IZOTOPE OZONE 7 - Education prices start at £50 for the Elements version, up to £194.00 for the Advanced version from Time+Space
(Reviewed by John Verity)
Several Music and Music Technology specifications require learners to create fully mastered mixes of their material and whilst most Digital Audio workstations include tools for performing these tasks many of these generic plug-ins are very basic.
Ozone 7 provides learners with an excellent range of tools with which to master their material, whilst familiarising themselves with the techniques likely to be encountered in real-world situations in the recording studio/ production environment. The 'Advanced' version further allows individual plug-ins to be used within a DAW for use on multi-track sessions.
Genre-specific pre-sets allow learners to quickly access examples of the types of mastering processes used across the industry, with further editing of these pre-sets readily available.
Installation was quick and simple.
A challenge/Response system is used by Izotope whereby the supplied serial number is used to generate a challenge code, which in turn generates the authorisation file via the Izotope website. The process can be completed on-line if the computer in question has internet access – if not the authorisation file can be simply transferred to the computer on which Ozone 7 is to be used.
Once authorised, Ozone 7 appears alongside other plug-ins within the DAW plug-in folder and can be selected as required.
On receipt of a serial number, the programme was painlessly downloaded and authorised to the host computer.
Ozone 7 can be used in Standalone mode, but for the purposes of this review it was first used inside Wavelab to master an already completed mix.
Ozone comes with a number of presets, each of them useful in an educational sense when discussing genre-related mastering processes, as each preset loads appropriate plug-ins in a particular order for the type of music being mastered.
Learners will easily and quickly recognise the effect and scope of the range of plug-ins used, before making their own choices in relation to their material.
This reviewer loaded one of the less extreme presets into Wavelab before fine-tuning to preference and completing a very pleasing project up to professional standards.
Particularly appreciated is the decision to provide a more vintage focus on the tools in this version of Ozone.
Next, the Advanced version allowed use of individual plug-ins inside a DAW - Harrison Mixbus, on a multi-track session.
Each plug-in loaded quickly and easily. The processor-load was reasonable, allowing for smooth operation in a well specified system.
The GUI for each plug-in clearly displays settings and proved easy to operate.
Ozone’s ‘Undo History’ and A/B comparison features make reviewing and comparing processes simply, and the “Automatically Match Effective Gain When Bypassed” feature overcomes the problem of learners fooling themselves into thinking they have created a louder sounding mix when in fact they are simply listening louder! Very useful even at a professional level.
Clearly a lot of thought has gone into this Ozone upgrade, and utilizing the tools available will enable learners to not only improve their practical work, but to explore and experience the skills and practices at a professional level.
The availability of presets should not be a concern, as these presets are really only a starting point and will rarely be totally useable without some form of ‘tweaking’ by the learner.
The person designing the presets has no way of knowing the makeup of the source material therefore they are only to be considered a rough guide, especially in terms of equalization…
Learners at all levels will find the Ozone 7 range useful in the final preparation of their audio work.
At level 3 upwards, the Advanced version is probably most appropriate due to the ability to utilise the plug-ins individually inside the chosen DAW during the tracking/mixing stages of their work.
iZotope provide a generous range of help files and tutorial videos easily accessed online.
Highly recommended at all levels, and providing essential tools at levels 3 and 4.