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NAMM 2009: Izotope Ozone 4

The cat's pyjamas
Ozone 4 is the latest release from audio-processing software gurus Izotope. Much more than an update to Ozone 3, most of the new version has been re-built from the ground up to improve stability and efficiency. Izotope call Ozone 4 their 'complete mastering system', and with seven different mastering tools — loudness maximiser; paragraphic EQ; multiband dynamics; multiband stereo imaging; multiband harmonic exciter; dithering and reverb — we can't really disagree with their description.

New features include the option to process material in Mid/Side mode and apply different processes to the middle and sides channels. Each of the different processors can be switched to operate in either stereo or Mid/Side modes, so you can, for example, apply stereo dynamics processing, but add a short mastering reverb and high-frequency lift to the sides, leaving the middle channel clean.
Also new is an 'intelligent II' mode for the loudness maximiser, which is designed to respond quickly to transients, while preventing unwanted pumping and distortion. Preset management has been updated too; a dockable floating window lets users choose from a comprehensive list of patches, and customise their own. An 'advanced' button in the preset manager provides further user-customisation, that seems almost limitless. Macros can be set up so that one fader can control numerous parameters across all the processors, and many of the factory presets come with macros that add 'sparkle', using just one control assigned to various parameters.
Izotope have added 'K' metering to Ozone 4, and users can choose to turn on inter-sample peak metering, to ensure digital clipping never occurs.
Ozone 4 is available through M-Audio, or direct from Izotope. Visit the Izotope web site for more information.

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