Empirical Labs ELDS DerrEsser - De-esser

API 500 Series Module-format De-Esser
Empirical Labs ELDS DerrEsser - De-esser image 1
Empirical Labs ELDS DerrEsser - De-esser image 1
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Empirical Labs ELDS DerrEsser - De-esser
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A multi-function de-esser/dynamics processor!

Empirical Labs' DerrEsser brings multi-function dynamic filtering to the API 500 series module format. At its most basic, the DerrEsser is an effective de-esser. Employing a unique crossover technique the DerrEsser uses its Voltage Controlled Amp to reduce the volume of high or harsh high frequencies while maintaining musicality. Set your threshold, pick the frequency you want to control, and you're pretty much up and running. Of course, there are a variety of functions available depending on the settings, so plug in and see what DerrEsser can do for your vocals!

Empirical Labs DerrEsser at a Glance:
  • DS Mode
  • HF Limit
  • Highpass
  • Lowpass

DS Mode
(Bypass Button in, all other buttons out). As a de-esser in the DS mode (HF Limit off), one can set the threshold to tame harsh S's (sibilants) that result from an overly bright singer or from EQ'ing to make a vocal sound aggressive and clear. In this mode, the dynamic action is "level insensitive", as the detector circuitry compares the High Frequency content to the low frequency content. Overall signal level doesn't matter at all. When there is enough HF compared to LF, the threshold is exceeded and the DerrEsser starts to turn down the frequencies above the crossover point set by the Frequency control on the front panel. Great care was taken to ensure this DS section meets the Empirical Labs reputation for originality and ease of use, and uses the latest technology VCA, specially selected for glitch free, distortion free, and noise free performance. The time constants were carefully selected and the corner frequency is user adjustable with a high performance active crossover.

HF Limit
(Bypass Button in, HF LIM in, all other buttons OUT). In this mode, the DerrEsser looks at the general level of the High Frequencies only. Think of it as a high frequency compressor. If there is enough high frequency content to exceed the threshold, then gain reduction occurs. It is level sensitive, but responds much more to high frequencies. This mode can also act as a de-esser but is more of a general high frequency smoothing device.The HF limiter is probably the first carefully tailored soft knee HF limiter in existence.

(Bypass Button in, Listen in, HP/LP out, HF LIM doesn't matter). By using the "Listen" Function, the user can employ the superb filter circuitry inside the DerrEsser to process their audio. With the Listen button in, and the HP/LP switch OUT, the user will be hearing the high frequencies that are being controlled with the dynamic/compression circuits. The corner frequency is adjustable by the Frequency knob. Once the Listen switch is engaged, all bargraph LED's should light as indication.

(Bypass Button in, Listen in, HP/LP in, HF LIM doesn't matter). With the Listen button in, and the HP/LP button in, the user is now listening to the low frequencies, those not affected by the VCA and dynamic/compression circuits. This is a 12 dB per octave filter whose corner frequency can again, be adjusted by the Frequency knob.

Empirical Labs DerrEsser Features:
  • Freq. Response is 3 Hz to 120 kHz (-3dB points).
  • Dynamic Range - 115 dB from maximum output (.5%THD soft clipping) to minimum output. Transformerless noise floor typically - 93dBu.
  • Distortion Ranges between .0035% and .01% depending on mode and settings.
  • DC coupled Input and Outputs
  • High quality audio caps used internally.
  • Input Balanced, Output single ended but with balanced impedance.
  • Pin 2 hot
  • Input Impedance is 20k Ohm. Output impedance is less than 51 ohms.
  • D-S Dynamics Time Constants - Attack time is less than 1mS. Release .04 sec, fixed internally.
  • Power Consumption - 8 Watts max. 4 Watts Typical
A fresh look at de-essing with Empirical Labs' DerrEsser!

Additional Media

500 Series Buying Guide
ELDS DerrEsser User Manual

Tech Specs

Number of Channels 1
Controls Threshold, Frequency, Listen, Bypass, HF Limiter
Frequency Response 3Hz-120kHz
Manufacturer Part Number ELDS-V

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Write your review

Taming the Icing on the Cake

My musical background and training is classical and I am a flutist doubling on piccolo, Irish whistle, ethnic flutes and Sax. My focus was obviously on the high end what I referred to as the icing on the cake. When I was getting my certification in sound engineering there was a focus on the low end especially for popular music. Much of the discussion in forums for mixing has a lot of talk about techniques for getting a solid, tight, focused, thumping, etc low end with passing reference to a sparkling high end. I obviously agree with getting a great low end on your mix but I am so glad there is now a tool that focuses on the higher frequencies and it is brilliant. I used it on an Irish whistle and on various Native American flutes with great results. I am used to getting good results with wind instruments since I know how they should sound. I decided to buy this device for the Native American CD. The artist had several high pitched shrill flutes that I handled in my usual way with mic selection and position. Normal compression does not usually flatter these instruments. When I added the Derreser and adjusted the settings I was extremely pleased with the sound. It added another dimension to the instruments high frequencies in the same way that a good compressor smooths out the low end of a kick or bass. The shrillness was gone and what was left was a smooth controlled tone that fit nicely in the mix without much effort. This added some magic to the sound I have never been able to achieve in recording these instruments including the Irish whistle. If you are serious about all aspects of your mix then get the same type of tools you use to control the low end for your high end. Again brilliant and well done.
Music background: Recording Engineer, musician

Great HF limiter

I just finished a mix of a live show that featured a trumpet. The FOH guy used a Shure beta 57. The trumpet had some harshness in the 2 - 3k range only on the loudest parts. The DerrEsser in de-ess mode helped me fix this problem quickly. Thanks Emperical Labs & Sweetwater.
Music background: Recording engineer
See also: 500 Series Compressors, Empirical Labs, Empirical Labs 500 Series Dynamics