Audio Anoraks has released Smiley, a freeware one-knob equalizer and audio enhancer effect in VST3, AU, and AAX plugin formats for digital audio workstations on PC and Mac.
Smiley is a simple single-control plugin designed to apply a “smile” EQ curve to the processed audio track. The equalizer curve can be both convex and concave in shape. This is controlled by the direction in which the control knob is rotated. Obviously, the convex (aka “smile”) curve will boost the high and low frequencies, while taming the mid frequencies.
The plugin was developed by Streaky, the mastering engineer behind Streaky Mastering. According to its author, Smiley performs additional DSP processing under the hood. In other words, it’s not just an EQ plugin, but there’s no information on what different types of processing are applied to the signal. Listening to the processed audio, my guess is that Smiley adds subtle multi-band compression to prevent harshness in the high-end. Also, the curve is most definitely not a simple “smile” curve. Most likely, the plugin applies the Fletcher-Munson curve to the signal.
Overall, the effect is subtle, but in a good way. Various “Soundgoodizer-like” effects tend to process the audio very aggressively. Often times, it’s easy to “enhance” the signal a bit too much with such plugins in a way that will quickly cause ear fatigue. I’ve only tested Smiley for a brief amount of time, but it seems to nail the amount by which the audio signal is enhanced. It might not fit everyone’s taste, but it’s definitely worth a try.
Smiley can be downloaded for free from the Audio Anoraks website. A valid email address is required to register for an Audio Anoraks user account before downloading the plugin. Please note that Smiley is compatible with 64-bit hosts only. Also, there’s no VST2 version of the plugin, so you’ll need a DAW that can host VST3, Audio Unit, or AAX plugins.
More info: Smiley (5.67 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, 64-bit VST3/AU/ AAX plugin format for Windows & macOS)