|Product Name||Main Features||Export Formats available||Rating / Pricing|
||Distribution tool for spotify apple music, google play music, amazon music, pandora and beatport.
Collaboration / Feedback tool
2 master controls: Style (warm, balanced, or open) and Intensity (low, medium, or high)
|LO-RES MP3 (192kbps)
HD WAV (24bit)
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||26 different settings for the final mix.
Freebies included: A Crash Course in Mixing (PDF), a bunch of Ableton templates and a Logic Pro template
Manual mastering tool with Abbey Road Studios option
|16 bit WAV
24 bit WAV
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||Automatic video creation
Automatic Youtube loudness setting
Limiter, ceiling, oversampling, sound quality, sample rate, low and high cut controls
Easy mastering mode
Huge range of statistics on pre and post mastering track
API for developers
|16 bit WAV
24 bit WAV
32 bit WAV
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Mastering and mixing an audio track is a craft that takes years and years to master (no pun intended).
However, improvements in artificial intelligence and music production software have made it so that this skill actually isn’t really necessary to learn anymore.
And today’s article will show you exactly how cheap and good some of the available online mastering tools are.
We researched and purchased 5 tools that allow you to upload your track and receive an AI generated mastered track within minutes.
They obviously aren’t perfect.
At the end of the day, there’s no way for these tools to know what your vision for the track is, and nothing beats the personal touch of an engineer.
Having said that, all of the tools tested in this article improved our track pretty much instantly at a very small cost.
Some of them were truly mind blowing, producing radio-ready tracks in a matter of minutes.
We have no doubt that these platforms will open the doors for hundreds of thousands of home producers and artists, allowing them to have good quality mixes in the time it takes to drink a coffee.
So here they are, our favourite online mastering services, reviewed.
#1 Choice- Landr Mastering Review
Landr is a household name in the online AI powered mastering industry.
Developed by the Canadian company MixGenius, it’s been around for a while and it keeps expanding its tools, now also offering distribution, collaboration, promotion tools, and even rent-to-own plugins.
It has a really simple interface, loads of cool features, and keeps on improving.
We also found it to produce the best masters out of the tools tested. And blind tests seem to confirm our findings.
Here are our thoughts.
- Includes a distribution / release tool for spotify apple music, google play music, amazon music, pandora and beatport.
- Really clean and pleasant interface.
- Includes a collaboration tool which allows you to share masters and get feedback.
- Allows for reference mastering.
- 2 controls to customise master: Style (warm, balanced, or open) and Intensity (low, medium, or high)
- Different pricing models available (per mix, per month).
- Less than stellar customer support, according to several reviews.
- Distribution tool can take a few days to work.
- Limited master customisation options.
Landr- Our Rating: 9.1 out of 10
The mix preview took about 5 minutes to prepare, whilst the actual mix took about 10 to 15 minutes. The app works in the background so you can close the browser and check back on it later.
As previously mentioned, this was probably the most enjoyable interface to work with. Everything was where we expected it to be, and the layouts simply look good.
Quality of Mix: 9.3/10
We provided a rather low-quality, uncompressed hip hop instrumental track. The result was notably cleaner, louder, and overall quite impressive.
If you’re looking for a simple mix for the online platforms (spotify, beatport, etc), then landr is more than suitable.
Playing around with the customisation controls (style and intensity) yielded slight differences in the mix, though the out-of-the-box mix ended up being our favourite.
The reference mastering tool also caught our attention, though again, we didn’t notice a huge difference in the mix after uploading a classic hip hop track from our library.
If you’re looking for a more customisable mastering tool, then you might want to keep on reading our reviews.
But overall, it kind of blew our minds. The final result was pretty much radio ready and was a huge improvement from the track provided.
Some nuances, tones, and little tricks might have been added by a professional engineer, but the final result was very good- a no-thrills simple mix that was very pleasant to hear.
For a comparison of between a landr mix vs a grammy award winning engineer mix, check out the video below:
Additional tools: 9.4/10
The standout tool is undoubtedly the ability to release your tracks directly to the major streaming platforms.
This saves a ton of work and in our experience, worked relatively well, taking only a couple of days until the tracks were available in all the platforms.
