Best Online Mastering Service [2021]

Wellcome to our article on the BEST Online Mastering Service! 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.

Today’s article will show you exactly how cheap and good some of the available INSTANT online mastering services are.

They obviously aren’t perfect. We are of course talking about on-the-spot instant mastering, and not just going and filing an order on-line for a human to master your tracks later. There is no human interaction with these online mastering service tools, you are the only human hearing them.

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 the best online mastering service products 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.

NOTE: If you are on a mobile device, scroll to the right to see all picks and inside the cells to see all their content.

Product Name Main Features Export Formats available Rating / Pricing
Editor’s Choice
Landr
Distribution tool for spotify apple music, google play music, amazon music, pandora and beatport.

Collaboration / Feedback tool

Reference mastering

2 master controls: Style (warm, balanced, or open) and Intensity (low, medium, or high)
LO-RES MP3 (192kbps)

HI-RES MP3

(320kbps)

WAV (16bit)

HD WAV (24bit)
9.1
CHECK PRICING OPTIONS
Cloudbounce
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

MP3
8.4
CHECK PRICING OPTIONS
Aimastering.com
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

MP3.
8.4
CHECK PRICING OPTIONS

BEST Online Mastering Service – Editor’s 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.

The BEST service on the list, The LANDR Online Mastering Service 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. Here are our thoughts.

Landr Pros:

  1. Includes a distribution / release tool for spotify apple music, google play music, amazon music, pandora and beatport.
  2. Really clean and pleasant interface.
  3. Includes a collaboration tool which allows you to share masters and get feedback.
  4. Allows for reference mastering.
  5. 2 controls to customise master: Style (warm, balanced, or open) and Intensity (low, medium, or high)
  6. Different pricing models available (per mix, per month).

Landr Cons:

  1. Less than stellar customer support, according to several reviews.
  2. Distribution tool can take a few days to work.
  3. Limited master customisation options.

Landr: BEST Online Mastering Service – Our Rating: 9.1 out of 10

Speed: 9.2/10

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.

Interface: 9.7/10

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 Online Mastering Service 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 Online Mastering Service, 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.

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, the BEST Online Mastering Service 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

#2nd Choice BEST Online Mastering Service – Cloudbounce Review

Second on our list is Cloudbounce. Having launched in 2015, they’re also a somewhat familiar name in the industry.

Unlike other Online Mastering Services 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.

Cloudbounce Pros:

  1. Relatively cheaper than competitors (mixes start at 9$).
  2. Different pricing plans available (per mix, per month, per year).
  3. 26 different settings for the final mix.
  4. 3 output formats: 16 bit WAV, 24 bit WAV, MP3.
  5. Lightning fast.
  6. 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.

Cloudbounce Cons:

  1. Interface was often confusing, with banners and footers obstructing buttons and menus
  2. No additional features besides mastering (ie no distribuiton, feedback, etc)

Cloudbounce: Our Rating: 8.4/10

Speed: 9.3/10

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.

Interface: 7.6/10

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 Online Mastering Service 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. It also sounds extremely well for what it is.

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 of BEST Online Mastering Service providers, in terms of mix quality

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

#3rd Choice BEST Online Mastering Sercvice – 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 AImastering.com Online Mastering Service.

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

AImastering.com Pros:

  1. Automatic video creation for youtube.
  2. Youtube loudness setting.
  3. Controls for limiter, ceiling, oversampling, sound quality, sample rate, low and high cut.
  4. 4 output formats: 3 WAVs, 1 MP3
  5. Option to preserve bass. Or not- might result in distorted bass.
  6. Easy mastering mode– focuses on loudness only.
  7. Statistics given: Loudness, RMS Peak, True Peak, True Peak(15kHz lowpass), Loudness Range, YouTube Loudness, Micro Dynamics Space Professionality, Acoustic Entropy, Ear Damage, Dissonance
  8. Loads of graphs and analytics provided.
  9. Relatively affordable– 1 free master, then 9.99$/master, or 29$/month for unlimited masters.
  10. API open for developers.

AImastering.com Cons:

  1. Some bugs were encountered.
  2. Docs could be better written

AImastering.com: Our Rating: 8.4/10

Speed: 9.0/10

AImastering took slightly longer than it’s competitors, though it was still very fast. Within 10 minutes, we had a great sounding mix.

Interface: 8.4/10

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 Online Mastering Service Comparison

After reviewing these first two BEST Online Mastering Services, 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 Online Mastering Service Comparison

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 for BEST Online Mastering Service.

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.

Final Thoughts

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!

Best Audio Interfaces in 2020

As a music producer, songwriter, musician, or audio designer, an audio interface is a virtual workshop that can make or break your work.

Consider your computer the workstation and the interface as the toolbox where the quality of your audio and your options in mixing, synthesization, and production are determined by the quality of the interface.

Whether you produce music on Mac or PC, there are tons of options for audio interfaces to buy in 2020. These 5 choices should be enough to get any musician thinking about their options and comparing the price, features, compatibility, and aptitudes of each machine. The buying guide below these reviews compares the major features that should be considered when buying one of these audio interfaces.

This guide should help anyone looking for an audio interface in 2020 compare models based on their needs and expectations to choose the right one for their work.

Reviews of the Best Audio Interfaces

Audient iD4 High-Performance Audio Interface

The Audient iD4 audio interface has 2 inputs and 2 analog outputs (it has no digital outputs, in other words).

By offering a simple interface, complete with a mic preamp, phantom power for condenser mics, and instrument level DI for guitar and bass, the Audient iD4 is the best overall choice for an audio interface, especially on a budget.

The iD4 also has dual headphone outputs and an output for speakers.

The whole interface works on USB power and features compatibility with Apple’s camera connection kit, as well as mobile optimization for iPads and iPhones.

USB audio interfaces come in many shapes, sizes, and costs. Audient’s iD4 2-in/2-out USB interface is the best in its price range, with enough features to satisfy experienced audio producers and the optimization for Apple devices that many designers crave.

Pros

  • Simple interface with premium condenser mics
  • Dual headphone outputs and speaker output
  • Powered purely by USB connection
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • No digital connectivity

Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo

Featuring thunderbolt connectivity, 2 analog inputs, 6 analog outputs, optical Toslink digital connectivity, and an audio resolution of 24-bit/192kHz, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo is our pick for the best premium-priced audio interface available in 2020.

Its audio output and UAD-2 plugins have a quality second to none on this list, though the price reflects it.

The Apollo Twin MKII Duo is a desktop-format interface that connects to Mac or PC by Thunderbolt, rather than by cable, and has to be powered from a wall outlet rather than by USB power. This restriction may be a con for some audio designers.

The Apollo Twin MKII Duo can also power UAD plugin effects and comes with Solo, Duo, and Quad options.

The Unison pre-amps are also great emulation plugins for each of the Universal Audio Apollo’s input paths.

Real-time UAD processing allows designers to track audio through vintage tape machines, compressors, pre-amps, and guitar plug-ins with zero latency.

Premium preamps, line outputs, and real-time analog classics UAD plug-in bundles make the interface a premium design choice for songwriters and producers.

Its updated 2.0 software bundle includes a drag and drop interface, resizable windows, and channel strip presets.

For anyone who can afford it, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo is the premium choice on this list.

Pros

  • High-quality output with an array of options
  • UAD plugin effects
  • An array of preamps and emulation options
  • Real-time analog classics bundles and other extra features round out a premium package

Cons

  • Thunderbolt-only connectivity can be restrictive
  • Powered by wall outlets rather than USB
  • Premium price

Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface

This 3rd generation Focusrite Scarlett Solo audio interface features pro tools, USB connectivity, and a top of the line preamp.

The bright, high-quality sound output of the Focusrite Scarlett is due in part to its switchable air mode.

It also features two hum-free outputs and a guitar/bass input.

Its high-quality converters record and mix at a quality of 24-bit/192kHz, which is the industry standard for premium audio output. For those less experienced in audio interfaces, its quick-start tools help new users install and run the interface easily.

The Focusrite interface also features pro tools such as Ableton Live Lite, Softube Time and Tone Bundle, a plug-in suite, a creative pack from Focusrite, and other virtual instruments available through download.

