Gullfoss and Soothe 2 are quite different effects. Gullfoss tames, brightens, or restores frequencies across your spectrum. While, Soothe 2 is designed specifically for resonance suppression, and removing unwanted, nasty-sounding frequencies from your audio.
In a time, where “betterizer” plugins are becoming more and more popular, it can start to be increasingly difficult, to tell them apart.
On the surface, Soundtheory’s Gullfoss and Oeksound’s Soothe 2 seem quite similar, but there’s quite a lot different between these two awesome plugins.
So, in this article we’re clearing up those misunderstandings once and for all, we’ll explore what each plugin does, what they’re used for, as well as how similar they are to one another.
Soundtheory Gullfoss Review
Compatibility: AU/VST/VST3/AAX plug-in for macOS and Windows
Soundtheory’s Gullfoss has become incredibly popular it’s release.
It’s is an intelligent equalizer plugin, which allows for precise frequency adjustments in real-time.
Gullfloss uses Soundtheory’s new equalizer technology, which samples your audio over 300 times a second, to create a dynamic and natural frequency attenuation – reading the audio information you feed it, and helping you understand where your elements are clashing or fighting for space.
From fixing resonance, to adjusting balancing issues just by popping it on the master, Gullfoss can do a lot of things, quickly and easily. Add to that the internal auditory model, which allows Gullfoss to make more objective, human-like decisions, and you have one of the best smart plugins ever.
It instantly makes your audio sound better and as a result, translates across all systems for a more consistent listening experience.
Gullfoss is super simple to use, with just a few controls, but is so versatile and powerful, that it lives on almost every mix bus in our projects.
The main controls you get are Recover and Tame, which will control how your Gullfoss reacts to your audio.
You can use both Recover and Tame at the same time, use the Bias slider, to adjust how much you’re recovering or taming.
The Brighten button is also great to instantly inject some brightness back into your audio by adjusting the frequency curve in real time.
Lastly, the Boost button serves as your gain for the plugin, while Bypass let’s you A/B your dry and wet signal.
In addition to these controls, you also get a wide range of meters, showing exactly what’s happening to your audio.
Gullfoss is also impressively lightweight.
Even lower-end systems have no issues with Gullfoss, and you never even hear a dropout when bypassing and engaging your plugin. This is mostly due to Gullfoss buffering audio even in bypass mode, but even so, Gullfoss is light, beyond logic.
The CPU usage of Gullfoss is super impressive, and you never really notice it, however, the CPU hit you take will grow, when using Gullfoss on more complex buses and groups.
Sometimes, on weaker computers, Gullfoss can be that last straw for your CPU and will be too heavy to listen to in real time, in which case, you set up your Gullfoss how you want, and disable it until you’re exporting.
Gullfoss is truly one of the greatest AI mixing tools available right now, not because it’s re-inventing an existing concept, but rather, playing to it’s strengths and creating something new in the process.
While using Gullfoss can feel like cheating at times, we don’t want you to feel that way. No matter what, if you music sounds great, it doesn’t matter what you used to get there, and Gullfoss can really help you make some better sounding music.
Mixing with Gullfoss
Gullfoss’ main job is to work on mix and master buses.
Perfect for more complex material, Gullfoss is one of our go-to mastering plugins, letting us add a touch of sweetness to a master, without upsetting the EQ balance.
Not only that, but you can also tame some clashing frequencies you might have missed in mixing, or even bring back some frequencies that are too subtle.
Essentially, the perfect tool for broad changes over the entire 20Hz-20kHz frequency range, Gullfoss is a no-brainer.
While it’s best on complex mixdowns, Gullfoss can also be plenty useful on single tracks. The ability to excite your signal, as well as instantly sway your frequency balance with one mouse drag can be quite useful, when trying to make sounds fit around one another in your mix.
We’ve found Gullfoss is great at is bringing back natural room sound in recordings.
If you’re recording in a church or any other interesting recording space, you might want to hear the awesome natural reverb in your recording.
When you’re recording loud material however, a lot of the time, the louder parts of your signal will take over, and you’ll hear little to none of that awesome natural reverb.
