Izotope Ozone 4 is a complete 64-bit mastering suite in the form of a single plug-in that will operate equally well across a variety of DAW’s…
LIST PRICE: $249.99
Izotope Ozone 4 is a complete 64-bit mastering suite in the form of a single plug-in that will operate equally well across a variety of DAW’s as it comes in RTAS, VST, AU, and DX formats. The heart of Ozone 4 is its six modules that represent common mastering tools. The Ozone 4 modules consist of a Paragraphic Equalizer, Mastering Reverb, Loudness Maximizer, Multiband Harmonic Exciter, Mulitiband Dynamics, and a Multiband Stereo Imager. For new Ozone users (this is Ozone’s 4th incarnation), the GUI can be a little intimidating at first, but new users can quickly acclimate to the futuristic interface. With so many effects within just one plug-in, the interface can feel cluttered at first, but after just a few minutes of use the feel is slick and intuitive.
When first opening Ozone 4, users are greeted with the Preset Manager. The new “hyper presets” offer users a quick way to finalize their tracks and provide more experienced users with a great jumping off point to take their sound even further. Each preset utilizes a combination of any or all of the six modules and then provides additional controls in the preset manager, such as loudness, character, punch and shine. The preset manager can also be undocked from the main window so that you can modify modules within the presets, without switching between windows. Users can also create and store their own presets within the preset manager for use in later sessions. One impressive feature is the ability to customize your signal chain. For example, you can put the EQ pre- or post-dynamics, or you can move the Harmonic Exciter pre- or post-Stereo Imaging. With all of these features and options, it can be easy to get lost in all of it. One can find themselves tweaking and customizing until it leads them to a sound that might not be what they were looking for. Ozone 4 provides various methods for “finding your way back home” after such creative exploration with various bypassing, reset, cancelling, and compare functions. Once users have achieved their desired sound, an impressive set of dithering algorithms awaits, allowing users to dither their projects to 24, 20, 16, 12 or 8 bits. This can be useful when mastering a 24-bit project for CD at 16 bits. When using Ozone 4 to master the Damien Jurado tracks recorded here in our offices, one of the most useful functions of the plug-in was the Multiband Stereo Imager. Having used just one microphone each for Damien’s guitar and vocal, and a direct line from his guitar, it can be difficult to create any space in the stereo field. Often times, tracks like these can end up sounding almost mono. After applying the stereo imager, and tweaking the individual bands, the track sounded infinitely wider and much more open. From there, I added some light multiband compression with a fast attack to tame some of the snaps and clicks from the acoustic guitar. An impressive function of the multiband compressor is the ability to compress in stereo, as well as mid-side. Mid-side compression allows users to compress the center of their mix, or the edges, independent of each other. Anticipating that this track would most likely be listened to on laptop speakers, I used some mid-side compression to bring out the center of the mix just a little bit more. Using the Paragraphic Equalizer as a de-esser and a low-shelving EQ helped to tame some mud and other frequencies that can be problematic on certain systems.
Check out Damien Jurado’s Ozone 4 session here.