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iZotope Ozone 6 Review

Izotope Ozone 6 Review BassGorilla

In this iZotope Ozone 6 Review we will delve deep into one of the world’s most advanced all-in-one mastering suites, developed by our friends at iZotope. You’ll get a solid grasp on what makes this software tool one of the most powerful solutions on the market for mastering in the box.

Equalizer and Post Equalizer

Ozone 6 contains two separate module equalizers. Each equalizer includes eight bands for adjustment, as well as an assortment of filter types to choose from. The main EQ module can be used for broad adjustments to your master, while the Post EQ can be placed later on in your signal chain for more precise sculpting. Both EQ modules contain Analog-Matched EQ and Digital Surgical EQ curves. The analog curves preserve the classic analog coloration, particularly at higher frequencies, whereas the digital curves allow for much more precise EQ manipulation. The various views in the EQ module allow for clear visual feedback of your processing.

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One of the best features of the EQ module is the ability to match an EQ curve from any piece of audio to your signal. In the matching section of the module, you can capture the incoming audio spectrum and apply this spectrum to your track or instrument. This is a fantastic tool if used modestly.

Whether you are matching the entire spectral content of one of your favorite producer’s mixes to your track, or slightly affecting all your leads to have similar spectral colorization, this aspect of the EQ module is truly stunning.

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Another great feature of the EQ in Ozone 6 is the ability to process your audio with both Mid/Side and Left/Right processing modes. With a simple click of the mouse you can equalize the sides of your track independently of the middle signal.

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This can be a great technique to clean up a busy mix, or tame low rumble in the stereo field. When used correctly, Mid/Side and Left/Right processing can really separate an amateur mix from a professional one.

Exciter

Ozone’s built in Exciter module allows the user to improve the tonal quality of any mix by applying small amounts of distortion to particular frequency bands. Several modes of excitation are available including classic tube and tape saturation, warming of even harmonics, retro transistor-like harmonics, and two circuit modeled tube exciters. The Exciter module allows for your spectrum to be split in up to four sections.

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Affect each of these separate sections independently for precise control. Because this module also has the ability to separate Mid/Side, the tonal abilities are vast. Add warmth or clarity to your master, and provide analog character to the mix with this module. The Exciter module also contains an Oversampling option, which can improve the quality of excitation at the expense of processing power.

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An awesome feature of the Exciter module is the Saturation Spectrum display. This view is a great tool to visually see what sort of excitation you are applying to the mix. There is also the option of using a post-filter for shaping the Exciter’s frequency output.

iZotope Ozone 6 Review

Imager

Ozone 6 allows for complete stereo control with the built in Imager module. The Imager allows for manipulating the stereo field of up to four frequency bands. The module contains terrific visual feedback incorporating both a Vectorscope and Correlation Meter. These meters can show accurate stereo content, and its placement in the stereo field. This becomes vary important when you lack the proper room or mixing environment.

The Imager module in Ozone 6 contains a particularly convenient mode. The Stereoize Mode allows the user to convert very narrow, or even mono, mixes to stereo without compromising the mono signal with phase problems.

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The Imager also allows for width to be added to a particular frequency band without causing mono compatibility problems. By checking Prevent Antiphase in the Imager options, each frequency band’s applied width will not suffer the potential phasing problems associated with most common stereo manipulators. It is also very easy to check your stereo signal for mono compatibility with a convenient mono activation button.

Dynamics

The Dynamics Module of Ozone 6 allows for precise multiband dynamic manipulation to bring sculpted movement and life into any mix. Like the Exciter and Imager modules, the Dynamics module splits the audio in up to four frequency sections. In each section, the Dynamics module can apply three types of dynamic effects: compressing, limiting, and expanding.
Manipulate these dynamic processing techniques with fine-tuned precision controlling the ratio, attack, release, and knee of all the dynamic tools. Similar to the other modules, the Dynamics module also allows for adjusting the dynamics of your mix with Mid/Side processing. This is a very powerful feature when trying to obtain a loud and clear mix. Use All-Bands mode to visually see the dynamic parameters of all the frequency sections at once. The dynamics module also allows for parallel compression, by utilizing the parallel dry/wet slider.