Using the Recover setting, to bring back some of that natural sound is a great way to bring some organic qualities back into dull sounding recordings.
✅ Great way to add organic clarity to your mixes and tracks
✅ Intuitive and simple to use AI tools
✅ Tackles your entire audio spectrum instead of single frequency bands
✅ Relatively low CPU usage (CPU usage increases if put on more complex mix buses)
✅ Extensive metering as well as a spectrum analyzer
❌ Can make sounds overly bright, if overused
❌ Overusing gullfoss can become a habit
Soundtheory’s Gullfoss plug-in is available on Sountheory’s website, for $190.
Alternatively, there’s a free trial available to check out, if you’re not sure yet. (iLok Required) The trial lasts for 2 Weeks and is fully functional.
Oeksound Soothe 2 Review
Compatibility: AU/VST/VST3/AAX plug-in for macOS and Windows
Oeksound’s Soothe 2 is one of the most famous plugins in recent years.
Soothe 2 is a dynamic resonance suppressor, that is designed to reduce harshness and resonance,
This is commonly a symptom for digital recordings, and poor recordings.
While it’s definitely not the first to attempt this sort of concept, Soothe 2 has probably nailed it more than any other plugin.
Useful in anything, from post-production, to podcast mixing, to music and anything that deals with recorded audio, Soothe is way more versatile than your usual mixing plugin.
Upon opening, Soothe 2 already begins to work on your audio, reducing resonances that are popping out in your signal. And, Soothe even adjusts these notch points in real time, giving you the kind of resonance suppression that’s near impossible to do by hand.
In addition to this, improving from the original version of Soothe, Soothe 2 works on the entire frequency spectrum, all the way down to 20Hz. This means that Soothe 2 is now better than ever at precisely treating your low-end rumble and mud, to achieve perfect mix balance.
(Here’s a video showing you what Soothe is capable of in this respect)
Further improvements on the original include the expanded EQ section, which now has two filters, as well as four parametric EQ bands. You also have multiple roll-off options for each filter, as well as attack and release settings, to further customize the processing from Soothe 2
Soothe 2 is perfect for vocals, giving you smoother, & more natural sounding vocals.
Add to that the new plosive and proximity effect processing, and you can have cleaner vocals in seconds, with Soothe 2.
That being said, sometimes you want to have some of the grit and edge in your audio, that Soothe 2 automatically removes, so don’t put this on everything by default. Overusing Soothe 2 is a really fast way to make your music sound dead and uninteresting.
Also overusing Soothe can make vocalists sound like they have a constant lisp.
Soothe 2 is pretty subtle and doesn’t add a lot to your mix unless you increase the depth loads, meaning you can really put it on anything and it will likely improve the sound.
Soothe 2 can also locate any unappealing frequencies, fixing the, which, at times, it feels like magic. However, the amount of CPU processing it uses, brings us right back down to earth.
While the processing latency has improved by 50% since the original plugin, Soothe 2 can still be quite the processor hog, and is bound to start crapping out your system on lower end computers. Even mid-range laptops and workstations can start refusing to function after you load one too many Soothe’s up.
That being said, if you have a nice CPU, you should have no worries, and even if you don’t, it’s worth sacrificing some of those cores for the awesomeness of Soothe 2!
Mixing with Soothe 2
Soothe 2 is pretty much perfect for single audio or MIDI tracks, and for placing on the master buss.
It can be great when mastering to use Soothe to clean up some unwanted resonances.
Where Gullfoss paints with broad strokes, Soothe 2 is like a surgical razor, doing its job with the utmost precision.
There’s arguably no better way to suppress unwanted resonance, than with Soothe 2.
Not only that, most of the time, it does it without you even needing to touch a single knob or setting.
Essentially, if you find yourself spending a lot of time notching out frequencies from your guitars, overheads, or any other recordings, Soothe 2 is perfect for you.
That being said, Soothe 2 has no boosting, so you’ll never be bringing back stuff with Soothe 2, just removing. With that in mind, Soothe 2 can also work wonders on entire mix and master buses.
Set it on the entire mix, add just a little bit of it in and you’ll get that extra bit of greatness out of your track.
