Mastering with Ozone 8: What is Mastering?

This mastering guide is meant to teach you the skills you need to get a decent master for your track using iZotope Ozone 8 Standard. This guide will educate you on the mastering process and get up to speed with the essential mastering techniques.

We are going to break down this guide into 6 sections:

  1. What is mastering?
  2. Signal Flow & Metering
  3. EQ
  4. Compression
  5. Limiting
  6. Preparation

Ozone 9 Advanced, the latest version of iZotope’s mastering suite, offers even more powerful features — check out the guide here.

What is mastering?

Mastering is the process of finalizing a song by applying subtle technical touches that make it sound professional and “radio-ready.” A mastering engineer is responsible for preparing and submitting files to the label or various digital domains for ingestion (ie: preparing a “master.”)

The goals of mastering

When coming up with a master, there are a few things you should look out for. Here are some tips:

  1. The master should play well on a wide range of systems, from laptop speakers, to earbuds, to a car stereo, to a high-end sound system).
  2. The master should sound like a finished product.
  3. The master should meet technical specifications by label / artists / digital streaming platforms.
  4. The master should enhance the mix.

I can’t stress enough the importance of point 4. Many engineers and producers can get so carried away with mastering a track that they lose sight of where they started. Ultimately, your master should be enhancing the sonic quality of the mix you started with.

Rule of thumb stuff

Here are 5 tips worth remembering when approaching the mastering process:

  1. Whenever possible, master in a room that you’re familiar with.
  2. A/B your master against your mix at matched levels. Ozone 8’s gain matched bypass feature allows you to do that.
  3. Work fast and don’t spend more than 30 mins on a single song.
  4. If you’re tired or out of ideas, close your session, take a break, and come back to it later. 
  5. Do not over process. Do not over process. Do not over process. Mastering is about subtle touches and nuanced decisions that go a long way.

Ready to get started? Check out Signal Flow & Metering next.

October 5, 2017