Focusrite also offers an XLN addictive keys subscription and a Nugen Audio Monofileter Elements plugin. Focusrite Scarlett Solo’s integration with online subscriptions, as well as its USB-powered system, make it a quality modern audio interface for those shopping on a reasonable budget.

Pros

  • Pro Tools and other online subscriptions give users a lot of options for customization
  • Its converters and recorders are high-quality and industry competitive for audio output
  • Its plugins are available by subscription through many free services offered by Focusrite
  • USB-powered audio interface
  • Competitive price

Cons

  • Lack of compatibility for USB3 ports

PreSonus AudioBox Audio Interface

The PreSonus AudioBox Audio Interface is compatible with PC and Mac and bus-powered by a USB 2.0 audio and MIDI interface.

Pretty much any recording software that songwriters and producers use is compatible with the PreSonus AudioBox.

It also features a low budget price for designers that need a quality interface without putting up a ton of cash.

It features 24-bit resolution audio output and an array of kHz sampling rates, including 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96. Its 2-combo mic and instrument inputs feature high-performance, high-headroom mic preamplifiers, and low-noise output.

PreSonus uses over 6 GB of third-party resources, including software and plugins like the Studio One Artist DAW software and the Studio Magic Plug-in Suite.

Its features combined with its high-quality output and add-ons make it the top choice on this list for budget-priced audio interfaces, for both PC and Mac users.

Pros

  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • USB 2.0 audio output and MIDI interface
  • 24-bit resolution audio output
  • Third-party resources including pro plugins and add-ons
  • Low-budget price

Cons

  • Without a powered USB 3.0 hub, the PreSonus experiences some connectivity trouble

BEHRINGER Audio Interface

The Behringer Audio Interface features a 4×4 2.0 Audio/MIDI interface powered by USB.

Its professional audio has an output of 24-bit/192kHz. For those that want to design audio on many different recording software programs, Behringer’s audio interface works with Ableton Live, Avid Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase, and other popular tools.

Behringer streams through 4 inputs and outputs, as well as featuring a MIDI I/O with ultra-low latency.

This audio interface is compatible with Mac and PC.

The Behringer has 4 modern MIDAS-designed Mic Preamplifiers with 48 volts of phantom power. The chassis on the Behringer is made of impact-resistant metal.

As a studio tool, the Behringer Audio Interface works with a myriad of plug-in microphones, instruments, and line-level sources for incredible studio flexibility. Behringer also flourishes with MIDI devices to improve control.

Pros

  • High-quality audio output
  • 4×4 2.0 Audio/MIDI interface
  • Powered by USB
  • Compatible with various audio interface tools from Ableton, Avid, and more
  • 4 inputs and outputs, as well as preamps with over 48 volts of phantom power
  • Impact-resistant casing

Cons

  • A single phantom power switch for all channels can detract from mixed audio sources

Best Audio Interfaces: Buying Guide

This buying guide for audio interfaces in 2020 compares the major features that will fall under fire when audio designers and songwriters shop for different brands.

Even if you don’t prefer the ones listed in this review series, you can still use this buying guide to compare models of your choice for their features, including audio quality and specs, hardware features, cost, software add-ons, and compatibility.

Audio Quality

The audio output quality is a huge part of any decision to purchase an audio interface for composers and audio producers in 2020.

Many of the devices on this list output at 24-bit/192kHz, which is professional quality for a personal studio.

Many also feature Audio/MIDI interfaces, phantom power, combo mics, high-performance instrument inputs, and other audio devices.

The most expensive model on this list, the Apollo Twin MKII Duo, has options for UAD plugin effects and comes with Solo, Duo, and Quad options, as well as other emulation and performance fixes.

Thankfully, you don’t always “get what you pay for” with audio interfaces since even the budget options on this list come with a ton of features.

There are some premium input and output options that you can only get at a high price, however, so audio engineers and producers that are looking for specific optimization features should prioritize the features most important to them when comparing interfaces.

Hardware Features

The hardware can make or break these interfaces. The number of audio in/out ports differs between interfaces.

The microphone input and the options for additional hardware compatibility differ as well.

The most significant difference in hardware between interfaces is the power source.

Some of these devices can be powered purely by USB input, which is desirable for most composers. Others require wall outlets to power, which can be less convenient.

A designer’s inputs are limited by the physical ports for plugins. Some interfaces, for instance, such as the Focusrite Solo, lack compatibility for USB3. It’s essential to know each interface’s compatibility before buying.

Cost

Comparing cost is a simple comparison between audio interfaces.

The models on this list range from budget options under $100 to $800 premium audio interface hardware.

The price isn’t always proportional to the number of features offered. Our top pick, the Audient iD4 interface, has a mid-low price compared to others on the market. However, the premium features offered by the high-end interfaces may be exclusive to that price range.

For general shoppers, our budget recommendations should easily suffice. Only those with specific premium features in mind should opt for pricier alternatives.

Software Add-Ons

Many audio interfaces come with access to other suites and program add-ons that can be purchased or even subscribed to for free (PreSonus is big on these).

These add-ons give users a range of compatibility options, as well as access to other audio mixing and design suites through their interface.

Ableton Live and Softube offer fantastic, multifaceted design suites that some interfaces can easily connect to and use.

Compatibility

Not all interfaces are compatible with certain design suites. Veterans of Ableton or other specific tools should check compatibility before purchasing an interface.

Compatibility also matters in terms of hardware. Not only are power and output options a concern, as mentioned, but software compatibility matters as well.

Some audio interfaces are compatible with PC and Mac, but some are not. This could narrow your list automatically.

Audio designers with specific programs they want to run also need to check compatibility between the audio interface and the suites, plug-ins, extensions, add-ons, and other performance features and subscriptions they may want to run through their new interface.

The Takeaway

A new audio interface can make sound mixing, composing, design, recording, and other audio engineering feats easier.

Many interfaces are compatible with software upgrades, add-ons, and other subscription services.

No matter how much customization a sound designer wants from their at-home design studio, there are audio interfaces out there that can provide those services and more.

Choosing the right one requires knowledge that we hope to provide in this review series and buying guide.

We reviewed several of the most popular and well-reviewed audio interfaces to compare their features and present the options for sound designers that want them.

Our all-around pick for the best audio interface in 2020 is the Audient iD4 interface, which has a simple design and a ton of compatibility with software plugins, despite being designed for Mac users.

In our experience, most composers prefer Apple devices anyway, but for those that are die-hard PC fans, there are options for them as well.

Comparing the hardware compatibility, power source, plug-in options, software interface, audio quality, and versatility should give any composer or producer in 2020 the options they’re looking for in the realm of quality audio interfaces.

Ableton Live 10 Review

Ableton Live is a software sequencer for recording and mixing live performances as well as composing, arranging, mixing, and mastering original music.

DJs and music producers alike favor its control suite over other software sequencers. Ableton Live 10 is the best update the software has received.

This review evaluates its main features in terms of the users who would benefit from them.

We’ll go over any possible drawbacks you may experience with the Ableton Live 10 Suite, but for music producers, mixers, arrangers, DJs, and other industry professionals, the Live 10 update is the best version of an already multifunctional application.

The Interface

You may already know that Ableton Live has an intuitive, simple interface set up in two views: arrangement and session.

This allows you to play samples and MIDI sequences live, or in a predetermined order so you can trigger the instruments or third party sounds manually.

The Live 10 update improves on the formula even more.

It’s clean and intuitive in the refreshed Live 10 design, with the previous skin options changing to more comprehensive themes that change how you interact with Live 10 based on your preferences.

Unlike in Live 9, clip fade-ins don’t need to be enabled separately in Live 10 – there are built-in shortcuts for that and other commonly used processes that allow you to instantly reposition clips in your track or fold all arrangement tracks.

The Chase MIDI Notes tab lets the program resume long sound clips without them needing to be manually retriggered.

Just looking at Live 10, you know you’re getting a more refined suite than previous updates. The browser is now color-coded for your curated content, managing your updates, and curating your tracks.

The typeface is clean and easy to read, as it has been on other Live versions, but this time with more customization options to help users make it as easy to read for them as they want.

Capture, Wavetable, and other devices like Pedal and Drum Bass all appear on the interface in more intuitive ways to help with the efficiency of your design.

