I have both basses, a Special and a Smoothie. Up until last week, my Smoothie was up for sale, but having recently strung them both with identical strings, at the same time, I’ve seen the light and can’t even begin to think about getting rid of it right now! They are soooooo different, yet both so Stingray... if that makes sense? For me, the Smoothie lets the notes breath more, particularly in the treble strings. Partly due to feeling like it has less tension, but really i think its due to the nature of the pickup. It has a more open tone that is reminiscent of a 2 band EQ, though with more dynamic range imo due to the specially designed preamp. I actually find the Smoothie to be more organic. The Special is epic, much more focussed, way more authority and an all round stronger signal with tons of tone versatility. It’s a new tonal flavour for the Ray, given it’s history, but it suits these times and they knocked it out of the park with this redesign, including the ergonomics. That said, I’m sure the Special’s tone isn’t for everyone in comparison to older models, and vice verse. I played both with a mate of mine whose a drummer, he prefered the Smoothie. I loved both for different reasons Hope that helps, though subjective opinions of tone using unstandardised vocabulary isn’t easy for us all!!!