The self-proclaimed “tech geeks” at Helsinki’s Oeksound made waves in 2016 with their now-renowned Soothe plugin. It was met with much acclaim even then, before it solidified its place in production with version 2, and it was clear that Oeksound was here to provide audio professionals new and innovative tools to assist in their best work. It wasn’t long before Spiff debuted as an EQ-specific transient shaper. In this Oeksound Spiff review, we’ll have a look at what makes this such exciting plugin in the modern digital age.
Oeksound Spiff Expands on the Popular Soothe2 Plugin
Soothe2 is what the brand describes as a dynamic resonance suppressor. Initially designed for vocals in order to tame harshness, sibilance, proximity effect, and even room tone, Soothe2 included a number of improvements to make it useful on pretty much everything. As its name gives away, Soothe intends to make cruddy sounding instruments sound less cruddy!
Spiff is a spiritual successor to Soothe, allowing you to take control of your transients in a totally new way. It features both time- and frequency-specific controls to dig deep into a sound’s transients. Some of its ability lets you remove mouth noise, like pops and clicks and smacks, or add attack to drums in a specific frequency area. You can even soften pick attack on guitar without messing up the shimmery top-end. Spiff is another highly innovative plugin from the masterminds at Oeksound.
To be absolutely clear, Spiff serves a wholly different purpose than Soothe2. It utilizes a recognizable GUI with a spectral analyzer, but demands more from the user in terms of engagement. Soothe2 can work its magic by just initiating an insert, but Spiff needs you to get your hands dirty in order to make the most of it. Whereas Soothe2 is an intelligent dynamic EQ for cleaning up the frequency spectrum, Spiff offers detailed control over transients, which can be as subtle or as drastic as you’d like. Transients play such an important role in an instrument’s timbre; with Spiff, for instance, you could even make an electric bass sound fretless.
Oeksound Spiff Review:
With so many companies around already chasing the perfect 1176 emulation, our aim is to bring something fresh to the audio engineer’s toolkit. (Source)
If you’re familiar with Soothe (we promise this is an Oeksound Spiff review!), then you’ll recognize the plugin layout straight away. There’s a real-time spectrum analyzer occupying the greater portion of the interface; here, you can grab different bands and pinpoint the frequency area you’d like to work on.
On the left side, you select whether to work in Cut or Boost mode, which are independent of one another. Below, there’s a large Depth knob which controls the overall strength of the shaping you’d like to apply. You’ll also find fine-tuning controls such as Sensitivity, Decay, and Sharpness, as well as a Mix setting to run it in parallel.
Multi-Band Transient Designer
Spiff has five bands: two high- and low-frequency ones, and three parametric ones. Functionally, you use the spectral graph to add boosts in areas where you want the plugin to affect, and cuts in areas you want to leave unaffected. Unlike a more traditional multi-band transient shaper, Spiff does not use any crossovers in its process, and thus removes the possibility of having crossover artifacts.
Adaptive Transient Processing
Adaptivity is the name of the Oeksound game. Despite being a somewhat nebulous term, Spiff is adaptive in the sense that it relies on real-time signal analysis to locate when and where transients occur. It’s no doubt a unique approach to transient designing and shaping, which makes it a powerful weapon in the right hands.
Oeksound Spiff Builds on the Reputation of a Classic Plugin
With Soothe, Oeksound truly broke new ground. A major part of the company’s mission is to offer time-saving solutions to common audio problems. There are a million analog emulations out there, but Oeksound dove headfirst into creating clever digital tools using their advanced algorithms. Oeksound Spiff is another ingenious creation which fully harnesses everything digital audio has to offer. It’s exciting to imagine what the future holds for Oeksound plugins.