Izotope Ozone 5 Stereo Imager

Izotope Stereo Imager

Izotope Stereo Imager

This Izotope Ozone 5 is one of our new plug ins. I’ve been experimenting with it and the results have been both interesting and impressive.

Why use it? It magically gives the stereo field a far greater sense of depth.

If you have a guitar part or a vocal part and apply an Ozone preset, the part will seem to be floating in space back in the mix somewhere. Flip to a different setting and now it may move to the right and be in the forefront. Each setting will change it’s mix placement.

You can do these things with reverb, EQ and panning but there’s a pronounced, ethereal quality about the Ozone sound that tells me there’s more going on than basic mixing techniques.

Yes, I went against all known advice and tried it across the stereo mix bus. Nothing blew up, I didn’t get arrested and it sounded great so I’m good.

Even the presets that, if you believe posts by purist gear heads, are extremely dangerous to touch and should never be used in any situation because “Something very bad will happen,” sound pretty good as-is.

There are many engineers who frown on using Izotope Ozone across the stereo bus. If they use it at all its only on those individual instrument tracks. But my theory is this:

If it sounds better with it on than off, that’s called improvement, use it!

Note that a lot of earlier criticism of Ozone on the stereo bus was in regards to phase issues and Version 5 dropped the delay circuits that caused phase cancellation in earlier versions so some of that aversion to using it at least lightly may have abated.

Granted if I do use it on an overall mix it would be subtle and I’ve found I usually can’t just toss up a preset. For most situations tweaking is imperative and O5 has a lot of functions to mess with including EQ, reverb (nearly useless, just turn it off), a harmonic exciter, a multi-band compressor, stereo imager, and post EQ.

But make no mistake, Ozone 5, used properly, can impart a pinch of extra good mix juju on some projects and who in their right mind says no to that? –b.e.