This article will discuss the best five resonance suppressor plugins for cleaning and wiping out resonances in 2022.
The resonant frequency is the natural frequency at which the medium vibrates at the highest amplitude, and that could be caused by the room or by the repeated reflection of that frequency in the room that keeps building up to increase the amplitude. Resonances often sound unpleasant and stick out.
They are generally present in the low-mid and low-frequency ranges and appear as sibilance and harshness at higher frequencies. Each room and space has its frequency that resonates more than the others. For example, the note A# in the third octave resonates in my room.
Hence, when you record in a space, it’s most likely that resonant frequencies of that room are captured in the recording, especially in untreated environments. In addition, in some rooms, some frequencies stick out even while monitoring the audio. For these reasons, you need plugins that can clean the resonant frequencies and make your mix cleaner.
Top 6 VST Plugins To Cut Out Resonances 2022
1. Baby Audio Smooth Operator
Baby Audio Smooth Operator is a smart sound balancer since it can reduce boom and harshness in mixes and instruments.
Initially, Smooth Operator by Baby Audio appears to be a competitor to dynamic resonance suppression plugins like Soothe by Oeksound. While dynamic resonance suppression is one of Smooth Operator’s capabilities, the application’s focus is not on improving audio quality but on sculpting sounds in novel ways.
Smooth Operator is a curved interface with extra options and buttons scattered around the edge, and it comes in three different color schemes. The key curve control is the threshold, which is adjusted by raising or lowering the Middle Node. Two more Outer Nodes on each side give you four to tweak the curve’s shape to perfection.
Also, you can adjust the threshold’s sensitivity to other frequencies by introducing offsets from the main threshold point.
Contrary to popular belief, Smooth Operator is not a multi-band compressor or a dynamic equalizer but rather an FFT-based algorithm that uses band-splitting to engage in a game of spectral whack-a-mole. The concentration slider regulates the degree to which each band’s reduction is decoupled from the others, with settings ranging from perfect harmony to a spiky, wavy look.
The ideal degree of smoothness is typically achieved in the middle, hence the name of this plugin. Though it may be tempting to pour Smooth Operator all over your mix or instrument, remember that just a touch of its sonic brush can improve things without sounding overcooked.
- All-Around Smoothness
Smooth Operator is ideal before or after more conventional dynamics processing since it may easily increase perceived volume without approaching the peak level. You can shape low mids and cymbals concurrently on a drum mix or sibilance and mic proximity effects in a vocal; the cell technique provides a very flexible de-ess tool that can operate at numerous places across the spectrum.
- Focus Slider
At high Focus settings, any attenuation applied is centered on small resonant peaks; at low Focus values, the same peaks will induce broadband gain reduction. This is analogous to what the Sharpness slider accomplishes in Soothe. Five points on the EQ curve represent the remaining members of the control set.
The two white nodes behave like bands on a parametric EQ, with a frequency center, a gain or “offset” value, and a bandwidth that may be adjusted using the mouse scroll wheel. There is no wiggle room in the frequency range for the outer green bands; all you can do is offer an offset.
The OS requirements for this plugin are Windows 7 or higher for PC and macOS 10.9 or higher for Mac. It comes in VST/RTAS/AU/AAX formats and supports 32 and 64 bit systems.
Baby Audio has created a tool that has a profoundly subtle impact on a wide variety of production elements: Smooth Operator. This smoothness is not limited to the audio quality. Its straightforward but informative design encourages active listening over passive viewing and clicking. Furthermore, both your CPU and wallet will appreciate the low resource usage.
2. Mastering The Mix RESO
RESO is a dynamic resonance suppressor by Master The Mix.
Generally, engineers and producers clean resonance frequencies using a notch EQ, but the problem is that when the resonant frequencies are not present in the mix, the notch EQ is still applied, taking out some frequencies from the mix unnecessarily. On the other hand, a dynamic resonance suppressor acts only when the resonant frequencies are present.
The plugin analyzes your audio and helps you find the resonant frequencies by giving suggestions on the ‘Target Nodes’ and the recommended reduction on the audio. So you can apply the plugin to vocals, drums, synths, guitars, and almost anything.
- Frequency Sweeping
The plugin allows you to enter a mode in which you can apply a low-bandwidth bandpass filter on your sounds, such that when you toggle through the spectrum, you can monitor the resonant frequencies and identify the most problematic of those.
