I subscribed to LandR and I found it to be an eye opener, or should I say an ear opener, no, make that a Can opener.
I’m thinking of it, in part, like a plug-in or an educational module. It’s helped me see where I’ve gone wrong, what I’ve done right and I think will help me create better sounding mixes going forward. “Mix with Mastering in mind” is a new motto.
I don’t think this service, or any of the other “automatic” Mastering services, will replace a skilled Master Engineer and Facility, but, at my level, it is helpful. I “Mastered” approximately 73 tracks over the weekend (most short selections) in a variety of genres and they sound pretty damn OK. Some where too this, others too that, and so on, but I have a new window to look though and I like the view.
I think my biggest error has been to try to Mix and Master in one shot. I got over that pretty quickly, but have struggled with final Master creation. This has been where LandR has helped me most.
IMHO, someone sending a mix for approval might do better sending a ‘LandRized’ track rather then sending a track cranked up with limiting. I could also see value in checking a rough or even a first final Mix with LandR to see if you’re on the right path (for those that may need that kind of checking, like me, for example).
If there’s one thing I’d change about my past work flow – not printing more Wav files of Projects, as opposed to some craptastic MP3s I left behind on some projects. Fortunately, that was fewer of the tracks – but damn it!
Any thoughts or suggestions about all this are always welcome. Hope all’s well.
There’s some shootouts around between live Mastering Engineers and services like LandR. You’re right that these services are actually not bad for streaming services such as Spotify. Obviously, your best mix is what will make it do its job best, but the trouble is that you don’t know exactly WHAT it’s doing to your mix.
Where a real ME comes in handy is actually not just in tailoring the music alone, but other project-related tasks, such as Quality control of your mix, adding another objective set of ears to your team, give you feedback on your mix in the hopes to help you understand why something needs adjusting before mastering, assemble entire EPs or albums to flow nicely with the same tonal balance, and finally (although, not always obvious), recall a previous mastering chain and re-pass the mix again with all the same settings. This, the ‘robots’ probably don’t consider.
So, in fact, I see the automatic mastering services a godsend, in that, real ME’s will have more time to work with larger, more suitable projects, and leave the automated services to those with near-zero budgets and those learning to improve their mixes–at any hour. But I also see it still an incredible feat for these services to beat out every master myself or other ME’s can do.
Good comments. I completely agree that nothing will replace the benefits of working with a human ME – at least for now. As A.I. gets stronger, who knows where it goes?
I’m glad you have a more optimistic outlook on the role of these services and their impact on the business generated for Mastering Engineers and their Suites.
All in all, I’m glad I can get a “reasonably acceptable” Master from the service. Going forward, If and when I need a track or project properly Mastered, having a LandR file will, I think, help me communicate more effectively with a human ME.