IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced full review and demo

It just does not matter if you are recording, mixing, mastering, or performing live sound for bands and or DJ’s with a digital system, IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is incredible. I want to share how I use this amazing powerful platform of tools, and offer you a fun challenge…

Please know there are two versions of IZotope Ozone 7 available.  IZotope has found a way that allows folks to experience the “Ozone platform” for much less money, by offering an “Essentials” version of Ozone 7. If you are new to mixing and mastering this seems like a great idea to me, with the option to upgrade as you grow. This demo/review post is for the new IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced. Please use the link provided to learn more about the two versions.

When it comes to mixing and mastering plugins, there is one name that continues with creative innovation as well as continuing a top quality. I was turned onto Ozone from other pro mix and mastering engineers, and for many reasons. The included value of a “all in one” style plugin is a serious value for any engineer. The creative uses that come with such a powerful tool remain countless. The quality of the included components, like EQ’s and compressors, inside of IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced, are top notch, and they are so easy to work with and configure. Getting great sounding music has never been so easy or simple thanks to IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced.

IZotope Ozone has gone through some cosmetic changes with the passing time, and it becomes better and easier to use with each new design. One thing that has remained constant is Ozone 7’s amazing usefulness and incredible sound quality. There are countless good reasons as to why IZotope Ozone has been one of the most raved about plugins for mix and mastering engineers the world over. It is amazing, and IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is the new standard!

IZotope has found a way that allows folks to experience the Ozone platform for much less, by offering an “Essentials” version of Ozone. If you are new to mixing and mastering this seems like a great idea to me, with the option to upgrade as you grow. Please use the link provided to learn more about the two versions.

In a nutshell, IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is a series of mixing and mastering tools all bundled in a cleverly designed platform. You can open up any of the modules (EQ, Vintage Compressor, Vintage Tape,  Multi band Compression, Vintage Limiter , Maximizer) within the platform, move them around in order, bypass/solo anything, use Mid/Side processing, and even ad in Dithering, all of course with many versions of each process, and of course to professional standards.

The “GUI”, or graphic user interface, of  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is laid out in such a way that it is so easy to use, and let me tell you why. The metering! Not only do you have displays for everything that is changing with elaborate metering but you have actual digits displayed too. This combines to remove all doubt about what it is you are doing. There is a spectrum readout with the EQs, stereo field scopes, multi band frequency reads for all of the tools that alter frequency, dynamic range information for compressors and limiters, and this list just goes on and on. This is amazing stuff people!

 IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is powerful and incredible, and I have been a fan and a user for years and years. I was filled with joy on the first day I opened up Ozone. I was amazed by the features at first, and overwhelmed by the endless choices at first, but that soon gave way to better and better mixes and masters.Years and countless mixes and masters later I continue to rave about the raw potential and the overwhelming power that was Ozone 5. You can only imagine the joy I felt when I downloaded and first opened up IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced. This tool is a home run!

Let me just say, right here and now, that I feel mixing and mastering is an art form. Like any art form, the artist must devote massive amounts of time to practice, learning, and of course making mistakes.  As we learn our craft, we collect techniques, we learn to better use the tools available, and we find ways to improve the tracks that we create or that we are given. It is all about spending the required time to fully learn what the tools are capable of, how to harness that power, and learn the necessary techniques that we employ using these tools in order to accomplish our goals. Like any art form or trade, the better in quality and the more precise the tools are, the better the artists or tradesman results will be.  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is a whole set of professional, powerful, and precise tools, all in one easy to use platform.

First, the “main section” of IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced has many useful features that all mix and master engineers use all the time. You can “apply” IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced in series (100 percent wet) or in parallel (any amount of not wet), or in any place in between. In a world that has a spoken rule of “less is more” this feature helps take your mixes over the top. Add to the list of features “Mid/Side capabilities” and now your head explodes. But before you start cleaning brain matter off of your monitor, lets toss in the ability to place your whole mix into “mono” at the click of a button. This stuff is standard for IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced but rare in other plugin brands.

