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FabFilter Pro-DS (Plugin Review)

The first good impression about the FabFilter Pro-DS plugin is the highly intelligent ‘Single Vocal’ detection algorithm, which accurately identifies sibilance in vocal recordings and attenuates it transparently, awesome!

Another is the way you can navigate the interface easily, although, it is less intuitive than something like ERA 4 De-Esser plugin, so, if you want something really simple, I'll recommend ERA 4 De-Esser, if you want more options and better control, go with this FabFilter Pro-DS.

It has loads of awesome features such as Wideband or linear-phase split band processing, adjustable stereo linking with optional mid-only or side-only processing, and lots more under your belt.

Let's get to know some of its Major Controls...

An Overview Look

The Fabfilter Pro-DS plugin is built to not only be easy to use but also consist of super cool features such as the real-time level display which shows you at a glance view of what is happening to your audio. You would also find a level metering at the right of the interface, this of course provides an immediate overview od the current output and gain reduction levels.

My favorite is the Advance controls that feature the Wide Band and Split Band processing, which can be used to further control the de-essing of an audio signal

Basic, and Handy Controls

The controls, and how you use them are of great importance when de-essing as this affects how the plugin reacts, and sound, let’s learn how some of the control works…

Threshold and Range - The Threshold is like a trigger mechanism, it set the threshold of the side-chain level above which the de-esser will trigger and apply gain reduction, while the Range knob scales the detected gain reduction so that it stays within the desired range, enabling you to easily change the desired amount of de-essing.

Side-chain filtering - This works with the threshold, you specify the frequency range on which Pro-DS will trigger, say for example you want to eliminate ‘s’ sounds, 8-10 kHz is a good place to start, but I would always advise you start with the presets, and you then walk your way from there.

The good thing about the Side-chain filtering is that you can use the Audition button beneath the sliders to listen to the signal that is used for triggering, this makes so much sense in that it helps you figure out the appropriate frequency of the sound you want to attenuate.

Single Vocal vs. Allround mode - The single vocal mode is recommended if you want to de-ess single vocal tracks while the Allround mode depends on the frequency range, specified by the sidechain sliders, this mode can be used to brighten up your sound during the mastering stage, sounds such as drums, or even complete mixes.

Fancy Metering

I ain't a fan of metering, I let my ear be the judge, but one thing I enjoy about the metering aspect is the detection input meter, it shows the level of the filtered and possibly stereo-linked signal that used for detection, helping you to choose a proper Threshold setting, and the fact that the real-time level displays the reduced gain signal in light green color is mind-blowing, all in all, trust your ears, looks can be deceiving!

Crazy Presets!

FabFilter Pro-DS comes with a selection of excellent factory presets that provide ready-to-go de-essing setups for many different scenarios and types of audio. Always start with a preset, it would save you a lot of time, of course, you can customize yours from scratch if you know what you are doing.

FabFilter Goodies

You also get all the usual FabFilter goodies: perfectly tuned knobs, MIDI Learn Smart Parameter Interpolation for smooth parameter transitions, an excellent help file with interactive help hints, SSE optimization, and much more!

Key Features

  • Highly intelligent 'Single Vocal' detection, and classic 'Allround' detection
  • Transparent program-dependent compression/limiting
  • Adjustable Threshold, Range, and detection HP and LP filtering settings
  • Wide Band or linear-phase Split Band processing
  • Optional look-ahead time up to 15 ms
  • Freely adjustable stereo linking
  • Optional mid-only or side-only processing
  • Up to four times linear-phase oversampling
  • Real-time de-essing display, clearly showing the affected parts of processed audio
  • Side-chain input meter, making it easy to choose a good Threshold value
  • Real-time spectrum analyzer built into the HP/LP filter controller
  • GPU-powered graphics acceleration
  • High-quality 64-bit internal processing
  • Double-click the text entry of parameter values
  • Large and compact interface sizes
  • Stereo and mono plug-ins are available
  • Supports common Pro Tools hardware control surfaces
  • MIDI Learn
  • Undo/redo and A/B comparison
  • Smart Parameter Interpolation
  • Sample-accurate automation of all parameters
  • Extensive help file with interactive help hints

System Requirements


  • 32-bit: Windows 8, 7, Vista, or XP
  • 64-bit: Windows 8, 7, or Vista (x64)
  • VST 2/3 host or Pro Tools

Mac OS X:

  • 32-bit: OS X 10.5 or higher
  • 64-bit: OS X 10.6 or higher
  • AU or VST 2/3 host or Pro Tools
  • Intel processor

Plug-In Formats:

  • All FabFilter plug-ins are available in VST, VST3, Audio Units, AAX Native, and AudioSuite formats (all both 64-bit and 32-bit), as well as RTAS (32-bit only)

Get FabFilter Pro-DS

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