SMOOTHIE PLUS (SMOOTHIE+)
After a few messages from folks saying that they liked our super-simple one-knob compressor SMOOTHIE, but sometimes found themselves wishing it was a bit more “tweakable", we decided to make SMOOTHIE+.
SMOOTHIE+ can be used in situations when you want a CPU-friendly compressor that’s reasonably smooth and transparent, but rest assured, it can get very squashy when pushed to the max! And if it’s all a bit too smooth for your tastes, you can roughen things up with the variable “grit” control!
With the option of emulated guitar speaker cabinet, automatic double tracking and mains hum reduction, you can even use SMOOTHIE+ as a lean clean amp machine for guitar.
SMOOTHIE+ is a stereo in / out module and applies compression based on the average level received at both inputs. When either input is used on its own, it will be routed to both outputs.
ON button toggles SMOOTHIE+ between active and bypass mode.
SMOOTHIE+ has two ADT modes which when lit, add an automatic double tracking effect, giving a fuller sound with stereo enhancement. Mode I is the most subtle effect and mode II is much deeper. Select both modes for a very full almost chorus-like doubling effect. If no ADT buttons are lit, no effect is applied.
CAB mode when lit, engages our guitar amp cabinet simulator based on the 12” speaker emulation in the JUNIORVERB DELUXE+. You can also toggle a touch of small room ambience to give your guitar a sense of space with the RM button.
BUZZKILL is useful if you experience mains hum noise, typically when using single coil guitar pickups. Set it to the left for 50Hz and to the right for 60Hz depending on where you are in the World. US for example, would be 60Hz. The centre position is off / no BUZZKILL filter.
THRESHOLD sets the point at which compression is applied to the input signal(s) in the range of -30dB to 0dB. In theory, no compression should occur when THRESHOLD is set to the maximum of 0dB. Note that decreasing the THRESHOLD, increases the compression effect.
RATIO varies the amount of gain reduction applied once the signal is over the THRESHOLD value. The range is 2 to 8. So for example, at the default setting of 4, anything over the threshold will typically be reduced to the threshold level + 25% (1/4) of the amount over the threshold.
The LED above the THRESHOLD / RATIO knobs will get brighter as the average input signal approaches the compression threshold, and will light solid orange when the signal is being compressed, i.e. when it’s over the threshold level.
ATTACK varies the time it takes for SMOOTHIE+ to take effect and respond to incoming gain changes in the range of 10-100ms. A fast attack time will result in SMOOTHIE+ “clamping down” on loud transients quickly, with a more noticeable “squashing” effect. A slow attack time allows some of the initial part of the signal to get through unchanged which can result in a more natural / transparent compression effect.
RELEASE sets the recovery time for the compression effect from 25-1000ms. A fast release time is useful for rhythmic material with transients occurring fast and furiously! A longer release time can be more suitable for solo instruments, especially guitar, giving a smoother overall compression effect.
BLEND reintroduces a variable amount of the original “dry” signal into the output mix. At zero, you will hear the compressed signal only. At maximum, you will hear the compressed signal, plus 100% of the original dry signal.
For certain sounds, dialling-in the BLEND control allows the initial attack of a note to briefly exceed the level of the compressed signal, which is very desirable when used with electric guitars for example, and helps retain a dynamic feel.
GRIT does what it says on the tin, adding some gritty drive to the compressed signal to emulate the warmth of old analog and tube compressor designs. Please note that grit is added to the compressed signal only, so interesting tones and textures can be achieved by adjusting the BLEND control - this works well if your original signal is a clean guitar tone.
GRIT can also be toggled via a CV trigger (> +1V pulse) and the adjacent LED will light when GRIT is on. This effectively turns SMOOTHIE+ into a two-channel guitar amp!
LEVEL varies the overall mix output from +12dB boost to -96dB reduction, i.e. practically total silence at the minimum setting. The centre / default position is zero gain adjustment.
MAKEUP when turned on, will apply additional gain automatically based on the threshold and compression ratio to compensate for the overall reduction in level due to compression. When MAKEUP is enabled, we recommend that the LEVEL control is as centre or less otherwise distortion / clipping could occur.
PLEASE NOTE: SMOOTHIE+ is designed to handle a wide range of audio signals and because of a final limiter stage with a -1.0dB threshold, it should rarely present output levels greater than +/-5.0V. However, depending on the nature and level of the input audio ATTACK, RELEASE and BLEND and GRIT controls, limiting may occur internally, indicated by the LED above the LEVEL knob. If this occurs, back off the LEVEL control until the limiter LED stops flashing, or allow a little bit of limiting to take place if you think that suits the occasion!
We hope you enjoy SMOOTHIE+ with added vitamins!