You’ve probably noticed automated music mastering services popping up in the last few years. They claim to deliver professional quality masters for free. And now that you have finished recording and mixing your song, should you consider using one of these services? Fortunately, the internet is full of resources and offer many great options to get music mastering done quite easily. In this post we’ll discuss some of the readily available options and help you decide which one is best for your next release.
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With a single click of a button, there are services like LANDR that will instantly master your music, providing you with an audio file that’s ready for release. We often get asked about the level of sound quality services like these deliver, and we think they’re surprisingly decent, especially for single releases! Where we think automated mastering services fall short however, are with EPs or full length albums with more than one track. Different songs on an album means each song has distinct details that AI is just not quite all there yet in terms of recognizing and treating.
Websites like LANDR typically provide a limited number of masters per month for free, and if you want to get more tracks mastered, you’d have to get a monthly subscription. Since getting started with automated music mastering is quick and free, we don’t really see any reason not to at least give it a try with your own song and see how you like the results.
|– Free to get started||– Not Very Customizable|
|– Quick & Easy||– Not Optimized for Albums|
If you’re looking for something a little more personalized, then you should consider hiring a mastering engineer who can take your mix to the next level. A human being with experience can recognize small nuances between the various songs on your album and decide how to treat them individually so that each track compliments the next. If you can afford it, you can even hire a big names studio like Abbey Road Studios, but for something a little more economic, our own competitive pricing for digital mastering is 25$ per song.
|– Highest Quality||– Can Get Pricey|
|– Benefit of Impartial Opinion||– May Require Some Back & Forth|
If you’re the type of artist who releases multiple songs every year, it might be wise to learn the basics of mastering. It may take some time until you can get the desired results but the invested time and effort should pay off long term. In an ideal scenario, the mixing and mastering should be handled by different engineers. But if you’re pumping out a lot of songs the cost can really stack up, and you wouldn’t be saving a lot of time either, so you might as well start getting some mastering practice.
We broke down our mastering workflow in Ozone 5, but you can get started by applying the exact same concepts in any DAW, even the one you’re already using.
|– Free & Limitless||– Results May Vary|
|– Learn a New Skill||– Bias Towards Own Music|
In conclusion, if you’re releasing a single try out an automated music mastering service. It’s free to start and the results will most likely be good enough.
If you have the budget for it, and you’re the type of artist who still believes in putting out a record or full album, look into hiring a professional mastering engineer. Having an additional set of professional ears to offer unbiased opinion will ultimately result in the highest quality results for your hard work.
Finally, if you release a lot of songs and are looking to do the music gig long term, learning the basics of mastering can be an optimal and financially viable decision for the future. Even if you try and don’t end up fully getting into it, the lessons you learn will stay with you and can come in handy some day in the future.