Arrangement view has improved that design by grouping your features intuitively to avoid a cluttered interface, even though Live 10 has more features than ever before.

If you know what all that means, then you’re in the right place in your industry to make use of Ableton Live 10.

Even if you don’t have experience with other interfaces, the options for instrumentation and effects may convince you.

The Push 2 interface that has been integrated into Ableton Live 10 also gives you more options in terms of applications and an even more refined interface.

Those who use Push on their devices will be happy to read on and discover how Ableton has fixed one of the major drawbacks of previous updates, which was the lack of Push features.

Push integration

The Push interface gives Ableton Live 10 access to premium features, making it a more versatile studio DAW than any on the market.

Ableton Live 10 doesn’t have to be established with Push but Push and Push 2 offer a lot of useful expanded functionality that makes Live 10 even more interactive.

The vibrant Push display could be a huge asset to organizing your work in a live performance setting or a studio composition setting.

Push also allows Live 10 to visualize each note in MIDI clips, which enhances users’ ability to sequence them, something that previous Live 10 suites have been lacking and now can’t do without. Push enhances the already stellar MIDI sequencing on Ableton Live 10 by showing notes in four rows, accentuated by a separate sequencer section. 

Push users should love the full integration with Live 10, including the new features and vibrant, intuitive interface changes. Using new devices in the suite like Wavetable and Echo is not only easy but they look great too.

Previous Live updates have been a little slow getting full device integration up to speed with the Push interface, which has made Mac users and “Push natives” a little slow to get on board. Those worries are gone with Live 10.

Instrumentation options

Ableton Live 10 features synth options that give mixers way more utility than previous updates to the suite. The range of timbres and the sheer number of presets all situated on the vibrant Push 2 display makes Live 10 more multifaceted than the versions that preceded it.

New audio effects give users a ton of options, including echo, drum base, and pedal, all of which provide modes for mixing and production that can make Live 10 even more customizable.

Echo allows users to program delays, similar to a tape system. Drum Base is a tool that gives users more audio shaping options than before by combining transient shaping, compression, and distortion into one mechanic.

Pedal is the best guitar distortion effect added to Ableton Live in all its updates, including dedicated sub controls for manipulating the low end of the spectrum better than any previous version.

Live packs

Ableton Live 10’s live pack options aren’t for everyone, particularly those who are overwhelmed by bundled content in an already multifunctional design suite.

However, they have a lot to offer those looking for even more options and are better in Live 10 than they’ve ever been.

These packs include Build and Drop and other themed content packages, including stylistic instrument presets and effects that help consolidate the creative process around a style built-in to the samples. They help mixers by providing MIDI clips and samples and more raw material in keeping with the live pack’s theme.

The instrument packs in Live 10 aren’t a significant jump in variety from the Live 10 presets, but some users may find the options for hybrid kits to be useful, as they include more instrument mixes and a host of MIDI beat clips that pair with the other kits and applications. The Drum Booth kit, for instance, is perfect for acoustic mixing. Synth Essentials comes with all the samples and presets needed for an electronic mix.

These packs may not appeal to everyone, but for many users they expand the information available in Live 10 to customize mixes so it’s worth it to see them improve from Live 9.

Wavetable

Wavetable is the main device in the new packs that we’ll talk about since it’s probably the most useful for the average Live 10 user.

Wavetable has a wide palette of synthesizers and instruments that make its design capabilities much improved over its predecessors.

You can use it to morph hundreds of wavetables using classic and synthetic forms and two flexible filters.

It’s Live 10’s main synth collection for a reason, and works perfectly in tandem with Operator and Analog on Ableton’s system.

With the ability to make adjustments in the form of automation and to edit MIDI clips together, Wavetable is a great addition to your already packed feature list with Push, drum pads, keyboards, and more operating on the Live 10 interface.

Demo

A demo option sweetens the deal for the Ableton Live 10 suite because it allows you to practice on its basic features for free.

If your system requirements are in order, you have nothing to lose by trying out the Live 10 demo.

Cons

We didn’t notice cons with the interface or features available with the Ableton Live 10 design suite. The main drawback is that Live 10 loads slower on iMac than Live 9.

The Takeaway

Ableton Live 10, like its previous versions, is most notable for its features and interface.

The applications, live packs, instrument and clip options, and other features give mixers, arrangers, and composers all the tools they need to boost their audio design station with one of the best mixing and design suites available.

Its integration with Push gives Live 10 options for applications and devices, as well as useful MIDI visualization options.

Wavetable and Echo, as well as other live packs and applications, give Live 10 a ton of building options that include everything from a themed interface to new instrument and clip packs.

If the adjustment and automation options on MIDI playback, instrument mixes, and customizable interfaces aren’t big enough selling points, Live 10 also offers a demo period that gives users the chance to experience its features without financial risk.

This offsets the premium price of Live 10, but it’s not so outside the market prices of other suites to criticize it on those grounds.

In fact, if you’re a designer looking for an improved version of Live 9, Live 10 ups Ableton’s game in its creative features, sound library, and intuitive interface.

Its new integration with third-party programs makes it an even better option for designers looking for an all-in-one design suite to mix, arrange, compose, and master existing or new music.

With the addition of a free trial, you don’t even have to take our word for it: you can try it out yourself.

Best Website Builder for Musicians in 2020

Music is one of those careers that now requires an online presence for its artists to be successful.

Not only have a ton of artists been discovered on the internet, but being present and active there is crucial to establishing a marketing network, a social media presence, and a loyal following.

Building a website could be useful for any career that involves these things, but there are specific options for musicians that should be considered by anyone that wants a page tailor-made to their career’s needs.

Read on to discover the 5 best website builders for musicians in 2020, including a series of reviews and a buying guide to help you compare the main features you should be shopping for when comparing major website builders.

Top 5 Website Builders for Musicians

Wix

A few of the best website builders out there are specific for musicians, but many, including our pick for the best of the best, are programs with so many options that musicians can use them just as well as anyone.

Wix is one of those.

Known by many as the best all-around website builder on the internet, Wix is easy to use, has a free version, and should let you do anything you can imagine to get your website running with the templates and applications you want.

The ease of use comes from its drag-and-drop design, which is intuitive for anyone, even those who have never built a website before.

Wix has a tone of style designs too, including the ability to add galleries, assemble a mailing list, and choose from a ton of musician-specific templates to make your website unique.

Wix has cheap plans, starting with a free version that escalates to $20 per month if you plan on selling albums or songs from your site.

You can manage gigs, track sales, create a network of contacts, and more with Wix’s business features, which include many musician-specific options for the template that you choose.

For the wealth of features and ease of use, Wix tops our list of website builders for anyone, musicians included.

Pros

  • Easy to use with an intuitive design
  • Tons of template and style options
  • Free account options as well as paid business profiles
  • Musician-specific features for sales, mailing lists, and styles

Cons

  • The inability to switch templates once the site has become active means that musicians need to spend more time building the site before it goes live

Squarespace

Squarespace is another of the best website builders out there and as far as the visual design of their templates, it might be the best.

It doesn’t top this list despite its high-quality style because of fewer options for musician-specific needs and the premium price.

Those who are creative, though, can make better use of Squarespace’s design options than other website builders out there.

This includes tons of well-known artists and musicians – they love the depth of customization options and the beautiful templates that make Squarespace websites stand out.

From minimalist record sales companies to complex storefronts, Squarespace templates are ideal for budding and establishing careers in music.

Squarespace has drop-down menus and selectable options, rather than a drag-and-drop interface, making it a little more difficult to use than some other sites.

Thankfully, Squarespace has 24/7 support and offers a 2-week free trial so people can try it out before committing.

Having said that, Squarespace plans are not as cheap as some others. Their cheapest is $12 per month and that goes up to $26 or even $40 per month for a plan that includes eCommerce options.

Pros

  • Squarespace’s template designs are second to none
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Options for a 14-day free trial

Cons

  • Above-average prices
  • Less intuitive design than Wix

Bandzoogle

Bandzoogle, if you can get past the cheesy title, is a great website builder specific for those that want to showcase their band, sell records, and network with the online music community.

You should know what you’re getting into with Bandzoogle – a smaller, less well-established site than some of the more refined alternatives, but one with music-specific options and a few features that should make any budding band excited.

