iZotope Ozone 7 & Ozone 7 Advanced Review

iZotope is back with a big new update to its Ozone mastering suite featuring a host of new retro modules. Alex Holmes gets vintage…

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Details Kit Ozone 7, Ozone 7 Advanced
Manufacturer iZotope
Price £169, Advanced £339, upgrade from Advanced 1-6 £135
Contact Time+Space 0183755200
Web izotope.com
Minimum System Requirements Windows: 7, 8 & 10, Mac: OS X 10.8-10.11 (Intel only) RTAS, AudioSuite, 64-bit AAX, VST 2, VST 3, Audio Unit

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We’re big fans of iZotope’s all-in-one mastering software, and it gets used to some degree on every track I produce. Ozone is well known for its precision tools, but perhaps less so for adding some analogue-style warmth to your masters. In version 7, however, the boffins at iZotope have set their sights on crafting some new vintage modules based on a range of classic outboard kit, along with plenty of new features to fill out the package.

Vintage Chic
Whether you opt for the standard or Advanced versions, you’ll get the usual crop of excellent processors, including EQ, Dynamics, Imager, Exciter and Maximizer modules, available as either plug-ins or standalone software.

Additions to the standard version include the Dynamic EQ module from Ozone 6 Advanced, the new Vintage Limiter module, a new IRC IV Maximizer algorithm and MP3/AAC export. The Advanced version adds Vintage Tape, Vintage EQ and Vintage Dynamics modules, plus an mp3 codec preview feature; and like previous editions, also comes with separate plug-in versions of each processor, plus iZotope’s metering suite, Insight. The GUI retains its crisp, modern finish, which allows you to easily drag and rearrange the order of the modules.

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Most modules have the option of running in M/S mode, and there’s a comprehensive set of global and module presets.

Winter Warmers
There are plenty of new algorithms, but how do they sound? The Vintage Tape is based on a Struder A810, with controls for input drive, bias, speed, harmonics, low and high emphasis, and it can be used to add satisfying crunch.

The Vintage Compressor has a feedback design that’s inspired by several classic compressors, with a slightly more distorted sound and an excellent, flexible sidechain with three filters. Although it might not match the authentic tube smoothness of the UAD version, the Pultec-inspired Vintage EQ module is a phenomenal tonal shaping tool, and having a graph to show the unique filter shapes, plus the ability to run in M/S and L/R modes, makes it one of the most flexible Pultec clones.

The new Vintage Limiter offers Analog, Tube and Modern settings, and is based on a Fairchild 660/670. Like all of the Vintage modules, it helps expand Ozone’s sonic palette and provides a warmer, more saturated alternative to the more clinical Maximizer algorithms. Speaking of which, the new IRC IV features Modern, Classic and Transient modes and is capable of squeezing even more volume out of your tracks.

It does this by dynamically analysing the loudest frequencies that are most likely to cause distortion and reduces them before they hit the processor. This worked its magic on some tracks, helping to give a more even sound, but on others it changed the balance too much, so we decided to revert to IRC III. Finally, the Codec Preview allows you to hear what your master will sound like at different compression settings.

Alternatives
IK Multimedia’s T-RackS Grand (€479.99) features a bigger collection of modeled classic hardware, while the Lurssen Mastering Console (€239.99) has a streamlined approach. Alternatively, you could go with the Fab Filter Mastering Bundle (£319), which has only four plug-ins, but they’re all phenomenal.

Tools in the Box
iZotope has put a lot of work into this update and it will add more tools to your arsenal. Frustratingly, three useful things that were removed from version 5 – the ability to load saved reference curves into the EQ, the Reverb module and the gate in the Dynamics module are still absent. However, this is a minor niggle – and with the new features in both versions, and reduced price of Advanced, there’s never been a better time to add Ozone to your plug-in list.

Key Features
● All-in-one mastering software
● Plug-in or standalone
● New algorithms and Vintage modules
● New IRC IV Maximizer setting
● MP3/AAC export and Codec Preview
● Advanced also includes Insight metering plug-in

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