Anyone have experience with using de-esser for sibilance in home audio system?

I've been experiencing sibilance over the past year and have arrived at the conclusion that it's my hearing. 

I'm wondering whether a pro-audio de-esser might help.

Does anyone have experience with this?  



You say that you hear the sibilance issue when using ear buds, so that eliminates the room as an issue. Sounds like you have at least two systems maybe three depending on where the ear buds are used. Assuming the gear for each system is unique to those systems, I think it would be highly unlikely that a different component in each system would develop the same issue at the same time, so though we cannot 100% rule out the gear I think the odds for the gear being the problem are very very slim. If you have tinnitus I would think that you would be hearing the hissing sound constantly all day long and if you are not, I doubt that is the problem. It could be that you have developed a sensitivity to high frequencies and this should have shown up in your hearing test and your audiologist should have discussed this with you if you were outside of the standard deviation for that portion of the spectrum. Also I think you would hear overabundance of sibilance when watching television and in conversations in general. As far as the reverse, where the sibilance region is normal and everything else is deficient, this too should have shown up in your hearing test and your audiologist would probably be recommending hearing aids, not to mention that the whole world would be sounding rather thin and tinny.

Is it possible to listen with other people to see if they hear the same issue? That would at least tell you if it was a gear or source material issue.


Thanks for the suggestion. Panels are not an option in my listening area.


Thanks for your comprehensive response. At times, I do hear a slight hissing and have so for decades but I hear no sibilance when people speak. Nor am I aware of any other sort of distortion of everyday sounds. Watching tv and listening to instrumental music are sibilance-free. By no means does the" whole world sound thin and tinny" and the hissing has not worsened in the period of time during which sibilance has become an issue.

I only notice sibilance when listening to music with vocals. The rest of the track will sound fine but most vocals exhibit exaggerated T’s, P’s and especially, S’s. I’ve directed a couple other forum members to tracks I find especially annoying and they’ve heard sibilance in those tracks, too. They attribute it to overly hot recording levels. This may well be true but I find it very difficult to accept that across many genres, most of the vocal tracks in my collection were recorded at too high a level. That makes no sense to me.

I’ve swapped out everything in my system except for the speakers and the integrated. I just took delivery of a different integrated. I’ll hook that up tonight and see it it makes any difference but like you, I doubt gear is to blame. I don’t have another pair of speakers but as I mentioned, sibilance is clearly audible on my desktop monitors so I doubt it’s my speakers. It’s possible that a warmer, less detailed amp might be less annoying to listen to, when it comes to vocals. I’ll have to experiment.



Acoustic panels can be had as a portable unit, with stands.  That's what I use for when listening to music.  Otherwise, the panel goes back into my office room.  I have other acoustic panels affixed to the wall for first reflections and bass traps.  But I needed this extra panel to help with my hearing needs. GIK makes a nice portable model and is relatively inexpensive.  I have a 2' X 5' panel and it has really helped.  Worthwhile to try it and for not much cost.  Hope this helps.

I found tweeters just above ears helps the most. That may be related to my driver layout so I would experiment. Does the sibilance change when you change your listening position? That’s one test. 


I had no idea portable panels were available. 


No; sibilance doesn't change. In fact, I can stand right next to speaker and hear sibilance as easily as when I'm in the listening chair. 

I will try the "just above ears" placement.