FREE VST/AU de-esser: Toneboosters Sibalance CM

Innovative and prolific software developers Toneboosters have created Sibalance CM, a de-esser and anti-harshness solution that deserves a prime spot in the folders of all Computer Music readers.

Sibalance CM is perfect for reducing harsh 'ess' frequencies (called sibilance) caused by air passing over the teeth and into a microphone's diaphragm. Of course, it's not just vocals that may need 'de-harshing' - the human ear is particularly sensitive to all high-mid frequencies around 4-11kHz, so any signal with an excess in these areas will sound piercing, clash with other mix elements, and potentially cause ear damage when the resulting track is played over loud sound systems. This makes Sibalance CM vital for smoothing out the high-mid of any sound - voiceovers, synths and drum are just a few potential uses.

We asked Toneboosters' Jeroen Breebaart how the plugin works. "Sibalance CM uses the exact same 'matched filter' technology as TB Sibalance. It first uses a sibilance detector to automatically determine which frequency components are noise-like, and excessive in terms of level; this is followed by a matched filter that will only attenuate those frequencies that were identified as being excessively sibilant - in contrast to conventional de-essers which attenuate a whole band, and typically do not discriminate between noise-like and other components."

Features and uses:

  • Intelligent de-esser and de-harsher plugin
  • Uses underlying matched filter technology to identify and suppress harshness
  • Four different modes: mono female, mono male, stereo vocals/mix and broad 'de-harshing'
  • Threshold slider and meter - determine the point at which harsh frequencies are reduced
  • Precise De-Ess meter indicates gain reduction over sibilance
  • Dial in reduction with the Amount knob
  • Determine how quickly the de-essing reacts via the Attack knob
  • Perfect for reducing harshness in vocals, drums, synths, guitars, busses or full mixes
  • 32-/64-bit PC VST
  • 32-/64-bit Mac AU/VST

How to get Sibalance CM:

Buy Computer Music magazine issue 226 (CM226) and you can download Sibalance CM right away.

For more info on CM Plugins, read our FAQ, and find out about our Vault download system.

The full TB Sibalance is a fully-featured de-esser that allows you to customise every aspect of harshness reduction, including compression features, tonal shaping, M/S processing and more. Other Toneboosters plugins include TB ReelBus, an analogue-modelled reel-to-reel tape machine; TB VoicePitcher, a vocal transformation tool; and TB Bus Compressor, a transparent dynamics processor. Look out for their power-packed BusTools andTrackEssentials bundles, too - head to their website for more info.

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