With the dawn of the digital age, everything has become easier, more convenient. Not only do digital music, filmmaking, word processing and e-mailing allow for instant accessibility, but they have also allowed for a much more widespread use of these mediums. Something, however, has been lost in translation between the glory days of analog and digital music. With the compression used on digital files, the original recordings lose that flair that can only be experienced in live music.
iZotope Inc.’s brilliant new program Ozone is the perfect software to solve this problem. Not only does it simulate a naturally resonating analog sound, but does so in such a way that you’ll never have heard your music better. You can now play digital music through a media player and hear all the warmth, clarity, natural frequency ranges, bass, and sparkle that makes analog sound great. This program transforms sub-par speakers into impeccable stereo systems with the touch of a few buttons.
Ozone is a “plug-in” for the media players Windows Media Player, Winamp, and Quintessential Player. By downloading (or buying) Ozone, you continue to listen to music through one of the above programs, but Ozone will filter the sound through its Analog Modeling System, giving your music that crisp, warm clarity that seems to be lacking in digital music.
The great thing about Ozone is that it’s a great audio enhancer for anyone, regardless of music preference or pickiness. If you’re hard to please when it comes to sound quality, this is the program for you. If you’re not, this is still the program for you. Ozone can be downloaded for free, and despite the fact that the free version does not come fully equipped with everything that the paid-for version does, it’s still a tremendous improvement and well above satisfactory. If your sound is important to you, then shelling out the $30 USD price should not be too much a price to ask for phenomenal sound.
If you’re not picky about the sound of your music, give it a try anyway. Chances are you’ll be enormously surprised by the difference you hear—the texture is more distinct, the bass is a stronger presence, the tones and natural reverberations of the music pop out, giving the sound an overhaul that will please your ears far more than the less vibrant sound of most digital music. With the free version, iZotope has included several preset enhancement modes. The downside is that you cannot tweak these to get the precise sound you want, but even the presets present such a huge improvement in sound quality that it’s hardly a burden at all. It comes with three different overall modes (Valve Equalizer, Room Simulator, and Tube Amplifier). Within each of these modes, there are more specific settings (default, less sparkle, less bass, extra wide, warm and airy, headphone listening, etc.) Each of these settings has a distinct sound and you’ll find that you might need to select the presets to accommodate the various sounds of different artists.
The real meat for audiophiles, however, comes in the paid version of Ozone. With this version, you can take absolute control of your sound, down to the very tiniest of sonic detail. Not only do you have access to all the above presets, but also hundreds more. Then it allows you to take the presets and customize them, carving the sound to fit your ears with such tools as the visual equalizer; tube compressor controls to adjust warmth and low end resonance; a fully customizable room simulator that will place you in whatever natural environment you want—control everything, from the size of the room, to natural frequency ranges. You’ll find that your own living room transforms into the room with the best acoustics you’ve ever heard. Function
Even if all this technical mumbo jumbo confuses you, worry not. If you don’t want to bother with tweaking the sound, download the program, turn it on, and let the music do the talking. And audiophiles, get ready to recapture the sweet sounds of analog that you’ve yearned for.