Mastering Audio With Ozone

Mastering is generally regarded as a sort of ‘dark art’ in audio production; it’s a specialised area that requires specific tools and an experienced set of ears. Although nothing can compare to the results obtained by a seasoned mastering engineer working in a dedicated studio, there are a few tools available that bring DIY mastering to your DAW. Among these is Izotope’s Ozone…

Mastering In The Box

Izotope are a well-known maker of audio production software – such as the free Vinyl plugin. Ozone is their all-in-one mastering plugin for AU/VST/RTAS/DX, and currently sits at version 3 – although the updated incarnation (Ozone 4) is expected to be released very soon.
Audio mastering - Izotope Ozone
Ozone features six separate modules – paragraphic EQ, harmonic exciter, multiband dynamics, reverb, stereo imaging and a sonic maximiser. These can be activated separately – or all at once, if required.

Add A Little Mastering Magic

Audio mastering - Ozone EQ
If you don’t know what mastering is, then check out this quick introduction to audio mastering. In essence, mastering is the final stage of production, putting the finishing touches on the recording before it goes out to the public.

Ozone is capable of excellent results, but it’s very easy to overdo the processing – in mastering, subtlety is the key. Fortunately, Izotope have provided some excellent documentation on both mastering and dithering. These are worth reading even if you don’t use Ozone for your post-production polish.

Making The Most Of Your Audio

Audio mastering - Ozone compression
The multiband compression works well, although (as always) care needs to be taken to ensure the life isn’t squashed out of the recording.

The EQ unit has an equalisation matching feature that can analyse the spectrum of any recording, and then attempt to apply a similar curve to your own audio. This may be useful if there is a particular sound you want to emulate, or if you’re simply looking for some EQ inspiration.

If you’re looking for a ‘hands-off’ approach to mastering, then the maximiser has an ‘Intelligent’ mode that does most of the hard work for you… you can simply tell it whether you want your track ‘fast and loud’ or ‘smooth’.

If you would like some visual illustration of Ozone in action, then check out this series of videos which takes the Ozone modules through their paces one by one…


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