The first is that eCommerce accounts on Bandzoogle are all free of commission, which means you can sell your band’s albums and merch without worrying about paying out to the service.

Their music-specific analytics are useful for bands that want to track their sales and fanbase activity.

In addition, Bandzoogle features over 100 music-specific templates optimized for both desktop and mobile devices.

Since the site is fully integrated with social media platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube, you can allow fans to stream songs from your site and access your merch from the same place.

At $8.29 per month, Bandzoogle is one of the cheaper plans out there, especially for eCommerce-enabled pages.

They don’t have a free option, but they offer 30-day free trials so you can try out both cheap and expensive plans to see if you like them before you financially commit to them.

Pros

  • Music-specific features such as templates
  • Social media integration gives customers easy access to your music and material
  • Cheap plans and generous trials periods

Cons

  • The interface isn’t as refined as those on some of the bigger sites

BandVista

This is another musician-specific website builder for those that want an easy and cheap way to get their band albums or their merch out there for fans to see.

It’s a great budget pick for those that are looking to set up a site quickly and easily and don’t mind sacrificing some premium features to get it done.

BandVista is an easy application to use and set up so it’s ideal for those that want to set up a website quickly.

It’s also cheaper than many of the more well-known alternatives, though it comes with options that are easier to navigate than the main sites.

The low price, ease of use, and quick application setup are its main positives, however.

BandVista is as known for its simplicity as for its easy setup, but for some artists, especially those that tend towards more creative design, their template options may not be enough.

BandVista’s style is a little outdated, with template options that tend towards simpler designs and not a lot of unique features.

However, it’s cheap and easy to set up for those that want a simple platform to make a quick site.

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Simple templates make it easy to choose one
  • Band-centric styles and templates

Cons

  • Outdated interface and appearance

Weebly

For musicians deep into SEO features and looking for a wide selection of applications on their music site, Weebly is the best platform available.

While it’s not musician-specific, it can be optimized for bands and used to network with its ideal categorization features that emphasize strategies that help you be found in a Google search.

This means that Weebly’s use of SEO represents more people finding your music and booking your events just by virtue of their keyword, sorting, and optimization strategies.

They provide a ton of flexible, stylish apps to use to spruce up your site and increase your traffic.

Best of all, Weebly offers a free plan designed to get you attracted to their specialty features before considering a paid plan. You could always just keep things free, however.

They offer options for free domains, shipping discounts, and other eCommerce features, with some plans as low as $6 per month.

Their performance, professional, and free plans all offer more applications than most other website builders.

For musicians, the eCommerce options are particularly valuable for those that want to use their websites to advertise a record label or sell merch.

This is all without the aggressive compensation fees of some of the other website builders.

Pros

  • State of the art SEO features
  • eCommerce applications for free domains, shipping discounts, and more
  • A variety of affordable plans

Cons

  • Not the most intuitive interface on the market

Best Website Builders for Musicians: Buying Guide

Not all website builders are made equally – their templates, usability, monetization options, cost, and design make a huge difference.

These differences are accentuated when you’re a musician that wants to build a site with a specific purpose, such as selling your band’s records or establishing a network to increase your fan-base and fill your booking schedule.

Read on to compare the main features of these site builders to compare the ones on this list or any that you may be considering.

Templates

The first thing that may attract you to a site builder is their template options.

For those that are creative and want to be able to customize their applications and have a ton of premium options to give their site a unique identity, you may want to use Wix or Squarespace and customize it for a music site rather than rely on the relatively few options of niche sites like BandVista.

Some of these platforms have over 100 music-specific website templates to give you the tools you need to make the site in your head a reality.

Usability

Some of the sites with hundreds of templates are tougher to use. Some have textbox constructions rather than drag-and-drop applications and others can be overwhelming with the choices you have.

This may be a reason to opt for the simpler sites, which often come with a cheaper price tag.

Some users may prioritize usability in order to set up their site quickly, rather than deal with a million options and templates. Particularly for those that have never made a website before or don’t know what they want, simplicity could be a huge selling point.

Monetization

As a musician or a band member, you may be creating this site to monetize your band label, records, or merchandise.

Not every website builder can be monetized, however, and not all of those that can are monetizable for free.

If this is your main goal, you need a site builder with networking options to increase your fanbase and options for storefronts and monetized applications.

Most don’t have eCommerce options as a default so in that case, you need to compare the premium prices of each site builder when choosing between them.

Cost

The cost has a huge impact on profitability when you consider that these sites are paid for with per month subscriptions and have a wide range of prices.

Some cost $25+ per month and others have account options that are completely free.

Free accounts are often more limited, but many (such as Wix) have some diverse free accounts.

Many offer free trials of different lengths as well, which is something to watch for when you aren’t sure which site builder you want to use and prefer to try them out first.

Interface

Some site builders have a simple interface that lets you drag and drop design options, while others have more conventional website builder applications.

Depending on your experience, you may want to find options that are simpler to use so you can build your band’s site quickly.

The age of the site builder also matters here, as some may have outdated templates that aren’t as eye-catching.

The type of music you play matters here as well since the interface can communicate a lot about intentions and style.

The Takeaway

Site builders for musicians range from niche sites that have specific features for the industry and general sites tailor-made for creative thinkers to make the site they want.

Our top choice is Wix for the breadth of features it has, as well as its customization options, usability, and free account options.

However, by using this review series and buying guide, you can choose between any other site builders you find as well by comparing their main features.

By figuring out your specific needs in terms of usability and monetization, you can customize any site builder for your needs as a musician looking to expand your fan-base or sell your music.

Best Headphones for Audio Production in 2020

Headphones for audio production need a few major qualities to improve their functions, features, their ability to cancel noise, and their modern technology conveniences such as voice activation and control.

Comparing these features can be difficult when you’re dealing with not only the major brands but the diverse models they offer.

This review series and buying guide are designed to give you the inside track on the best headphones to buy for audio production in 2020.

We’ll go over the key features of the 5 major models we like and then compare them by criteria in a buying guide to help you determine which will best suit your needs.

Even if you don’t want the models we list, you can still use the guide to work through your own choices and compare their aptitudes against your needs in audio production.

Reviews of the Best Headphones for Audio Production

These reviews of the 5 best headphones for audio production include their major features as well as any possible drawbacks they may have.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio-Technica is one of the most critically acclaimed names in studio monitor headphones and the ATH-M50x tops our list for the same reasons that people have been buying them professionally for years.

Audio engineers and pro reviewers agree that these professional studio monitor headphones are some of the best that money can buy.

The extended frequency range of the ATH-M50x headphones gives them industry-leading clarity in both accurate bass response and the higher registers.

Audio-Technica has circumaural design earcups that completely cover your ears and provide professional sound isolation for mixing and design even in a noisy environment. This makes them perfect tools for a busy engineer or a club DJ.

These premium headphones though have something the cheaper models don’t, which is a 90-degree swiveling mechanism on the earcups that provide efficient ear monitoring. The earpads and headband were also ambitiously comfortable compared to the price.

The detachable 45-millimeter proprietary cable fits into a large aperture driver for optimal sound delivery. Rare earth magnets and copper-aluminum wire voice coils promote professional sound quality and clarity.

Though the price is premium, there are more expensive models on the market with lesser quality.

Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50x studio monitor headphones are recommended by audio professionals everywhere and we see no reason to dispute them.

Pros

  • Superior sound quality and clarity, as well as an extended frequency bass range
  • Proprietary aperture drivers, 45-millimeter
  • 90-degree swiveling earcups for maximum sound isolation
  • Comfortable pads and headband

Cons

  • These headphones are built for audio monitoring and production; some users have noted that they can become uncomfortable when used for casual purposes like gaming

Status Audio CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones

Status Audio’s CB-1 headphones have a ton of industry-leading features that make them a favored budget option for some top musicians and audio producers, both for quality and comfort.

They show up on top technology review compendiums for a reason – we simply had to include them on our list of the best audio production headphones for 2020.

The 50-millimeter drivers on the CB-1 headphones set them apart, giving the sound quality a more expansive range.

Two 9-foot cables and an adaptor give you the ability to take them throughout a larger workspace and a custom locking mechanism prevents them from popping out.

CB-1 headphones are compatible with any audio cables, ensuring that any professional sound producer can use them with the equipment they already have.

