Review – iZotope Ozone 7 Elements
iZotope’s flagship mastering product, Ozone, now has a lighter-weight (and less expensive) version suitable for those just dipping their toes into the deep end of the mastering pool.
by Ginno Legaspi, Mar. 2017
Ozone 7 Elements is an easy but powerful plug-in from Massachusetts-based software developer iZotope. They are the maker of the company’s popular flagship mastering software Ozone 7. This cut-down version gives users an access to a simple yet effective mastering plugin without breaking the bank. Basically, it combines these great features: an easy to use preset-based mastering plugin, a collection of 70+ professionally-made presets, simple parameters/controls to get the sound you’re after and a maximizer(limiter) that’s derived from Ozone’s legendary Maximizer. For beginners who are intimidated to process their own tracks … just relax. The folks at iZotope couldn’t have created a more user-friendly plug-in. Ozone Elements 7 is a joy to use due to its clean, uncluttered and super-easy-to-navigate GUI. But don’t let the simple interface fool you. Under the hood, Elements utilizes the same engine and algorithms found in the standard Ozone for that loud, full and rich sound.
When launched, the plug-in gives the user an assortment of radio-ready presets broken into four categories; All-Purpose Mastering, Delivery-Specific Mastering, Genre-Specific Mastering and Signature Presets. From acoustic to rock and from modern pop to electronica you can certainly find a preset you need in the Genre-Specific folder. The Signature Presets were crafted by Greg Calbi (Norah Jones, Bob Dylan) and includes a handful of useful ones. On the other hand, the All-Purpose Presets are general presets used as a starting point.
Right next to the preset browser is the limiter, aka, the Maximizer. This is Ozone’s most popular module and it is included in Elements. The Maximizer can significantly bring your track louder and more energetic without having to sacrifice clarity and punch. Although you can push the maximizer threshold for louder mixes, it is a good practice to have enough headroom on the master fader to avoid clipping. I find that setting the threshold between -3dB to -7db works best for the ambient music I make. I like to keep things “warm and transparent” as much as I could.
Below the browser are the two macro controls. These controls or sliders help you tune your track to taste with the EQ and Dynamics Amount to shape the final mix you’re after. The EQ Amount adjusts the amount of frequency spectrum/tone shaping that is applied to the audio and the Dynamics Amount adjusts the amount of uncompressed (dry) vs. compressed (wet) signal in the audio. These two sliders eliminate the complexity of having too many controls to tweak if you just want good sounding results.
So what do I think? Ozone 7 Elements is a professional-quality plug-in unit that is easy to use and with an excellent sound quality. It is definitely geared for producers/musicians who are looking for a DIY, no-nonsense mastering plug-in. I like the idea that Ozone 7 Elements has many uses. It can be used for various applications, such as bringing dynamics under control. With plenty of good presets to get you started, this is a very handy tool for creating loud and energetic mastered tracks.
Windows: 7, 8 and 10
Mac: OS 10.9-10.12 (Intel only)
Plug-in formats: Pro Tools 10-12 (RTAS, AudioSuite, 64-bit AAX),
VST 2, VST 3 and Audio Unit
Ozone 7 Elements lists for $129 USD but sales are not uncommon. To purchase and for more information, go here:
This software is also available from numerous other sellers of music-related software.