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Repair, Mix, and Master a Song with iZotope Elements Suite

by Geoff Manchester, iZotope Content Team November 1, 2021

A complete audio production workflow:

Elements Suite

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We're repairing, mixing and mastering a track using RX Elements, Neutron Elements, Nectar Elements, and Ozone Elements—the stars of Elements Suite

Let’s start with the most important piece of this mix, the vocal. Fortunately, we’re using a bone-dry solo vocal as our starting point.

Nectar Elements

Let’s use Nectar Elements to bring this dry vocal to the next level and meet the energy and intensity of everything else happening around it. I’m going to choose a vibe of Modern and a Moderate intensity.

When I press go and play the audio in my DAW, Nectar Elements’ Vocal Assistant uses machine learning and our latest DSP to set parameters based on what it’s hearing and offers me a starting point to fit this vocal in the mix.

Let’s make some tweaks to Nectar Element’s six macro sliders to make this vocal really shine.

  • Reverb: I’m raising the reverb as this vocal definitely needs more reverb
  • Tone: This is our Character EQ which I’m leaving as is. This adds brightness and clarity to the vocal
  • Dynamics: I like where Vocal Assistant placed the Dynamics slider. Dynamics applies compression to the vocal which will ensure a smooth consistent level for the signer
  • De-ess: This track doesn’t have a lot of sibilance, so I’ll leave it at 1, which will engage it a little but not much
  • Clarity: Leave it where it is. Clarity pushes down resonance frequencies
  • Pitch: Not looking to tune this vocal, so I’m leaving it at zero

Next, I’m increasing the output gain of Nectar Elements. I’m doing this because we started with a dry vocal, so we need to make it louder to rise to the energy level of the rest of the tracks in this session. I’m bringing up the gain output of Nectar Elements because some gain reduction occurs when we engaged the dynamic slider, which is the compression slider. So we need to make up any loudness we lost when we compressed the vocal.

Let’s continue making mixing decisions before repairing and mastering this track. I’d like to make the drums more impactful, and I’m going to beef up the whole stack. 

Neutron Elements

I’ve added Neutron Elements to this drum stack, and just like we did in Nectar Elements. I’m going to use machine learning to bring these drums to life. Using the Track Assistant feature, I’m going to go for a preset of upfront midrange. Before we make any more tweaks, let’s tweak some of Neutron’s modules.

Right away things are sounding much more bright and upfront. If I wanted to I could go into these modules, make some changes, add some EQ nodes or whatever it may be.

Let’s move on to fixing a few issues that I’m hearing in the mix, most notably some noise happening in the keys, and some hum occuring on the main guitar track. Let’s start with the keys.

This article mentions a previous version of RX Elements. Discover the latest innovations in RX Elements, including the new AI-powered Repair Assistant, De-Hum (with updated Dynamic Mode), De-Click, De-Clip, Voice De-Noise, and De-Reverb. 

RX Elements

There’s noise almost imprinted in this keys recording. I’ve placed Voice De-noise—one of the intelligent repair tools of RX Elements—on this track, and made sure a few setting are engaged. The first is to adaptive mode, and next we’re going to optimize RX Voice De-noise for music, instead of its dialogue default. We can effortlessly get rid of background noise occurring on tracks that are really important for the vibe of the overall mix. If you’d like to reduce the noise even further you can use the reduction slider and bring it up to its default of 12 dB. I think it sounds great at it’s default.

Let’s take care of some hum that I’m hearing on the guitar’s lower frequencies. When the guitar is playing we don’t hear it as much, but when it drops out it’s much more audible and we need to take care of it. Using the improved De-hum module, we can quickly get rid of this hum by pressing the suggest button, this instructs de-hum to locate and suppress the hum automatically. In a matter of seconds it has located the hum. And just like that, with a few clicks, we can easily eliminate hum with RX Elements De-hum.

Now that we've polished this track with Nectar Elements and Neutron Elements, and made some repairs with RX Elements, let’s get this track ready for market by mastering it with Ozone Elements.

Ozone Elements

I’m going to use Master Assistant in Ozone Elements to help me in the ballpark for a louder, more commercially competitive polished master. If I chose Streaming, the assistant will optimize the processing for a streaming service by ensuring the maximizers optimize to an ideal loudness target. If I choose CD the assistant will optimize the modules and parameters to make sure the track sounds great on that platform. I’m going to go with Streaming instead. 

Just like the indicator says here, for the best results you should play the loudest part of your track like the chorus, so I set up a loop on the chorus. I press next and play some audio to get Master Assistant started. Let’s have a look and see what Master Assistant did to the various modules in Ozone Elements.

In the EQ it added a bit of a boost in the low end and it added a dip around 14 kHz. Try and enable the imager to add a little width and pan to the mix so that the vocal, which is now more forward thanks to Master Assistant, sits back more comfortably. I’m pretty happy with things here.

Let’s do a big loudness match before and after of all of our processing to see how far we’ve come. As you can see, the Elements Suite gives you everything you need to bring a session from rough to radio ready. 

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