Whats the deal with these automated mastering services?

Whats the deal with these automated mastering services?


Well, record deal is definitely as important as it used to be, but when you present to a label you should have a cohesive mastered product, and better make it with artwork.

In 2017 my band released our first EP, recorded and played at our practice studio. The performances were killer, but the sound wasn’t 100%. Reaction was good but nowhere as good as our current EP which has 2 of the songs from that first EP. The current EP is commercially recorded, mixed and mastered as opposed to the previous one which was handled in house. We also paid for the artwork and had CDs produced professionally. This whole package sells well and definitely better than our previous one. Record companies (mainly distro and indie labels) are taking note and it is selling good in local indie stores.

Have we recouped the costs? Not by a long stretch yet, but it is a material that we can confidently present to labels and managers. So IMO that’s another aspect why people need to have their product as close to a major label sound as possible.

Then in some regards Metallica turned the whole concept upside down with “St. Anger”, which was an awful hack job of an album, awful sonics, bad music and still sold like hotcakes.


YYou think that the lukewarm reaction is to the recordings. I promise it’s to the songs. Labels have people they hire to fix subpar sound. All that matters are the songs. I’ve worked directly with labels, Major and minor, and they love a fully conceptualized record, but the record is irrelevant if the songs aren’t there yet.

That doesn’t mean it’s a waste of money to get the songs recorded well. Not at all. But it would be if they weren’t great songs. And really, the only way to tell if you have great songs is by the reaction you get. A professional recording and mix will go a long way towards that. Mastering, not so much. So for musicians who are just trying to get to a point where they’re ready to make a big push with their music and their business, really need to get to a certain point first. For those who are trying to get there, paying for a proper mastering job is a waste of money.

Bots are good for people in that position.

Enjoy, Mixerman


@Mixerman yet a lot of execs say in interview that they won’t listen to subpar demo, they want demos to sound like a finished product ready to sell. Last few interviews that I’ve read at least mentioned that. There was even one producer that will slag part for not taking a tempo alignment approach, and would bin bands that don’t use that and autotune (Joe Sturgis).


Isn’t mastering subtle enough that it will sound like a finished product (or not) even if it’s not mastered? I thought that mastering was basically used to level-match different recordings. If you’re just listening to one recording in isolation, (like playing a demo for someone,) does it matter if it’s mastered?


It really wouldn’t be that simple, for starters songs that are mixed usually leave headroom for mastering.


LOL. Joe Sturgis, huh? He’s a producer / educator. Who cares what he wants? You attract a producer that fits you. You don’t fit a producer.

Setting that aside, anyone who allows a Major Label to dictate what they do on their record is screwed. You never want to do that.

Do you realize how few acts are in a position to even be considered for a Major Label deal? This is especially so for bands right now. It’s always been a long shot. It’s an insane long shot now. These things go in waves, and bands had a great run for a while, now. It’s all about Max Martin and his team of pop writers. Anyway, good luck even getting anyone to hear your “demo” without people in the industry helping you. It’s not like it was 20 yeas ago when you could get a label deal without producers and managers. If you’re being groomed for that, you need a team of people, and that includes mixers and MEs, and they are going to help you get your product fully in order. But at the end of the day, you got nothing if you don’t got songs.

Think back to your first year or two recording. Those are the musicians what would be fine using automated mastering services.

Enjoy, Mixerman


You don’t have to master anything no. But you do want to get a track up to a certain level because otherwise people won’t be able to hear it well under certain circumstances. This is why I recommend the automated mastering for people who just want to put their records online and who aren’t putting together a proper professional product. If you put up a song and it gets a reaction, you can always make a decision to do something with it at that point.

Enjoy, Mixerman


I’ve seen a lot of this first hand over the last year. This comment is 100% on the money. This may happen, but in my entire life, I’ve never AND I MEAN NEVER seen a label invest in an artist because they were so in love with the mix quality of the record they just HAD to have in on the licensing for it!

What’s funny to me is sometimes they also hire people to fix things that are just fine. I got a good laugh at a very very big label that begins with the letter S continuously ordering a stupid amount of remixes of the same song two years ago. It was one that I worked on that had been passed around from studio to studio and the big boys couldn’t decide on when it sounded good enough. Sometimes these guys are brilliant, sometimes they’re a bunch of directionless morons.

@Descent, I really do applaud the effort, but I have to ask what the goal is? If I remember correctly, you shared the album here, and the feedback was largely positive. Why are you planning on presenting these to ‘record companies’? What do you want from them? You mention distribution… How is that going to help?

Look, if everything you say is true, you managed to put a great product on the shelves by yourselves. If its selling at all, you must have done a number of things right! What do you feel you need a manager for? Are you at a point in your career where you can’t manage yourselves? What is going on in your band that is so difficult to manage that you guys can’t handle it on your own? Talk to me here.

I totally want you guys to be successful, and everyone on this website is rooting for you. The same way we were all behind Boz when he quit his job and started the plugin company. Perhaps I’m reading your stuff wrong, but if pursuing a record deal/management contract/whatever isn’t part of a clearly articulated bigger picture career strategy, there’s a point at which talking about it literally becomes moot.

@Descent, no one is picking on you, discouraging you, or downplaying that last recording you put out. But what Eric just said is again, dead on the money, and the same logic applies to the executive team in any company. If you own a restaurant, you hire a manager that fits the needs and the skill set of the establishment. You don’t re-vamp the establishment to attract a manager you want to hire. Same goes for a band hiring a manager.


@Jonathan - two things really why we’re doing this, we are seeing ourselves as European band that unfortunately is stuck in Pantera-obsessed musically dead Houston. We have to make a move to Europe and a European label/distro deal/agent will be a dream come true, so we can play gigs in Europe. We’ve basically reached all we can do in Houston at this point and I can’t seem to be able to book us for Wacken, or anything else :slight_smile:

About Sturgis - I don’t particularly care, but there are a lot of bands that listen to his advice and start the typewriter drums and perfectly in pitch and sterile, right on the mark arrangements.

I am actually more in the school of Fenriz - I don’t know how much you are into this style of music (all genres metal) but this guy has a radio show and he picks the most organic and human sounding records available on the world market. I am absolutely impressed by most of his picks… and yeah, the mixes are definitely not perfect, but the tunes work with a production that probably the cheapest budget studio in here can pull off without a problem.


It might be cool to test the auto mastering thing with a blind test, similar to this one that I did a while ago with an actual mastering engineer:


So the whole band is relocating from Houston to Europe?? Like… for day job related reasons? Do you guys all work of the same company and the company is relocating all of you guys together?


No, not really, but some of us have EU properties so we can use it as starting base for festivals, etc.
As long as there’s interest and we can land some proper gigs for summer fests.
2-3 months in EU is doable.