Plugins get simpler. That’s an evolution I am noticing since a few years now. Especially Waves is known for their One Knob series. Now iZotope joins this trend and released a plugin which is meant to improve your mix: Neutrino. And it’s free.
Let’s see how it works.
The handling is conceivably easy: drop it on whole tracks or busses, that might need some improvement. There are four settings: Voice, Bass, Instrument and Drums. Each setting contains two knobs to adjust the amount of processing: Amount and Detail.
That’s all. Not very complicated, right?
So I just wanted to know how this plugin works in my imaging session. When my VO is already arranged, I just want it to sound better in general. So I tried Neutrino on my VO bus with the Voice setting.
To be honest, I was not sure whether the plugin was turned on or not. I tried various combinations with the rest of my processing, on various tracks and different settings. But the result stayed the same: the difference between the dry and the wet signal was so marginal, that it was hard to notice any difference with a processing amount of 100%, though.
So maybe radio imaging was not the right application for this.
But maybe composing! So I wanted to know how Neutrino worked in a fully-mixed musicbed composing session.
To hear an overall difference, I added it to several busses: synth bus, drum bus and bass bus.
And ta-da: the plugin’s work became audible. On the drum bus, there was a fine amount of increased clarity, as the top end became more brilliant. On the bass bus the bass got bigger and cleaner at the same time, less nasal while the overall levels stayed nearly the same. Processed with the instrument setting, the difference on the synth bus was less strong than on the rest. But the top end became a little bit more present and seemed to sound more shiny with the plugin enabled.
iZotope created this plugin, to improve your mix.
And after trying it with different material, I see Neutrino’s strength more in composing than in radio imaging. I know that Neutrino is advertised as a plugin which adds just a subtle amount of detail, but I was surprised that it was that hard to notice any difference in sound when the plugin used in an imaging session.
So for composing applications you can say: if your mix is good, it will get even better. And the effect stacks up, the more plugins you will add to the mix. But don’t think that it is a game changer. The plugin works really subtle, but can balance the whole mix when used properly. Certainly it is hard to adjust the plugin to the needs of specific tracks. So it’s up to unknown parameters how and how strong the plugin processes the signal. But that’s a problem when using “one knob” plugins.
All in all I would say that this plugin is not a must have, but if you are after small plugin which adds subtle detail in quality, you won’t do something wrong when using this plugin in an composing session.