The design and aesthetics also really impressed us. The Status Audio headphones have a slim look that doesn’t show off any branding. They’re built small enough to fold and store easily for travel.

Speaking of design, the CB-1 headphones are also designed with comfort in mind, with a padded headband and stuffed earcups that stay comfortable for hours of wear.

The cup fully covers your ears, making it unnecessary to create a noise-canceling effect using a tight headband – the earcups do it automatically.

For comfort and style on a lower budget, the Status Audio CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones are another top choice.

Pros

  • 50-millimeter drivers
  • Studio-quality audio production
  • Minimalistic, unbranded design
  • Slim construction promotes storability
  • Padded earcups for complete ear enclosure

Cons

  • Not the best bass range response on the market

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio-Technica tops our list as the best studio headphones in general, and they’re coming back for a top budget pick.

For their winning designs in both engineering and features, offering premium sound cancelation, ideal aesthetic construction, and the perfect physical technology to maximize the quality and efficiency of your sound production in 2020 without breaking the bank.

Audio-Technica designs their headphones specifically for audio engineering, both tracking and mixing.

If you know anything about sound design headphones, you know that they usually aren’t wireless – the 40-millimeter drivers on the ATH-M20x studio monitor headphones are copper class aluminum wire voice coils for the best possible sound quality. They’re tuned to enhance low-frequency performance for more accurate mixing.

The aesthetic design is also top-notch, with contoured earcups that provide perfect isolation and cancelation in even noisy environments, ideal for both sound production and being a DJ.

Those who are into tracking, mixing, or design know the conveniences of a single-side cable exit, which the Audio-Technica has in a magnet neodymium slot.

For audio production headphones on a budget, look no further than Audio-Technica.

Pros

  • Sturdy construction
  • Rare earth magnet drivers with copper-aluminum wire voice coils
  • Contoured earcup design (circumaural) for premium sound isolation/cancelation
  • Single-side cable exit with 40-millimeter drivers

Cons

  • The 3-meter cord may be too long for some, depending on the workstation setup

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones

The Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones are for people who know their technical specs and want quality audio production headphones on a smaller budget.

For those with painful necks, these headphones also have a weight advantage, weighing a comfortable 285 grams in total to take the strain off.

Circumaural ear coupling improves sound isolation for professional mixing and production.

The natural sounds on the Sennheiser headphones are responsive and warm, with a nominal impedance of 64 ohms and a sound pressure level of 133 dB.

Those who are technically minded and know what they want out of their specs will be happy to know they have a frequency response of 25000 Hz

The Sennheiser HD280PRO headphones are also refined for comfort, with earpads and headband padding that help you stay comfortable while wearing them for long periods.

Pros

  • Lightweight construction makes the Sennheiser headphones easy to wear for long production sessions
  • Ear coupling provides unique sound isolation properties that encourage working in noisy environments
  • Replaceable pads, headband padding, and audio cord

Cons

  • Some users complain that the pins on the internal jack get bent when the stiff cable on these headphones pull on them over extended periods

Status Audio BT One Wireless On-Ear Headphones

While most audio engineers opt for the higher quality metals and surer quality of corded headphones, some prefer to be modern, perhaps because of the constraints of their workspace.

For that, they may want a Bluetooth option. While not as lauded as corded headphones, there are some great wireless headphones for audio production out there.

Our top pick in that category is the Status Audio BT One Wireless model.

These headphones have a 40-millimeter driver that promotes clarity, giving a full bass range competitive with the corded models in its class.

The metal frame gives it a sleek, modern design, with modern conveniences like button controls on the headphones themselves to promote ease of use.

These include playback and volume controls, as well as a microphone that lets you make calls from your headset without taking them off to use your phone. It easily folds for travel.

Of course, with the Status Audio BT One Wireless On-Ear Headphones, you’re wondering about the Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth 5.0 of the Status Audio BT headphones supports two phones, tablets, or computers. Compatible devices include those made by Mac, PC, Android, and Personal Media Players Pixel.

Being wireless, you also need to consider the battery life on these headphones.

Thankfully, the Status Audio BT headphones last 30 hours on one charge, making these headphones the ideal companion for sound producers traveling long distances.

They charge by USB in just over an hour. These features make the Status Audio wireless headphones our pick for the best Bluetooth-enabled headphones for audio production available in 2020.

Pros

  • Convenient Bluetooth technology compatible with most smartphones and tablets
  • Modern, minimalist design aesthetic
  • 30-hour battery life on a 1-hour charge
  • Quality bass range
  • Built-in buttons

Cons

  • The plastic frame and headband aren’t as durable as some of the more expensive models

Buying Guide

Here are the main categories of features that should be compared between these headphone models.

By shopping with this list in mind, you can make sure to buy exactly what you need.

Sound quality

The sound quality is stellar on the headphones we listed, but not everything on the market is made equally.

When you’re shopping, look for things like the decibel limit, bass range quality, and other technical-specific features and compare the models for their specs.

Construction

Construction will set some of these models apart, with price factoring heavily into the material quality of the headband and frame, as well as the cord.

Some have stiffer cords made of rarer metals and others have budget plastic constructions that might save you money but may cost you durability.

Earcups are another significant aspect of construction, with some of the models listed providing professional-level sound isolation by covering your whole ear, which is what you want from audio production headphones.

Construction also factors into the aesthetic design of the headphones, with some favoring flashy branded designs and others being sleeker and more minimalistic.

This can affect practical use as well as preference, however, since some models are slimmer and more foldable for use in travel.

Cost

Cost is a measurable response to your preferences depending on your needs. From our top premium pick, down to our budget pick, both by Audio-Technica, you should be able to find audio production headphones that work with your budget.

Special features

Some of these headphones have special features, which could make or break them in terms of your preferences.

Some are easier to take on the go, including the completely wireless Bluetooth versions that can connect with smartphones and tablets and are ideal for mixing music on a plane ride.

Other more expensive models have swiveling earcups such as our top Audio-Technica pick, and others have built-in buttons.

The length of the cord also factors in here, with some providing too much or too little compared to the needs of your workspace.

Since these features can’t be compared to each other numerically, you need to know what special features are a priority for you before you start looking so you can match the audio production headphones to your specific needs.

The Takeaway

Audio production requires subtle and effective tools. Comparing headphone brands and models can be complicated if you don’t know the standard of comparison.

This review series and buying guide are designed to help you sort it out by comparing the main features of the different models available, including their construction, aesthetics, and cost.

Our top pick for headphones for audio producers and mixers is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones.

They have superior material construction, including the earcups, headband, and lead wires, and industry-leading professional sound quality. The earpieces have leading sound isolation tech, giving you the ability to mix and design sound on a professional level for a consumer-grade price.

Though you might buy different models depending on whether your needs involve travel, wireless functions, or a specific millimeter driver, the models listed in this review guide should serve you well so long as you know enough to compare their construction and functions to your needs as an audio producer in 2020.

The 8 Best Online DJ Courses [2020]: Compared and Reviewed

DJing is a dying art form.

There, we said it.

Long gone are the days where manual beat matching, scratching, and djing with vinyl were normal DJ skillsets.

With the advent of DAWs with automatic syncing and beat matching, the DJ has become more of a curator and personality than a musician.

However, these same DAWs have opened the doors to a whole universe of possibilities.

Ableton Live, for example, has enable DJs to basically become whole bands and produce new sounds on the spot.

With that in mind, we set out to find what is the best online DJ course out there in 2020.