The list of powerful and incredible features just goes on and on. For example, when it comes to “soloing” frequency bands so that you can better hear, that is only a click away. You can bypass IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced as a whole, or you can bypass each module you open up (EQ, multi band compressor, tape saturation, etc.), which allows you to get extremely precise with your mixing.

Let me tell you that one trick that has taken my mixing and mastering to new heights is learning how to dissect and examine reference tracks.  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is the simply the best tool I have found for taking apart and looking closely at reference tracks. With  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced I can actually hear and see (with the selection of included scopes) what is in mono and what is in stereo, I can solo any region of the frequency spectrum for a better and up close dissection, I can “solo EQ” anything I choose, and let me stop rambling by telling you I can even EQ match any reference I choose.

EQ Matching is a feature that even many of todays top mixing and mastering engineers take full advantage of. You can take an EQ curve from any source music and then apply that curve to your music, just to judge how far or how close you are to the reference source. This is powerful.

I of course use IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced when mixing and/or mastering, and let me tell you that I use it all over the place, on all sorts of tracks. As I typed this part of the review out a question popped into my head. The question is “Could I totally mix and then master out a complete albums worth of multi track sessions using only  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced“? Let me give you some honesty here, and tell you seriously that I wholeheartedly believe that I could totally mix and then master an entire album using only  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced. I do however have certain plugins that I love to use for certain tasks, as we all do, but I know I could do without them if forced to. The album might sound different, but it would sound great.

Let me go on here and give you some examples of the issues I can quickly and easily solve just by opening up  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced when mixing and mastering multi track sessions of original music…

Compressor…

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What else can I say about compression that has not already been said? I compress just about everything. I find new and exciting ways to accomplish tasks, to employ compression, with each new piece of music I work on. I have learned how to increase attack, increases sustain, add beef to a track with parallel compression, compress a whole mix with bus compression, and the list just goes on and on. The point here is that I can quickly and easily accomplish all of these chores with the compressor found inside IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced . Boom, done!

But that is not the end of it. I also love being able to “see” with my eyes, what is actually happening inside the compressor. IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced  “GUI” or graphic user interface is laid out in such a way that it is easy to use, and it displays everything that is changing. You get elaborate metering and actual digits too. This combines to remove all doubt about what it is you are doing. Powerful indeed!

Stereo Imager…

stereo imager

I can quickly and easily put any frequency range in mono or in “exaggerated stereo field”, with  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced, which is priceless to me. Just to give you some examples of why we might want to do this sort of thing… Bass frequencies need to be in mono in most situations.

When mixing, I put my bass guitar in mono with the stereo image section of  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced. Often times I use “L.C.R.” panning which means the stereo image of the drum overheads need to be widened or narrowed down to match. I can place a frequency range in solo and choose only exactly the cymbals and then get to work making my alterations.

Continuing on with the stereo image… When mastering a song or album, I place all of the low end, up to around 100 to 200 hertz in mono, and in about one second worth of precious time. I use reference tracks to “gage” where to stop the mono/stereo divide”, and  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is the boss for examining reference tracks. There is not another plugin I even think about for performing these sorts of duties, as IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is effortless and easy on the processing power.

Multi band Compressor..

MBC

Here is a tool that has taken my mixes and masters over the top. It has taken me a lot of trial and error to figure out how to best use Multi band compression, but it has paid off in a big way. I use “MBC” when mastering mostly, or on a mix bus, but I have used it on certain tracks too. Like I mentioned in the video above, if you are reaching for an EQ to place across the entire mix bus, try \multi band compression instead. It is simply incredible at “evening out” unruly frequency ranges. Loud cymbal? Try MBC. Powerful bass? Try MBC. You get it, right?

