Waves Gold VS Izoptope Alloy with Ozone
by, 05-04-2012 at 03:20 PM (3463 Views)
I gotta say. I've used Alloy and Ozone 4 for years.
After only 2 weeks of using these Waves plugins, I'm just blown away.
Not trying to plug them or anything.. But they're selling a ton of ala carte plugins for $64.
I would highly recommend you check out Waves. All their plugins are free for 14 days. I think my mixes have gotten a lot better in the last 2 weeks, and as importantly, my workflow has increasted rapidly. I'm convinced I can mix the same song in about an hour that yeilds the same quality as Alloy/Ozone in 3-4 hours.
So in this comparison, I'll look at the Izotope Alloy and Ozone combination vs Waves Gold. Both should be similar at overall price.
The combination of Alloy and Ozone is very powerful. I have Ozone 4. In Ozone 5, if you buy the more expensive edition, you can break the plugins out into channel plugins. Because Ozone is so resource hungry, Izotope made Alloy. This plugin is pretty light on resources, and can be used many times on many channels. Waves plugins are as good on a channel as they are on the 2bus for mastering. The Alloy Ozone combination I have noticed uses significantly more RAM than the Waves equivalent. However Waves uses significantly more CPU. In Cubase, if you max out your RAM, it will crash. If you max out your CPU it will skip. Both bad situations, but I'll take the skip over the crash, especially if you're at mix down. If you're tracking, a skip can be detrimental. In mixing, you'll live. Also, I can say that Alloy and Ozone are both significantly more visually appealing, and have smoother GUI's. They're also both much more tweakable with a lot of back end menus. Also having presets as a whole channel strip can be a good thing. Alloy has much more useable presets than Ozone. Ozone, it's fun to use a few of them as a learning tool to see what it can do. But on every 2bus I've ever used it on, it benefitted more to start it from scratch. Waves presets are a little more vague and hazardous. Especially with the limiters. Sometimes they seem like they're used just for mastering, and some of them have a whole list of detailed instrument-by-instrument presets. All of which are as useful as the alloy plugins, yet Alloy has significantly more, and the interface to use them is better. To help save resources and track insert space, most of the plugins include several different versions. For instance, I think the C1 alone has a mono, stereo, just the comp, just the gate, just the expander, or a combination of all 3, etc..
What I found after comparing both over the last couple weeks is that Waves yielded more musical results, a faster workflow, and a simpler interface, though not as visually pleasing. In all the plugins I've used, Waves seems to respond to certain things much more pleasantly than Alloy. For some reason the EQ Q, the compressor attack's and release, the compressor knee, etc.. all seemed to respond much better than Alloys. Ozone is a great all in one mastering tool, but I found it easily made a brittle master. It will make your mixes very loud without clipping or pumping. But there's just something harsh about how it does it compared to a well put together Waves chain on the 2bus.
Waves Gold comes with VEQ3, VEQ4, Q10, and Renaissance EQ. Alloy has an 8-band fully parametric EQ with a digital and analog setting. You can adjust the Q, the type (bell, shelf, filter) very easily. The Alt-Click will let you solo and let you zero in on problem frequencies easily. On versatility, Alloy probably wins this one. Ozone's biggest advantage here is the matching EQ. It is a great reference tool that can let you grab a similar "pro" track, and let you identify trouble areas in your EQ curve if they're lacking. I didn't use it very often other than the purpose of identifying problems. Probably the only time I used it was for voice over stuff where I needed to match a video camera to my studio setup (tv commercials to change dates and stuff like that).
I haven't played with the Renaissance EQ very much yet. Looking at it, I think it's probably the most similar to Alloy's EQ, though the Q10 is similar as well. Though the Renaissance products market as analog sounding, I haven't had a chance to play with them enough to see if I liked them. I just know I hated the Renaissance Channel. The easiest way to use Q10 in my opinion is by clicking the correstponding button box and dragging it around. It's not very pleasant to look at. Trying to adjust these by clicking the node like you can in Alloy is too jumpy, the vertical scale kind of sucks, and the GUI doesn't handle it very well. However I like the Waves default horizontal scale much better. For some reason my low ends come out tighter than they did with Alloy. Also there's a few nice presets that simply set the frequencies to snap to common problem areas, with default Q's. You can select one of these and just adjust them up and down. It's very cool.
The waves VEQ3 and 4 were a game changer for me. Something about limiting the options and reducing the visual feedback just made everything so much better. Set a -3db on one of the knobs and click through the corresponding frequencies and hear how it reacts to the track. I often use these first, then add Q1 to surgically alter any problem frequencies.
Alloy wins this one on versatility again. You can adjust EVERYTHING with very precise detail. However, I don't really like the knee settings at all. They're not very smoothe. But your ratio, attack, and release commands have very high resolution for precise tweaking. You can sidechain up to 4 bands, and each instance of alloy has a comp1/comp2, letting you run a pair of series compressors very easily. Alloy also has a nice mix control for parallel compression. I could imagine that running just one band to duck the bass guitar for the kick drum would be very cool in comparison to the whole thing. I've never really tried it. Waves new C6 has this ability, I hope they pop that into V10 of Platinum haha.
Waves Gold comes with C1, C4, H-Comp and V-Comp.
C1 sounds very good and is the most modern of the ones included. I believe the sidechain can trigger off of different EQ types, so it can be similar to the multiband sidechain, but not quite as versatile. I like the gate with C1 much better than the one with Alloy. Again, Alloy is probably more adjustable, but C1 lets you put a "bottom" on the gate, which means instead of clamping it to zero, it clamps it down to that db. I really like this, I don't know why, but it's a nice control. I'm sure you can get the same results by playing with Alloy long enough. However, for instruments with long pauses, you might want to retain some of that background. For instance, you can reduce hi-hat bleed into the toms a little bit without as much pumping.