- Easy Workflow
You can ask the plugin to analyze the audio and give you ‘Target Nodes’ by clicking on the ‘Calculate Targets’ button. Then you can click on ‘Engage Target’ to see those nodes in the spectrum analyzer. Then you can click on each of those frequencies/nodes and adjust the gain reduction of those frequencies. The Q-value of the frequency is optimized automatically, but you can change it by scrolling your mouse.
- User-friendly interface
The plugin provides a spectrum analyzer and an A/B option to switch between two plugin instances and compare both instances dynamically. There’s also a Delta button that lets you solo what RESO is removing. You can adjust the input and output gains per your taste and sensibilities.
- High-Quality filters
RESO claims “super-transparent” filters that don’t lead to phase distortion, transient smearing, or pre/post-ringing. In addition, the mastering-grade filters are easy on the CPU and have a non-linear response.
RESO is available in AU, VST 2/3, and AAX plugin formats and requires macOS 10.10 or higher or Windows 7 or higher operating systems.
The plugin is a simple and easy-to-use tool that solves resonant problems in only a few steps. Usually, it takes engineers’ great ears, detailed listening, transparent monitoring system, and years of experience to get great with cleaning resonances. But RESO simplifies that process and makes it accessible to everyone.
It’s great, especially for bedroom producers with a monitoring system that could be better. However, it’s also great for studios, professional sound designers, and engineers, as it saves time on finding and removing resonances. On top of that, it has a very attractive price point of less than $50.
3. oeksound soothe2
Soothe2 is an EQ plugin that automatically reduces resonances and other problematic frequencies.
It’s a great tool for cleaning up harshness, muddiness, boominess, proximity effect, sibilance, and other properties of problem areas in sounds. In addition, it has a spectrum analyzer, a/b comparison between two instances of the plugin, undo/redo options, a soothing, visually pleasing, and easy-on-eyes visual interface, and a great collection of presets.
- Complete control
The plugin automatically reduces resonances and gives you great control over the sound. It has two modes it operates: soft and hard. In addition, you can adjust the effect’s depth, sharpness, and selectivity. Plus, you can select the modes in which you want to work, and you can work in mid-side mode.
- Six-band EQ
The plugin provides six bands you can move around and play with to shape your sound. You can select each band’s frequency, sensitivity, Q-value, balance, and curve types. In addition, you can adjust the plugin’s attack and release and change the wet sound’s mix percentage.
You get the luxury of getting started with some great presets, including presets for acoustic guitar, bass, drums, electric guitar, master, and orchestral categories. You can browse through the presets, and you’ll be able to find the right sound for you.
Soothe2 is available in VST 2, VST 3, AAX, and AU plugin formats and requires a minimum of Windows 7 and Mac OS X 10.13 (High Sierra) operating systems.
Soothe2 works as a magic wand and gives beautiful sonic results. The sidechaining option, M/S processing, envelope control, and sidechain input give you great flexibility and control of the plugin. It works well with sibilant and disturbing high-mid resonances and can clear your low-mid and proximity mud. In addition, the preset browsing and easy GUI make the plugin intuitive and beginner-friendly.
4. AconDigital DeFilter
DeFilter is a frequency correction and resonance cleaning plugin that you can apply on mixes, master tracks, and individual tracks.
Here’s how it works. First, you load the plugin and select a target EQ profile from automatic, music, music (dark), music (less dark), and speech. Then you play your track and observe the spectrum analyzer in the plugin, which will tell you which frequencies are problematic. Once you find the bad area, you can double-click on the surrounding frequencies and single out that area.
- Great for bedroom producers
DeFilter is great for cleaning resonances, tonal imbalances, and comb filtering effects, which greatly help recordings done in rooms or untreated environments. In addition, it’s also easy to use and has great presets.
The Filter Estimation group consists of controls that affect the estimation of the input signal’s long-term frequency spectrum. Amongst those controls, the signal level threshold knob lets you set the minimum input signal level required for audio analysis. Lastly, filter length sets the length of the correction filter.
- Additional features
The plugin allows you to load custom target EQ profiles for reference. In addition, the A/B button allows you to compare two instances of the plugin, and the preset browser lets you easily browse through all available presets.
DeFilter requires a minimum of Windows 7, Intel Core i3, or AMD multi-core processor, 1 GB RAM, and 1 GB of Hard Disk Space for the Windows system. In addition, the plugin requires at least an OS X 10.9, 1 GB of RAM, and 1 GB of hard disk space for Apple systems. Further, it’s available in VST, AU, and AAX plugin formats.
