Mastering with iZotope Ozone 5: Automation (Part 8)

Transcript:

Hey, guys. Eric Tarr here for theproaudiofiles.com.

In this video, I’ll be discussing how to use automation on a few important parameters during mastering to add a little extra impact to a mix.

So far, I’ve been using the iZotope Ozone 5 plugin to polish up my mix using many different kinds of processing. Here’s what I’ve got so far.

[song]

I’m going to demonstrate three very simple tricks that you can use to add a little extra polish to your mix. The first trick involves automating the amount of reverb during different parts of the song. The purpose of me adding in reverb during the mastering stage is I wanted my instruments to all sound like they were being performed in the same acoustic space. So this reverb is very, very subtle. I don’t want it to be too audible, I just want to just give the feeling that all these sounds were created in the same space.

One thing I noticed though, is that during these different parts of the song – the verse, the chorus, and so on, sometimes the reverb gets to be too loud to where you can almost audibly hear the reverb, and that’s a problem. So what I’ve noticed is the reverb sounds great during the chorus, however during the verse, when it’s a little bit more intimate, it’s too loud.

So what I’m going to do is automate the amount of reverb, specifically the wet/dry mix over here so that the reverb is less during the verse, and more during the chorus. In order to set up the automation, there’s a couple different ways to do it. First I’m going to demonstrate the keyboard shortcut here. In Pro Tools, it’s Control+Option+Command on a Mac (Control+Windows+Alt for Windows), and click, and you’ll get “enable automation” for the wet percent.

Then what I want to do is draw in where I want the wet percent to be on my time line for different parts of the song. So I’ll switch over to the time line here.

I’ve already got my memory locations set up here to give me a guide to where I’m going to automate it. I’ll go over here to my volume and switch over to wet percent. Right now we’re at 25%. During the verse, I actually want to bring it down a bit. I’m going to transition it and I’m going to click over here for chorus at 25%, then during the verse I want to bring it down to a little bit – around 10% or a little bit less. Find the pre-chorus here, also bring it down, and it’s going to transition during the pre-chorus, and we’ll add more and more reverb along the way. This is what it sounds like.

[song]

Great, so hopefully you’re able to hear that during the intimate parts of the song, we brought the reverb level back so that it sounded closer, but then during the large parts of the song, I made it sound bigger and larger just by adding in and blending in a little bit more reverb.

The next trick I’m going to show you involves actually using a high pass filter during different parts of the song, and what that’s going to do is scoop out a little bit of my low end, and then add it back in for a little extra impact during other parts of the song.

So just the same idea like what I was working with before with the verse and the chorus, what I’m going to do is add in a high pass filter at 65Hz and what that’s going to do is during the verse and the pre-chorus, it’s going to take out those really really low frequencies, and then during the chorus, I’m going to add these really really low frequencies back in.

Now in order to speed up the process, what I’ve done is I’ve already went in and am automating here the button that turns it off or turns it on to enable just this one frequency band on the high pass filter. Now you can’t use the same keyboard shortcut here to do it, so if you want to do this you have to go in to the plug-in automation menu here. The one I’ve already set up is the “main enable” here for one, so you have to just go in. In this case it’s on my “equalizer 2,” and you just look for the main enables. That’s how you do it if you need to set that up.

So I’ve already dialed this one in. I’ll switch over here on this tab, and you can see what I’m doing. It’s just a matter of turning it on and off during different parts of the song, and you’ll see it kick in here when the verse comes in, and then I’ll play it back later on so you can hear what happens when I add that extra low frequency. It’s very difficult to hear that it’s gone, but as soon as you add it back in, it’s adding a lot to the track just to give it that extra weight during the chorus. So here’s the different parts.

[music]

Now if I fast forward…

[music]

So that just gives the perception that the kick drum and the bass are just getting a little bit more beefy during the chorus by just adding that little bit of extra impact. Of course, you can go on and automate these things during different parts of the song as you see fit.

The last trick I’m going to show you has the same idea, and it’s to change the level of harmonic saturation using the harmonic exciter during different parts of the song. Same idea here, I’ll demonstrate with the verse and the chorus.

Instead, this time, I’m actually going to automate the amount knob here, so if I switch over to this… What the amount knob does is control not just one individual slider here, but the overall amount of processing that’s taking place during this module. So by doing this, I can scale back all of the harmonic saturation that’s taking place across all of these bands, or scale it up by bringing the amount above the default place right here.

So I’ll go over here. Again, I’ve already gone in and enabled automation here, so it’s just a matter of clicking here, getting the module amount, and this is going to be something I’m doing very subtly. I’d change it from 100% basically down to 90%, so I’m scaling it back just by 10%. During the prechorus, I go back here to 100%, and during the chorus I’m going to 110%. Now it’s just going to brick up more saturation during the chorus, bringing it back down during the verse, again very subtly, but it’s just going to change the impact of these different parts of the song. So I’ll play it back and let you listen to it now.

[music]

So, hopefully I gave you guys some new ideas of things that you can do, parameters to change around during the mastering stage in order to just add that little extra impact to your mix to set it over the top.
Again, the whole idea with automation is now you can change how the way your track sounds, again very subtly, during different parts of the song that you can just make the listener add that extra level of emphasis or weight to different parts of the song. And that’s all there really is to it, certainly there’s plenty of other ideas that you guys could go in and come up with on your own for different parameters that you like to automate, and that’s the best part. The whole idea of automation is that it can open up all kinds of different creative ways of mixing and processing your sound.

However, in my next video I’m going to move on to something else. I’m going to be discussing how to use the limiter to bring up the level of your mix to a mastered level, so stay tuned for that.

Eric Tarr

Eric Tarr

Eric Tarr is a musician, audio engineer, and producer based in Columbus, Ohio. Currently a Professor of Audio Engineering Technology at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.
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