For de-essing try Fabfilter Pro-MB in Dynamic Phase mode, a single band in bell or shelf does the trick. I find it very controllable, predictable and benign when it digs in too much. I liked it much better than Fabfilter's dedicated de-esser.
I have used both the FabFilter MB and their DS. They work for different things. Though, lately, for harshness control, peaky stuff (especially dialogue or voices in the 1.5-3K range), boomy stuff, AND/OR de-essing I am finding that the Melda MAuto Dynamic EQ to be the mst transparent and satisfying. https://www.meldaproduction.com/MAutoDynamicEq
I appreciate learning about the Melda 'MAutoDynamicEq' from you. I've been trying to find something that will, if not de-throne, then at least equal the Weiss hardware. Even though Essence is (control-wise) modeled after the Weiss box, I struggled to get it to sound good and de-ess at the same time. This comment comes after many, many days of trying...
The MAutoDynamicsEq and the Sonnox Supressor (in that order of preference) are what I now use when the Weiss is busy elsewhere...
However, the user-interface of the Melda plug is rather daunting at first ;->
For really nasty and/or singular artifacts, I still love Renovator.
Glad the recommendation was useful to you. Yes, the user-interface is strange, or, as you say, daunting. Once I figured out how I like to use it, it is more transparent than any MB or side-chained De-essing solution. For quick things, I'll put the FabFilter DS on. But with dialogue, VO and Vocals, there are sometimes ssstill that slippery silvery snakey high sssSSSSsss that still bothers me. Melda is the only thing that kills it in a satisfying way. I often use them in tandem.
I tried Essence and it didn't blow my skirt up. Love Compassion and Equilibrium.
Like you with Renovator, I will use RX Spectral repair to clear out whistles and static-y esses (sometimes with De-crackle).