, pay the (GUI) guy to sell that, or GPL it and use his (and my) tech free.

The Airwindows DeEss works by tracking slew rates, not by filtering and frequencies. It keeps a string of recent slew rates, and if it sees high slews that keep going back and forth (flipping direction) that’s how it triggers. It doesn’t trigger on things like square wave or sawtooth waves, because those aren’t going back and forth fast enough to be an ess. It’s purely mechanical: the trigger for DeEss happens instantly and way more powerfully on real esses, making it extremely easy to set. It’s not fiddly, just crank up the effect so you can plainly hear where it hits and use that (don’t overtrigger, for the bad esses you’ll get a HUGE powerful trigger even when everything else is totally clear of de-essing)

Then you use the ducking control and the treble rolloff to tailor the kind of esses you do want. The tone thing lets you have darker esses that are still very audible, and the ducking control means you can retain the original sound but duck it as much as you like. It should be possible to template it: since it triggers so powerfully on real esses, if you’ve got a working setting it should always work. De-essing is now a solved problem, for good. Use good taste (avoid ‘lisping’ effects) and de-essing is easy.

I already mentioned Patreon, so I think we’re good. I use that to live. I hope you like DeEss :)