REVIEW: Sonnox Oxford SuprEsser


Are you looking for a new and better de-esser than what comes with your audio editor? As a coincidence three plug-in companies have released a new compressor each and they’re good too! First out, let’s have a look at the Sonnox Oxford SuprEsser. I have made a video for it as well.

While ‘SuprEsser’ is just a clever play with words and letters, ‘Oxford’ might surprise some. The addition of the Oxford name is easy to understand however if you know the companies lineage – Sonnox was previously Sony Oxford, makers of the slightly legendary ‘Oxford digital console’ and a number of plug-ins that are all more or less critically acclaimed. The companies headquarters also happens to be located in Oxfordshire.

The SuprEsser is more than just a de-esser and more like a dynamic EQ. This means that you can set a field in the frequency where you want the SuprEssers dynamic section to work instead of affecting the entire range of the audio, or as in de-essers cases, the frequencies associated with s’s. Technical gibberish apart this basically means that you can find the s’s and compress them (i.e. lower them in volume), but also find plosives and other unwanted sounds and compress them.

The SuprEsser have two different modes. In ‘easy mode’ you basically set which frequencies the SuprEsser should work on and how much ‘Q slope’ to apply. “Q slope?” you ask? You do right in asking. It’s very hard to describe in words so watch the video for a visual description. After you’ve done that you just set the threshold (i.e. at what volume the compressor will start working) and you’re done. Doing just this works surprisingly well, and the graph of the SuprEsser is so good and detailed that it’s very easy to get a hang of it. If you want to travel into more detailed parts of the Oxford you can however do that by clicking a button for a more advanced mode. In this mode you have a lot of additional parameters to tweak. Personally I work in a semi-advanced mode almost all the time, meaning that I have the advanced mode open but the only additional control I use is the ratio (how much compression is applied). Another important feature to mention is the listening modes. You can easily listen to what’s being compressed and what’s not being compressed.

So how well does it work? Incredibly well. It’s perhaps one of the most transparent de-essers I’ve ever used. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise knowing how surgical you can get with it and decide exactly what frequencies you can address. The user interface is among the best and most intuitive I’ve seen, yet at the same time it looks really complex. The downsides are few and severe – but only to some! First, it will take a chunk of your CPU. For podcasting this might not be such a big deal since you probably won’t run tons of tracks and plug-ins. Second, it induces a lot of latency, so make sure that your audio application have delay compensation or the audio will be delayed.

Conclusion

Sonnox have done it again. SuprEsser will be an excellent addition to any serious podcast rig. With it’s surgical and transparent behavior you can easily work on s’s and plosives without destroying the overall audio. The metering and the graph is a huge plus and the interface boarders brilliance. The biggest downside is that it will cause a lot of delay unless your audio application have delay compensation.

Note: Sonnox Oxford SuprEsser is a plug-in and not a standalone application. It’s available in RTAS, TDM, AU, VST and Powercore formats.

Price: 162 GBP for native versions.


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