I know this will divide a bunch of folks, but I wanted to share my opinions and experiences and see what you all thought too.
So, many of you will be aware that there are some online mastering software services (Landr and eMastered) that act like a drive-thru mastering service. You upload your track and put in a few basic settings and five minutes later you have a mastered track. In eMastered’s case, it costs about $16 US a month.
Here are my thoughts so far. No, it does NOT replace or improve on a proper, trained, experienced mastering engineer and probably never will…but…
I have run my band’s last 4 songs and a couple of mine through it as I have to say it has added a lot to both… that finish that we so often talk about.
I ran some tests to match the volume (you can compare your original track and the mastered version in the online software). I downloaded a few versions of the master into my DAW, matched their volume and A/B/C’ed them. There was a clear improvement in regards to clarity, punch, width and volume.
It also, at times, highlighted some issues with my mix so I would have to go and change that before running it through again - another reason to go with the middle tier subscription which allows you unlimited masters.
eMastered gives you a chance to trial it with a song or two, which I did. Then I watched a clip that Graham from Recording Revolution made about the services and I had to agree with him when he said something along the lines of “if it makes your mixes and songs sound better…why not?”.
Many members here have gone and listened to my new song on the BTR section of the forum and said it was overly compressed. That was me pushing the compression settings on the eMastered software a little hard.
Speaking of settings, they are pretty easy, designed to be accessible by anyone and NOT mastering engineers. The settings pretty much have high, normal, low or equivalents for width, volume, eq (H,M,L) and overall mastering.
eMastered also now have a “reference” mastering option to upload another commercially mastered song and it tries to match particular elements based on the analysis of both tracks. Whether that works or not, I have not tested it, but it costs no more so it’s worth a shot if you are going for a certain feel. That feature is up for furious debate…
Anyway, I have had largely positive experiences and I am glad I (we…my band) paid for a year’s subscription.
Anyone else have thoughts, experiences, questions on these types of services?