Ozone and Neutron are two of iZotope’s flagship products. Ozone is an all-in-one mastering suite for your DAW. For Standard and Advanced users, it is also available as a standalone application.
Neutron is a one-stop tool for mixing in your session that lets you see where masking is happening, and allows you to mix visually in a mono/stereo space without your traditional knobs and faders.
The Advanced versions of both Ozone 8 and Neutron 2 come with the new Tonal Balance Control feature. This unique feature lets you look at the overall tonal centers of your track and compare it to a reference.
Both products do not have to be used exclusively for mixing and mastering. This case is especially true with the Advanced versions of the software, as many of the modules can be used as individual plug-ins. This means that if you need some spectral shaping done on cymbals, use the Ozone Spectral Shaper tool on that cymbal track.
Want to excite frequencies on a master track, but want them to have a subtle warmth? Use the Neutron Exciter module.
When you hear something you don’t like, then hone into the meters and modules that these programs have at your disposal. If you see a track that is masking another, get in there with Dynamic EQ.
All that being said, there are definitely reasons you may need to use one plug-in over the other. One main difference is due to the DSP and interfaces of both plug-ins. As it is designed primarily for mastering, Ozone 8 will often provide a more subtle, transparent sound. This is very handy when Ozone is on your master bus, or when working with the finished stereo mix down, where small changes often have bigger ramifications for your audio.
With Neutron 2, you can still make these small adjustments, but the plug-in also encourages you to go a bit crazy as well. The Multi-band Gate and Transient Shaper modules can drastically change the nature of your tracks. The Vintage mode in the Dynamics modules can add unique percussive character. The individual nodes in the EQ module can be set to Dynamic mode for extra flexibility.
You will also notice many of the features in Neutron 2 lend themselves to working with individual sound sources. Neutrino mode, for example, can be set to Piano, Guitar, Bass, or Vocal. In addition, Track Assistant in Neutron will analyze your audio in the context of an individual instrument, while Ozone will analyze in the context of an entire mix.
Finally, Neutron 2 Advanced includes Mix Tap and Visual Mixer, which work best on multiple tracks or buses in the mix.
The best way to decide between using Ozone and Neutron is to try out the full product demo for each. Our demos allow you to use the full product for 10 days before requiring a serial number.
Watching our videos and reading the resources on our website product pages is another great way to educate yourself on what the products do. Personally, I find that using the demos alongside the tutorial and walkthroughs is the best route. This way you can experience first hand how the software is working and interacting in your DAW or computer environment.
2. How Can Tonal Balance Control Help My Mix?
One of the more common questions the iZotope support team fields is “how can Tonal Balance Control help my mix?” That’s our task today: to break down how to spot potentially problematic frequency areas.
Let’s say that you’re working on an EDM song in your favorite DAW. The genre demands significant low- and low-mid-frequency presence, but the final mix needs to be clear and balanced (word of the day) in order to avoid listener fatigue.
Suppose your mix is too bass-heavy. With at least one instance of Neutron 2 or Ozone 8 on each of the tracks in your DAW, and the Tonal Balance Control plug-in on the final mix bus, the meter display looks like this: