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Squidoo Review: iZotope Ozone 5

Electronic Music Mastering And Ozone 5

If you're an electronic music producer you've probably heard of, tried, or even own iZotope's very popular mastering suite known as Ozone. It offers a full array of tools designed to give you the capability to perform every aspect of the mastering process.

I've been using Ozone since the very first version and it's come a long way since then.In this review I'll take a look at the modules supplied in this latest version and offer my opinion on what it does right and wrong.

What It Comes With

Ozone 5 comes with 6 main modules that are available either separately (with Ozone 5 Advanced) or in the typical all in one plugin. There is also a meter bridge available in the Advanced suite to bring up the total modules to 7.

The most commonly used module will probably be the limiter. How does the current version stack up against Ozone 4? In my testing Ozone 5's limiter is very smooth, retaining transients and detail while still achieve high volumes when necessary.

There is a new Intelligent mode III and this is what I have been using in most of my mastering projects on a daily basis. I've compared to some other popular limiters and overall prefer Ozone 5 now. There might be cases however where certain material might sound better using another software but for an all around performer I really like Ozone 5.


The second most used module for me in Ozone 5 is the Exciter. Previously I had used the exciter in Ozone 4 very subtly. It could add a nice sheen on tracks but care needed to be taken in order to not create harshness or a digital quality to music after running through my analogue mastering chain.

I much prefer the new harmonic exciter model in Ozone 5. There seems to be a much smoother range of processing before any negative artifacts are introduced. There are a few types of effects to choose from but I'm getting the best results at the moment using the default Tape selection.

A good trick is to increase the amount judiciously and then mix in this processing with a smaller mix setting, say 5-10%. What happens is the large amount setting causes a saturation effect, almost like a limiter, which increases perceived volume. Mixed in low over the program material this creates the impression of loudness with out much increase in actual gain.

On the other hand if you wish to maintain transient detail then use smaller settings for the drive amount and larger mix settings. This adds detail, with less density, but more clarity than the previous setting.

The Rest

Thirdly I mostly use the multiband dynamics in Ozone 5 although generally sparingly as it can get un natural sounding if too much is applied. I do like how the attack and other controls for each band are now displayable without having to bring up another menu as in previous versions.

I don't use much reverb in mastering so can't comment too much on that module. Most of my eq'ing is done in the analogue domain but I have found that the few times I needed to quickly made adjustments digitally that Ozone 5's eq did the job well and smoothly.

For stereo widening I prefer to either use a hardware SPL Vitaliser or Mid side processing with bx Digital eq. I find that using Ozone's stereo image usually upsets the frequency balance I've achieved elsewhere so it also doesn't get used too much.

I would also caution to not use the delay function of the widener as it can introduce unpleasant artifacts.

Overall though I can highly recommend Ozone 5 for your electronic music mastering needs. Coupled with a strong mix your master can come out sounding very well using this mastering suite.