Some of the best features of the Dynamics module are somewhat hidden from the main Dynamics section. The Gain Reduction Trace view can be accessed on the left hand side of the Dynamics module. This view plots the gain reduction of all dynamics bands on top of a scrolling waveform. This view can be great for fine-tuning compression settings. It is also possible to add an adjustable slope high-pass or API Thrust-like Tilt filter to reduce pumping effects due to dynamic processing. Access this by scrolling your mouse over the spectrum analyzer while in the Detection Filter tab.

One of the best features of this module is the ability to link all bands together temporarily. By clicking the Link all band control, every adjustment made to one band’s dynamic parameter is applied to all the bands at once. This is very helpful when you need to apply the same effect to the entire spectrum in every band.

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Dynamic EQ

Ozone 6 contains one additional module than the previous Ozone 5. The new Dynamic EQ module provides a leap in spectral manipulation and tonal control. Think of it as an EQ that automates over time. Using the same parameters as a compressor, the Dynamic EQ allows you to control when and how much an EQ boosts or cuts based on threshold values. The Dynamic EQ has five unique filter shapes including Baxandall Bass, Band Shelf, Peak Bell, Proportional Q, and Baxandall Treble. Like the EQ module, you have the ability to switch between analog and digital curves as well as process with Mid/Side and Left/Right processing modes.

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A killer feature of the Dynamic EQ is the ability to activate Inverse Mode on a particular EQ band. This mode inverts dynamic behavior so boosts and cuts are increased as a signal crosses a threshold (basically the compressor’s expander for a Dynamic EQ). Even better for this module, using Auto-Scale mode you can automatically scale the Attack/Release times across the frequency spectrum to ideal values for the current frequency.

Maximizer

The sixth module in Ozone 6 is the Maximizer. Used to maximize the volume and fullness of the final mix, the Maximizer module keeps your master from clipping but simultaneously pushes the levels of your mix to its max. The Maximizer contains three limiting settings known as IRC™ (Intelligent Release Control) Limiter technology. These settings can be used to limit the audio in several different ways depending on desired outcome. The engines can provide clear and sharp imaging to preserve peaks (IRC II), or smooth and thick limiting to achieve a rich sound (IRC I). The third mode (IRC III) is a combination of the two that is easily configurable. Enable True Peak Limiting to limit the “true peak” levels and prevent clipping in the analog domain.

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A great feature of the Maximizer module is the ability to control the amount of emphasis given to transients through the limiting process. Using the Transient Emphasis control slider, you can fine-tune how well the limiter picks up on transients. Very unique to this limiter module is the ability to unlink stereo channels and process left and right limiting separately with the Stereo Unlink Control. You also have the ability to adjust the character of the limiting algorithm for subtle yet clear results.

Additional Features

Learn

All the modules that have the ability to separately affect various frequency bands also contain a learn feature. Access this feature by scrolling your cursor over the spectrum in a module that contains various frequency bands. The Learn button will automatically create crossover points for your frequency bands, depending on the incoming audio signal. This feature can be great when you aren’t sure what bands the various elements of your track are in. Use this a more of a starting point rather than a final setting.

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Match Effective Gain

Ozone 6 allows you to match the effective gain of your track’s mastered version with the bypass of the plugin. In mixing and mastering, when comparing any processed signal to a dry signal, it is imperative to compare them at equal gains. Any sound that is louder will likely trick your ear into hearing it as better.

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Making sure to match the volume of the unprocessed signal with the processed one is important in making sure what you are doing to the audio is beneficial. Simply click the ear symbol in the bottom right hand corner of the plug in and activate it.

Copy/Paste

As simple as this feature is, many users overlook its importance. Any adjustable parameter in the Ozone modules can be copied and later pasted to a similar parameter in a different band or module. There could arise a time where you need to set certain parameters the same, so Ozone 6 has your back.

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Stand-Alone Version

Ozone 6 contains a stand-alone version of the plugin to be used as an entire mastering suite. Free up your computer’s processing power and utilize Ozone by itself when you’re mastering. There is no longer a need to have Ozone on the master channel of a bounced track and risk hanging up your computer’s CPU. And don’t worry if you use more than just Ozone 6 on your mastering chain, because you also have access to external plugins within the stand-alone version of Ozone 6. Simply navigate to the Plug-ins tab when adding a new module to your chain.

 

About The Author

This article was written by ZachMontoya, one half of the production duo ‘Syence’.

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