INTRO EZMix-2 by Toontrack is a pro-designed multi-effects mix tool that makes it possible for users to quickly and effortlessly accomplish sweet sounding songs.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS After a painless purchase, download, install and authorize process — users will launch and quickly notice a sleek modern two part GUI featuring and Main Interface and an Effect Rack. There is instant access to many presets that are intelligently organized. At the bottom are meters, gain knobs (in/out), and two control knobs that function in accordance to the selected preset. The right side has a tuner up top and with outboard gear, amps, etc. below. The color scheme of the IU is easy on the eyes and provides just enough contrast. Note: Users will need initially need to mute their audio out to avoid feedback.
WHO THIS IS NOT FOR! I usually start my user reviews on a positive note, but in the case I'd like to address the elephant in the room and get it out of the way! Here goes —> If you like diving deep into every nuance of your mixing and mastering with total control over each parameter by virtue of several plugins, advanced routing, etc. — This plugin in not for you! If you feel it's "cheating" to inexpensively enjoy the expertise of award winning engineers and producers — This plugin in not for you! I completely respect anyone with a passion for total creative and artistic control over each and every element of their sound, but that is not what (and who) this plugin is designed for. You may very well feel frustrated by the inherent restriction of the controls. If the restrictions outweigh the convenience, than this is not for you. But wait! I may be wrong. Some eMusicians, producers, etc., may have a couple different ways to work depending on the project and situation. There are times when they might need to quickly sketch-out a mix. With that in mind, I think almost anyone could use EZMix-2, some more often than others.
Do you want to focus your time on writing music or mixing and mastering?
WHO THIS IS FOR! Back in the day, when eMusic began, I quickly wrote and recorded a lot of songs — some good and some not-so-good, but I was prolific and had fun. My set-up and workflow were simple and effective. As technology advanced, possibilities became endless, and unfortunately things also became extremely complex. I had trouble completing a song until launching EZMix-2 came along! This plugin is cleverly designed to help users focus on creative process instead of getting bogged down by the technical part of it all. It is perfectly suited for anyone in need of creating a great sounding mix/master without getting caught up in endless parameter choices. It's hard to get bogged down with only two knobs (after choosing a preset)! I'm sure my struggle is by no means unique. I'm sure there are many songwriters cursing their DAW as I type this user review. If the conveniences outweigh the limitations, than this is for you.
COOKIE CUTTER? An audio software package of this nature, begs the question — Will everyone who uses this sound the same? This is an understandable concern, but the answer is NO! That's not how this plugin works. It does not transform tracks into something homogenized; it merely optimizes your specific, unique sound to be more in line with your chosen genre. To quote a fellow online forum member," It is a tool and how you use the tool decides the outcome."
DIFFERENT STROKES Everyone has a different approach and workflow. EZMix-2 functions best if tracks are recorded dry and processed on the back end. Some players, especially metal guitarists, prefer to record with their effects fully engaged, i.e., tons of distortion.
IN ACTION EZMix-2 makes mixing and mastering easy and saves time! It simplifies the process, and the time vs. performance ratio is phenomenal. Users will no longer spend countless hours making micro adjustments like compression and EQ changes; yet, it doesn't do it all automatically. Users will have to do a bit of pre-mixing to get things rolling. After setting up a rough mix, the plugin simplifies the needed tasks by providing expertly designed effect chains that are optimized for specific styles of music — "enhancing the sound of the tracks." All in all, simple two knob signal chain processing is provided without having invest time and money on the setting up chains. The functions of the two knobs varies quite a bit depending on the preset. After selecting a preset, there are two control knobs to negotiate with text to the side revealing what each one does.
EZMix-2 is a great stress reducer. It's designed to be loaded on each track during mix-down, making the need for other plugins optional. Inserting EZMix-2 on a master fader can make a world of difference on the overall tone of the track. The plugin creates a painless mixing environment via mixing presets for inserts, busses, aux sends, and effects. The software ships with an excellent assortment of built-in presets. When looking for the perfect sound, users can simply scroll through the presets in real time until one catches his/her ears. For fine tuning, the two big knobs usually allow the user to access the vital parameters of the preset. Users can create a Favorites List. There are dozens of add-on expansion packs available at a reasonable price that are tailored for specific instruments, genres, and styles.
EZMix-2 also includes guitar and bass amp/cam simulation settings that will be convenient and useful for many users. The acoustic and electric sounds are excellent. There are a few dozen top-notch amp presets, ranging from clean chime to dirty blues to over-the-top overdrive. I especially dig the clean presets, and the dirty is also spot on. I have a dedicated amp modeling plugin, but it's nice to know this plugin provides a nice option for my guitar tracks if/when needed. Drum bus presets include parallel compressors, tape simulators, room reverb, etc. For vocals, presets deliver anything from a clean presence to warm to lo-fi. The mastering settings provide just the right amount of whatever is needed to spice-up the overall mix without adding unwanted noise and/or artifacts.
EFFECTS I read somewhere that the effects modules were designed by Overloud. If this is true, that would explain the excellent sound quality.
FAVORITE FEATURES • Sleek interface • Dongle free (plugin can access user's account and authorize automatically) • Simple, yet powerful in every conceivable way — easy to navigate • Shallow learning curve (not surprisingly — it is called EZMix) • Many useable presets (three or four hundred, I think) • Flexible preset search engine • Great for individual tracks and/or overall mix/master • Sounds great — especially on drums, loops, and vocals • Stable • CPU friendly with low latency • Excellent developer with an amazing track record.
FEATURE REQUESTS • Include extra expansions with initial purchase • Scalable and/or resizable GUI with snap back to default • Lock/unlock delay tempos to host • Parameters could be a little more visual.
SUMMARY EZMix-2 is the fastest, least expensive way to accomplish high quality mixes and mastering. To quote another reviewer,"[It's like there's] a little bit of magic in that EZMix bag of tricks." A phrase that comes to mind is INSTANT GRATIFICATION! I highly recommend EZMix-2 to just about anyone producing eMusic in any genre. It's capable of helping users accomplish pro-like results in a snap. However, in most cases, using this plugin won't threaten the cats at Abbey Road, The Record Plant, Sun Recording Studio, etc. Still, it might be a great tool for everyone else! It's priced right, especially if you catch the bundled expansion packs on sale. I give EZMix-2 a mighty pair of thumbs up! Great Stuff.