We purchased close to 10 online dj courses, here are the ones that made the final cut:

Course Name Teacher What’s Included? Musical Genre Focus Price / Our Rating
Editor’s Value Choice
DJ Courses Online Bundle
DJ TLM
Isaac Cotec
Nick Trikakis
14 video based dj courses on DJing techniques, Serato, Traktor, Ableton Live, and more.
– 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
– Close to 100 hours of content
All Genres
Editor’s Overall Choice
Point Blank- DJ Skills Online Course
Dozens of lecturers, including:
  • Mr Dex (DJ for Wu Tang, Estelle, and more)

  • Ben Bristow

  • DJ Davine

  • Rockwell
  • Diploma from a world class instituion,
    – Weekly online masterclasses,
    Personal, 1-on-1 tutorials every 2 weeks,
    -Recordings of all classes available on demand,
    – Student forum and alumni network, which includes leading DJs and Producers
    All Genres
    Armin Van Buuren Masterclass
    Armin Van Buuren
    – About 3 hours of video content
    – Downloadable class workbook
    – Access to other masterclasses, such as Deadmau5’s.
    EDM / Trance
    Learn how to DJ From The Wu-Tang Clan
    DJ Symphony
    – About 7 hours of video content
    Certificate Upon Completion
    Hip Hop
    ProducerTech: Ableton Live DJ’s Guide
    ProducerTech
    – About 3 hours of video content split into 18 modules
    – Live DJ template and 100MB Bonus FX samples
    All Genres

    Best Overal Online DJ Courses

    #1 DJ Courses Online Review: Overall Staff Pick

    It was a though decision, but due to its laser sharp focus on DJing only, and the quality of the content, as well as the price, the DJ Courses Online program takes the number 1 spot.

    DJ Courses Online Bundle- Key Facts

    Duration: Unlimited / On Demand
    Instructors:
    DJ TLM– DJ and producer with 25 years of experience
    Isaac Cotec– Certified Ableton teacher
    Nick Trikakis– Former employee at Native Instruments and AKAI, producer, and DJ.
    What’s Included?:
    – Over a hundred of hours of videos
    – 14 full courses for all skill levels
    – 30 day money back guarantee + email support
    Price:
    Starts at 19$
    CHECK CURRENT PRICE

    All in all, there are over 10 dj courses included for a monthly fee of only 19$.

    It covers all major DAWs as well going in-depth into some really interested and complex DJ theory.

    Of all the dj courses we tested, this was by far the most in-depth one we found.

    Unlike some of the other dj courses in this list, the instructors don’t have big names in the industry, however, they more than make up for this with their knowledge of DJ techniques.

    Some of the techniques included are:

    • Beat counting
    • Beat matching
    • Syncing
    • Song Structure
    • Song selection
    • DJ equipment
    • EQing
    • Effects
    • Cue Points
    • Looping
    • Transitions
    • Sampling
    • Backspinning 
    • Organising your library
    • Scratching- in-depth techniques
    • Recording mixes
    • Branding
    • Serato
    • Ableton Live
    • Tracktor
    • Career DJ Tips

    And much more.

    And this is where the course shines.

    For 19.99$/month (the price of a cheap lunch), you’ll have access to all information you could ever want on the topic of DJing.

    Anything that you could possibly think of has been covered by these guys, including DJ tips for anything from career to branding and organizing your library- loads of gems to be found.

    And what’s more, the course is delivered in a straightforward and easy manner. The platform works great on both mobile and desktop and the classes are to the point and effective.

    If you end up not using the course, you can always ask for a refund, as they have a great 30 days money back guarantee.

    CLASS PREVIEW

    #2- Point Blank DJ Skills Review: The Credible Choice

    This school shouldn’t need an introduction.

    It’s been chosen as the ‘Best Music Production School’ by the readers of DJ Mag.

    Point Blank DJ Skills – Key Facts

    Duration: 3 months live course (Not on demand)
    Instructors:
    Ben Bristow aka Mr Bristow– DJ, producer, beatboxer. Has played in Space (Ibiza), as well as ministry of sound, scala, and cargo.
    Darren Henry aka Quest– Dubstep pioneer DJ
    Nigel Hosten aka Mr. Dex– DJ for the Wu-Tang Clan, Sway, Scratch Perverts and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
    David Clarke aka DJ Davine– Has played Ministry of Sound, The Garage and the Mother Live 333.
    What’s Included?:
    – Weekly online classes, bi-weekly 1-on-1 online classes
    – Access to student forum
    – Diploma upon completion
    Price:
    Starts at around 450$
    CHECK CURRENT PRICE

    It’s the school that Goldie turned to when he wanted to learn ableton live, it’s where Patrick Topping honed his skills as a producer, and its where countless many other leading artists went to hone their skills before making it big.

    And that’s where Point Blank really shines- It’s student network is simply unrivalled.

    And this extends to their online DJ courses too.

    By enrolling in the DJ Skills course, for example, you’ll have access to the student forum, whatsapp groups, and weekly masterclasses with your peers, many of whom will undoubtedly make a name for themselves in their craft.

    Even if you’re not looking to network, Point Blank is well worth its price.

    It’s one of the most practical dj courses in this list, teaching you not only the skills needed, but the whole logistics and operations behind managing your music library and gigs.

    Here’s a quick look at the topics covered:

    • Equipment Overview
    • Cueing
    • Drop Mixing
    • Beat Matching
    • Equalisation
    • Transforming
    • Rekordbox (Export Mode)
    • Programming Mixes
    • Recording a Mix

    Here’s a sample of a class:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOJyrCFBnRs

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #3- Armin Van Buuren Masterclass Review: The Production Value Choice

    For those of you who don’t know, Armin Van Buuren is an iconic DJ and producer from the Netherlands. He’s the 4 time consecutive best DJ in the world according to DJ Mag and one of the four “trance” artists nominated to a grammy.

    Armin Van Buuren Masterclass – Key Facts

    Duration: On demand
    Instructors:
    Armin Van Buuren– Legendary house/trance producer and DJ
    What’s Included?:
    – 3+ hours of video
    – PDF workbooks
    – Student support forum
    Price:
    Starts at around 50$
    CHECK CURRENT PRICE

    Now masterclasses tend to have the reputation of being sometimes light on the technical side, though we didn’t find that to be the case for this program.

    There is one caveat though: The course focuses a lot on the production side of things with Logic.

    However, there is still a solid amount of content regarding playing live sets, including the following lessons:

    •  Approaching Your DJ Set
    • Building a Set: Edits and Mashups
    •  Using the Decks: Basics
    • Using the Decks: Armin’s Techniques
    • Performance DJ Tips

    The good thing about masterclass is that you can pay monthly, starting at about 20$, so once you get done with the DJing classes, you can cancel your subscription without doing the rest of the course. Though we do recommend the rest of the course if you’re interested in trance / EDM music production.

    This subscription also allows you to stream hundreds of other high quality courses, including courses by deadmau5, Hans Zimmer, Timbaland, and more.

    If you want to learn to DJ from the one of the best, look no further.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #4 Udemy: Learn to DJ From The Wu-Tang Clan Review: The Hip Hop Choice

    This course we simply couldn’t ignore. After all, most things are temporary but the Wu is forever.

    In this course, the legendary hip hop DJ Symphony goes through some classic hip hop DJing techniques as well as some overall DJ theory.

    It includes over 7 hours of video and entitles you to a certificate upon completion.

    The main highlight of the course for us was it’s production value.

    The camera is mostly set up from a bird’s eye view of the mixing table and decks, allowing you to follow along with your deck- It’s by far the most hands-on course we tested.

    All the content was high quality, with the video streaming seamlessly with great definition. This makes it super easy to follow.

    In addition, the teacher is a master at his craft. If you’re looking for a hip-hop specific course, this one is a no brainer.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #5 Skillshare: DJing Live: From Setup to Soundcheck (w/ Young Guru) Review

    In the same vein as #3, Young Guru’s DJ course on skillshare is a must have for any hip hop DJ.

    It’s a very solid course for beginner and intermediate DJs on how to setup your gear for a live performance, but we rank it after DJ Symphony’s course as we found that it wasn’t as in-depth and hands-on.

    It’s still a great course, coming from a legendary engineer and hip hop producer responsible for many hits from Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

    Its important to note that this course focuses solely on setting up your gear and software. No major techniques are discussed, though there are a couple of nuggets of information that are really interesting.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    DAW Specific Online DJ Courses:

    #1- ProducerTech: Ableton Live DJ’s Guide Review

    Producertech is one of the leading online music course providers.

    They stand out from the crowd by producing really specific dj courses focused on one particular piece of software.

    Generally, the quality of content is very high. Their Ableton Live course is no different.

    Ableton Live is a whole other ball game when it comes to live DJing as it comes with a huge pad that allows you to program your live performance.

    Guys like daedelus have taken the definition of being a DJ to a different dimension, with sets featuring live production and sampling with the Ableton Live:

    We can’t promise that this course will make you an overnight daedelus, but if you’re interested in that world, it’s certainly a good introduction.

