Soothe2 – At the forefront of the next generation of plugin’s
Soothe 2, is a Dynamic Resonance Suppressor plug-in which comes of age in V2 with Mid/Side operation alongside External Side chain for expanded usability. A truly impressive plug-in that has been an instant addition to my workflow in both Mixing and Mastering achieving in seconds jobs which varied between impossible and time consuming. In the words of the makers…
Soothe2 can be used to reduce harshness, sibilance and mud from the sound source, and excels in fixing a range of problems. With Soothe2 you can:
Remove harshness from close mic’d sound sources
Transparently manage sibilance in vocals and dialog
Treat uneven tonal balance from suboptimal recordings
Clear muddiness, boominess, and proximity effect
Soften overly bright guitar and piano recordings
Tame piercing synth sounds
What is this…Voodoo magic?
Short answer: Yes. Soothe2 is a tool that covers familiar mixing ground, but by bringing it all together in a quick / slick interface it certainly opens a new category in your plug-in collection. Most people will not have had something that does what this does before (although there are a few examples around the same idea for those in the know). However, nothing until this point has quite the sonic impact, and usefulness that Soothe2 is offering.
Soothe2 is a 2nd generation dynamic resonance suppressor plug-in. Through some programming wizardry it is able to remove the subtle and not so subtle resonances in your sounds, mixes and masters. Sonic clutter that has many causes but generally muddy up the sound of your record in one way or another. Resonance, room noise, harsh tones etc – in theory these are all removable leaving just the cream of the sound so to say. Couple that with a simple set of controls for for getting the job done. A single knob controlling the amount of reduction you want, alongside Hard and Soft modes which let you dial in the amount of effect, a pair of attack and release controls – which can be very useful when it’s biting into a percussive sound and removing its punch. They also equipped it with an easily understandable EQ-like frequency interface, which lets you shape and mould the areas it’s looking at, and even make it chow down harder on specific frequencies. It’s this feature that becomes really useful if you need to take the harshness out of a snare whilst leaving the rest of a mix untouched, or need to take the mud from your mix without it falling flat. You can focus its efforts in just the right spot. As they say themselves; Harshness, Sibilance and Mud are in its sights.
The thing that strikes me about Sooth is that it has a really nice transparent sound, which is something you really need to keep in mind.
The Soothe2 at its finest, is a subtle effect. It can solve some problems easily that could consume hours and hours without it. It’s certainly something you have to watch though, check and A/B all the time… you can overdo it easily, folding away the impact and dynamics and body of your sound. In a way it can be a little easy to overuse. That is not a criticism to be fair, the best tools have a moreish nature to them and in fact “soothing” a sound to an extreme degree can actually be really useful creatively with many different options to sculpt the end sound available and even the ability to listen to just what’s being removed which can be an eye opener.
Attack and release more important than you think.
One thing we noticed when working with this on percussive tracks or mixes/masters is the important of the attack and release controls in shaping your sound whilst keeping its dynamic profile, keeping the punch. As I said above, this one is easy to over use, as its core affected sound is quite nice. But pay close attention that it’s not changing your tone and dynamics too much, usually 2 or 3 on the attack and release to allow for this can be just fine at keeping those transients popping and the sound tight.
Soft / hard mode.
The soft and hard modes are useful for setting your overall sensitivity, depending on the task you are doing. Are you sculpting or landscape gardening? Generally you will want to start in soft mode when you’re working on mixes / master tracks, it bites a little softer and is more forgiving to the track as a whole in this mode. Hard mode is where you will want to be on individual tracks and more creative duties of which there are many.
Creative uses and Side chain input.
The Side chain input for this plug-in is an interesting one, obviously useful when recording a band and removing sounds from related tracks and you can think of a lot of uses in that multitrack recording area. But here we are mostly electronic music producers, so while that is interesting my first thoughts were ‘how can I use this in a weird way?’ Admittedly that’s my first thoughts with most gear ha-ha. So my first experiment saw me using quite aggressive settings to remove chunks of sound from pads when the synths around it played, this really helped bed sounds in, creating space in a nice and subtle way, make sure you set the envelopes nice and quick for this mind so you bite into the sound more than you otherwise would want – it becomes a little bit like a very specific side chain EQ at that point. I also had a lot of fun flipping the monitor switch so I was hearing what was being removed and creating some super resonant, almost too thin but really interesting pad / melodic lines, sometimes it can create really ethereal stuff that’s almost not there but sits beautifully in a busy mix. There is more to dig into here I am sure.
This is a tool that transcends the other options, Soothe2 is all about usability but in that offers much more. It’s a tool laser focussed on a handful of related mix problems, sorting them quickly with the least fuss for the end user. With enough control and features to make it appealing to any producer never mind the type of music and even some scope for creative use. All this is done with a sonic accuracy and detail which makes the sound of it working nice on the ear. Version 2 added a bunch of features like the Sidechain which only increased the breadth of jobs it can do.
It may not be the most exciting plug-in in your arsenal, but it might just be the one your mix will thank you for the most.
Oeksound – Soothe 2 – Buy / Try it now.