First I like a powerful low end. So, I will place the MBC from  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced across a bass bus and remove some of the dynamics, which adds sustain. . This allows the bass to be present yet not disappear after the transient. I also replace the gain (make up gain) that I compressed away. This one trick is fast, simple, and effortless to perform with  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced and it really helps the whole mix to “better gel together”.

I use MBC found in  IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced to tame out of control cymbals too. I have actually used the “solo frequency function” in the IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced  MBC to first locate and then tame an out of control snare hit! How is that for precise? Look, once you wrap your mind around multi band compression and the endless things you can do with it, you might find yourself not needing less and less EQ’s on the master bus. The possibilities are endless here, and I suggest that if you are not using MBC, then you get into using MBC sooner than later.

EQ…

EQ

The EQ section is worth the asking price all by itself. Fully parametric is only the beginning. The features are almost endless, here, in the EQ department, but let me discuss some of my favorites. The user can select analogue or digital EQ types, with mid/side capabilities, which is incredible all by itself. Of course all of the usual filter types are represented (notch, high pass, low pass) and everything is easy to adjust and extremely well laid out. I love how you can dive in as deep as you want to go, or you can choose to keep it fairly simple, too, if you decide.

Limiter…

limiter

I limit a lot of things. I like all of my tracks to be heard. I very much dislike a track that “pokes through a mix” and then disappears, unless it is supposed to of course. Limiters are handy for this task, and so many more. Limiters are like insurance, too, as you can make sure a track will never ruin a mix just by setting a ceiling with a limiter.

I of course use limiting when mastering. We all do. It is how we set up and employ the limiting that gets all of the attention, right? I try to keep my mixes and masters within a certain dynamic range, depending on the style of music. For most mastering sessions and limiting with a limiter, “less is more”.

Trying to retaining some of a songs dynamics while taming down the dynamic range is the job of the day. Sometimes you don’t really limit all that much. Other times I lean into a limiter so much that I feel like I am breaking a law. The limiters found inside IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced will help you make great sounding music that fits inside your dynamic expectations. I actually just came up with that last “dynamic expectations” bit, but it’s not bad, eh? Whatever you think of my sayings, please know that IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is a serious tool that has become my “go to plugin” for many tasks.

Vintage Tape…

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I use tape saturation all over the place. It is like a secret weapon for me. How? Whatever I place it across, kick drum, snare, vocals, guitars, etc., just sounds better. Having such a killer sounding tape machine emulation that does not hog my resources like so many of the others out there, is amazing and a deal maker in my book!

Exciter…

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Let me remind you that the platform is incredible all by itself. I rave about the metering which is out of this world. We sometimes need to see with our eyes what is happening, and IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced gives you the truth in amazing detail. You can “see” the levels, dynamic range, frequency spectrum analyzer, stereo image, inputs/outputs, mid/side information, and on and on. Like I say to friends in the mixing and mastering community, “We mix with our ears, for sure, but we double check our work with our eyes”. Having access to some of todays best tools (EQ’s, Limiters, Multi band Compressors, Tape machine emulations, saturation, compressors, and so much more) inside this platform is powerful stuff.

If you make music, mix music, master music, or mix live music using a digital system or a DAW, then IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced should be in your tool box. Why? The list of solid and rational reasons is lengthy, but here are a few for you.

First, the raw power. The power and the potential of IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced speaks volumes. These are some of todays most powerful tools all in one easy to use platform. 

Second, the end result. You can begin learning your craft by entering into the Ozone platform with the Essentials” version. As you grow and become more confident you can always upgrade to IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced when the time is right. Your mixes and masters will grow with you.

Third, the value! I am going to wrap up this post by offering you a challenge. Please go online and make a list of all of the best EQ’s, compressors, limiters, saturation emulators, stereo imagers, frequency analyzers, stereo imagers, dithers, and all of the other tools and features found inside IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced. Next, add the prices of all of these items. When that is done, compare your total to the price of IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced. You can now see the value here. It is a “no brainer”, especially when you realize how well everything works together inside the Ozone platform.

IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced is powerful and precise. Professionals world wide rely on IZotope Ozone 7 Advanced and so should you. I can’t imagine a world without it.

 

Episode 90, “Lies that cost you money”

In todays episode we talk about your electric instruments, expensive microphones, tube gear, power amps, speakers, and more. The more you understand about the world of clever marketing the more you can save.

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Breaking into live sound production“, a live sound product that explains everything you will need to know in order to begin your live sound career, including how I use what I call “the 4 M’s” to help destroy feedback before it starts.

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The “UPLIFT DESK” from The Human Solution. This is the standing workstation I rave about so much.

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Rock Solid Guitar Stands” are furniture grade multi-guitar stands that help me be more productive.

Trigger Platinum 2.0 (review/demo) from Steven Slate Drums

I got out of my home recording studio and got into live sound about three or four years ago. I have worked steady and gotten to a point that one of the services I now offer is “live multi track recording”. I also do the mixing and mastering, which leads me to todays’ post review/demo. If you record, mix, or master music, you should read this short post and watch this short video.

I do more and more live recordings. What I mean by this is that I record bands as they play out live. In a perfect world we would spend time tuning the drums, set up our best recording microphones around the kit, and spend hours making sure the parts of the drum kit were mic’d up to perfection.

That just does not happen. Usually there isn’t enough time for all of that. Most often the drums come out of a case from deep within someone’s van, not touched since the last gig. Were lucky if we finish setting everything up before we launch into a sound check. Recording considerations, like mic placement, come last in these situations. After all, we have a gig to play. Lets instead make sure everything is working and it all sounds acceptable. Everything else comes after, if there is enough time.

This means instead of nice recording microphones, we set up the cheap dynamic mics that are used in live sound. We set the mic stands where we can, and that becomes the spot. If they are not perfect for recordings sake, too bad. Instead of moving the microphones around until they are best placed, we move on to bigger issues.

This makes giving the band a great sounding “live recording” difficult. The drums always sound as if they were recorded by an amateur. Are you finding this same exact issue? I have a solution, and it is called Trigger 2.0 Platinum, and it is from (genius) Steven Slate, of Steven Slate Drums.

The blazing speed and ease at which you can easily perfect any multi track recorded drum tracks is astounding. You can blend in up to eight samples per track, which is mind blowing. You can pan, gate, tune, and blend each sample to taste. If you are responsible for recording live drums, recording drums, mixing todays’ music, or in the live sound field at all, you must at some point get Trigger 2.0 Platinum, its just that obvious. I am as speechless about the end result as my clients are, and they think it took me hours and hours to get the drums to sound so amazing.

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Episode 89, Increasing home studio output in quantity and quality

Yep, its so true. We can put out more music, way better sounding music, and in less time. Check out how in today’s episode.

Also, in Episode 89, I mention the following…

Breaking into live sound production” This is the career starting kick in the pants that you have been looking for! You want in on the lucrative world of live sound, right? Here is the product you are searching for.

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My own resource page with reviews posted.

 “UPLIFT DESK” from The Human Solution. Work longer and feel better with a standing desk!

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PreSonus Faderport makes writing automation, mixing levels, and recording away from your desk a breeze.

faderport

5 things your probably doing all wrong in live sound production…

Hi, my name is Kern Ramsdell, and I am an all around audio nut.

I live and breathe all things audio. I own a humble home recording studio, live sound system, and at any one time I am a live sound engineer for local bands and venues. Too be completely honest about live sound, I just cant get enough of it.

That said, the world of live sound is far from perfect.

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I have learned the right way to do a million things but only after making a million mistakes. I just finished a live sound product titled, “Breaking into live sound production“, aimed at helping newbie live sound engineers, but if you would like more information about it simply click on the box below.

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Here are five mistakes I see live sound engineers making…

 

1) You cant think in reverse.

