AI vs Human mastering

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KVRist
131 posts since 29 Sep, 2012

Post Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:58 am

Got an album worth of unreleased tracks and have been looking for mastering when this question comes to the for.
Sites like LANDR with AI powered mastering services rather than the traditional mastering engineer. I am going back and forth in my head on this one. Thoughts, options, etc.

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KVRAF
2289 posts since 31 Jan, 2020

Post Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:02 am

I do it myself with Ozone and a few other plugs.

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KVRist

Topic Starter

131 posts since 29 Sep, 2012

Post Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:20 am

Yes, I have used Ozone for years (Since Ozone 1).

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KVRAF
2289 posts since 31 Jan, 2020

Post Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:29 am

Then why would you need LANDR?

KVRer
10 posts since 13 Apr, 2021

Post Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:03 pm

Full disclosure I am a mastering engineer so I have some personal bias around this question. But that being said, on multiple occasions mix engineers that I work with have sent their mixes to both me (or a different mastering engineer) and to LANDR, and so far every time they have done this the version the artist ends up releasing has been the human mastered version. So take from that info what you will.

KVRAF
12700 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:22 pm

Constructed Identity wrote:
Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:58 am
Got an album worth of unreleased tracks and have been looking for mastering when this question comes to the for.
Sites like LANDR with AI powered mastering services rather than the traditional mastering engineer. I am going back and forth in my head on this one. Thoughts, options, etc.
Honestly I don't know why anyone asks about this. LANDR is so cheap that if you are considering actual mastering then you can send it off to LANDR in addition, or first, and see if you like the results.

For anything that isn't going to make any money or further your career, why would you care? I just master my own stuff. I'm sure that it's awful, but nobody's paying a dime for anything I release so I just don't care. A friend of mine uses LANDR because it comes with some subscription he has, whatever the popular thing is to get your tunes on itunes++. I can't be assed to remember. His stuff sounds fine. Probably it all sounds fine, Ozone/LANDR/Real Mastering.

If you have something that is important, then after sending it to LANDR take two tracks and send them to two different mastering engineers. Compare the three results and consider the cost the price of learning what you needed to know. If either of the two mastering engineers were really great, then give the rest album to them to master and don't bother with LANDR again.

Even for competent mastering this won't cost that much. Surely it's a drop in the bucket for anything that matters?

KVRer
5 posts since 16 Apr, 2021

Post Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:39 pm

you should use presets in ozone, since its passed the test of time.

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KVRist

Topic Starter

131 posts since 29 Sep, 2012

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:54 pm

frmbg wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:39 pm
you should use presets in ozone, since its passed the test of time.
I am not mastering this myself because:
A) I do not have a treated room
B) I do not have the analog sound gear that the best mastering engineers have
C) The music has been made over many years and I need a consistent relative volume level
D) I do not have the time, I am recording new material with new gear
E) I want it done right, like really right so I can't second guess myself

I heard years ago the proper way to find an engineer was to pick the album in your own collection that you really liked the sound of and find out who did it. This is the advice that I have decided to take and I think I have found someone. I just need to contact them now.

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KVRist

Topic Starter

131 posts since 29 Sep, 2012

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:19 pm

mjstonehome wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:03 pm
Full disclosure I am a mastering engineer so I have some personal bias around this question. But that being said, on multiple occasions mix engineers that I work with have sent their mixes to both me (or a different mastering engineer) and to LANDR, and so far every time they have done this the version the artist ends up releasing has been the human mastered version. So take from that info what you will.
I started this topic after reading the blog post - https://www.musicgateway.com/blog/how-t ... g-services
It compares sites from Abby Road Studios, Bandlab, LANDR, CloudBounce, Metropolis Studios, and more and I listened to the before and after audio example that it provides in the link.
The Metropolis Studio example sounded the best to me but I think it probably should sound the best.
After many years of using Ozone and taking mixes to the car, home stereo, and other places I know that the final parts of music making are my least favorite in the whole process because it is a law of diminishing returns thing.
Taking your music to a stranger is a little intimidating, but I understand the idea behind "fresh ears" at this stage.

