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Online Music Mastering: How Does It Work?

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about AI audio mastering online and how you should prepare your music before submitting it to mastering services or applying AI mastering to your songs.

A mastering engineer producing a song in the studio

Learning how to master a song is quite time-consuming, and getting together the funds to pay for an audio engineer can be difficult for many people. Fortunately, advancements in music technology have made online mastering more accessible and easy to use than ever through a high-quality music mastering service. 

In this article, we’ll clear up some of the confusion surrounding AI mastering and show you how to get started with this cutting-edge technology!

What is Online Music Mastering?

Mastering is the last stage in the music creation process. When you’re mastering a song, you’re putting the finishing touches on the song as a whole, instead of each element within the song.

Mastering is done to ensure that your music sounds as good as possible and is cohesively and competitively loud. For example, you might want your songs to sound brighter, have more bass, or have a wider stereo image, in addition to sounding loud without clipping. These adjustments are made with audio processing tools, like compressors, exciters, EQs, and limiters. Mastering also ensures that each song on your album flows seamlessly into the next for a cohesive listening experience. 

Online mastering services use AI to perform these tasks. When you submit your mixed song to an online music mastering service, their AI analyzes the track, decides how to enhance the song, and makes those improvements using the same tools as a human mastering engineer would. In some cases, you do have a few options, like brightness, loudness, and dynamics, to choose from and instruct the AI in order to achieve your desired results.

Mixing vs. Mastering

Although the two are often confused with one another, mixing is quite different from mastering. Mixing occurs after you record the tracks and arrange them to create a song. This may include balancing the EQ, compression, panning, and other song elements.

Once the mixing process is complete, you can move on to mastering, the final step before releasing a song. While a mixing engineer may balance ten, twenty, or nearly a hundred tracks, mastering engineers work on a single stereo track before its release.

A mixing console inside a professional studio

When you’re mastering a song, you’re putting the finishing touches on the song as a whole.

Online mastering as a service

Traditionally, mastering engineers are responsible for the music mastering process. However, it can take decades of experience to perfect the music mastering process – a feat that can only be accomplished with skill and dedication.

AI mastering offers an accessible, affordable alternative to traditional mastering techniques. Over the years, AI mastering, or online mastering software, has become more advanced and effective, and in many cases able to compete with professional mastering engineers. With AI mastering, you can hear your end result immediately, then make any minor adjustments to ensure that the song sounds exactly as you imagined.

LANDr offers a great online AI Mastering tool that lets you use reference tracks, volume matching, and unlimited previews to achieve a unique mastering chain for every track.

How to prepare your song for Online Mastering

Before you submit your song to an online mastering service, you’ll need to perfect your mix. These simple steps will guide you along the way:

  • Balance your tracks. Make sure the audio level of each track is balanced and sounds good with the rest of the song.

  • Pan your instruments. Use panning to move certain tracks to the left or right of the sound stage. This ensures that your listeners can hear each instrument distinctly and creates a nice and lush stereo image.

  • Add compression and EQ. The right amount of compression can add dynamics and punch to your song. Use just enough compression so that listeners can hear all of the instruments. Use an Equalizer (EQ) to cut out muddy and distracting frequencies on each track

  • Add some reverb. Reverb is a wonderful tool, but adding too much can distract the listener. Try adding some reverb to things like drums, strings, vocals, and keys. 

  • Remember to leave some headroom. Making your song sound loud and punchy is part of the mastering process. So if your song is already at max volume after mixing, there is no headroom left to improve the loudness when mastering. Your output level when exporting your final mix should be somewhere between -10db to -5db. This allows for the mastering service to get your song to 0db, where it should be, the right way.  

For a complete guide on how to mix your song, read our article on online mixing here. After completing the music mixing process, test your final mix on multiple speakers to ensure that everything sounds exactly the way you want. Then, you can move on to online mastering.

How to use AI Mastering on your mix

As we mentioned before, AI mastering uses machine learning technology to analyze your mix and make choices about compression, EQ, audio limiting, stereo width, and more, to enhance the track as a whole 

Using an online mastering service is usually less expensive than paying an audio engineer. If your mix is done in the correct way, the results can be just as good as hiring a professional to do it. The best part is that AI mastering technology can yield results in a few minutes, and let you make changes instantly if you’re unhappy with the results.

This saves you the trouble of having to wait for an engineer to master your song and then sending the master file back and forth for feedback rounds.

An image of a mixing and mastering console in a studio

AI mastering uses machine learning technology to analyze your mix.

Online Mastering with Soundtrap

Online AI mastering through Soundtrap is easier than ever. Instead of long waits and expensive fees, Soundtrap has made creating a perfectly balanced song accessible for anyone. Just make sure your final mix is balanced and sounds great. Hit ‘Export’ and Soundtrap will automatically master your song. 

With Soundtrap, there’s no figuring out mastering plugins or software, or long waits for that matter, only getting your music to the level it deserves. Whether it’s balancing processors, mixers, or your EQ, Soundtrap gets your song streaming ready for the Spotify Top 50 in minutes. 

Learn more about music mastering with Soundtrap!

Online Mastering is easy with Soundtrap

Soundtrap is the ultimate audio production platform for music makers and storytellers to create and edit audio recordings. You can express your artistic self fully through our industry-leading digital audio workstation (DAW). 

With Soundtrap, music makers can collaborate with advanced cloud technology anytime or place. Our platform has a robust resource portal and tutorials to get started immediately. We also have thousands of pre-made loops, instruments, sounds, and other features for a smooth process from start to finish.

If you're ready to create songs with Soundtrap, create your free account today! Share this article with others in your network to help spread the joy of making music.

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