I believe that in order to be a better live sound engineer we should think in reverse whenever possible. Here is an example for you.

Stage volume is a constant battle with most bands. When a musician asks me to turn up (lets say) the vocals in their monitors, I don’t do it. Instead I think in reverse. I turn everything else that might be in their monitors down, making sure to not touch the vocals at all. Then, if need be, I turn up the volume level of the monitor.

So why go through all of this? The thing that usually happens is that you get sucked into a never ending cycle of turning things up, louder and louder. We should work hard to stay clear of these never ending volume cycles.

As we turn up one thing in a monitor everything else then seems quieter as a result. Next, you will be asked to bring up another instrument, followed by yet another. Once you turn one thing up everything else just seems too quiet. The volume knobs go up and down, so why not try turning everything else down. This way, they can hear what they want to, better than before. If it is too quiet after you turn down the loud channels, turn up the monitor slightly. They will not know that you did anything except what they asked for.

Believe it or not we apply thinking in reverse to things all the time. Ever apply “subtractive EQ”? I also use reverse thinking when something is too quiet in the mains. If the sound level is too low after my adjustment, I raise the whole mix ever so slightly. This helps keep a sonic-ally cleaner show with a much more constant volume level.

2) You have gotten comfortable doing things the wrong way.

There is probably a much better way to do some of the things you are currently doing, weather it be routing certain effects, applying compressors, or running your live sound rig. Whatever it is that we could be doing better, we just have gotten used to doing things the way we are doing them.

Hey, why change if it works, right?

I have encountered systems that flat out had things hooked up in crazy ways. As these systems grow, the things that are done in order to accommodate for improper connections or techniques grow and grow. At some point these systems become impossible to operate. It just becomes too hard to work that hard.

There is a saying I like to quote that states “As the twig bends, so grows the tree”. This speaks to me. I take it to apply that if you make exceptions to common sense and hook things up wrong, or use gear in ways that the manufacturer never intended, while the system is small, imagine how crazy things will be when you grow into a massive rig.

Read manuals and get to understand the gear you come in contact with. Learn alternate ways of accomplishing like tasks. Learn how to do less with more.

3) Your ignoring those unsolicited critiques.

We all get them and we get them all the time. Some nights I get more than one. People cant resist telling the sound person what they should do better. I used to think to myself, “Who are you to tell me what I should be doing?”. But not anymore.

I believe everyone has something to say. Hearing is dynamic. We all hear differently and we all have unique experiences and opinions. Ever walk around a venue as a band plays? Things will sound drastically different depending on where you stand. So what does this all mean?

I try to listen to what people tell me. I also look for common threads while listening to critiques. If we truly want to improve and get better at live sound production then we need to be open to critiques and learn from them.

Not only do I listen to critiques, I also try to help people express what they are trying to share with me. Not every person is into sound. They most often don’t know how to express what it is that they wish to say.

4) You have gotten tired.

You just don’t work with the same level of interest that you used too. You feel as if the spark has gone. This is not the same thing as becoming lazy, but they are related to one another.

Let me give you a few examples of this if I may.

Maybe you don’t listen to different microphone placements anymore. Instead you just take what you get when placing microphones in front of amps, and “just go with that” straight into the mixing console. That really stinks for everyone because if you try a few placements you will probably find the best spot for the mic, providing a much better production.

Another example might be never taking a second look at your stereo compressor (in line with your mains) as you work show after show. Before you know it things sound flat. When you finally do look at your compressor settings you notice the ratio is set to “full on limiting”, or at about a 20:1 ratio. This is a reach, I know, but it happens. Knobs will get turned and settings will get moved.

Lastly, maybe you have grown tired of listening to new ideas. Bands mention new things to you, like their ideas, expecting your excitement, but instead you just roll your eyes. I see it all the time. Everyone feels it too. Its tough to remain excited about work, and believe it or not, this applies to live sound too.

