If you are going to purchase one of them, first read this article carefully. Here, I will provide all the information regarding Fabfilter and iZotope so that you can decide which one to choose.
A few years ago, audio mastering was not so handy for recording and mix engineers like us.
There were special mastering studios with lots of equipment who charged hundreds of dollars for mastering of a single song.
And that was genuine because they had invested their hard money on costly hardware.
But today the scenario has dramatically changed. Nowadays when every industry is adapting digital technology, audio production is not an exception.
Thanks to the digital revolution, along with recording and mixing software, now, we also have mastering plugins available in the market competing with the hardware mastering in every stage.
But several so-called “knowledgeable persons,” say that digital recording can’t compete with analog in terms of sound quality.
If someone said it 10 years ago, I would admit. But today the recording technology is way more sophisticated than earlier.
Today audio software and plugins are capable of producing industry class audio.
Including mastering plugins such as Fabfilter and iZotope.
In this article, we will discuss these 2 great mastering plugins Fabfilter and iZotope and at the end will come to the conclusion, “which one should you choose for mastering?”
BUT, before reading this article,
Okay, let us first discuss,
Why Use a Mastering Plugin
There are several benefits of using mastering plugins.
Let us see some of those benefits.
- The first-ever benefit of using a mastering plugin is you can save hundreds of dollars that you pay when outsourcing your tracks for mastering.
- The second benefit of using a mastering plugin is you can do mastering for others charging a fee.
- Mastering plugins are very affordable compared to analog hardware.
- You don’t need an audio mastering degree to get started with a mastering plugin. There are tons of online videos and coaching available on the internet to provide information regarding these mastering plugins.
- You can use them as DAW plugins on your master output as well as a standalone mastering suite.
Well, here were the benefits of using mastering plugins.
Now the main part of this article begins. Here we’ll discuss the features, pros, cons and my views on these mastering plugins.
Fabfilter Vs iZotope
There are tons of other mastering software available in the market but I always recommend these two plugins. However, they are costly from other mastering plugins, you’ll get much better quality with them.
Even, some people say that they are a good replacement of hardware mastering equipment. And why not, after all, they feature emulation of the world’s best analog mastering equipment.
Now let us first see Fabfilter…
Fabfilter Mastering Bundle
Manufactured by FabFilter Software Instruments, it’s one of the most valued mastering suites in the world.
The founders Floris Klinkert (left) and Frederik Slijkerman says
Beautiful sound. Fantastic workflow. These are the foundations of FabFilter. We create powerful audio plug-ins with superb sound quality and innovative interfaces.
Let us see all those plugins one by one…
FabFilter Pro-Q 3 Equalizer
Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 is the world’s one of the best analog-modeled dynamic linear phase equalizer plugin which can be used for almost any equalizing task including “mastering”.
It has won 15+ awards from different sources.
The best part of this equalizer plugin which I like is you can solo channel to listen to that channel only. This feature allows you to observe the exact frequencies that you are playing in.
There are several other benefits of having this equalizer. You can refer to the Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 review to know more about it.
FabFilter Pro-L 2 Limiter
The second plugin you get in this mastering bundle is Fabfilter Pro-L2 Limiter. No doubt, like Pro-Q 3, it is an amazing limiter plugin for mastering.
It is a peak limiter with extensive loudness metering which supports EBU R128, ITU-R BS.1770-4, and ATSC A/85 standards metering.
Make sure you have a high-end computer to get the real-time level display otherwise you would get in trouble. This limiter will provide you all the information to help the best possible limiting process.
Below are some other benefits of having this limiter in your mastering chain.
- highly advanced algorithms
- linear-phase oversampling
- professional dithering and noise shaping: must for mastering
- surround support (up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2)
- MIDI Learn
- SSE optimization
- GPU-powered graphics acceleration (Graphics card needed)
FabFilter Pro-C 2 Compressor
Fabfilter Pro-C 2 compressor can be used both for mixing and mastering. It has several added features to use ti for mastering purposes.
Here are some features of Fabfliter Pro-C 2 which you should see before deciding to purchase it.
- It has 8 different compression styles, of which one is especially for mastering.
- The range setting limits the maximum applied gain change.
- zero-latency processing
- Intelligent Auto Gain
- External side-chain triggering
- Super-fast attack times helps in mastering
- Up to 4x oversampling
- Variable stereo linking and mid/side processing
The benefit of using this compressor plugin is you don’t need to invest money on other compressor plugins for mixing purposes. Fabfilter Pro C-2 is a multipurpose compressor so you can use it for most of the tasks in mixing and mastering.
