“Smart” mixing tools

Anyone here have experience with these new fangled “smart” mixing plugins like Sonible smart:eq 3 and the like?

I’m really interested to hear people’s experience and if they think these plugins help or hinder them?

For backstory I have a very small setup in the corner of my bedroom (my son took the spare room a few years ago) so I will never have an ideal mixing environment. I use iLoud Micro monitors and DT770 headphones for reference but it takes a lot of guesswork via visual plugins to get a decent mix. I could spend a ton on better monitors but feel that they would be wasted in the space so maybe something like smart:eq 3 would give me a better jumping off point for finishing mixes.

I have a degree in audio engineering so I’m loathed to let a computer think for me but honestly I have so little time now I like the idea of spending more of it playing rather than fixing my mixes.

My only experience is Izotopes Ozone AI mastering thing and I never like the choices it makes.


i bought it and messed around with the smart:EQ … i’ve got an impression how my mix could sound … it draws an eq-curve and I could tweak it … well nothing special about it, the only thing which bothered me was the reference they provided on how this thing learned

but as you said

just do it

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Ive tried loads over the years.

I really like Gulfoss on the mix bus. I only use it sparingly, but it helps with balancing and separation.

Ive just got Soothe 2 as well. It does exactly what it says on the tin and saves a load of time notching out frequencies. Im finding it quite addictive and think Ill need to reign it in a bit.

Honestly though the best thing I have got in ages really is Slate VSX. I know its not actually a smart plugin, but once I got used to it being able to hear things properly has been amazing.

I use loads less plugins in the mix and have come to realise Ive been trying to sort things in the mix that weren’t there and more as a result of my listening environment.

I have MTMs which are great but dont get much chance to mix in them, so I mostly mix on my DT1770s with Sonarworks, then finalise in the MTMs when I get a chance.

But using VSX has been a game changer in a very short time. Ive remixed my latest mixes and they sound superior in everyway, took less time and used less plugins.

Ive realised the core tools and knowledge I have work and it was the listening environment all along so whilst I have no problem using smart plugins to enhance my mix I don’t feel I need them as my skills are sufficient.

Sorry for the ramble but it might be worth a look. It appears like l Snake Oil but Im seriously impressed. The translation of my mixes is brilliant. I’ll also track in using them in future, along with sound design.

Also on Ozone I was never happy with the AI, but testing these latest mixes, the AI has done a fantastic job, so again it was me putting crap into it expecting a miracle.

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Yeah I really like Gullfoss. The results can vary depending on the track - sometimes it doesn’t make much difference but other times it’s like taking cotton wool out of your ears.

I use Ozone but I only use the ‘smart’ features as a starting point. I think that’s pretty much how it’s intended to be used.

If your listening environment isn’t very good I can recommend Sonarworks SoundID Reference - it’s made me a lot more confident in my mixing decisions

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I’ve tried a couple of them, izotope and focusrites fast series, they’re okay ish but no substitute for spending time and effort to learn to do it yourself, the way I see it is if they were as good as they purport to be there’d be a lot of mix engineers looking for a job…