It has to be pointed out however, that Soothe 2 can be quite addictive, especially if you have the CPU to back it up!
Overusing Soothe 2 is a sure-fire way to make your music sound dull and uninteresting, so make sure not to fall into the clutches of Soothe Hell… it’s hard to get out.
One of our favorite tricks with Soothe is using the External Sidechain, to achieve instantly perfect EQ balance between two tracks or buses. Essentially this works in the same way Trackspacer does, so if you don’t have Trackspacer, you can pick up Soothe and you won’t need it either.
Sidechaining high percussion elements, such as hi hats, snare attacks, congas, shakers etc. to your vocal bus with Soothe 2 is a great way to glue your vocal to the rest of your mix.
This can be done for any two audio sources, and works best, when both audio sources are taking up similar frequency ranges.
✅ Big improvement from the original Soothe
✅ Works on the entire 20Hz-20kHz frequency spectrum
✅ Great results without any adjustments
✅ Easy and Intuitive to use
✅ External side-chaining
✅ Soft mode is amazing
✅ Numerous preset EQ curves to play with
❌ Quite heavy CPU usage
Soothe 2 is available on the Oeksound website, for $230.
Alternatively, if you’re already an owner of the original Soothe plugin, you can upgrade to the newest version for just $60!
Lastly, if you’re not sure if you want to buy it, or just want to test it out for yourself, there’s a Free, 20-Day Trial available (iLok required)
Gullfoss vs Soothe 2 Verdict
Gullfoss and Soothe 2 are quite different effects. Gullfoss is designed to be a tool, that tames, brightens, or restores frequencies across your frequency spectrum. Soothe is designed specifically for resonance suppression and removing unwanted, nasty-sounding frequencies.
Gullfoss has a small footprint, is rudimentary in it’s controls, but manages to be ever so useful in it’s application, excelling at everything you throw at it, from single tracks, to entire masters.
Soothe 2 on the other hand is a more specialized tool, designed specifically to suppress and reduce resonance and other crappy frequencies. Soothe 2 is much more in-depth in terms of controls when compared to Gullfoss, featuring much more than just it’s main functionality.
For example, using the External Sidechain feature, you can essentially use Soothe 2 in place of Trackspacer. Routing audio to Soothe 2, will remove clashing frequencies between the two audio or MIDI channels, creating perfect EQ balance between them.
Of course, if you already have Trackspacer, you don’t care much about that, but the external sidechaining is useful for much more than just EQ spacing.
The presets and improved filter section also help Soothe 2 be a super versatile plugin, perfect for a multitude of different applications.
With that in mind however, we personally prefer more simple plugins, and Gullfoss achieves that perfectly.
When that’s the case, choosing between Gullfoss and Soothe 2 is easy. They both achieve a similar function, but Gullfoss is so much lighter on your processor, while adding the option to sway your entire frequency balance, as well as recover frequencies.
Truly the best way to choose would be to just try both plugins out, both Gullfoss and Soothe 2 have free trials available, so try them out and see what you prefer.
We’d suggest to start with Soothe 2, if you end up using the extended functionality of the plugin, you should probably stick with Soothe.
If you instead you want a more simple approach to a plugin that will work best for masters, we’d suggest you give Gullfoss a try.
Whether you’re looking for something to improve your entire mix and master, or a surgical tool to remove all of the crappiness from your audio, either of these tools will be a great pick-up.
While Gullfoss and Soothe 2 appear similar on the surface, they’re quite different effects, yet, work perfectly in tandem with one another.
That being said, overusing “betterizers” can lead to dull sounding mixes, so Soothe away with moderation.
Toms is a music producer & DJ, born and raised in Post Soviet Latvia. Currently based in Brighton, Toms has had over 6 years of experience with all things production and in that time, he’s done a tonne of cool stuff! He’s played multiple festivals, had experience in the field with mixing & mastering and even become a freelance journalist in the music industry.
Toms currently creates music under the alias Sovereign. Producing music that’s intimate and subtle, while full of edge and energy, the young producer combines the artistic sounds of Trip Hop artists like Massive Attack, with the energy and youthfulness of producers like Flume, Jamie XX and Yaeji. You can check his stuff on Soundcloud.