After several years of R&D, Oeksound has developed a new way of managing unwanted frequencies with Oeksound Soothe. Bill Francis finds out if the hard work has paid off…
Often, when browsing a plug-in manufacturer’s website, you’re presented with a cornucopia of DSP delights, showcased via colourful graphics and exciting, EDM-soundtracked demo videos. Well, not in the case of Oeksound Soothe. Its minimalist, understated website exists only to offer a single plug-in, which it claims has taken several years of R&D to develop.
So, is it a de-esser? Is it a multiband compressor? Is it a dynamic EQ? Well, it’s all of those and a little bit more… sort of. Semantics aside, if a company is only offering one product, you’d better hope it’s a good one.
Soothe is described by Oeksound as a ‘dynamic resonance suppressor’ and is essentially a tool for reducing unwanted frequencies in your material. Similar to a multiband compressor or dynamic EQ, this plug-in allows you to target particular ranges of frequencies and control them to your liking.
The difference here is that instead of working with only four or maybe five bands, as a multiband compressor would, Soothe will analyse the signal in real time and choose the exact frequencies to target by itself, based on the input and the sensitivity you set for different frequency areas.
This translates to an almost unlimited number of tiny frequency bands being controlled by the plug-in at any given time, and a more intricate form of dynamic equalisation.
If you’ve ever had to use an EQ to make small notches in a vocal track, for example, you’ll know how difficult it is to perform these narrow, surgical cuts in a way that works across the whole vocal performance. Performing these kinds of tweaks in conjunction with a multiband compressor will often get you good results, but this process can be time-consuming and fiddly.
This is where Soothe shines, as it will automatically spot any frequencies that are poking out and gently – or not so gently, if you wish – pull them down, removing the need for manual notching.
If you need to ‘soothe’ your vocal track or maybe a particularly harsh electric-guitar recording, there are a few options available that offer surgical, dynamic control over particular frequency areas. FabFilter’s Pro-MB (£149) has been a favourite of ours for a while now, as it offers multiband dynamic processing with a simple, intuitive interface. Also worth a look is the bx_dynEQ V2 by Brainworx ($299), which combines dynamic equalisation, compression and a large selection of filter types to choose from.
In use, we found Soothe to be nothing short of outstanding at removing unpleasant spikes and resonances from vocals, guitars, pianos, drums… and really anything we could throw at it.
Instruments sounded cleaner and clearer in the midrange, with enhanced high-end clarity. Drum tracks with overly loud and ringy cymbal crashes were tamed especially well by the plug-in, in a way that kept the high frequencies bright and sparkly while eliminating harshness. Even when used subtly on the master bus of a mix, we were impressed by the improvements.
The plug-in was originally designed as a vocal processor, so the area of mid and high-mid control is where you’d expect it to perform best. However, even the low mids of recordings were neatened up nicely when selected, with muddiness swiftly being shown the door. If pushed too hard, Soothe will suck the life out of your recordings as it will aggressively flatten everything out when cranked to 11, but used carefully, we had difficulty finding a sound that the plug-in couldn’t improve.
Smoother Sound, All Round
In short, you need Oeksound Soothe, like, now. If you’re making money from your music, a copy of Oeksound Soothe will quickly pay for itself as you’ll be able to do away with complicated, time-consuming frequency notching and inaccurate multiband dynamics processing.
Currently, there is nothing else available on the market that offers this level of detail and control – and after using Soothe for a couple of weeks, we wondered how we managed without it for so long.
Oeksound Soothe – Key Features
● Analyses audio in real time
● Removes unwanted frequency spikes
● Simple, clear interface
● VST and AAX formats
● A unique kind of spectral processor