I don't really like the V-comp very much so far. I like to use it very lightly as a drum bus compressor, and it has worked well as a compressor if you need to crush the bass guitar. However, on everything else I've tried it on, I think it pushes things way too hard, pumps a lot of things easily, and the limiter just simply isn't versatile enough for my tastes.
The H-Comp is probably my favorite compressor of the bunch. It's a mix of limiting your options like a vintage compressor, has an analog sound, but the versatility of modern compression needs. Also has a great mix knob, a punch knob (similar to Alloy's Transient), you can set the release to a BPM, and it has a bunch of great presets. Some of the presets are mixed too heavily, and I often back the threshold off from the preset.
C4 vs Alloy's multiband probably wins this one. I have always looked at multiband compressors as band aids for tracks, whether there's a harshness you want to back off, or a bottom end you don't want to boom through un-suspectingly. Again, it's how the curves attack the compression. And the C4 has range that adds a really cool versatility to how you command the compression to clamp down. And you can get away with using the C4 as your primary "loudness" tool. Surprisingly enough, if you take this thing far, it can crush the mix down to less than -6 peak RMS well. Then you can use a limiter lightly to grab those extra peaks. Ozone's multiband is similar, but will not let you push it this hard without artifacts. To me, both on the 2bus are supposed to be getting the overall mix ready to the final limiting. They both do a good job.
A small +1 to Waves for the metering on their compression and limiting plugins. They all have a better definited gain reduction than Alloy has (unless I'm blind and don't see it). So if you know you just want to shave off 3-6 db from a tom, and see how it responds, it's really easy.
Alloy's spacial isn't that powerful. It does however sound good. Waves S1 is very powerful and can be pushed beyond reasonable limits very easily. However you can also skew the stereo field to balance out the R/L evenly very easily. I don't think Alloy or Ozone has that ability. The spacial tool in Ozone can be focused on 4 different bands, and of course has 3-4 more parameters you can adjust to get it done. This is a tool that you need to use very lightly.
This is where Alloy falls short the most. Alloy's limiter is soft or brickwall, and has a release. However, it just sucks. I don't know how else to describe it. I only used it to tame some peaks. But trying to use it as a denser effect was never really useful to me.
The Waves L1 can be pushed really hard on bass, vocals, and a couple other things without making them sound crushed or pump. You still have to play with it a little bit, but it can be done.
MaxxVolume2 vs Ozone's maximizer, I'd probably give it to Ozone ver versatility again. Ozone's has 3 or 4 different types, and a versatile release. The L1 probably isn't as good as the MV2 for modern rock/metal. But for many other softer applications, it's good. If you try to get the same loudness as you'd expect to get out of Ozone, it's a lot harder to keep it from pumping. I use Platinum's L3, which is similar to the MV2, and it can get harder maximized mixes for hard rock than Ozone can without artifacts. Both Ozone and Waves have dithering and profiles to choose from.
Ozone 5 definitely has some advantages in the metering over PAZ Analizer from what I can tell. Ozone 5 seemed to go a lot deeper to compensate for a lot of the output metering that Ozone 4 lacks. PAZ is about as good as Ozone 4, but I like the RMS detection that Ozone is lacking. However I like Ozone's EQ curves better.
Waves DeEsser is just like it's compressors, but it's like a less versatile single band compressor with an adjustable band. Alloys de-esser is much more versatile and easier to use. It can also be used to tame the high end snap on bass gutiar you might want to weed out.
Ozone's reverb is really only good for a mix glue. However, it's nothing compared to other reverbs available, including the 3 what come with Waves.
Alloy has a phase rotation tool that's handy. Try it on your kick vs overheads and see what it does. Also if you stereo mic guitar amps, it's a great tool.
Alloy has a great exciter. If you push it too hard, it will clip, but the way you can tweak the type of excitement (tape, transistor, etc.. ) is really cool. You can push it hard on percussion, but keep it really light on high gain gutiars, or you'll be wondering where that digital clipping is coming from. Ozone also has a very nice multiband exciter. However, it can be pushed too hard in a real hurry. I actually like the BBE harmonic maximizer better than anything Ozone or Waves has to offer on this one for high end excitement on the 2bus. It seems to clean up trash on overheads and add a high end sheen to them.
Waves has Maxx Bass, 3 great reverbs (including convolution), 2 Delays, Modulator, Flanger, WavesTune, Doubler, UltraPitch harmonizer/modulator, Doppler, GTR3 (which I haven't had a chance to try yet!), and more.
For the same price range, if I could do it all again. I'd buy Waves Gold before Alloy and Ozone. It's not just a mastering suite, but an entire replacement suite for your stock DAW plugins.
This isn't to say the Alloy/Ozone combination isn't a good one. It is very good. But I think you need to think about how your mind works. Izotope feels like it was designed for a software engineer (which I happen to be) or an advanced calculus professor. It gives you more options than you can possibly need, it gives you the best visual feedback of any program I've ever seen, and they literally make every parameter superbly tweakable. Waves feels like it was designed for an artist. You don't care about numbers, you don't care about what curves look like, you don't care about having 100 options on everything. You just get the must useful parts of what makes this particular plugin work, and it forces you to mix by ear and not by eye. And I have never felt limited by that in the time I've used them. And the Waves bundle gives you several different EQ's and several different compressors. Once you have played with them enough and understand what might work best for the insturment you're mixing, you shouldn't feel limited at all.