Baby Audio Smooth Operator

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
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KVRist
219 posts since 21 Jul, 2020

Post Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:11 am

As if all of the recent talk of Teote, Gulfoss, and Soothe weren't enough, here comes Baby Audio releasing another plugin in a similar vein. Both my Soothe and Gulfoss demos have expired long ago, but I would love if someone could compare this to those. Looks pretty nice, although I think they could make the contrast better on the UI.

https://babyaud.io/smooth-operator-plugin

KVRist
351 posts since 15 Apr, 2020

Post Tue Apr 27, 2021 4:57 am

Don't forget DSEQ by TBProAudio. It seems Smooth Operator can also use an external sidechain signal to work like Trackspacer to carve space in the mix for another instrument / channel. Seems like great functionality for the price (especially the intro price).

Judging by the demo videos Smooth Operator removes frequencies rather broadly (more like an dynamic EQ) compared to DSEQ which seems to have a higher resolution spectral processing going on. I don't know which is better in terms of audio fidelity, since lots of very narrow peaks (as in DSEQ) might be more precise, but maybe also result in a more artificial sound if overdone?

KVRist
351 posts since 15 Apr, 2020

Post Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:25 am

After I tried the demo, these are my first observations:

What I like
  • really quick and intuitive to work with - clean and straightforward UI
  • really handy not only to tame resonances, but also to carve some space in the mix using the external sidechain option
  • relatively light on the CPU
  • the EQ gain reduction behaves smooth and doesn't cause obvious artefacts
What I would like to see in future updates
  • more EQ nodes (currently only two peak nodes and two shelf nodes + one node to set the overall treshold of all the nodes)
  • maybe different quality settings (current low CPU mode for realtime mixing + insane quality mode for rendering)
  • Delta signal monitoring to solo the gain-reduced part of the signal
  • overall keep it simple as it is (don't clutter with too many options)
It's a really useful plugin, actually a cheat code for mixing.

KVRer
8 posts since 11 Jan, 2021

Post Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:21 am

I have tried it and dseq (my favorite "cleaning" tool) and I like it's immediacy. It sounds very musical and not too surgical. I did a quick test on one sample with muddy low end and harsh top, so no indepth use but for that price I'd recommend it if you like the demo. More bands/nodes would definitely not hurt though, maybe they add 2 more in the future

KVRAF
2995 posts since 25 Mar, 2016 from Seattle

Post Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:36 am

Is this similar to Teote?

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KVRian
1276 posts since 25 Apr, 2009 from France

Post Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:37 pm

I freakin LOVE this thing !!!

Second time Baby Audio is absolutely blowing my mind !

KVRian
896 posts since 29 Jul, 2008

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:30 am

Without a slope control too far behind the competition for mixbuss/mastering.

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KVRist
299 posts since 27 Aug, 2020

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:52 am

What's the copy protection?

KVRist
351 posts since 15 Apr, 2020

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:19 am

Cooker wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:30 am
Without a slope control too far behind the competition for mixbuss/mastering.
Not sure what you mean by that? You can certainly change the steepness (q) of the bell filter. Do you mean highpass and lowpass filters are missing? Because they are certainly of no use in this type of processor.

KVRAF
3618 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:22 am

simmo75 wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:36 am
Is this similar to Teote?
yes and no.
TEOTE is a multi-multi-multi band compressor, this is a FFT based tool like ALL others except TEOTE.

TEOTE is special.

This looks like an affordable "TAME" mode of Gullfoss.

KVRian
896 posts since 29 Jul, 2008

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:30 am

Kazi7 wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:19 am
Cooker wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:30 am
Without a slope control too far behind the competition for mixbuss/mastering.
Not sure what you mean by that? You can certainly change the steepness (q) of the bell filter. Do you mean highpass and lowpass filters are missing? Because they are certainly of no use in this type of processor.
I mean like the slope control in DSEQ.

Currently its just a glorified reafir (freeware which comes with reaper) design.

KVRAF
3618 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:15 am

Kazi7 wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:19 am
Cooker wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:30 am
Without a slope control too far behind the competition for mixbuss/mastering.
Not sure what you mean by that? You can certainly change the steepness (q) of the bell filter. Do you mean highpass and lowpass filters are missing? Because they are certainly of no use in this type of processor.
I used both hipass and lopass extensively in gullfoss while i had it, i use it in TEOTE, i use it in Soothe constantly.
And slope means "tilt", i.e. how generally processor affects high vs low frequency content.

KVRist
351 posts since 15 Apr, 2020

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:32 am

@Ploki

Thanks, slope as in tilt - got it!

What do you use the hp / lp for in Gulfloss et al? I can't imagine a scenario where a hp / lp would help with deharshing, removing resonances, spectral balancing or creating space for an external signal.

Sure, generally hp / lp are useful in mixing, but I can't see how this relates to these sorts of processors? No offense at all, just trying to see your point.

KVRAF
3618 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:55 am

Kazi7 wrote:
Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:32 am
@Ploki

Thanks, slope as in tilt - got it!

What do you use the hp / lp for in Gulfloss et al? I can't imagine a scenario where a hp / lp would help with deharshing, removing resonances, spectral balancing or creating space for an external signal.

Sure, generally hp / lp are useful in mixing, but I can't see how this relates to these sorts of processors? No offense at all, just trying to see your point.
HP / LP as in limiting processing range :)

KVRist
351 posts since 15 Apr, 2020

Post Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:11 am

@Ploki

Oh, okay. Smooth Op uses shelf filters for that purpose. If you drag up the low shelf and the high shelf only the frequencies in between will be affected. Then you can use the remaining two bell / peak nodes to pinpoint the areas of spectral balancing / deresonating. I will have to try the demo further later today, but I really liked the immediacy when I tried it yesterday.

EDIT: After watching this video I understand why you would need to limit the processing range in Gulfloss using a low pass function. It seems Gulfloss produces strange cramping behavior in the upper frequencies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E1UxnMtQr8

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