Oeksound is a relatively new plug-in developer. They recently release a transient control plug-in called spiff, which we liked a lot because it is different from most other transient shaper plug-ins. Oeksound's first plug-in to market called soothe was released back in 2016, this went under our radar... until recently.
In this article, we test soothe to find out what is actually is, what it can do and whether or not it's worth the 149€ price tag.
What is soothe?
Oeksound describes soothe as "a dynamic resonance suppressor for mid and high frequencies", but what does that mean?
At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking soothe was an EQ plug-in, it isn't. From what has been said about soothe in online articles you could be led to believing that this is a dynamic EQ plug-in or even a multiband compressor... it is... and it isn't either of those things in the traditional sense but there are elements of both going on in soothe.
Soothe is a very different animal, something quite unique indeed.
Here's what Oeksound say about soothe:
soothe is a dynamic equaliser with self-adjusting frequency bands. Unlike traditional EQ-tools, soothe analyses the signal on the fly and adjusts the frequency-wise reduction based on the input. This saves you from having to manually notch the problematic mid and high frequencies. The reduction kicks in when needed and where needed, without affecting the nearby frequency areas. This results in more detail, top end, and presence, in a way that is hard to unhear.
We Test Oeksound soothe On Dialogue & A Drum Mix
In this video we test soothe's abilities to de-harsh a dialogue track. We also test soothe's taming performance on a sibilant drum mix. We explain the basics controls within the modern UI and compare some before and after examples.
More examples can be heard below in our audio players:
Soothe On Drums
Soothe On A Backing Vocal Sub Mix
Soothe On Electric Guitar
Main Applications Of soothe
To tame vocal tracks with problematic sibilance
Reduce acoustic guitar fingerboard noise
De-harsh drum cymbals
Take the edge out of bright electric guitar and piano tracks
Pros & Cons
Super simple UI that makes it incredibly easy to dial in the perfect amount of suppression
Delta mode is great for auditioning and setting suppression amounts
Transparent results - If set tastefully you won't hear a single artefact
Setting the curves feels the wrong way around. Shouldn't setting a band curve to cut be for setting the amount of suppression amount not "boosting" a curve?
Verdict - Expert Choice
I'm really getting into soothe. Before soothe I had several other ways to de-harsh tracks. I would reach for multiband compressors, de-essers and EQs but I would generally get results that sounded to touched using those approaches. Tightly notching out problematic frequencies using EQ works fine but it can harm the overall timbre of the source material. Multiband compressors can cause pumping effects and are not too dissimilar to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. De-essers work well at taming sibilance but if overdone the results can sound muffled. Those types of common flaws are just not present in soothe. It's a new type of dynamic processor that appears to take the best bits from traditional dynamic EQ, multiband compression and de-essing and packages it all up in a plug-in that requires no effort to use - All in all, there's no other product like soothe available on the market today.
This is a plug-in that makes a difference. I've found it works best as the first plug-in within a chain. It removes top-end harshness transparently which gives me back something to play with when I'm dialing in air and sizzle using colour EQs.
I'm so impressed with soothe's innovation that I am awarding it with an Expert Choice award. To answer the question I laid out at the start of this article - Is soothe worth the 149€ price tag? Yes, especially if you are serious about mixing. Download the demo and let us know your thoughts on soothe in the comments below.
Windows 7 and up as 32/64bit VST and 64 bit AAX.
Mac OSX 10.7 (Lion) – 10.13 (High Sierra) as 32/64bit VST and AU, and 64 bit AAX, Intel-based Macs.
iLok account & iLok License Manager installation required. An iLok dongle isn't required.
Visit the Oeksound website for more information