The plugin is smart, efficient, and does the job well, but it needs more flexibility and control. However, it’s also easy to ease and uncomplicated, with just a few steps of the workflow.
5. Waves X-FDBK
X-FDBK is a feedback correction tool for preparing monitors and PA systems for live stages, but you can also use it in the studio.
In various venues, some frequencies cause feedback on the mic and the system, and it’s best to eliminate those frequencies from the monitors or the speakers. The Waves X-FDBK helps with doing that exactly but efficiently and easily, saving you many steps by automatically detecting and cutting the feedback and creating a transparent and clean sound in your monitors.
- Comprehensive controls
The plugin has controls that allow you to set the plugin’s sensitivity to the input signal between low and high frequencies. In addition, a SETUP button allows you to activate the detection engine of the plugin, such that it automatically sets the filters and chooses the amplitude and Q-value by itself.
- Simple workflow
The plugin is applied on the final master output, such that after setting the gain and the signal flow, you set the microphone as loud as you can before the system begins to feedback. Then you activate the SETUP to start the detection. Then increase the gain out of the plugin, so the feedback begins. The plugin will detect the feedback frequencies and add filters, which you can adjust according to your sensibilities.
- Other features
The plugin allows you to set up to 20 filters and gives you amplitude, cutoff frequency, and Q-value as filter controls. In addition, there are also global controls that you can apply. Lastly, X-FDBK gives you a headroom of about 6 dB.
This plugin is great to prevent feedback on stage, see more in the video:
The plugin is available in AAX, VST, and AU formats and requires Intel Core i7/i9/Xeon-W/Apple Silicon/Xeon (all Gen 5 and above) as a processor, with a minimum RAM of 8 GB and minimum operating system requirements of macOS 10.15 or Windows 10.
It’s an important and one-of-a-kind plugin with a unique application and great utility. It’s a great tool for live sound engineers and musicians. The plugin is great, especially for smaller venues and independent shows, solves a significant feedback problem, and can prevent you from damaging your equipment and, even worse, your ears. Of course, you also use it in your jam sessions and jam pads.
6. DJ Swivel Knocktonal
Knocktonal by DJ Swivel is a tool for treating your resonances based on piano notes and allows you to tune your drums and instruments.
Usually, when you tune drums, there are problems around pitch and time, and there is an undesirable augmentation of transients, textures, and envelope of your sounds. But with the plugin, you can tune your samples/sounds by boosting or cutting resonances and their harmonic overtones.
- Interactive interface
The plugin has a great GUI with a keyboard interface that lets you map frequencies to different notes on the keyboard. Plus, it easily lets you access the harmonics and overtones of the frequencies. The red and green colored interface, along with a spectrum analyzer, makes up for a great user experience.
- Easy workflow
For tuning a sample/sound, you can subtract its fundamental frequency and add the frequency of the note you want to tune it to. However, you can also use the plugin to clean resonant frequencies and make your mix and production sound more transparent.
- MIDI Input
The plugin allows you to derive note information from the MIDI data automatically, and it also has a MIDI input option that lets you figure out the frequency and harmonic structure of the sound.
The minimum operating system requirement of the plugin is mac OS X 10.11 or later, Windows 7 or later, and it is available in AU, VST3, and AAX plugin formats.
Knocktonal is marketed as a note-based resonance enhancer, but it has more applications. Overall, it offers a great solution to an unaddressed yet significant problem. It allows you to have up to thirty filters/bands of resonance, has a built-in limiter, and has a resizeable GUI. Priced at about $70, the plugin could be of great utility.
We have discussed the best resonance suppressor plugins/VSTs available in the market, with different plugins having different applications. For example, we talked about dynamic resonance processors for cleaning sounds, a plugin for treating the feedback on the master output, and a plugin for tuning drums & manipulating the harmonic content of samples.
Depending on your needs, you can find what you want in the list. Soothe2 and RESO are dynamic resonance suppressors, but RESO is priced significantly less than Sooth2. However, Soothe2 has superiority in terms of flexibility. But both plugins have high-quality filters and sound.
Hope the article was of help and gave you sufficient information about tools to overcome the harshness, boominess, and other undesirable qualities in your mixes and productions. Thank you for reading.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.