I do a lot of mixing of home-recorded projects for my fine clients from all over the world. As plug-ins have gotten more adept and way smarter, I've become dependent on ones like Brainworx's bx_refinement [Tape Op #102] and Soundtheory's Gullfoss [#131] to help me sculpt some of these less-than-stellar sounding sources into workable, nicer-sounding tracks. A good friend who does a lot of similar mixing jobs, Jeff Stuart Saltzman, told me about the original soothe [Tape Op #127] many years ago, and with the new soothe2, I finally got to hear what this "dynamic resonance suppressor" was capable of.

The makers of soothe2, oeksound, claim it can "reduce harshness, sibilance, and mud" and they are correct. I'm really glad I came aboard for the second generation of this plug-in, as they've added a lot of control yet made it more efficient. I like that it now can go down to 20 Hz, and I've used it to tame electric bass, upright bass, and kick drums. The new Soft and Hard mode switch is brilliant, allowing me to jump right into deep salvage via Hard mode when needed. There are many controls and options available, but I didn't read any instructions and dove right in via the load of presets, tweaking them a little as needed. I found the Depth knob to be key, and I'd see how much of soothe2's effect was really needed by auditioning a track against the entire mix while boosting and cutting. Keep in mind that soothe2 can work with individual instruments, on a sub bus, or even full mix bus (plus in mid/side mode if needed). I found this very useful when restoring music off of old cassettes.

What's funny is I also still use refinement and Gullfoss to solve certain problems, and swapping out the different plug-ins gives you three wonderful options when hard restoration work like this is needed. I love soothe2 and have been using it on almost every mix session since I installed it. Perfect. It works on all current platforms, and an iLok account and iLok License Manager installation are required.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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