5) You are not open to new ideas and new technologies.

You have sworn off new technologies and new live sound products. You maybe say things like this, “Hey, if the Beatles didn’t need it back then why do we need it now?”. Bye the way,  that is the biggest load of garbage I have ever heard. The troubling thing is that I hear it, and things just like that all the time.

The truth is that the Beatles would have loved to have access to the gear of today. Back then people paid little attention to creating new products or technologies for music. Massive track count, multi track recording studios were decades away. Concerts, in the era of bands like that, were way under powered and problematic at best. The same goes for all aspects of the audio world, like studio work, songwriting, instrument manufacturing and design, and the list just goes on and on.

We live in an incredible moment in time. There are massive corporations staffed with thousands of people, all creating new products and technologies for the music industry! There are a lot of new gadgets out there, and I cant defend all of them, but I beg you to remain open to new ideas, new concepts, and new technologies.

Believe it or not, people once swore off computers as over complicated calculators. Can you imagine a world without them now?

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If you are thinking about getting into live sound production either as a freelance live sound engineer or as the “dedicated sound person” for your own band or venue, and you are curious as to what you will need to know, please know you are not alone. I just finished a brand new product aimed at answering the most common questions that most new engineers have. I also teach the principals that you will need to know and understand, like impedance and how to combat feedback before it happens. Its called “Breaking into live sound production“, and its ready to help your next production be your best!

Episode 88, Winner 3 and a creepy true story…

“Breaking into live sound production” is now complete and ready for your purchase and instant consumption! I am so proud of how it came out, and I am excited for all of you to check it out. My aim was to simply remove the painful embarrassment, sleepless anxiety filled nights, and all around stress that comes with live sound production. Please use the links provided for you or simply click on the product box below to learn more about “Breaking into live sound production”.

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Congratulations Kenneth Mort and Julia Breeze for their genius and their hard work on the catchy and elegant song titled “We can do anything“. It is a job well done and proof that only two tracks is sometimes just enough. I love this song and I couldn’t think of a better song to close out yet another successful year of the Home Recording Weekly Songwriting Contest.

Todays shout out is for a fellow live sound nut and a live sound tech guru, “Big Nate”. I have been watching and listening to Big Nate for a while now and he has a lot of interesting and a lot of valuable information to give to you. Please “Subscribe” to all three channels as I know you are going to love him!

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Here are links to his YouTube channels and to his podcast…

Big Nate 84

Live Sound 101 (YouTube Channel)

AV Shop Talk Podcast

Episode 86, “Lets get weird about audio”

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Welcome back to another fun episode of the Home Recording Weekly Podcast. Today I talk at length about a phenomenon that has continued to completely overcome my senses as I work in live sound.

Mentioned in todays episode:

 “Working class audio podcast” from Matt Boudreau

Recoding Studio Rockstars podcast” from Lij Shaw

The UPLIFT DESK from “The Human Solution“.

This is what my actual UPLIFT DESK looks like…

mydesk

Thanks for listening to Home Recording Weekly.

Stay tuned to see who winner number three of the 2016 Home Recording Weekly songwriting contest will be…

Kern Ramsdell

Episode 85, “Winner number two of the songwriting contest”, plus a gear and techniques chat”

 

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Howdy, y’all. I was just blown away with Jose Neto and his great song, “Gotta place”. It seems as if everything has a nice place to live and there is a lot of separation. Great song and a job well done sir!

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Please use this link to jump over to Episode 81 where you can hear and read about all of the great prizes that are heading to Jose.

Amazing Products mentioned in todays episode:

UPLIFTDESK” from The Human Solution

 UPLift desk3

Programing drums“, from Joe Gilder

ReThink Mixing“, from Graham Cochrane

Mixing with compression“, from Matt Weiss

Ultimate mastering formula“, from Rob Williams

Dueling Mixes“, from Joe Gilder and Graham Cochrane

Pop Production“, from Kris Crunk