iZotope Ozone 9 – The future of Mastering | Tech Spotlight
iZotope Ozone 9 is here, introducing machine-learning techniques and various workflow improvements to make the most of the Mastering process.
iZotope continues their tradition of creating incredibly advanced and versatile audio tools with very straightforward and easy-to-use interfaces, with the latest update to their flagship mastering suite – iZotope Ozone 9.
The new version of the highly revered mastering suite introduces various next-generation features such as machine learning to user-experience updates like a more fluid interface and more efficient resource handling.
The latest update brings together the legacy processing plugins that iZotope is known for, alongside some newly acquired high-end Reverbs from exponential audio and advanced machine learning tools to offer a totally new dimension to the mastering process.
The biggest additions in iZotope Ozone 9 are the two new processes – Master Rebalance and Low-End Focus, which both use machine learning to offer a dimension of control unseen before in mastering-oriented plugins.
Master Rebalance uses a combination of machine learning and custom-built DSP to analyse incoming audio and apply changes to the volume balance between various instruments in a stereo mixdown. It is more applicable to traditional and pop music, so it’s probably not going to work magic on an electronic mix that needs some work.
The Low-End Focus feature does look rather useful for electronic applications – it works similarly to the Master Rebalance feature offering incredibly simple controls to very advanced processes under-the-hood.
Most professional mastering engineers will tell you that there is no “secret sauce” in the mastering process, however with the accessibility of tools these days – so many more people are producing music and they may not have the budget for a professional mastering service yet, or they’re just looking for a quick reference of what their track sounds like closer to completion.
A while ago iZotope introduced the very popular “Master Assistant” feature, which analyses incoming audio and gives you a very usable starting point to get going with the master. The latest version introduces a more advanced Master Assistant with more creative parameters to choose from.
Professional mastering engineers also often make use of actual assistants to set up their projects and workspaces, to streamline the workflow. iZotope’s Master Assistant feature works great to speed up the mastering process for professionals.
The application also works as a standalone system, so you don’t have to wait for a DAW to load up to get started.
Of course, the new Master Rebalance and Low-End Focus are huge features, another incredibly helpful tool in iZotope Ozone 9 is the reworked Match EQ. In previous versions, it was a bit convoluted and hidden behind menus, however the new version sees a massive revamp in that area.
There are various controls for adjusting how drastic the EQ is, and the Match EQ module functions just like any other module inside Ozone – allowing you to save and recall presets or use it as a completely standalone plugin with your DAW.
Yes, all of the modules within Ozone 9 Advanced are available as standalone plugins to load directly into your DAW.
Another massive revamp in the new Ozone 9 is on the Tonal Balance Control, iZotope have introduced a ton of new target curves for various genres and smoother, more responsive metering.
They’ve introduced some new Vintage Modules, modelled on Pultech EQs and more, for more creative control over the mastering process. They’ve also introduced the ability to resize the interface to fit any screen size.
Like I mentioned above, the new version of Ozone introduces various new features for all sorts of control over the mastering process, both for beginners and professionals alike.
The Master Assistant is great to speed up the setup and configuration process for professionals or offer newcomers a great learning experience and starting point for their own masters. It’s also a great system for mix engineers and producers looking for a quick reference of what their track will sound like at completion.
iZotope Ozone 9 comes in three variants, the advanced all-in-one solution that features all of the above-mentioned features – Ozone 9 Advanced retails for USD $499 (Around R7600), it’s currently on promotion for USD $399 (Around R6000).
Ozone 9 Standard is the watered-down variant, it retails for USD $249 (Around R3800), it’s currently on promotion for USD $199 (Around R3000). Ozone Elements is the basic version that features just the bare essentials, that retails at USD $129 (Around R2000), it’s currently on promotion for USD $99 (Around R1500).
For more information check out the iZotope website here.