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iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2 [12th Oct - upgrade price drop]

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Guy Rowland
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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2

Postby Guy Rowland » Oct 05, 2017 10:17 am

Both products are now released - https://www.izotope.com/en/products/mix/neutron.html

This video perhaps shows much of the new features and workflow in both:

What is curious to me about this video - and I'd be keen to hear what others think - is that with the first track in particular, it sounds worse to my ears after the tonal balance corrections. Just to convince myself I wasn't going mad, I did an A/B with that poppier than pop track I really like at the moment by Rae Morris, which I think is a fabulous mix - loads of space with a rich bass and zing at the top end...

...all of which are absent from that Nuetroned track which sounds, well, flat and boring. And that should be an apples and apples comparison, both contemporary pop. Now on the more positive side, you can load your own reference targets, so I could load in Rae Morris and any other popping greatness I have lying around and it would - in theory - guide me to similar targets. This is appealing.

As to the visual mixer, I'm not really sure how useful this will be - it's definitely not a SPAT product, rather just a way of looking at what's already there plus a few bells and whistles such as width control. I wonder is it genuinely intelligent though - to be meaningful it has to not show you the technical gain and volume of a track, but how loud it is, which of course depends to a huge extent on the source and how it was recorded or generated. So potentially interesting, but possibly useless:

I'm not seeing any upgrade coupons to Neutron 2 in my account, only Music Production Bundle and Ozone 8 upgrades. The former is $299, which I'm not sure is worth it for what extra I'd get. I might well trial Neutron 2 first though.


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Arcana
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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2: Released

Postby Arcana » Oct 05, 2017 2:25 pm

There's an upgrade path for $99 for the standard showing for me.

I'm not convinced about the visual mixer either. If it had included reverb I might have been, but all I can see it's useful for now is a quick way to A/B different settings of level/pan on the fly.

I'm going to test Tonal balance control though as that seems like the most useful addition.

I'm a bit miffed that the dynamic Eq doesn't appear to have an attack and release feature added. I don't know why they decided not to add that again.


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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2

Postby Anders Wall » Oct 05, 2017 4:41 pm

Guy Rowland wrote:What is curious to me about this video - and I'd be keen to hear what others think - is that with the first track in particular, it sounds worse to my ears after the tonal balance corrections. Just to convince myself I wasn't going mad, I did an A/B with that poppier than pop track I really like at the moment by Rae Morris, which I think is a fabulous mix - loads of space with a rich bass and zing at the top end...

I'm fairly sure that Dan Grech-Marguerat who mixed and Dave Kutch who mastered DO IT! used their ears and not eyes when conducting their work.

Really love, and have all of, iZotope's plugins.

RE: that tonal balance thing.
WHY?
Sometimes you want that high end to almost distort to get a more vivid vibe, that bass-drum to kick really hard and the limiter to work with a slow release so that it hides a "flexible-timed" bass-player.
etc...

Saying that.
When I use a camera, not a phone, I often find myself resort to that "green" mode they have.
You know when the camera does the balancing and tonal work for me and my only input is a poorly framed picture.

Best,

Anders



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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2: Released

Postby J Rod » Oct 05, 2017 6:01 pm

Music production Bundle 2 (i have this) is now Music Production Suite, I have coupons to MPS at 299$. I feel all that are minor updates to O7N7, dont think that this update cost 299$. I'm not convinced.



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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2: Released

Postby Guy Rowland » Oct 12, 2017 2:20 pm

Just received this from iZotope - good on them.

At iZotope, we make it a point to stay connected to our community of passionate customers. Whether it's product research, surveys, or reading the comments on social media, your opinion matters to us. Last week, we announced Ozone 8 and Neutron 2, and some Music Production Bundle 2 customers expressed concern over pricing.

Effective today through October 31, you can now upgrade to the O8N2 Bundle for the introductory price of $199. The O8N2 Bundle includes Ozone 8 Advanced, Neutron 2 Advanced, and the new Tonal Balance Control plug-in. You still have the option of getting the Music Production Suite with RX 6 Standard for $299.

We are extremely proud of the new versions of Ozone and Neutron. A lot of hard work, research, and effort went into creating these two products. We hope this new price change will allow more customers to get access to our new products and enjoy the integrated workflow of Ozone 8 and Neutron 2.

