You've been looking into AI mastering, and you're wondering whether it's worth the money, or if it can hold up against a real mastering engineer.
In this AI mastering shootout we're going to compare: Landr vs Emastered vs Cloudbounce vs Bandlab. We'll put them to the test with different audio examples for you to listen to, so you can decide which is best.
While we're on the topic, if you want a great mixing and mastering service for a low price, be sure to check out our mixing and mastering services page.
Landr vs CloudBounce vs Emastered vs BandLab quick verdict:
CloudBounce is the highest quality mastering service, and is the cheapest. Emastered offers more in-depth mastering control for a higher price. BandLab is free online mastering, with Hi-Res downloads, but isn't great quality. Landr has great quality AI mastering with minimal control.
The AI Audio Mastering Shootout (Audio Examples)
Below you'll find examples of all the top online mastering services right now. We tested each on 2 different tracks, from different genres to test them fairly.
All audio examples have been sourced from cambridge-mt.com.
And the artists who accepted their music on this page, can be found here:
This is a huge library of unmixed, un-mastered songs you can download and try mastering or mixing for yourself and I'd highly recommend using it if you want to learn mixing or mastering properly.
Landr Mastering Review
Landr is an online mastering service that's powered by clever AI.
One of the great things about Landr is that they offer 2 free masters/month with a free account. This is pretty great if you're an independent artist, because releasing 1-2 tracks a month is a great thing to do to gain traction.
When using Landr, you're essentially putting your track through an AI algorithm that will analzye your track and create a unique set of points to alter your audio from.
Landr will apply things like EQ, Compression, Limiting, Exciting & more to you tracks.
I've personally used Landr to master music before, because I had some shows to play and didn't have time to wait for a mastering engineer to get back to me.
And, from experience I can say, the masters that Landr produces are actually really, really good. As long as you've got a decent mix, it's going to bring your track to commercial volumes so you can play it out in a club, on radio or on Spotify and your track will sound good when put up against others.
Some people may have a bad opinion of Landr, but it's cheap, pretty much instant, and does a great job.
Using Landr's services can save you a lot of money in the long run, and for what you're paying Landr, it does a better job than if you were to pay an engineer the same amount.
Landr also offers some extras like cloud backup for you masters, and other services like samples, and music distribution.
When mastering using Landr you'll get access to Hi-Res WAV and MP3 files, and also be able to choose you mastering intensity and change the decisions the AI will make based on your genre etc.
✅ Cheap, quality, online mastering that sounds better than an engineer you'd pay the same amount.
✅ Life-time cloud backup and access to your master on Landr's servers
✅ Multiple mastering options to choose from, so they can cater to your track's needs.
✅ Option to download Hi-Res WAV and 320kbps MP3 files.
✅ 2 free masters/month just for having an account.
❌ Pricey compared to competition & pricing is confusing.
❌ Not as good as human mastering (but is much cheaper).
Landr has pretty confusing pricing, and it's not clear what they offer for each. Having personally used Landr, I can break it down for you easily. I also sent emails to Landr to clarify prices and what they include with them for extreme validity.
- Basic $6/month – Unlimited low quality MP3 mastering, with the ability to pay extra for hi-res wav downloads.
- Advanced $14/month – Unlimited high quality MP3 mastering, with the option to pay extra for high res wavs.
- Pro $39/month – Unlimited hi-res wav mastering, with MP3’s included as well.
Landr is a great online mastering services that offers a lot if you go for a pro plan. It's also great to have free masters every month with a free account that you can use for things like, playing tracks out or hearing what a track would sound like at commercial volume.
However, Landr definitely in't my favourite online mastering service when it comes to sound.
Personally, I prefer CloudBounce. They're an Abbey Road Red company, and have a lot more in-depth mastering options than Landr do. They're also slightly cheaper and offer a better service.
Landr is probably my 2nd pick for mastering, out of this roundup.
CloudBounce Mastering Review
CloudBounce have the highest quality online mastering service around in 2021. They're our favourite pick for quality and customisation, and they're actually the best value for money service on this list.
They're also the most backed professional mastering service that uses AI in the industry, with support from companies like:
- Abbey Road Red
- & more
While we're on topic, be sure to check out our more in-depth CloudBounce review.
CloudBounce offer both online mastering services (in the browser), and a desktop app, which expands on the customisation you have over your mastering settings.
The user-interface is extremely simple to use, and you can get your master back in seconds.
You have the ability to download in Hi-Res WAV or 320kbps MP3 format, as well as the option to use your unlimited cloud storage space to keep your pre-masters, and masters saved online.
This means you can access a copy of your master or pre-master, anywhere that has an internet connection.
The mastering engine is the most cutting edge AI of all the services, and can make shockingly good decisions based on analysis of your tracks.
CloudBounce browser version masters your track based on a set of presets you can apply.
It then uses these presets to make custom decisions with the AI technology, so that each track you run through isn't just processed the same way under the same preset.
Each time you master your track you will get a unique and different result, depending on the settings that you input.
The presets offered a to master your track are:
- Hip Hop/R&B
- Drum & Bass/Bass Music
- Electro House
- Deep House
- Tech House
- World Music
These presets are available in the browser version of CloudBounce, and are a simpler approach to their desktop app which provides even more customisation for your post production.
CloudBounce Desktop App
The desktop app is where CloudBounce really comes alive. You're able to change a tonne of post production options, which would usually be changed by mastering engineers.
This gives you full control over your final master, and can really help CloudBounce understand, and make the most accurate decisions for your track.
For instance, you could choose the rock preset and control the amount of bass, the amount of warmth you want to inject and the brightness of your master.
You can also choose reference presets, and CloudBounce actually automatically scans your track and does this for you. It picked up all my examples as their exact genres and I didn't need to edit the reference, but you might want to for different results.
