Mastering in iZotope Ozone 9.1 – One Song, Two Pairs of Ears, Two Perspectives

In an interesting experiment, both Chris and I are mastering the same song, using iZotope’s Ozone 9.1 We thought it would be interesting, fun, and revealing, to see how the two of us approach the same song using the same mastering software.

As we all know, there is no one right way to master a song. Everyone’s aesthetics, ears, and perceptions are tuned slightly differently. We didn’t discuss anything about how we would approach it in advance, other than to agree that we each wanted to start with Master Assistant, and then take it in our direction from there.

In this particular example, it turns out that we both came at it with a similar mindset. That is, we are starting with a relatively well-mixed song. Independently, we each chose to begin from a light-handed “do no harm” approach.

Once we ran Master Assistant, we each took the mastering in a slightly different direction. See what you think. Here is the first version, mastered by Eli Krantzberg:

Here is the second version, mastered by Chris Vandeviver:

And finally, here is a short play through of the song, toggling back and forth between the two masters:

Which version do you prefer? Why? What would you do differently? Let us know in the comments below.