Mixing/ Mastering Effect of the Year
iZotope’s self-contained in-the-box mastering solution rolls into its eighth full version, and, it must be said, we’re increasingly amazed at how they manage to keep on finding new marquee features to add to its list.
This time round, the focus is on workflow and functionality, rather than architectural expansion and new processing modules. Having said that, the one new device that has been added, Spectral Shaper, is really a doozie, offering frequency-conscious removal of highend harshness without affecting other sounds in the same area.
The biggest story, though, is the addition of the machine learning-driven Master Assistant – an obvious parallel to stablemate Neutron’s Track Assistant. This gives Ozone 8 the ability to set up a preset for you, based on internal comparison of your track with ten genre-based spectral curves. It really works, too, assuming that it’s approached with realistic expectations in mind – ie, that the result is a starting point, not a final configuration.
Also designed to make your mastering life easier, Track Referencing lets you easily A/B your mix to up to ten reference tracks, with machine learning again employed in order to detect verses, choruses, etc, and place markers around them.
The included Tonal Balance Control plugin is another cool inclusion, enabling spectral comparison of your track to three target curves generated through analysis of thousands of commercial masters, and combined access to all Ozone 8 and Neutron 2 EQs that are running in the project.
Alongside that lot, a raft of lesser features – including a sexy graphical overhaul and perband saturation algorithm selection for the Exciter module – add to the big stuff, to make this by far the best Ozone yet.
If you’re at all interested in mastering your own tracks, iZotope’s amazing suite is quite simply the best software you could possibly have by your side to do it.