Before you scroll further, I want you to note this review guide is all about the essential features of Neutron 3, the usefulness, and if it’s worth the hype.
If you understood the statement in part mentioned above, then you are good to go.
Let’s dig in…
Izotope Neutron 3 is a channel strip that gives you a handful of tools (Eq, Compression, Gate, Gain, etc.) to tackle and polish your mix. That's basically what a channel strip does, in the virtual scene, it is an emulation of an analogue mixing console.
What does Neutron 3 do differently?
Izotope Neutron 3 is one of the first plug-in (if not the first one) that listens or analyses your audio track and suggest an overall level mix to kick off the balance right off the bat.
I don’t want to “lure” you into buying a tool you likely won’t use, which brings us to the question:
Is Izotope Neutron 3 Worth The Hype?
Well for me, it's a resounding yes, and I'll tell you why in a moment but before I do, I want to make something clear to newbie getting hung around new fancy plug-ins.
- It sounds like Izotope Neutron 3 does the job for you, assist you in your mixing decision (well that's what it does anyway).
My advice for a newbie is that you need to work on your element before you throw a bunch of tools on your track.
For example, you likely won't notice this if you are just getting started - you tried getting your kick drum to sit well in your mix, unfortunately, the harder you try, the more frustrating it becomes.
Do you want to know the solution to your problems? Who doesn't!
The solution is to find elements that work with each other (In this case audio samples, or recorded sample, it also work for instruments (Synths)).
Spend your time in finding good samples, then everything else is going to be easy (Keep this at the back of your mind when working on your next project).
You are set with good samples, sound recordings, now what?
This is the time you need a fancy plug-in to speed up your work-flow, and now I am going to show you how Izotope Neutron 3 can help you do that.
Izotope Neutron 3 Breakdown
One of the advantages of using a channel strip is that it keeps you focused and stay less distracted. Imagine having every tool you are going to use in a simple and intuitive interface.
That's precisely what Neutron 3 is all about, it brings your mix to life with new assistive audio technology.
Meaning you sit back, watch how your mix is done with machine learning technology, then all you have to do is refine it to soothe your need.
Breaking down the features in Neutron 3.
The Superb Mix Assitant
This module title sounds like it is going to assist you in your mix decision, right? Definitely!
It's a great starting point for your mIx; it uses machine learning technology to automatically suggest gain levels for all your tracks in your session (Getting the balance set correctly).
Don't get caught up in the wilderness and start blaming the Mix-assistant for doing something wrong. There are some criteria you need to follow before you start expecting a good initial level for your mix.
- The stem you plan to mix must be in its channel (Vocals, Kick, Snare, and the likes), I recommend using group bus if you won't be using stems (It reduces CPU load)
- Add a plugin that's compatible with mix assistant as an insert effect on each channel (e.g. Relay, Neutron, etc.)
- Add Neutron 3 to the master channel as an insert effect, and lastly
- Click the "Mix-assistant" button in the plugin window and follow the instruction to complete the mix assistant setup.
It can become frustrating at first, but if you follow the steps carefully, you should be on your way to using it properly.
Handyman - Sculptor
Ever wondered if you can have an army of handy tools which does the most difficult tasks in mixing in just a single wrapper interface.
Here it comes - Sculptor is made for that.
The new Sculptor module forces on helping you get that subtle polish without added harshness or out-of-control balance.
It comes bundled with over 20 instrument profile to choose from, which makes your instruments or audio file sound more like themselves.
What's interesting is that Sculptor communicates with Track Assistant to identify the instrument you are working with, and shapes the sound just the way you would like.
Feel free to adjust the settings to your target mix. If you feel Sculptor isn't doing enough, it's handy if used in removing muddiness, and harshness in frequencies.
The Ultimate EQ Masking Meter & Tips
What if you have some sort of magnifying glass to solving masking issues in your mix.
Using the new-and-improved masking meter in Neutron 3, you would be able to visualise and fix frequencies clashes in your mix in one plugin window.
Newbie Producers abuses analyser or meters ay too much, that's probably one of the reasons I don't recommend them.
It is kind of useless to me.
Note this: Your frequency would always overlap, the best way to create space in your mix, is to make one present than other, or vice versa.
Also, if you have trained ears and eyes, the Eq Masking Meter would help in identifying that, and to a limit, it would give you an idea of what to do.
To sum up this section, the easiest way to get the right mix is to have a good arrangement to start with, so the instrument won't fight Kung-fu :) with each other.
Who Should Use Izotope Neutron 3
After exploring the ins and out of Neutron 3, this is who I think Neutron 3 is recommended for:
- You have a good arrangement to start with
- You have loads of projects or complicated sessions, and you need some sort of tools to fasten your workflow
- You want all the essential tools for mixing your track in one simple wrapper interface
- You don't have the tools/features mentioned above in your exiting plugins library, and you need them badly
- You prefer using a channel strip
Izotope Neutron 3 is Not Recommended For
- Users that believe Neutron 3 would automatically mix their tracks (It won't)
- You don't have a good arrangement initially. If your arrangement/selection is poor (In the context of sample/instrument), it would be difficult to fine-tune to a polish and a better mix
- You do not prefer working with a channel strip, which means you prefer working with a bunch of plugins on different insert channel
- You are down to your last dollar and need the money for other things (Save it, Neutron can come later).
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