Some users have complained of slow release times, so we can’t guarantee that all users will have the same experience as us.
The collaboration tool was interesting, but in our opinion, not that useful, specially because the mix can’t be customised beyond 2 controls. So even if you manage to get great feedback on your track, there’s not much you can do with it.
Here’s a tip, you can actually try Landr for free, so if you go ahead and sign up, upload your mix, and wait a few minutes, you’ll be able to judge for yourself.-> TRY LANDR FOR FREE
#2 Choice- Cloudbounce Review
Second on our list is cloudbounce.
Having launched in 2015, they’re also a somewhat familiar name in the industry.
Unlike other tools in the list, cloudbounce has a more stripped down approach to mastering, offering solely their mastering tool, and no other bells and whistles.
It’s interface also isn’t as shiny and clean as some other tools in this list, though it makes up for it with the additional controls and settings for the master sound that other tools don’t offer.
- Relatively cheaper than competitors (mixes start at 9$).
- Different pricing plans available (per mix, per month, per year).
- 26 different settings for the final mix.
- 3 output formats: 16 bit WAV, 24 bit WAV, MP3.
- Lightning fast.
- A pack of freebies are included with every account: A Crash Course in Mixing (PDF), a bunch of Ableton templates and a Logic Pro template file for your mixes.
- Interface was often confusing, with banners and footers obstructing buttons and menus
- No additional features besides mastering (ie no distribuiton, feedback, etc)
Cloudbounce: Our Rating: 8.4/10
As with most tools in the list, the upload, preview and mastering took only a matter of a few minutes.
This was perhaps the fastest service in the list.
Throughout this whole experiment, the speed at which these masters are produced was what most surprised us.
It seems like a small investment in a web designer could make this tool so much better, but unfortunately, it’s still quite clunky and unfriendly to the user.
Quality of Mix: 9.5/10
The out-of-the box mix (pre-customisation) sounded really good.
In our opinion, a bit aggressive and with a lot of loudness and attack, but this was also due to the nature of the track.
After correcting this with the many customisation options, the track ended up sounding great.
And here is where cloudbounce really stands out. It has hundreds of different possible combinations between the two controls (musical genre and mastering controls) that allow you to play around until you find the perfect mix.
Whilst the first control (musical genre) is pretty straightforward, the mastering controls allows for much more customisation. It allows you to boost low, mid, and high sections of the music, add brightness, warmth, loudness, and more.
Due to this feature alone, we award Cloudbounce the highest grade in the list in terms of mix quality.
Here’s an example of a rock song, before and after being mastered with Cloudbounce:
Additional Tools: 7.5/10
There was only one additional tool we could find, however, it’s one we quite enjoyed.
After mastering the track, there is an upgrade available, which allows you to send the track to the abbey road studios for manual mastering by one of their engineers.
We thought this was pretty cool.
This will cost you around 100$ and allows you to get a human touch on your AI powered mix.
This service will probably rely heavily on template files and presets, though its still a great way of improving the mix without investing that much.-> Try CloudBounce for free
#3 Choice- AImastering.com (by Bakuage) Review
Bakuage’s AImastering.com is a pretty unconventional choice for our list.
You won’t find them in a lot of lists, and that’s really unfortunate, because we actually loved their AI.
If you have some technical knowledge of how to master a track, you’ll have a lot of fun with this tool.
It includes a youtube loudness feature and automatically creates a downloadable video for your song, so if you use youtube as a promotion platform for your work, this is an absolute no-brainer.
But our favourite feature was undoubtedly the “statistics” page of the mix.
After the AI finishes the master, it creates some very interesting statistics including “professionally”, which is how close the track sounds to a commercial track.
This kind of “gamifies” your production and mixing skills and allows you to benchmark your progression as a musician- very cool!
There’s a bunch of other analytics provided such as loudness and waveform analysis that really allow you to perfect your track and compare pre-master and master versions.
It’s not all roses though. We did face some technical issues, hitting a 502 page when trying to download the master
- Automatic video creation for youtube.
- Youtube loudness setting.
- Controls for limiter, ceiling, oversampling, sound quality, sample rate, low and high cut.