Might give me a kick to trial the thing properly.


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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2: Released

Postby Anders Wall » Oct 12, 2017 3:23 pm

Guy Rowland wrote:Might give me a kick to trial the thing properly.

Keep us updated :thumbsup:

/Anders



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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2 [12th Oct - upgrade price drop]

Postby Guy Rowland » Oct 14, 2017 9:09 pm

I've read a few positive comments from those with the plugins, especially with regard to the tonal balance element. This is a fairly interesting piece from the designer of the tech with a lot more detail on how it was created and how it works.

https://www.izotope.com/en/community/bl ... ug-in.html



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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2

Postby X-bassist » Oct 16, 2017 7:09 pm

Guy Rowland wrote:
J Rod wrote:This is expecupation and is not confirmed but Music Store announce O8N2 like a bundle with 2 differents "Advanced" products , i hope is not the case and Ozone and Neutron will be a unique product.

Music Store O8N2

Oh good spot, thanks.

Yes, this was another concern for me. Kind of glad I've stuck with Ozone 5 and RX4, don't really see the need for any of the newer features and had no idea about keeping older versions- suuuuuuuuucks. ;)

After 30 years of mixing all I can say is Fabfilter Q2 EQ (and comp, gate, limiter, multiband comp) is what I had hoped for throughout the 90's, when I was regularly using higher end gear- ssl, neve, etc. Yes, they sound good and warm, but don't work well for real surgury. With Q2 I can actually scupt the sound, making what want rather than what the eq is capable of (actually had a mix way back then where I had to send a signal through 3 input channels to get the amount of eq control I needed on one track). Yet I've rarely ever used more than one instance of Q2 on a track. And it always sounds great and can do just about any kind of eq you want, try that on a pultec.

I guess I would relay it like this: Having a string library with one close mic position can work for most composers (you can always add room or hall reverb, right?) but when you start using multiple mikes it's had to explain how much better it is. Especially of drums or brass, but even on strings and woodwinds, we know it makes a differece. And in most cases 3 or 4 mike positions give us great options without being overwhelming.

For me a 3 or 4 band eq is like that one mic position, it can work, but there will always be times when I need more- more bands, more slopes (bell, cut off, tilt, bandpass, etc), more range (+/- 36dB?, yes please!). Combined with a visual specragrah in the background showing me the frequency curve before and after the eq, and a gui that changes sizes (even full screen) and you have plugins that go far beyond what others are doing.

Every vi emulation of old outboard gear is like a 1 mic position string library, but the mic isn't that great. Driving a donkey and communicating by morse code are possibilities as well. ;)



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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2 [12th Oct - upgrade price drop]

Postby Guy Rowland » Oct 31, 2017 3:10 pm

Finally having a trial, and specifically putting the Tonal Balance Control through its paces. I've spent a happy hour just feeding tracks I like into it, to see what it does.

The first surprise - not a single track has been bass-heavy, on the Modern profile. The greatest variation, in fact, seems to be the HF. Rae Morris' sublime pop Do It was all pretty even except the HF, which was quite some way above the limits. This was a simlar story to a great many of the electronic tracks in fact - Bodyache by Purity Ring, Bulletproof by La Roux and Crave Me by Bow To Each Other all had similar profiles which didn't fit the mould, with Lo Mids typically quite low. Happily for me, a recent track I produced for a singer also fitted this exact same curve. However some of the more guitar-based tracks had the opposite curve - All You Need by the Jezebels and Wild West by Lissie had accentuatied the low mids and were way low in the HF. The Pretender by Foo Fighters was its own animal, with High Mids above the guide-bars. I also tried a couple of pop songs - What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction dropped off the bottom in the lows and low mids and really pushed the high mids and HF, while Katy Perry's Firework also went above the HF limits.

One other very important point - the tool only makes any sense at all for parts of a song which are all guns blazing. Most songs go out of bounds in all sorts of places when some the instrumentation drops out, which is kinda obvious really.

