Ozone Elements Mastering Software Plug-In
We all want great-sounding masters - can a beginner-friendly plug-in do the job?
by Craig Anderton
iZotope’s Ozone integrated suite of mastering tools is a respected, comprehensive set of mastering plug-ins that provides an alternative to à la carte solutions based on using different plug-ins from multiple manufacturers. Aside from restoration (iZotope offers the RX Audio Editor restoration plug-ins for that), Ozone has what you need for mastering-oriented processing: EQ, multiband processors (dynamics, exciter, and imaging) maximizer, analytics, and more.
Ozone Elements occupies the space between something like LANDR’s online mastering (push button, listen, if you like the results buy the master) and Ozone. It aims to simplify the mastering process, but whether it’s right for you or not depends on whether you can accept the tradeoffs involved in the simplification process.
What You Need to Know
Ozone Elements surprised me in two ways. First, the presets aren’t over the top; they’re designed to master material, not impress you with how much difference they make to the sound. Kudos to iZotope for presets that “keep it real.” Second, as someone who knows the full version of Ozone very well, I can hear how iZotope has adapted the technology from a more expensive and far more versatile program in service of something simple, yet effective.
If you don’t have a clue about mastering, find something like LANDR too limiting, and want to make your mixes sound better, Ozone Elements is a practical, sensible, and well-thought-out solution. However, note that it won’t teach you about mastering, because everything is under the hood; you won’t know what made your music sound better, just that it does. Also, it’s no substitute for a professional mastering job. I realize that sounds almost like an obligatory disclaimer, but while going through several presets I thought “yes that’s close, but…” because I wanted to add some EQ notches, or make the image just a tiny bit wider, or whatever. If you want to learn about mastering, get under the hood, and have more flexibility, Wavelab Elements costs about the same—but remember you’re also buying a significant learning curve. The learning curve for Elements is a short, straight, painless line.
So is Ozone Elements for you? Fortunately, you can download a trial version and find out. iZotope has identified a target audience—people who want a better-sounding two-track mix, but don’t know how to do mastering and can’t afford a pro—and come up with a plug-in that addresses those needs simply and effectively.
Video: Getting Started with iZotope Ozone Elements
Ozone Elements is available as a download from:
Craig Anderton is Editorial Director of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.