sonible smart:comp2 review

Sonible smart:comp2 is a revolutionary compressor plugin aiming to do more than any other competitor.

What sets smart:comp2 apart from the rest of the competition is the introduction of spectral compression, which consists of applying compression to the whole frequency spectrum by splitting it into several bands. smart:comp2 operates on a range of 2000 bands.

At first, it sounds like a mixture of compression, tonal EQ, and excitement.

GUI

The interface is among the most modern and intuitive in the plugins’ world. It excellently serves the purpose of both compression and spectral compression while not letting the user feel lost at any time.

Everything has its own space, and the only hidden feature is the envelope editor for the attack and release parameters.

Meters are well set, with an intuitive and easy-to-use scale feature, which allows zooming in and out of the higher dynamic range.

While I might be a bit biased about the GUI because I’ve already learned it, smart:comp2 offers a simple tour the first time you open the plugin and at any time from the settings menu.

Features

Spectral Compression

The lower part of the plugin is dedicated to spectral compression, and while it’s the biggest deal with this plugin, it doesn’t take more than a few controls and space in the GUI.

You can set how much spectral compression you want within a range of 0-150 and the Color, with an additional Style knob that allows mixing between a Clean and Dirty style.

It also has a dedicated sidechain filter that allows applying spectral compression only to a specific range.

Real-time monitoring

This feature allows seeing a graph representing how much content there’s at each point of the dynamic range, giving you a summary of the dynamics through time.

AI compression

Don’t know how to approach a given sound? Give smart:comp2 a couple of instructions, let him listen to the source, and it’ll come up with a tailored preset for your needs.

The only “problem” with this feature is the input and output gain setting, which can be disabled in the settings menu. Another “annoying” thing (personally) is the Automatic release, but it takes a single click to disable it.

Within seconds, you’ll have a preset ready to tweak to your needs.

Free-form transfer function

I haven’t seen much hype about this feature. Still, it does a lot of work, making you tweak the quieter passages easily without needing serial compression, upward compression, parallel compression, etc. Sometimes, you just want quieter passages to have more beef without having to destroy the higher ones.

Envelope

What if you could put your hands on how the attack and release work as you’d do in a synth? Here you go.

Other features

The plugin also comes with the usual features like external sidechain, delta monitoring, channel linking (L/R processing), and Stereo or Mid/Side processing.

Conclusion

This plugin will shape the sound in the coming years, and I’m pretty sure some competitors will try staying up to date with this kind of processing (maybe even decline to other kinds of processors).

It takes a bit to get used to what spectral compression feels like, but it’s worth it, as it’s probably going to save engineers a lot of trial and error they used to do with different chains.

I feel like this the best place for this plugin is on the bus, whether it’s the guitar bus, the drum bus, vocal stacks, or the mix bus. Complex signals that are tricky to tweak will benefit greatly from this innovative tool, not only for spectral compression but also for the free-form transfer function that allows shaping dynamics easily.

You can buy sonible smart:comp2 here

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