So is it any use at all? I think probably, but these tests have been incredibly useful in showing where its limitations are and where it's usefulness might be. The most important thing - loads of great, successful tracks do not confirm to iZotope's idea of correct. One mix I particularly love is Ladyhawke's Dusk Til Dawn, and that produced off the charts figures below low mids and above HF. I don't care - it sounds brilliant to me. Different genres seem to skew towards different curves, with increased HF being the most notable for electronica and pop, and a more pronounced lower mid for the kind of rockier stuff I like at least. What was also obvious is that Tonal Balance won't be a one-stop-shop to great mixes - you could fit within the bands and the mix still be lousy of course. I'd be fiercely anti using this tool as a facist imposition, and to me their demo piece is a contender for World's Worst Demo as I genuinely think it sounded better before than after everything fit neatly into the right bands.

But actually I think I'll quite like having it there, especially now I know what genre stuff tends to look like. So damn it all, I'm hovering over that buy button.



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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2 [12th Oct - upgrade price drop]

Postby Brett » Oct 31, 2017 8:54 pm

How useful is it you think for film score where each cue is not 'all-in'? Did you try predominantly orchestral tracks?

Thanks



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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2 [12th Oct - upgrade price drop]

Postby Guy Rowland » Oct 31, 2017 9:19 pm

Hello Brett, not tried orchestral yet. My gut feeling is that it won't be so useful, partly for the reason you say, it only really makes sense when all sections are blasting (or at least all playing at the same time). Also an orchestra is an orchestra... my feeling is that if you're mixing vaguely normally with good quality samples, a tonal balance will be pretty much right anyway. Other kinds of music it's pretty much anything goes, so this sort of guide is potentially a little more useful.



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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2 [12th Oct - upgrade price drop]

Postby Brett » Nov 01, 2017 9:07 am

Cheers Guy



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Re: iZotope O8N2: Ozone 8 Neutron 2 [12th Oct - upgrade price drop]

Postby Guy Rowland » Nov 06, 2017 11:53 am

So here's a few thoughts on Ozone 8 Advanced, now I've had a chance to use it in anger. I like it. I liked Ozone 7 too, and the differences aren't all that huge. (I got suspicious of Ozone 7 at some point which meant I avoided it, but that turned out to be nothing to do with the program itself but one of the plugs I was using, Oxford Inflator, that inflated so much it went beyond 0db despite the 0db limit, and buggered everything up in the process).

Ozone is a great host, in the main. The ability to A/B before and after the mastering chain, but volume compensated, is invaluable. You can use all your own plugins if you prefer them to the bundled ones - mostly I'm very happy with their plugs though. One irritation is you can't just update a master and have it automatically use the same settings - instead you need to create a new project and then apply the preset, so if you're not careful you end up with dozens of projects needlessly taking up space. My way around that is if I tweak something and I know I need to remix, I save the preset chain and just delete the whole project, then start again.

I guess the big new stuff is the already discussed Tonal balance Control, and the Master Assistant. The latter seems to make a very good fist at a starting point. You put in a few parameters such as if you are mastering for a streaming platform, and it suggests somewhere for you to kick off. I usually take out their maximiser and replace with another, and then use Dynameter to check the loudness to iron out any areas that are getting unintentionally lively - its a slow process as I prefer going back to the mix to more forensically address these issues. For example, on the effects heavy track I'm working on right now, going back and forth in this way isolated a problem with the low to mids on one of the echoes that was getting a bit out of hand on certain phrases that I hadn't noticed. It takes some time to track down fiddly stuff like this, but its a better mix as a result and you shouldn't fall foul of the Loudness Police.

There's a new spectral shaper plugin that I honestly haven't found a use for yet. I can't even really describe what it does, it's a funny sort of effect, but nothing especially useful so far. Oh, and one inexplicable quirk of the Tonal Balance Control in Ozone - it doesn't appear with all the other plugins, but rather in the 3rd party VST section. Even odder, it's not even labelled as an iZotope product, but categorised as Unknown. I had to go to the manual to find it, and it told me exactly this, so it's not an install error either. That's awfully messy, but at least once you know, you know.

Overall it's a very capable package. The Master Assistant I guess puts it into competition with the online services such as LandR also based on machine learning, but here of course you get infinte control over the suggestions rather than very crude ones. And maybe its just how I like to work, but I much prefer Ozone to point out things that might be best fixed in the mix, rather than at mastering stage, an option which isnt really open to you with LandR et al.



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