Izotope - Ozone 8 and Neutron 2
Izotope was founded in 2001 and is one of the first developers of multitasking tools that can both mix and master. Their release of Ozone 8 and Neutron 2 brings a whole new level of sophistication with flexible processing making it perfect or game audio composers, sound designers producers and engineers.
Ozone 8 Features:
Mastering suite, Plug-in and standalone, In-app referencing and AI Mastering Assistant, Spectral Shaper Module, Tonal Balance plug-in
Mixing suite, Gate module, Visual Mixer and Mix Tap, Tonal Balance, AI Track Assistant (Minimum system requirements: Mac OS X 10.8.5 PC Windows 7)
Neutron 2 is a unique plug-in with the ability to automatically analyze source tracks and suggest the best settings. This minimizes the time it takes to mix and the Ozone 8 mastering suite can actually communicate with Neutron 2, forecasting and addressing issues early in the mix.
Neutron 2 helps to fix your mix by touching every track and the plugin can be on every track. If your CPU is maxed out, simply insert the ultralight Mix Tap plug-in which includes an arsenal of tools and can communicate with other tracks using Neutron 2. Track Assistant automatically creates unique presets for each track and only needs to listen to a few seconds of audio to know if it's an instrument or vocal before applying a template. It applies advanced processing, combining EQ and compression alongside spectral contouring in a way that would take far longer if done manually. The Track Assistant is the most powerful aspect of Neutron 2 and can set the ratio as well as attack and release times, excitation and threshold. Having a starting point like this is incredibly powerful as it gives you a point of reference to work from. Neutron 2 can make decisions for you but it's also possible to manually audition presets or just create your own settings.
The Neutron 2 suite includes Visual Mixer and Tonal Balance Control which can be applied to the master bus on your DAW. Visual Mixer shows the pan, volume and stereo width for tracks with Neutron 2 and/or Mix Tap instantiated on it, but also allows you to adjust these parameters by dragging and dropping. The level metering is essentially a white dot in the middle of each track, providing a visual representation of balance across the spectrum. Tonal Balance Control helps your mix translate well across different playback systems and listening environments. Their defualts of Orchestral, Modern and Bass Heavy handle most styles of game audio and show the energy distribution found in those broad genre groupings. Tonal Balance Control can also analyze target reference tracks you'd like to emulate, with the ability to save for later use.
Ozone 8 features Master Assistant which provides a brilliant starting point for mastering. Multiple genres were analyzed to produce target curves containing typical spectral characteristics of each one.
Choose from Streaming, CD or Reference as a target and have the target loudness taken care of. For example, -14LUFS is a typical loudness level for streaming online. Once Master Assistant listens to a few seconds of the loudest part of your mix, it's cross referenced with the 10 preset target curves and creates a unique target curve for the final mix. The ability to import up to 10 reference tracks is a huge highlight of Ozone8 as it let's you A/B your mix and actually see the difference. From there you can use the Spectral Shaper to repair problem frequencies as well as transient elements.
Ozone 8 allows one to get incredibly close to a finished mix, in a fraction of the time. While it doesn't always give the best result, the results always seems to be near the goal line. What Izotope has done with this software is beyond impressive job and any mixing or mastering work can be handled with it. The combination of Neutron 2 and Ozone 8 makes finishing a track faster with pro results. It's a complete collection of mixing and mastering processors with the flexibility to add third-party plug-ins and outboard hardware outboard into the mix. Overall, the individual track focus simplifies a process that is often obsessed over. The educational influence of using this software is evident once you start playing around with it. Engineers of all levels can learn something and become more competent in their game audio projects. Izotope offers a free trial that is sure to hook anyone involved in mixing and mastering game audio