Izotope Ozone 8

Ozone 8 is here and with this update, Izotope added an automated mastering function. Sweetwater made a great walkthrough of all new features presented by Geoff Manchester from Izotope. Watch the video and, if you’re interested, read my comments about the update below.

 

With the latest update, Izotope place it’s mastering suite Ozone into a new category, namely the automated mastering service/software category (which also is the reason for me to write about it). There are much to be said about these services but I’ll keep the comments about Ozone 8 short since I shared my view about the services in general in an earlier post (you can read more about that here).

Of all automated services, I’d say that Ozone 8 easily take the no1 position and doesn’t really have any competitors. Why? First, it sweeps the floor with all the online services in a heartbeat because once you’ve used the ‘Master Assistant’ you’ll be able to tweak every setting, you’re not stuck with whatever it has done to your track as with all the online services (Landr, Aria and such). There is other software that does this but the ones I’ve tried have been a pain to use, Ozone is just so much easier to understand and the suggested settings actually make sense.

 

Things to consider
– If you don’t sit in a room with mastering grade acoustics and speakers you probably don’t hear your track as it actually sound, leave the settings close to what Ozone suggest or your track may end up worse than pre-mastering.

 

– Put on your headphones before render your final master… Better yet, test it with both your preferred studio grade cans, your cheap phone earbuds, in the car and in your living room before considering it finished.

 

– Use a professional mastering engineer for material that does matter, no automated service can replace a real mastering engineer… Not because a real person will guarantee a better sounding master (even though it probably will be better) but a computerized analysis won’t give you comments about aesthetics, genre-based mix decisions, specific feedback about small elements in your mix such as a too loud backing vocal or a cut-off reverberation tail and it won’t see to that your tracks work well together as a whole, which is an essential part of mastering that is often forgotten. You pay for so much more than just a person tweaking knobs.

 

To sum things up
If you can’t afford professional mastering or want to test your material before sending your tracks for mastering, I’d say Ozone 8 is your best choice when it comes to automated mastering.
Will I use it? Probably not, I’m happy with what I got at hand.
Will other professional mastering engineers use Ozone 8? Some for sure, Ozone 8 can certainly produce a professional result.
Will any professional mastering engineer ever use Landr? No, never…

Automated Mastering Services

About once a week I get the question -“What do you think about automated mastering services such as Landr?”. There’s a very short and a profoundly more detailed answer. I tend to go for the short answer since the real answer is a lecture and I’ll probably lose you half way through. The short answer is: Remove mastering from that sentence and I’ll tell you it can be a useful tool to test your mix. Keep mastering in the sentence and I’ll tell you that it sucks monkey balls.
Luckily I stumbled across an article written by Mastering Engineer Justin Perkins (Mystery Room Mastering) that pretty much cover everything there is to be said about Landr and similar services, so from now on I won’t answer, I’ll just give people this link:

What Automated Mastering Services Can’t Do For You