- 4 output formats: 3 WAVs, 1 MP3
- Option to preserve bass. Or not- might result in distorted bass.
- Easy mastering mode– focuses on loudness only.
- Statistics given: Loudness, RMS Peak, True Peak, True Peak(15kHz lowpass), Loudness Range, YouTube Loudness, Micro Dynamics Space Professionality, Acoustic Entropy, Ear Damage, Dissonance
- Loads of graphs and analytics provided.
- Relatively affordable– 1 free master, then 9.99$/master, or 29$/month for unlimited masters.
- API open for developers.
- Some bugs were encountered.
- Docs could be better written
AImastering.com: Our Rating: 8.4/10
AImastering took slightly longer than it’s competitors, though it was still very fast.
Within 10 minutes, we had a great sounding mix.
The interface, copy, and help docs could be improved.
Their homepage simply states “Free Mastering is Available”, which might be a bit confusing for a somebody who stumbles upon the site.
However, despite not being very flashy, the interface works well and everything is easy to locate.
Quality of the Mix: 9.3/10
Here, we’re considering the master produced with the standard options. Due to the many controls included in the tool, the range of tracks produced is huge. Therefore, we’re sticking to the “easy” mode of using AImastering.com
Overall, another solid mix. It’s really hard to set it apart from the other tools in the mix, though we find this track to have less loudness and bit more warmth out of the box.
Much like the other tools in the list, the final result was more than ready for distribution on the online platforms, which clip and compress a lot of the nuances of a track anyway.
Additional Tools: 7.0/10
In terms of additional tools we could only the video creator, which was pretty cool, but honestly not that useful if you’re not using youtube. And even if you are, you’d probably want to invest a bit more in a proper video.MORE INFO
Landr vs Cloudbounce
After reviewing these first two service, we’ve gathered some thoughts and notes about they compared.
Here’s our rundown:
Landr is a better investment for artists looking to focus only on production and creation of music. There aren’t many ways to customise the mix, and it provides an easy distribution system.
If you want to eliminate the amount of decisions during these stages, then Landr is your tool.
Create a track, upload it to Landr, have them distribute it, and go back to the studio.
Cloudbounce is more of a no-thrills solution that requires a bit more work.
You’ll spend more time customising the master, and you won’t be able to distribute or promote the track directly through the platform.
However, Cloudbounce is, in our opinion, the best solution if you’re interested exclusively in the quality of the mix.
It gives you way more style and mixing options, even allowing you to send it to a very reputable studio in case you’re not satisfied with the cloudbounce version.
eMastered vs Landr
Our final comparison is between Landr and eMastered.
We got asked by one of our readers to compare the two, so we thought we’d give eMastered a try and see how it stacks up.
Here are our thoughts:
eMastered offers more control over the mix, with 6 controls and the option to use a reference for mastering. However, the Landr AI is, in our opinion, superior a producing a clean and loud track.
When it comes to pricing, Landr starts at a way lower price point, almost a third of eMastered. This is for the basic subscription though. The advanced Landr sub is still cheaper, but the Pro will be slightly more expensive.
With that in mind, we choose Landr as the overall winner.
How much should mastering cost?
Mastering budgets live in a spectrum. A master from a top shelf studio will set you back several thousand dollars, whilst there are online mastering tools that are as cheap as 19$.
But how should you decided how much to spend?
Like most things in life, you roughly get what you pay for.
However, for a very small investment, you can get your track sounding pretty good, even radio quality.
By very small investment, we mean under 100$, through an automated service such as one of the ones listed above.
This represents the best return on your investment. If you’re uploading your track to youtube, or a social network such as instagram or facebook, a lot of the quality will be lost anyway.
And if you’re a professional musician, who expects to have their songs played on the radio or needs high fidelity masters, you should be ready to spend a few hundred dollars in a studio such as Abbey Road, who now offers an online mastering service.
And there you have it folks- Our favourite online mastering services.
If you made this far, we’re sure you’re ready to bite the bullet and try out one of the services on this list. At the end of the day, most services offer a free master as a trial, so you don’t have much to loose.
And as always, if you have any experience with any of the softwares in the list, post your thoughts below!