    Here a sample of a class:

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #2- Point Blank Online School- Traktor Pro DJ Review

    As we previously mentioned, Point Blank is a leading school in the music industry. And as you would expect, their Traktor Pro DJ course does not disappoint.

    It will take you about 2 months to complete it and will require an investment of about 400£ or 500$, depending on deals and promotions.

    Topics covered:

    • Traktor Inferface: Importing Tracks
    • Skills: Beat Matching, Looping, Cueing, Quantizing, Beat Jumping.
    • Basic FX
    • Harmonic Mixing: Analysing keys, mixing acapellas.
    • Crate Digging, Idents, Broadcast
    • Hardware: Digital Vinyl, Midi Controllers

    Here’s a sneak peak of what a class looks like:

    As is the norm with Point Blank, you’ll get online masterclass with your colleagues, and also 1-on-1’s with the lecturers.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    #3 Skillshare: The Basics of Serato DJ Review

    Hosted by Mister Gray, this skillshare is, like most skillshare courses, short and sweet.

    It will take you about an hour to complete, and in the end, you’ll have increased significantly your knowledge of how Serato DJ works and how to make the most of it. Particularly if you’re a beginner in the ways of Serato.

    The teacher is a somewhat successful DJ and producer from the United States who focuses on hip hop and EDM / dubstep.

    The production value of this course is insane, as is the case with most skillshare courses.

    The major downfall, however, is its lack of depth. This really is a course for beginners.

    COURSE INFO PAGE

    Final Thoughts

    We hope we’ve helped you find the very best online DJ course for your needs.

    If you’re looking for general music courses or music production related courses, please check out our guide on that subject.

    And as always, if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comment box below!

    Best Studio Monitors in the Market Right Now [2020]

    Whether you are a music production professional or a beginner starting a Home Studio, choosing the right quality monitors is one of the most difficult decisions.

    Which are the best studio monitors?

    This recurring question has many answers, as many as audio monitors are in the market, and the best way we can take to decide is to check which ones satisfy better our needs.

    When choosing studio monitors we must ask ourselves certain questions that will help us select the right ones.

    The first question is about the size of our study, will they be used in a home study or in a professional study?

    The next thing is to define our budget, and taking into account these 2 factors, we will analyze among the three fundamental quality parameters: Build quality, sound quality and connectivity.

     Let’s  start with some of the best professional studio monitors :

    Adam Audio A7X

    The Adam Audio A7X monitor has a great reputation among professional audio production studios; even, many affirm that “everything that happens through the A7X sounds good”.

    It is the creation of a German company, which has positioned this monitor as the bestseller in its catalog.

    It is a versatile, highly balanced, near-field monitoring speaker.

    The Adam Audio A7X has a price of around $750 per unit, a slightly high price for those who start, but they will ensure the highest clarity and quality when mixing.

    It features a very high frequency response from 42Hz to 50kHz.

    It has a built-in amplifier with a power of 150W, which helps power the 7 “carbon fiber woofer and a 2” tweeter called X-ART, properly used by the brand, producing surprising audio clarity as it does not dominate the room and makes the sounds highly decipherable.

    Construction quality is high, designed in high-density wood. In terms of connectivity it has 2 audio connectors, RCA non-balanced and XLR balanced.

    Neumann KH 120 A

    The Neumann KH 120A active audio monitor competes in quality / price ratio with the Adam Audio A7X, it is created by the German company Neumann, a leading manufacturer of studio microphones that has been working in the sound industry for more than 90 years.

    This studio monitoring speaker demonstrates all the experience of this legendary company, focused on its new line of monitors.

    KH120A is a monitor d compact, two – way study has so far proven an excellent quality for the approximately $700.

    It’s especially outstanding for its incredibly detailed mid-range sounds.

    The Neumann KH 120A features a minimalist and compact design, a height of around 11″ and of just over 7″ of  width.

    The build quality is excellent, it consists of a two-piece cast aluminum case, it has curvatures in its casing that substantially improve the sound and also giving it a sophisticated look.

    In the sound quality apart, it has 100W of power 50 W Woofer and 50 W Tweeter, and a frequency range from 52Hz to 21KHz.

    Its connectivity is a bit limited since it only has one XLR input.

    The Neumann KH 120A is highly recommended for its accurate reproduction, balanced tone and uniform sound dispersion.

    Yamaha HS8

    Let’s start with midrange audio monitors, where prices below $500.

    HS line Yamaha monitors are one of the most used and traditional on the market.

    Characteristics of the HS5, HS7 and even the legendary NS10 remain in Yamaha HS8: room control High Trim, and regulation of low and high.

    This monitor has higher overall performance than its predecessors, thanks to a unique mount that reduces vibration and the phase switch, which allows you to configure a subwoofer system with simple connections, without the need for additional equipment.

     The price of each monitor varies around $340. As because build quality of the Yamaha HS8, we can say that it has a simple but elegant appearance.

    They are made of dense MDF, and they have good acoustic damping. However, it has very few settings available.

    The HS8 has an 8” cone woofer shows minimal distortion and good sound, even at the low end, which is very important for producers working with heavier bass.

    1” tweeter is highly clear in terms of highs and the frequency range is from 38Hz to 30KHz. Its power is 120W, and has XLR and TRS balanced and unbalanced inputs.

     PreSonus Eris E5 XT

    For a price close to $150, you can get a special studio monitor for small spaces.

    The PreSonus Eris E5 XT audio monitor are the revamped version of the Eris E5, and it is considered one of the best in terms of price range and its amazing features.

    It has a 5.25″ woofer that comes with its own 45W power amplifier, comes with low-frequency Kevlar transducers, and the 1″ silk dome tweeter.

    This active studio monitor can output up to 102 dB of maximum sound pressure.

    They are equipped with an EBM (Elliptical Boundary Modeled) waveguide designed by Hugh Sarvis of WorxAudio, which gives you a privileged response before the frequencies.

    This feature is ideal for group work, as it creates a 100 degree horizontal dispersion, creating a larger optimum point.

    On the back it brings a simple tone control for the range of bass, mid and treble sounds.

    It has unbalanced RCA inputs, ¼” balanced TRS and balanced XLR or Jack inputs. It has no tone control.

    JBL 305P MkII

    Finally, if you have a low budget to start, the JBL 305P MkII audio monitors are the ones for you, at $100, you will get the scope and clarity of a good audio studio.

    This monitoring speaker is made of MDF and some parts in black PVC. Its mold is made of structural ABS, which gives it a robust and construction and quality.

    The 305PMKII features a 1″ tweeter, 5″ woofer, 82W total power, and a frequency range of 43Hz to 24KHz.

    Low frequencies are surprising, especially if compared with other monitors in this same range.

    Other features that set it apart from the rest, is the audio quality at high volumes, as it remains accurate and clean, with no added roughness or distortion.

    On the back they have volume control, bass and treble controls and XLR and TRS connections. A peculiarity is the implementation of what JBL calls “image control waveguide”.

    This technology allows that, to the placed anywhere in a room, an accurate representation of the sound will be heard.

    Best GSnap Alternatives for Mac

    Finding the perfect combination of plugins for your needs might not be that easy.

    While the first thing that comes to mind is that you can just take as many as you want seems viable, there are a few problems you’ll come across along the way.

    First, you’ll just have a mess of random plugins that you don’t even use. And secondly, your system might not support some of the plugins that you thought you’ll use.

    The constant struggle of Windows computers versus Macs has been present in almost every field. Of course, the same discussion found its way into the world of music production. And you’ll see many producers or musicians (both professionals and amateurs) fighting over what’s a better solution – a PC or a Mac.

    This is often due to the choice of proper software and how it works on a given system. But in this case, we’re interested in pitch correction plugins. Particularly, the one we’re looking at is GSnap.

    Now, although it’s free of charge, it’s only available for Windows users. And knowing that it’s a great and useful plugin, it comes as a real bummer for Mac users.

    But don’t worry, as we’ve decided to look into this matter and bring you the list of the best GSnap alternatives for Mac.

    It took a while to narrow things down, but this is the final list that we came up with. We found plugins that are either free of charge or the regular commercial kind.

    Auto-Tune

    And what a better place to start than the legendary Auto-Tune?

