Every Friday, we’re sharing a newly released song or album from one of our favorite artists, and discussing how they used an iZotope product on it.
This week features acclaimed Australian producer and DJ tyDi, who relied on Ozone and Neutron to mix his latest album, COLLIDE, a collaboration with two-time GRAMMY-award winning film composer Christopher Tin. The album combines EDM, pop, and orchestral music, a unique sonic blend which presented unique mixing challenges.
“COLLIDE was the biggest project I've ever had to produce, mix and master. There's just so much going on in each session. Because of the nature of mixing an entire orchestral section with electronic music, I really had to take a different approach than I would usually when mixing and mastering a standard dance or pop record. The two greatest tools that came in handy for making this all work were iZotope's Ozone Advanced and Neutron Advanced. The reason these plug-ins are so essential is because of the the precise control they give you and how the two plug-ins work together hand in hand.
“Having these project sessions that included insane amounts of dynamic range due to the orchestral parts meant that it wasn't just a matter of mixing down the song and then going ahead to master it. I had to go back and forth between the mix and master and constantly adjust particular frequencies of each instrument to allow them to shine.
“Neutron is extremely handy with assisting in finding those unnecessary frequencies in an audio file. For example let's say we have this huge brass section, string section, woodwinds and percussion. Those stems alone consist of 10–20 instruments all playing different parts; you can imagine just how muddy the mix could get without having EQ’d out the frequencies that are uncomfortable, the ones that would only get slammed in the master and become a real problem.
“In past cases I'd scan up and down the EQ to find these unwanted frequencies, but with Neutron I was able to use Track Assistant to help me find the pockets that should be pulled out; it's surprising how accurate this plug-in is! Especially when after a full day of listening my ears would get shot, the ability to have this assist me sped up the mix process.
In conjunction with Ozone, this is when the real magic happens. The amount of control over tonal balance is amazing. Ozone set new standards for mastering that came as a huge advantage to the completion of the album.
“The new Spectral Shaper in Ozone is also fantastic—the interface and visual display in real time is extremely accurate and allowed me to calm particular transients with ease. There were sections where the strings are relaxed, but there are giant orchestral drum hits building in a crescendo; with each hit, the strings become bigger and bigger as layers and counter melodies are introduced. Obviously, I needed the mix to be loud, but I couldn't let my drums lose impact at the expense of bringing up everything else under them. The tools in Ozone give me the ability to tame these huge drum hits without squashing them or losing transients, while at the same time keeping the strings (and other instruments) at the level where they are heard clearly and don't get pushed down with the drums.
“For me, Ozone gives me everything I need for mastering in just one product. No need to have tons of extra plug-ins in my master bus. Just Ozone. The EQ is outstanding, the control of dynamics are spot on, and the sheer detail in which I could tackle such a unique hybrid project is all there. I was able to keep enough dynamic range in the orchestral parts of the songs so they'd feel alive while pumping up the dance elements to solid club level.”
—tyDi, DJ/Producer (COLLIDE was self-released via Global Soundsystem Records 3/9/18)