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Online Options

Posted By: J. Dead

Online Options - 07/04/19 08:42 AM

Curious about your thoughts on some of the online options. I read an article that didn't think to highly, the premise being that the online options used algorithms where you can't replace a true mastering Engineer. I agree with that. We ended up using Landr for our last CD and I thought it turned out great. That said, I don't know if they use people or algorithms, and I know our guys who mixed it did a great job, which probably made mastering easier.

Thoughts?

I ask only because we are starting our second CD. As I said, I thought the first turned out great. Give me a reason to pick somebody else.
Posted By: Dave Bryce

Re: Online Options - 07/05/19 05:09 PM

I tried LANDR once when it first came out, and again after their people said they'd had a chance to improve it.

The second time, I even tried a few different "settings" on my work...but it didn't really do what I wanted. The main reason: I felt it left a sonic signature - one I didn't particularly care for - and the settings didn't let me tweak/try to adjust what I was hearing/missing. It was basically either some, some more, or a bunch more.

Now, don't get me wrong - there are some mastering folks that not only want to leave a sound, they strive for it...and some are quite good at it...and if that's what you're after/expect, this tool may be more for you. It's not what I usually want, though. I typically spent a bunch of time getting a project to sound a certain way. It weirds my ear out if I get a master back and that sound is too far off what I expect.

dB
Posted By: Justin P

Re: Online Options - 07/06/19 02:33 PM

I'm not sure if this is the article you already read, but here's my two cents on it:
What Automated Mastering Services Can't Do For You

Posted By: erikveach

Re: Online Options - 07/18/19 05:01 PM

The semantics of audio production have gotten so much more confusing over the years, which can cause issues.
For example, when you search for "mastering online" on Google, what are you actually looking for? Automated instant mastering? Or a mastering studio that accepts projects transferred online?
And not every mastering company is making it clear which they offer these days. LANDR, and many "online mastering" sites these days are 100% automated. There may have been engineers involved in creating it at one point, but when you have your material mastered by these sites it is completely out of the hands of any person. The easiest way to know is if they say they get your mastered track back to you "instantly" or "within a few minutes" or any other such turnaround times, you know there is no human involved. Even a human being offering "mastering" that is simply running your song through a mastering plugin preset on their bedroom computer setup still requires more time than this.
Automated online mastering has certainly improved over the years, and many are starting to offer you options to indicate specific sound flavors that you prefer for your own music - which is a big plus since it adds an artistic element back in.
What they do NOT offer is any kind of experienced professional human input. If you have a special situation, or need particular things addressed, or perhaps you're unaware of something that could have been improved in the mix or a technical glitch in the sound, none of these will be handled by any of the automated online mastering options.
Automated online mastering is like ordering your food from a vending machine. Sometimes it may be really all you need - why pay for more than you need, right? But, if you want to ask questions, or get input, or have a pro engineer on your production "team", they will not provide that for you.
I recommend using automated mastering if you're trying to get something done quickly or if you're situation makes it okay for it to just turn out "good enough". You can always send the same tracks to a real live pro human mastering engineer later when it matters more.
Keep in mind this - if your music was up for a Grammy award and they ask you to submit the name of the professional mastering engineer on it as part of your required complete list of credits, who will you list as the "professional engineer"?
For your demo album, song for grandma's 90th birthday, young artists just getting started, etc., automated online mastering is a great option.
My studio offers both (just for example): https://www.crazymastering.com/mastering.html and https://cdpmastering.com , in recognition of the fact that people are looking for different levels of mastering help.
I wish others were more up front about what level of service they're really offering, is all I'm saying. It's not always clear.
Posted By: J. Dead

Re: Online Options - 07/19/19 08:40 PM

I'm sure the quality of the result has a lot to do with the mix you have pre-mastering. We have a couple really talented guys and spent a lot of time mixing, remixing, doing a lot of mix automation and dynamics. There were quite a few versions that were distributed to the band on CD as well as streams to try out on home stereos, car stereos, etc, with feedback. So I think in the end, the mix we sent was already pretty polished. The main thing that was convenient for us was kind of a "one stop shop". The mastered it and put it on all of the digital platforms - iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, etc. and send us checks for purchases and reports on streams from all the services. We used another company to print the CD's using the mastered version. We're all happy with the result on all of the forms of media, and have heard it on the Radio locally where it sounded good. That said, we're just a local cover band, so somebody with a more discerning ear may have another opinion. But I can tell you for sure that some of the local bands that have been more successful and been around longer than us, have CD's that do not sound nearly as polished. Maybe it's not entirely due to mastering, and I don't know who they used. But the main thing to me is that it sounds consistent whether on the Radio, streaming from Spotify, or playing a CD.
Posted By: nursers

Re: Online Options - 07/24/19 11:52 AM

One online option that I used and LOVED was Abbey Road's service. It's not cheap because it's not automated, but having a top notch engineer (in our case it was Frank Arkwright) do a solid job, was worth the money thu
Posted By: J. Dead

Re: Online Options - 08/25/19 05:26 AM

The non-love for online mastering and especially DB's comments about some sort of expected sound have me wondering how you guys would perceive our last CD, which we were all pretty happy with from the standpoint of mix and final product production, sound and mastering, we each have parts we wish we played better. It's already been out for a while. Would it be appropriate to provide links/info for review and opinions or would that be shameless self promotion, I'm mainly asking because we are working on the 2nd CD now, so if you guys think we could have done better, now is kind of the time when I need to start making that push to the rest of the guys. Let me know. We have short clips on our site and full versions for free on Spotify, etc. let me know if it's appropriate to share.
Posted By: Dave Bryce

Re: Online Options - 08/25/19 06:15 PM

Absolutely! Go ahead and share...

The bottom line is really if you guys are happy...but you might wanna try working with a Matering Engineer on a project just so you can know. To me, it's night and day.

dB
Posted By: J. Dead

Re: Online Options - 08/26/19 02:46 PM

There are short samples at www.seventhofneverband.com

If you have Spotify, you can listen to the whole CD "Theory of Evilution" for free.

I'm mostly interested in what you said something about kind of a tell tale sound - like everything comes out kind of the same? I'm curious if you feel the same about this and if you can sort of quantify it a little more with some examples.
Posted By: Dave Bryce

Re: Online Options - 08/27/19 12:38 PM

I’ll listen...but it seems unlikely I’ll hear what you’re looking for because I didn’t mix these. With my material, I was intimately familiar with the premasters and I knew what I expected them to sound like, so it was easy for me to tell what I was missing.

Plus, I’m just some goofball keyboard guy - what do I know? 😁

dB
Posted By: J. Dead

Re: Online Options - 08/27/19 04:18 PM

Would it help if I privately sent you the unmastered versions?
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