FabFilter Pro-MB Multiband compressor/expander
The last one is Pro-MB multiband compressor. As you know a multiband compressor is one of the most essential equipment in mastering. This compressor will help you with that.
Multiband compressors compress certain frequencies while expanding the other ones which is needed to balance the overall frequency range to produce better output gain.
Here are the features of Fabfilter Pro-MB that make it extraordinary in the crowd of compressor plugins.
- It has six processing bands that can be freely placed anywhere in the spectrum
- Handles any form of dynamics processing
- Each band is fully customizable: threshold, range, attack, release, output gain, ratio, a variable knee, lookahead (up to 20 ms), variable stereo linking, etc.
- Intelligent frequency-dependent attack and release curves
- 64-bit internal processing
- Band solo/mute and bypass options (My Favorite)
If you could handle this multiband compressor perfectly then there are tons of things to do with it on your master channel.
Well, here were the 4 plugins which you’ll get with the Fabfilter mastering bundle.
Now let us see the pros and cons of the Fabfilter mastering bundle.
As I have discussed in the last point of cons, there seemed something missing when I was mastering my track. When I got the same track from a professional mastering agency, I was amazed to see that Fabfilter matched 90% of the quality with that.
So, you are not a looser buying Fabfilter mastering bundle. Maybe I was doing some mistakes. If you do well then you’ll get better results then me.
It’s all about trial and runs. But to do your trial and run you must buy this amazing plugin bundle.
If you ask me to give it numbers out of 10, I’ll give 7.
However Fabfilter mastering bundle cost you around $500, you can checkout the latest price by clicking on this link.
iZotope Ozone 9 Mastering Suite
iZotope Ozone is my favorite mastering plugin. There are several reasons which make it my favorite. One of them is the “Reference track Match feature”.
This feature allows you to copy the dynamics of reference track and paste the same to yours. This process saves a lot of time listening and applying different settings to get the desired results.
But as I’ve told you above, the “Reference track Match feature” is not alone which makes it different from other mastering software.
Here are the other features that will excite you to buy a copy of this amazing mastering plugin.
Features of iZotope Ozone 9
- Machine learning – Ozone 9 is an AI-powered assistive audio tool that helps make mastering easier. New source separation technology Master Rebalance which is a part of its AI lets you rectify instrument levels before you start the mastering process.
- Control lows, mids, and highs – You can control all the frequencies separately which allows you to shape your track accurately.
- Match your reference track – As I’ve already described to you that this is an exclusive feature of iZotope Ozone 9 which makes your work a lot easier than ever.
- Includes Imager, Equalizer, Track referencing, Maximizer, Spectral shaper, Dynamic equalizer, Exciter, Dynamics, Vintage tape emulator, Vintage limiter, Vintage equalizer, Vintage compressor, Several codecs, and Dither.
Here were some of the features of iZotope Ozone 9. Now let us see the advantages of having this mastering software in your studio.
When I was using its reference track match feature, it copied most of the dynamics accurately but especially worked well at low ends. High ends should be improved in newer versions.
Overall the match feature is great for a beginner who doesn’t know how to use the plugins. However, there are tons of presets available with it, it can be confusing for a beginner to choose the right preset.
So, I like the reference match feature.
The vintage plugins like Vintage tape emulator, Vintage limiter are great if you want to add some vintage touch to your track. Moreover, presets are provided with vintage plugins that you can choose.
We all know A/B testing is crucial in mastering audio. Thanks to the new Ozone 9, we have it to compare the results.
If you ask me to give it numbers out of 10, I’ll give 8.
No doubt iZotope is better then Fabfilter in terms of UI.
You ave to pay around $450 to $500 for the full version of this mastering plugin. If you want to know the latest price then Click here to checkout.
Conclusion: Fabfilter Vs iZotope ozone 9 Mastering Plugins
Well, here was the comparison between Fabfilter Vs iZotope Ozone 9. Now you know the differences between both the plugins.
If you ask me to choose one of them, I’ll go with iZotope Ozone 9.
There is a reason for choosing Ozone 9 over Fabfilter ie; I love a standalone software for mastering over different independent plugins for the different mastering process. Fabfilter is not a standalone software but a bundle of different plugins.
Now it’s your turn which one you are going to buy. Let me know in the comments. Also, share this article on your social circle so that others could get benefit from it.
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Gautam Roy is a recording engineer and a blogger from India. He loves music, writing and travelling. He is also an active investor and a successful entrepreneur.