iZotope's Neutron First Impressions: Is it worth it?
Recently we purchased iZotope's Neutron 2 Advanced. iZotope claims that Neutron 2 is a smarter way to mix. One perspective of Neutron is that it is a channel strip plugin with almost everything you'd need to mix a track - this saves you time. Another perspective of Neutron is that it provides intuitive visual feedback - this also saves you massive amounts of time and can make mixing easier for beginners.
One of the most exciting things about Neutron is how every instance of Neutron in your DAW integrates with every other instance, and their Track Assistant tool can automatically detect the instrument in your track and adjust settings automatically for that track. This provides a clear path for beginners hoping to get into mixing music while still providing excellent tools for experts.
Now for the mind blowing part...
Neutron also comes with something called Tonal Balance Control (TBC). This utilizes an algorithm to compare your mix against either 3 categories based off of thousands of popular songs, or any folder of music you feed into it. Then inside of that instance of TBC you can open any instance of Neutron on other tracks to tweak settings based off of what TBC recommends. It will actually tell you if your whole mix has too much low end, too little mid-range, or anything in between.
Just to make you realize how incredible this is - TBC is making recommendations for your mix based off what sounds like machine learning. Does anything else in the industry exist for this? If so, I haven't heard of it. The potential for this tool is absolutely game changing for beginners or pro's. Never mixed a song before? Fire up Neutron. Spent the past 10 years mixing EDM and now you're mixing a metal song? Fire up Neutron with TBC. Want a way to stream line all of your mixing tools into one interface? Fire up Neutron.
So, do we think its worth it so far?
Heck yeah! The channel strip and visual feedback aspects alone make Neutron a great tool to have in your arsenal. Time will tell if we prefer this over the rest of our massive plugin library, and how much we utilize TBC and their Track Assistant tools. Currently we're having a blast playing with it and we think the results are incredible. To many it may seem like its trying to replace an experienced audio engineer with software, but in reality its just another tool to make life easier. It won't make a beginner produce better mixes than someone with a decade of experience, but it will allow a beginner to at least have good mixes from day one while teaching them the basics of mixing
Check out Neutron on iZotope's website here for current pricing and product demo's.
Also available on zZounds.