KVRAF
12700 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:20 am

Constructed Identity wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:54 pm
frmbg wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 10:39 pm
you should use presets in ozone, since its passed the test of time.
I am not mastering this myself because:
A) I do not have a treated room
LANDR doesn't have a treated room either. I mean, I think that the second set of ears is the best argument for getting an actual mastering engineer.

Just for fun I uploaded some shit to Bandlab. Seems roughly in between Ozone's vintage and modern settings with the master assistant. No treated room or high end gear is required for online AI or Ozone AI. The machine is doing all of the listening.

I think that this quote from an article on the Verge sums it up.
It’s hard to say if AI can ever learn to listen with nuance the way a person does, but it may not need to. AI mastering is already sophisticated enough to be a viable option for many musicians. “To the people who don’t believe that AI can make competitive sound, I’d say the proof is in the ten million tracks we’ve mastered for millions of artists around the world,” Pilon says. “I’m sure that when the automatic camera was introduced, people had their doubts, but no one can argue that it hasn’t earned its place in the creative field.”
The thing that I find most interesting about the reviews on the link that you posted was the much higher prices for vinyl mastering. I'm not surprised by it, I think that there is necessary skill there. In the CD days there was also some technical challenge in making sure that everything conformed to the required formats. I think though, that for many amateurs, the role of the mastering engineer is somewhat overrated today.

The next most interesting thing is that the $5/track service from CloudBounce, received 4/5 stars on audio quality, the same as the human based studio that you liked and a better rating than Abbey Road.

Tools like Ozone will get subsumed by DAWs in time. I don't know why we don't have this yet? Render options should include basic A/I mastering.

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KVRAF
2289 posts since 31 Jan, 2020

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:11 am

ghettosynth wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:20 am

The next most interesting thing is that the $5/track service from CloudBounce, received 4/5 stars on audio quality, the same as the human based studio that you liked and a better rating than Abbey Road.
You can get a lifetime plan from PB for £95 atm.

https://www.pluginboutique.com/manufact ... loudBounce

I tried a song in it, but didn't like the result. I preferred my masters from Ozone. It only lets you try 1 song!

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KVRian
1304 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:37 am

I use SlickEQ> Molot>(>PTEq-X, depends)>Limiter no 6

The EQs I use in neutral settings. No complaints.

KVRAF
12700 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:02 am

excuse me please wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:37 am
I use SlickEQ> Molot>(>PTEq-X, depends)>Limiter no 6

The EQs I use in neutral settings. No complaints.
To be clear, I'm not advocating Ozone. I have Ozone, but I'm not attached to it. The one thing that it has, however, that I think stands out in this conversation is that, like the online services, you can create a master with about five clicks and no actual adjustments. Whether you like that master or not is a different question, but, it will be similar to the online services in terms of levels.

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KVRian
1304 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:50 am

ghettosynth wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:02 am
excuse me please wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 3:37 am
I use SlickEQ> Molot>(>PTEq-X, depends)>Limiter no 6

The EQs I use in neutral settings. No complaints.
To be clear, I'm not advocating Ozone. I have Ozone, but I'm not attached to it. The one thing that it has, however, that I think stands out in this conversation is that, like the online services, you can create a master with about five clicks and no actual adjustments. Whether you like that master or not is a different question, but, it will be similar to the online services in terms of levels.
I'm a hobbyist. Coming from a band background I knew something about arrangements. 7 years ago I started with Bitwig. Spent a lot of time with "how to do this/that."

It's just since this year that I get a bit of a whole picture of production. The better I got at mixing, the better my master tracks sounded.

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addled muppet weed
77712 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:58 am

oh my, bitwig 7 years old?
time flies eh...

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