When in doubt Izotope’s Ozone is probably the best place to look. It has been great since version 1 and will always find itself in anyone’s top 5 mastering solutions. Ozone works best as a standalone mastering suite. This has the advantage of taking you out of your familiar DAW workflow and gives you a useful opportunity to view and listen to your music from a different perspective.
Ozone has various processing modules you can load up onto your imported audio. You can chain up various EQs, an Exciter, Dynamics, Imager, Limiter, and Maximiser. Use only the modules you feel are best for the audio and you can also load other VST plugins as well if you like. Or, if you are less experienced then you might want to browse through the library of presets to see if something matches the style or genre you are trying to emulate. But there are two very cool tools to help you with this.
The first is the “Master Assistant” and it is a work of pure genius. Master Assistant analyses your audio and then decides upon the best settings, depending on what you are trying to achieve. It invariably comes up with something that strikingly improves your mix. You can then tweak it to your heart’s content.
The other cool feature is called “Reference.” In this mode, you load up a piece of music that you really like the sound of and then switch between that track and yours so you can match up elements of your mix to the music you love listening to.
In the Advanced version, there’s Tonal Balance Control, which provides visual analysis of your audio as a guide to balancing the sound with EQ. It provides countless templates for you to aim for to master (pun intended) professional masters.
The interface is very clean and feels calm, professional and a little futuristic. It’s brilliantly visual, comes with presets and templates that really do work and even if you have no clue what you’re doing you will end up with a better sounding mix.
• Izotope Ozone 9 – Standard – $249
• Izotope Ozone 9 – Advanced – $499