‘Soothe 2’: Oeksound’s Second Take on The Concept of Resonance Removals
Now, auto detection and surgical elimination of harsh and resonant parts of audio signals is possible across the whole frequency range.
‘Soothe 2’ is a dynamic resonance suppressor. It automatically detects resonances across the whole frequency range and applies reduction only to the harsh and resonant parts of the signal, where and when needed. It can find its uses on individual channels as well as on busses and in mastering. You can use it to reduce harshness from close mic'd sources, to clean up low-mid muddiness, as a transparent de-esser, or to even out poking bass build-ups.
The Engine Upgraded From Previous ‘Soothe’
‘Soothe 2’ is a complete rewrite of the original plug-in ‘soothe’ and has been improved in almost every aspect. Amongst some of soothe2’s noticeable new features are full frequency-range processing (20 Hz ~ 20k Hz), the addition of attack and release parameters, two different processing modes (soft and hard mode), mid-side stereo control, and a side-chain input.
In addition, some of minor changes are adopted to ‘soothe 2’ such as new band modes, offline rendering settings, undo and redo, and more EQ bands. Even with all these new features ‘soothe 2’ still manages to have up to 40% lower CPU usage, faster GUI (Graphic User Interface) rendering, and also lower latency than the original soothe.
Still Easy to Control
Soothe has always been well known for handling harshness in the high and mid-high frequencies but many users also like to carve out rumble and excessive low-mid. This low frequency control was always limited in the previous version of soothe, but now ‘soothe 2’ allows the full audible frequency range to be processed. This opens up a lot of possibilities when it comes to handling low frequencies but it also allows you to remove any problematic area at any frequency in your audio.
Under either the two modes, you can adjust the general level of reducing harshness by ‘Depth’, the width of individual cuts by ‘Sharpness’, and the degree of selectiveness about the frequencies suppressed by ‘Selectivity’ settings.
In the ‘Stereo’ section, you can now select ‘Mid-Side’ mode and this is likely to be a welcome addition for many mastering engineers. With the ‘Link’ parameter you can allow ‘Soothe 2’ to process the channels independently and with the ‘Balance’ knob you can focus more on either the mid or side channels.
‘Soothe 2’ now provides control over the speed at which the plug-in reacts to resonances as well as the release time of the processing. The ‘Attack’ setting determines how quickly the notches reach their full extent and the ‘Release’ control determines how quickly the notches disappear after the corresponding resonances have been disappeared. For example, slowing down the ‘Attack’ on an overhead channel lets the transients of a snare drum come through while reducing any resonant ringing in the cymbals. The ‘Release’ parameter can also be used to further reduce artifacts that might occur when using intense settings.
The ‘Quality’ controls are located under a submenu and they now feature an offline rendering function which allows you to decide how ‘Soothe 2’ uses your CPU during production process. When you are bouncing or rendering audio if you are using multiple instances of ‘Soothe 2’ you can choose to copy the offline rendering settings of one to all other instances before bouncing.
In the ‘Sidechain’ input section, you can route a secondary input into ‘Soothe 2’ and by toggling on the Sidechain it can be used as the input for the resonance detection. The little headphone icon can be toggled to listen to the Sidechain input. For instance of use, you can use a hi-hat channel as the Sidechain input to the snare track to control hi-hat bleed.
You can control the wet-dry ratio with the ‘Mix’ setting in the Output section. With wet on 100%, only the processed signal comes through the output, and with 0% you will only hear the dry signal. You could apply heavy processing with ‘Soothe 2’ and then mix some dry signal back in for more natural results. With the ‘Trim’ setting you can regain the volume, so you can compensate for the gain reduction caused by the processing. The ‘Delta’ switch enables you to hear the difference between the processed (wet) and not-processed (dry) signals. This is essential for listening to the part of the audio that ‘Soothe 2’ removes. With this you can get an insight into which frequencies are affected with the current settings, and adjust accordingly. The ‘Bypass’ toggle is a soft bypass for quick A/B comparison without glitches that some DAWs might introduce when bypassing the signal from the host.
The EQ section works same as previous version ‘Soothe’. Boosting a band means more processing will be applied and cutting a band means that ‘Soothe 2’ will reduce the degree of processing already applied. The Low and High cut now have different slopes available while the four bands can be changed from the classic parametric type to shelve, band reject, or tilt. With ‘Soothe 2’ each band can focus on either of the two channels when working in stereo. The balance parameter follows the master setting means if the plug-in is in mid-side mode the balance of the band can be shifted between mid and side.
The Sound from ‘Soothe 2’
The first impression of the sound that passed through ‘Soothe 2’ was analog-feel like making the sound more comfortable to my ears but at the same time keeping the details and balance of the sound intact. In the drums, the sounds from the moments at the drummer’s hitting was softened but instead the sense on position of the sound became more clear. This is an advantage of ‘Soothe 2’, which is designed to emphasize or weaken any transient sound by means of fundamental changing the components of the harmonic distortion generating at the sound sources. In addition, it eliminates unnecessary resonances or any exaggerated frequencies, as a result allowing the sound to address more accurate information on localization. This is because, when the frequency of a specific portion of a sound is exaggerated, the sound become less accurate in the sense of position.
Unlike the previous version, ‘Soothe 2’ now can be perfectly used for editing low-range instruments such as bass guitar or sub-bass FX. The bass sound that had gone through ‘Soothe 2’ delivers circa ‘bone of sound’ without anything muddy or booming sonics. This helps the listeners to monitor bass sounds more accurately since the level of aural fatigue decreases due to increase of listeners’ detection of correct pitches in the low-range.
If you want to create any experimental or innovative sound using ‘Soothe 2’, toggle on ‘Delta’ button and change the value of ‘Attack’ and ‘Release’ to your taste then you may find your own effects over the inverted ‘Delta’ sound. Whatever the purpose is, ‘Soothe 2’ will satisfy both your convenience and your experimental instincts.
With ‘Soothe 2’ You can do:
- Remove harshness from close mic’d sound sources
- Transparently manage sibilance in vocals and dialog
- Treat uneven tonal balance from suboptimal recordings
- Clear muddiness, booming, and proximity effect
- Soften overly bright guitar and piano recordings
- Tame piercing synth sounds
- and more.
(€50 for upgrade from the original ‘soothe’: here)
*Note that a 20-day, fully-functional trial version for macOS and Windows can be downloaded free: here
Oeksound With a focus on bringing innovative sound mixing and mastering tools for both professionals and enthusiasts, oeksound is a young plug-in company based in Helsinki, Finland. It was founded in 2016 by Olli Erik Keskinen when he released oeksound’s first plug-in, soothe. With so many companies around already chasing the perfect modelling for yet another 1176-emulation, oeksound is here to craft new tools for modern needs.
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