    This is a professional level plugin that will help you achieve any type of pitch correction for virtually every musical style that you need.

    Yes, it’s not the cheapest one, but it’s still pretty much the industry standard.

    Whether it’s the real-time correction or editing during a live show or additional correction in the studio, you’ll be able to achieve anything with it.

    Over the years, the plugin developed to the point where you have an abundance of additional features. These do not only make your work easier but also make all corrections sound as if there was no editing done.

    Not even the most trained ears will be able to notice some corrections.

    Celemony Melodyne

    Melodyne has become one of the world’s most famous pitch correcting plugins today.

    In some way, we can say that it became as big as Auto-Tune. Now, what’s rather exciting about it is that there are special algorithms that make it a very versatile piece of software. This means that Melodyne doesn’t work the same way for any audio source.

    For instance, any vocal recording won’t be processed the same way as instruments. What’s more, you can also use it for percussive instruments, noises, and even entire mixes of songs.

    Now, aside from the basic pitch editing features, we also have a few other interesting additions.

    Firstly, Melodyne comes with its extensive collection of scales. This means that you can take one melody that’s, let’s say, performed in Aeolian mode, and then change it into the Phrygian mode. Of course you can just use this to correct the pitch automatically if there are any slightly out-of-tune notes.

    Secondly, we have the option to edit timing, shorten notes, reverse them, quantize everything – you name it. Then we also have the tempo editing, amplitude editing, and an abundance of many other functions and features.

    NewTone

    In case you’re an avid FL Studio user, then you might want to check out NewTone by Image-Line that works both for Windows and macOS versions of this famous DAW.

    It might not be as versatile and high-end as Melodyne or Auto-Tune, but it’s still significantly cheaper. If you need some basic pitch correction, this one will be easier to use.

    And aside from this basic pitch correction, it’s also capable of track slicing, time correction, tempo correction, and many other things.

    For instance, you can slice the track into “blocks” and then put arrange them any way you like, while managing to create one reinvented yet coherent instrument or vocal track. It’s simple to use, but it’s very potent.

    Autotalent

    Was there ever a more suitable name for a plugin than “Autotalent”? But all the jokes aside, Autotalent is an open-source plugin that comes as a great alternative to any standard commercial (and, dare we say, expensive) pitch correction plugins out there.

    Made by Oli Larkin back in the late 2000s, it’s developed into a very versatile software that can help you with any kind of pitch correction.

    Aside from regular studio work, it can also handle real-time pitch correction.

    Although it’s theoretically possible to use it in real-time, it doesn’t show the best results in these settings. Nonetheless, this plugin is pretty useful for pitch correction. It might be tricky to use for some, but it’s worth checking out by all means.

    Revoice Pro

    Now, Revoice is a pretty advanced pitch correction software.

    Needless to say, it’s also an expensive one. However, this plugin is aimed at professionals who are looking for some of the best ways to correct the pitch and completely “reinvent” their tracks.

    Made by Synchro Arts, the plugin comes with a few important features.

    Revoice Pro 4 has three main sections – APT, Warp, and Doubler.

    APT deals with the essential stuff any professional pitch correction software does, including pitch, vibrato, timing, and levels. It’s pretty realistic in what it does.

    Warp works with the timing and pitch while it also retains all the essential qualities of an audio recording. And Doubler simply helps you create realistic-sounding doubled tracks both in stereo and mono.

    Graillon

    Lastly, we would also mention Auburn Sounds’ Graillon.

    This plugin is free of charge but still does some pretty amazing stuff.

    If you’re looking for a free substitute for GSnap, this is probably the best option you can get.

    It has a pretty great-looking interface, making it quite easy to use. It’s focused on vocals and it has low latency, which also makes it a good option for real-time pitch correction.

    How to EQ Vocals

    Most of the music out there is vocal-centric. This means that all the vocals all the time should sound absolutely perfect.

    Whether it’s a live performance or a studio recording, everyone will be paying attention to vocals the most. However, tweaking the voice to sound just about right is not exactly the easiest task.

    In fact, many of the amateurs and semi-professionals will always have a hard time setting up vocals the right way. But the last thing you want is to have a quality singer sounding awful in the mix.

    With this in mind, we’ll try and explain a thing or two on how to properly EQ the vocals.

    Choice of a microphone is essential

    Before we get fully into it, we need to point out that the quality of the input is of essential importance of any type of recording or a live show.

    There’s no amount of editing and mixing that can help you if the original recording sounds awful.

    So before even getting anywhere near the mixing console or your EQ plugins, make sure to have a suitable microphone for what you need.

    Look into different polar patterns and think whether you need a dynamic or a condenser mic.

    Each microphone picks up audio differently and will focus more on specific sets of frequencies. This is the reason why you really need to take this into consideration before recording or tweaking the EQ knobs.

    It’s all about the vocalists

    If you’re recording entire bands, or setting up the EQ and levels for live shows, there’s an order of operations you’ll need to respect.

    Start with the lower-end spectrum and go from drum sets, then move to bass guitars, guitars, keyboards, and then the vocals.

    The idea is to make them all work together and not have them go into each other sonic “territories.”

    And before setting your hands on lows, mids, and highs on the mixer’s EQ, you’ll first need to be setting the gain knobs for each of the instruments.

    But while setting the EQs of all the individual instruments, bear in mind that you’re giving enough “room” for the vocals. If you do everything step by step and tweak the way you should, laying the vocals on top will be like a breeze.

    Cutting

    The way you should be looking at the EQ is that you not only boost but also cut specific frequencies. This is especially made easy with parametric EQs.

    Depending on the type of the microphone, the singer’s voice and technique, the room you’re recording in, and the rest of the band, you’ll need to be cutting some frequencies in the vocals.

    And these unwanted frequencies can be all over the spectrum. In addition, the vocals can have a lower end boost to them if the singer is too close to the microphone. This is also known as the proximity effect.

    The microphone will also pick up the other instruments, and that’s also something you’ll need to be thinking about while setting up the EQ.

    Tweaking over the spectrum

    So when doing the vocals, you should first start with high pass filters and cutting off everything below a particular frequency.

    Some may suggest that you cut off everything below 100 or 150 Hz, but this depends on various factors and the given situation.

    After dealing with the lower end of the spectrum, focus on the lower mids or the higher low-end range – somewhere around 330 to 360 Hz.

    This is a bit of a “muddy” area, and if we’re talking about male vocals, you might get a really muffled sound if these frequencies are pronounced.

    Start cutting a few dB at a time and listen to what happens. The point here is to allow the vocals to stand out in the mix by cutting frequencies in this area.

    Go up the spectrum and try and find potential issues if there are any. For instance, the higher mids or the 2.5 to 4 kHz area might add some unwanted harsher “grinding” vibe to the tone.

    However, if you cut this area too hard, you might lose some clarity. So be very patient and focused when tweaking these parts.

    Then we have the higher-end spectrum where all the sibilance is and where all the harsh consonants might pop out.

    This is usually between 5 and 7 kHz, and you’ll need to find the exact spot to filter out in this area, depending on the singer. Again, cutting too much here will reduce overall clarity.

    Everything above 8 kHz can help you add that cutting edge to the lead vocals.

    However, this is also where all the cymbals and high-end noises are. If you overdo on these frequencies, you might pick up too much of the unwanted stuff in the vocal mic.

    Of course, cutting is a bit more complicated if you have an analog mixer. You’ll need to be looking at the “Q” control, or the bandwidth, as well as the frequency range knob for lows, mids, or highs.

    Of course, everything these days is more accessible with digital mixers or plugins.

    Listen to the whole picture

    After setting it all up, you’ll need to take time and listen to the whole picture.

    If something sounds like it’s lacking, try and boost these frequencies a little bit, without bringing too much of the unwanted noise.

    For instance, if you think there needs to be more lower-end in the vocals, boost narrowly somewhere around the 200 Hz area. If you need more clarity, try narrow boosts around the 6 to 8 kHz territory.

    In case you’re doing a live show indoors, it would be a good idea to walk around the venue and hear if every part where the audience should be doesn’t have any unwanted noises.

    At the end of the day, setting up vocal EQs is not only about the vocals. It’s about the whole picture and helping singers stand out in the mix without making everyone’s ears bleed.