Izotope Neutron: First Impressions
So I have had a chance of demoing out this beast of a plugin on my own personal projects and I was completely wow'd by the capabilities of it. The amount of detail in the UI makes this plugin straight forward to use, but also has enough packed in to keep the seasoned professionals thinking outside the box when processing with it.
When I had first heard about a plugin that was going to "fix a mix" on it's own, I wanted nothing to do with it. The amount of detail and work that goes into a mix is separated by important aspects of the content to include genre and instrument specific mixing. So knowing that, I wanted to dig into what the plugin had to offer apart from the "Neutrino" side of things, which I'll explain further on into this. The plugin has a sort of Ozone type appearance, because all of the modules in the chain are laid out right in front of you, showing what Neutron has to offer. A 12 Band EQ, Transient Shaper, Exciter, and two Compressors that can be re-arranged to fit your mix chain. So far, the two that I have dug into the most is the EQ and the Compressor, so I'll harp on those in this segment.
The 12 Band EQ was quite astounding with it's features, as the bands are already set in stone. For instance, you can't turn the High Pass Filter into a bell curve, and vice versa. Each band has it's own dynamics processing attached, which allows for either Compression or Expansion of that specific frequency band you choose. There isn't much flexibility when it comes to the band dynamic processing though, as there is only a threshold and sidechain options for it. While the different Low Shelf and High Shelf shapes are nice, this really comes down to just being a standard EQ in my book. Nothing too fancy, but just enough to do the trick. I couldn't see myself ditching the Pro-Q for this, yet. There is also a Masking meter included in the analyzer, but I found that the analyzer turned on caused the EQ to run a bit sluggish. I'm not sure what was the cause of this, or if it's just demanding on my system, but I found it to be displeasing and ended up turning off all analyzers.
The compressor is a whole new ballgame. This bad boy is loaded with features that amazed me after testing it, and Neutron is packed with TWO of them. Both compressors are equipped as a standard or multiband compressor with two adjustable crossover points, bypass and solo for each band, sidechain and a wet/dry mix slider for each band! This is versatility at it's finest, and I definitely put it to the test. I tested it out on my drum bus, which anyone that knows me knows I love my drums. This compressor handled them with flying colors, and was very transparent and punchy as well. Another feature that I enjoyed adjusting was the "Vintage Mode," which Izotope describes it as this: "Where Digital is a more transparent, surgical compressor, Vintage is more colorful, emulating a number of sonic behaviors from a variety of beloved older analog compressors." So yes, I did hear the analog sound, and there was a different characteristic that I just loved initially after doing an A/B between the two.
Anyways, looking forward to testing out the rest of this beast of a plugin. If you want to check this plugin out, you can visit their website below. Thanks!
Izotope Neutron Link
Pricing: $199 Neutron $299 Neutron Advanced
TruID is the author and maintains all of these blog posts.