Tips & Tutorials | November 16, 2016
Ozone 7 Elements takes the uncompromising sound quality of iZotope’s award-winning Ozone 7 Mastering Suite and puts it in an easy-to-use plug-in that can help you generate great-sounding masters quickly. Ozone 7 Elements is quite simple to use, but we’ve put together this seven step tutorial to help you get started quickly.
When using a mastering limiter like the Maximizer built into Ozone 7 Elements, you want to make sure this is the last processor in your signal chain. The presets are designed to provide all the processing you would need in a mastering signal chain: equalization, compression, limiting, saturation, and more. But if you do want to use other plug-ins on your master bus, make sure they are inserted before Ozone 7 Elements.
One of the most important steps to getting a great sounding, loud, and powerful master is to make sure nothing is clipping inside your DAW. If you see meters in your workstation that are going “into the red,” that is likely causing digital distortion that can sound harsh and take the impact out of your music. Adjust the levels across your mix so that nothing overloads and ensure you have plenty of headroom going into the master bus. We’ll get things sounding nice and loud in just a minute!
Also, check the input meters inside of Ozone 7 Elements. If the input is clipping (indicated by the red lights above the input meter), reduce the level using the input slider. Keeping conservative input levels is key to letting Ozone 7 Elements give you the best sounding master possible! As you start to go through some of the presets, you’ll notice that some of them specify optimum RMS and peak input levels to help you ensure you’re getting the best sound quality out of the processing.
When you first open Ozone 7 Elements, the preset browser will display <Default>, and both the Maximizer and Dynamics modules will be enabled. You can adjust the “Dynamics Amount” to zero and have use of the powerful Ozone Maximizer on its own for outstanding transparent limiting, or set the dynamics amount to engage some subtle multiband parallel compression before the peak limiting.
Then, adjust the Maximizer threshold to begin limiting peaks. You’ll notice that as you bring the threshold down, your master gets louder. This is because makeup gain is being applied automatically.
Scroll through the 70+ professionally designed presets to find a sound that fits the style and character of your music. Some presets use just the Maximizer, some also add the Dynamics section or Equalizer, and allow you to adjust their proportions to suit your music using the macro controls.
You can adjust the Maximizer threshold and Dynamics Amount just like you did with the default mode. You can also adjust the EQ Amount, which will scale the gain across the EQ curve to apply more or less depending on your preference. By default, it’s set to 0 at the middle of the control. Bring the fader to the left to apply less of the EQ, or to the right to apply more of the EQ.
Bypass Ozone 7 Elements and listen to the difference before and after to make sure the processing sounds just the way you like it. Our brains have a natural preference for louder sounds, and because Ozone 7 Elements helps make your mixes louder, we’ve built-in a special feature to match the effective gain when bypass is engaged. Just click on the tiny ear icon to the right of the Bypass button. Now, the bypassed signal should be just as loud as your processed signal, so you can carefully compare the sound quality before and after Ozone 7 Elements, without being influenced by the changes in level.
Once you’ve found the settings that work best for your music, make sure to turn off effective gain matching, and then use your DAW’s export or bounce feature to create your final master. Ozone 7 Elements works at any common format and resolution your DAW is likely to support up through 24 bit/192 kHz, so you can export mastered audio files as full high-definition WAV files, or any other format your workstation supports (like MP3, AAC, FLAC, etc.). Unlike online mastering services, there’s no limit to the amount of WAV files you can create, and you can adjust the processing to be as subtle or aggressive as you like.
Ozone 7 Elements has its own undo system and a complete history list. Just click on the left-most icon below the input meter to open the history list and click back through different settings and presets to find that great sound you had a few moments ago.
In this same collection of icons, you’ll see a question mark on the right. Click this to bring up the complete user’s manual and get detailed descriptions and explanations on all the controls and features of Ozone 7 Elements.
Try the free, 10-day trial of Ozone 7 Elements for a simpler way to master.
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