MS Senior Mastering/Mixing Engineer Peter Doell, Senior Mastering Engineer Erik Labson, and engineers Warren Sokol and Gabriel Wallach recently shared their insight on mastering and discussed how they employ iZotope's Ozone to craft solutions for virtually every mastering challenge.
Mastering is the art of fine-tuning: Warren Sokol works a lot with Ozone's multiband compressor and Exciter to perform changes with surgical precision, such as making the bass pump from the center by filtering out the sides. "I also like to use the Exciter to just do a tiny bit of harmonic enhancement," he says.
Ozone's Exciter lets you dial in the right amount of analog warmth, and can add harmonic enhancement to make a recording bloom. Using the Exciter to excite certain frequencies can allow individual instruments to shine within the mix, making them more sonically prominent. "I haven't had any other processor that did that in the same way. I really like the Exciter in Ozone a lot," Warren concludes.
Ozone's Limiter is a favorite with engineer Gabriel Wallach. "Specifically the Limiter in Ozone is one of the best-sounding ones, and the Dither as well. I don't overdo it, it just gives me the extra that I need at the very end," he adds.
The UMS engineers all agree that mastering ultimately means making decisions that make the music sound as good as the artist intended. It's important to be able to step back and be aware of the overall sound of the recording without getting lost in individual clips. "Our job is to steward the song all the way through, that every ounce of musicality can be savored by the listener," sums up Peter Doell.
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