Whats the deal with these automated mastering services?

Whats the deal with these automated mastering services?


So, please clarify something for me. If my ME is not mastering for the purpose of balancing a group of songs that will be distributed together (say, an album), what would be the rationale for my sending just a solo song to him/her for mastering, for the purpose of making it sound better by itself. Not being difficult: I just don’t know.

Why wouldn’t I just send him/her my entire project to tweak my mix? E.g., I’m trying to pull some stuff together for Jonathan to do just that (BTW, Jonathan, I haven’t forgotten or given up! Just busy, and still working on tightening up my guitar playing as y’all suggested! :grinning:). I’m sure there are others here that do that as well (BTW, if so, it’d be cool to know who y’all are!).

As far as the “health” of the mix, I am hoping to learn (with the help of, among other things, this forum!) to get the best possible mix myself. I really wanna learn to do that. Then send it to the Jonathans of this world who can tweak my mix and educate me in the process. Or post it here for a good bashing! Good stuff!

As far as volume, there are all kinds of LUFS meters and standards that can help me get my songs to a standard volume. Again, if releasing as an album, there I see the value of a ME. Big time, btw.

If not for that, I’m thinking the biggest part is getting the mix as good as I can get it, as close to commercial-sounding as I can get it. Or, as Graham puts it, “mix to master.”

BTW, I apologize if I offend any of you with my questions. I’m new to this, and am loving it!. Getting a lot out of these discussions. So please trust me that I’m not trying to pretend I know half as much as any of you! Certainly not trying to push a point of view or insist I’m right. I really am just trying to understand and get a good perspective on when and why (and “if”) mastering should be a part of my workflow.

Thanks for your patience with me! :grinning:


You can advise your artist as much as want, but some of them cannot wrap their heads around the concept of loudness normalisation, and others simply don’t want to know. They just want it LOUD because they believe they are still in the loudness wars, and because they believe louder is better.

Because not all masters are streamed. Some are distributed on CD. As far as I am aware, no CD players have loudness normalisation, so any CD player that utilises multi CDs on a shuffle basis is still “in” the loudness war.

So as an artist you should give serious consideration to the intended end use of the recording, because that will influence the target loudness, which in turn will affect the entire mix to a greater or lesser degree. It may even involve two separate masters - or even three if vinyl is under consideration. I never start any session without this consultation.

Also, radio is still a massive player, and most radio stations even now do not utilise loudness normalisation. They do have a form of it, in as much as they smash the absolute shite out of everything they play, but this does not fully normalise the loudness: tracks mastered louder will actually play louder to a degree.

I know, and as I said, they are not bound to any agreement or any level. They don’t even have to normalise loudness. Why would you expect to see uniform target levels across multiple private enterprise projects?

I have explained clearly that the artist drives the loudness. Steaming platforms are irrelevant in determining the loudness of a recording - although of course they may be a factor in the artist’s decision-making process.

Mainly for the consultation. The general tweaking is certainly part of the package, but the consultation and dialogue are the most valuable aspects.

Some people’s ‘entire project’ is one track. Albums are not as relevant as they used to be.


Correct, yet getting your track to sit next to somebody else’s track on a radio station is also important.


I don’t understand. Can you explain?


I thought I was quoting somebody/something else, was surprised to see your name come up… sorry, must be a mis-quote on my behalf.


I don’t know, simplicity? Why not, that is my question.


For the same reason that Apple have their own proprietary operating system and file formats. The platforms don’t see unifying standards as a priority, they see market share and profit as the priority.


The more reason for some unifications. I never heard any one yell, “I’m not using that platform, because it is operating at that normalization setting” so I don’t see the point in a realy usefull sense. Its btw one of the reasons why I would never buy any apple product, unless it would be recuiered for my very high payed job, I don’t have now :slight_smile:


You’re missing my point. Perhaps I didn’t explain it well enough: Nobody has control over the issue, the various platforms will do whatever they want, so it’s pointless arguing about it or discussing it. In terms of mastering your tracks, all you can do is keep fully abreast of the situation, be aware when any industry changes are made, and choose a loudness that best suits you and your purposes.

Don’t waste your energy on crusading for a unified loudness normalisation protocol, it’s not going to happen.