Oeksound Soothe is touted by the Finnish plugin developer as a ‘dynamic resonance suppressor.’ It’s designed to tame the harshness we sometimes associate with digital recordings, or even just poorly recorded material. Though it wasn’t the first plugin to try this, it has certainly become the most successful.
Oeksound Soothe 2
The first version of Soothe came out in 2017. Since then, it’s enjoyed a considerable amount of buzz, and for good reason. The usefulness of it quickly became apparent for a multitude of applications from post-production to music.
About a year ago, the Soothe 2 plugin came out as an update to its predecessor. At a glance, and like the first, Soothe 2 automatically identifies unwanted resonances and applies appropriate reduction. This results in a smoother, more balanced sound. Plus, it saves users from having to notch out frequencies manually.
The reduction works only when needed, without affecting the surrounding frequencies. So the timbre of the original sound source remains, for transparent treatment with minimal artefacts.
Soothe reduces harshness, sibilance, and mud from any sound source, fixing a range of common problems. Here are several things the Soothe plugin can do:
- Remove harshness from close miked sound sources
- Transparently manage sibilance in vocals and dialogue
- Treat uneven tonal balance from poor recordings
- Clear muddiness, boominess, and proximity effect
- Soften overly bright guitar and piano recordings
- Tame piercing synth sounds
Soothe Plugin Review: Improvements in Version 2
Oeksound redesigned Soothe 2’s algorithm under the hood to improve sound quality, performance, and flexibility while staying easy to use. The new ‘soft’ mode is a more transparent approach for most instances, while the ‘hard’ mode lets you hone in on more pronounced resonances and build-ups.
Additionally, version 2 now works on the entire frequency spectrum. The original plugin targeted mid and high resonances, but 2 pushes the frequency range all the way down to 20 Hz. This added precision means you can now treat muddiness and rumble to further balance the low-end. It’s always been a fantastic plugin for vocals, and now being able to treat plosives and proximity effect is a welcome feature.
Soothe 2 also improves over its predecessor in the EQ area. It now has a total of two filters (low- and high-pass) and four parametric bands, plus the filters come with 6, 12, 24 and 48dB roll-off options. Finally, they’ve included attack and release parameters to determine the speed of the processing.
In terms of performance, Oeksound Soothe 2 cuts latency by as much as 50% over the original.
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Soothe is an addictive plugin, and that’s because it works. Dropping it on virtually any source will yield pleasant results, so it’s important to keep context in mind when working on individual instruments. You may find that the grittiness Soothe takes out is actually what something needs in the whole mix. This is sort of Rule #1 for most mix moves; don’t linger in solo for too long.
Overall, version 2 is a major improvement over the original Soothe plugin. Without overcomplicating the plugin, Oeksound managed to find practical ways to make it more controllable and more useful on a variety of sound sources.
The new Soft mode is especially nice, and the plugin will load that as its default. In all likelihood you’ll find that just loading Oeksound Soothe 2 on a track and turning up the Depth control will sound great.
The major selling point of Soothe is its incredible ability to understand offensive frequencies and gently pull them from the picture. It’s a testament to the evolution of AI in music and post-production, which companies like Oeksound and iZotope have pushed the boundaries of.
Conclusion: Oeksound Soothe 2 Review
Oeksound Soothe 2 is one of the most practical plugins out there. It doesn’t promise to ‘add’ anything to a signal, or to recreate any analogue ‘magic’ that we hope will make our mixes instantly sound better.
It very simply finds the crappiness in any sound source and subtly smooths it out. How can you beat that?