Let it be said: mastering is often overlooked or missunderstood by home studio owners.
Our productions rarely make it to vinyl or CD format, why bother?
And we have mastering plug-ins to fight the loudness war, right?
Well, my experience shows that using a professional mastering service (the human kind) does bring value, even in this day and age of in-the-box one-stop-shop home studio…
In-the-box – A mastering facility can, if you provide it with stems, add that little extra analog summing brings to a recording… And I do not believe it reasonable for the typical home studio to invest in such hardware.
One-stop-shop – The mastering engineer is listening to your production with a new pair of ears, in a professional room, with professional speakers and hours-and-hours of experience. He/she will give you feedback on your production (sometimes sending you back to the drawing table).
Home studio – Yes, that’s what we have… And a mastering facility for a few dozen euros/dollars per track, will treat your production to some high-end vitamins 🙂
So what can “automated” ears, gear and algorythms do for us?
“Automated” brings out the best and the worst…
I had to give LANDR a test drive!
I have to say, the process is super easy:
- Sign up for a free account.
- Upload your audio file in the highest definition / wav file possible.
- LANDR processes it.
- (optional) test and choose from the 3 available “intensity levels”
- Ask for it to be sent to you by email
- Click on the corresponding email link for download.
- Enjoy! 😉
And listing it out like this makes it sound harder than it feels when you do it 🙂
Here is an example of before / after. I won’t put dozens of examples, as it is as easy for you to test with your own material…
I am not an expert in mastering, but the result is satisfying.
Naturally, part of that is due to the added loudness… But not only.
It definetly embellishes the music.
There is more separation between instruments, the track is overall wider sounding, more radio-worthy allround.
So… I’m in!
For low/medium stakes productions, the bread and butter of home studio output, this is my new go-to mastering solution! And I predict a bright future for LANDR. Their service is perfect for the rest of us, the 80% (or dare I say 99%) of music produced from home these days.
Well, there are two levels of service:
- MP3 192khz quality – free.
- CD quality – cheap… a tener per track, basically