Online mastering services are becoming key components in the evolution and further democratization of music production. The premise is that you upload a mix, the robot works its magic, and boom—industry-standard quality. If you’re wondering how artificial intelligence could replace a real human mastering engineer’s decades of experience and expert ears, you’re certainly not alone. eMastered promises “professional sound in seconds”; does it live up to the hype?
What Is eMastered?
eMastered is one of several “big-name” automated mastering services. Grammy-winning engineers developed the platform, and AI carries out the actual mastering. Services like these provide fast, affordable touch-ups to mixes to prepare them for release with an extra coat of high-quality polish.
How Does eMastered Work?
It’s really very simple, and you can even try it out for free—we’ll illustrate that process now. First, you upload your song as an MP3, WAV, or AIFF. It goes to the company’s server and gets prepped for mastering. From here, the proprietary AI mastering engine analyzes the audio and picks out the best tools to make the song louder, airier, and as they company says, “more full of life.” Then you can preview the track and download it if you like the results.
It isn’t all automated, because you do have control over the intensity of different parameters like EQ, compression, volume, stereo width, and the overall “strength” of the master. There’s also a simple 3-band EQ (Low, Mid, High) that you can boost/cut to taste for your individual track.
eMastered utilizes machine learning so that it continues to get better with every song it masters, and it works on any genre you throw at it. The guiding principle is that it applies the same mastering processes like EQ, compression, saturation, stereo widening, and more. Of course, it does this instantly and much, much more affordably than if you hired an actual human.
- Suitable for any genre/style. AI doesn’t discriminate, and you can get a quality sounding master regardless of genre.
- Reference mastering. You can upload a reference track that the system will analyze. It then applies effects to your song for a similar sound as the reference.
- Advanced options and customizability. Have manual control over compression, EQ, and other parameters, so that the AI isn’t doing all of the work without any user input.
- Cloud storage. Keep backups of all your masters on the eMastered server.
- One subscription plan which includes unlimited masters and downloads. Pay $19/month for a 1-year commitment, $13/month for one year billed upfront ($156 total), or $49/month for a month-to-month plan you can cancel at any time.
Other Online Mastering Services
eMastered is just one of several key players in the online mastering game. They all promise similar results, but how they get there, and of course pricing, are what sets them apart.
eMastered vs. Aria
Aria is probably the most interesting online mastering service. It uses actual analog equipment controlled by a robotic arm. Pretty wild, right? Unfortunately Aria isn’t cheap, starting at $49/month including 10 masters. However, you don’t have to subscribe and can opt to just master one song on the spot for $19.
Aria is definitely unique, and it could arguably add some analog mojo to your track that the other software-based services, including eMastered, can’t.
- SEE ALSO: Aria Mastering Review
eMastered vs. LANDR
LANDR may be the most popular online mastering platform. It’s similar to eMastered with features like reference mastering and cloud storage, but it has its own strengths like batch mastering for uploading entire albums, revisions, and overall mastering styles like “warm,” “balanced,” and “open.”
Pricing is flexible via different plans, but to get something similar to eMastered with unlimited masters, it’s going to run you about $25/month—$299 billed upfront. To have one song mastered, you can do it for $10 without a subscription.
eMastered vs. CloundBounce
CloudBounce is another trusted option for automated mastering. When you upload a track it lets you choose from 15 genre-specific mastering styles to get your track in the right ballpark with minimal effort. After it runs its processing, including compression, EQ, stereo widening, and limiting, there’s a choice of 10 post-mastering adjustments you can make.
The unlimited CloudBounce package runs $19.90/month, or $199 annually billed upfront. Like LANDR, you can pay as you go for $9.90/master.
Conclusion: Is eMastered Worth It?
In short, yes. The fact that you can test it out for free means it’s at least worth it to give it a try. After that, you can determine its value; you’ll either like how it makes your song sound, or you won’t.
In our experience, it consistently delivers pleasant enhancements that do make it worthwhile if you want immediate access to a mastering “engineer” with an instantaneous turnaround time. It isn’t perfect, by any means, but it’s quite a feat nonetheless, and many users will be impressed by what eMastered does to their music.