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REVIEW: iZotope Ozone 7 Advanced

REVIEW: iZotope Ozone 7 Advanced

MI Pro takes a look at what the latest iteration of the mastering suite has to offer…

Mastering is a huge part of the recording process. For any artist or band in the studio, getting the mix of your finished tracks mastered to a level whereby they compare and stand-up to the commercial recordings that you may have been listening to is a skilled craft.

As little as five to ten years ago, mastering would involve the use of a vast array of limiters, compressors and dynamic EQs, all costing a small fortune to buy and the skills of an experienced engineer to operate correctly.

The digital revolution opened up these doors and created a much more level playing field, providing us with an array of mastering packages that have become much easier to understand and operate and various mastering bundles available at extremely affordable costs, offering even the most basic project studio a fantastic array of processors and mastering tools at the click of a mouse.
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iZotope’s Ozone, now in it’s seventh version, is one such mastering suite that provides Mac OS or Windows computer musicians with an impressive selection of top drawer mastering tools at a very affordable price. An advantage of Ozone, and one that has made it popular with its army of users, is the ability to run the program as a stand-alone mastering suite, or as high-performance mastering plug-ins to run in a DAW, both in the Standard and Advanced versions. In the Advanced version you also get the addition of several vintage-styled modules, including Vintage Tape, Vintage EQ, Vintage Compressor and Vintage Limiter. There’s also a neat Codec Preview feature, providing a real-time preview of how your encoded audio will sound like, as well as what audio you’re losing, after being exported to either MP3 or AAC formats. The Codec Preview offers a warning allowing you to reduce the level of your master to compensate. Very clever stuff.

There’s also a Maximiser, Dynamic EQ, Imager, Dither, Intelligent Visual Metering along with a selection of presets that allow you to get close enough to the sound that you’re looking for and the ability to tweak the various modules to perfect that sound. Ozone also offers the option of mastering multiple tracks at once, which is great if you’re looking for consistency in your mastering across the recordings.

Mastering guru Greg Calbi has created and added a range of his own presets that are now included in the package as standard, designed by Calbi and used by him on a daily basis at Sterling Sound.

There’s a very useful Undo History setting that allows you to go back and rectify any mistakes and also Bypass settings and an A/B comparison allowing you to compare different settings in order to see which sounds and settings are right on the track. Another useful addition here is that of an Effective Gain function that keeps both tracks at a constant level, allowing for perfect comparisons between settings.

The interface is well laid out and the visual elements such as the EQ curve display really help you hear any changes you make as you go through the mastering process. In fact, one of the real advantages to all the modules in Ozone are the straightforward screen layouts, making the job of adjusting sliders and settings very simple with the minimum of unnecessary distraction.

The main selling point for the Advanced version of Ozone will be the addition of the new Vintage modules, which are quite brilliant when used correctly and based on some lovely, classic gear, such as the all-tube Fairchild 670 Limiter, EQP-1A and MEQ-5 EQs and Studier A810 mastering tape deck. By experimenting with these modules you can create incredible warmth and shimmering tones to the mastering process. And, while there will always be a digital versus analog debate, the benefit of being able to enjoy these classic pieces of studio equipment in the convenience and ease of use of a digital format will be a real God-send to most end users.

From project studios to mastering suites, Ozone 7 offers a superb selection of tools that achieve truly professional results, providing new users with a complete mastering suite in an affordable, uncomplicated package. For the beginner, the opportunities to experiment within the various settings are endless, and with practice and perseverance a fantastic sounding mastering solution is at your fingertips.

Available now from Time+Space Distribution Ltd.
www.timespace.com
Download a free 10 day trial: www.izotope.com

Tags: izotope , Software , Review , Reviews , izotope ozone 7

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