In the online version of Cloudbounce, you don't have access to this.
You can also change multi-band compression, stereo width, EQ, and a few more options in the desktop app. The customisability is on par with Emastered, who offer the broadest customisation out of all the online mastering services.
✅ Cheapest online professional mastering service
✅ Backed by huge industry names in audio, so has a lot of investment to expand quality with
✅ Extremely customisable with lots of different mastering options to choose.
✅ Lifetime cloud storage for backup and access anywhere with an internet connection.
✅ Instant professional mastering
✅ Fantastic desktop app which expands use of CloudBounce and makes it more powerful
❌ Pay as you go mastering doesn't offer cloud storage
❌ Can't use cloud storage for anything but your masters. No project files etc
- Single track music mastering ($9.90/track) – 1 track mastered, available for download in hi-res, 24-bit WAV format, or MP3.
- Infinity Monthly ($19.90/month subscription) – as many tracks as you like/month, hi-res, 24-bit WAV audio files, or hi-res MP3s, and lifetime cloud storage for backup.
- Infinity Yearly ($199.99/year subscription) – as many audio masters as you like for a year, hi-res WAV audio files, 320kbps MP3 files, and lifetime cloud backup.
Emastered is another fantastic mastering service, that has impeccable mastering quality. However, some reviews online have made this company look untrustworthy. And, many people have reported having a bad experience using them.
Most of these reviews are well over a year old. And, I have personally used them, and didn't experience any of the issues people have claimed online. I had a pretty smooth experience and the quality of the mastering was great!
Emastered is also the most customisable out of all the online mastering available right now.
You can really change a lot of options using Emastered. Things that would usually only be touched by your mastering engineer.
And, this is great, because you have the ability to just let Emastered do its thing (which it's great at), or you can give it options to make decisions based on.
This is exceptionally useful for getting a refined sound for your final mastering result.
Emastered are the most expensive mastering on the list, but they give you the most specific and accurate results for the sound you're going for.
You can change things like stereo width, compressor intensity, EQ intensity, multi-band, brightness, and a whole plethora of things to really refine your master.
Emastered also offer something called reference mastering.
This is where you can input reference tracks for the Emastered algorithm to use and make decisions based on that reference, which is great for getting a similar sound to your favourite producer or a track you really like.
Emastered offer cloud storage for your masters, and also storage for your pre-masters. So, as long as you have a subscription, and access to an internet connection, you can access your tracks.
Another thing that's awesome with Emastered is you can share your mastered tracks with anyone to listen. That means you can share previews with producers you trust for opinions, or even with your fans.
Emastered also offer a great, in-depth analytics tracking system to see who has listened and how many people have.
✅ Most extensive list of mastering options to customise your tracks.
✅ Instant audio mastering
✅ Fantastic audio quality, with Hi-Res audio file download
✅ Reference mastering
✅ Free mastering demo for any multiple tracks
❌ Most expensive monthly plan
❌ Some bad reviews online
Emastered offer 3 pricing options for their mastering services:
- Year Commitment ($19/month) – unlimited AI mastering, full customisation of mastering, Hi-Res WAV & Mp3 downloads, cloud storage, track references, analytics, and track share.
- Yearly Billed Upfront ($156) – unlimited AI mastering, full customisation of mastering, Hi-Res WAV & Mp3 downloads, cloud storage, track references, analytics, and track share.
- Monthly ($49/month) – unlimited AI mastering, full customisation of mastering, Hi-Res WAV & Mp3 downloads, cloud storage, track references, analytics, and track share.
BandLab is a free online tool that can master your music. It gives you free, unlimited masters for absolutely nothing, and has some pretty great tech behind it, along with some quality mastering engineers helping to create it.
With BandLab there is a lack of customisation and the stuff you get included is pretty basic, but it's free, so you can't really complain!
For instance, you only have 3 different presets to choose from:
- CD Quality
- Bass Boost
- Enhance Clarity
Although the algorithm is pretty good at analysing tracks and making decisions, it's not a patch on CloudBounce, Emastered and Landr.
But, the audio quality is pretty good and it's free, so if you're on a budget, then BandLab might be for you!
It works by using your browser, which you can upload and master your tracks in, with a simple drag and drop.
BandLab then analyses your track (like Landr and Emastered), then applies post processing to it.
It makes decisions based on an algorithm which will analyse your track, and make the decisions it thinks is best for the clarity and loudness.
BandLab is a free tool, and is available to everyone.
✅ High quality, free mastering
✅ Hi-Res audio downloads in WAV or MP3
❌ Not as high quality as paid options
❌ Minimal customisation
❌ Not as high quality as paid options
❌ Minimal customisation
Landr vs Emastered vs CloudBounce vs BandLab (Verdict)
Here's the quick verdict of Landr vs Emastered vs CloudBounce vs BandLab
CloudBounce is the highest quality mastering service and is the cheapest. Emastered offers more in-depth mastering control for a higher price. BandLab is free online mastering, with Hi-Res downloads, but isn't great quality. Landr has great quality AI mastering with minimal control.
CloudBounce is definitely the best quality mastering on the list, and is backed by the most influential audio companies around. It's a cheap mastering service, which really opens up when you use the desktop version of it!
Emastered is a bit more expensive, but offers a lot more control over your mastering sessions, and gives you access to things that usually your mastering engineer would only be able to touch.
They have an incredible track referencing system, and the masters sound awesome.
The only downside with Emastered is that they have some very poor reviews hanging around online. But, to calm your nerves, I had no issues with them whatsoever.
Landr offer 2 free masters a month, but you only get access to MP3s. This can be useful if you want to play your demo tracks out in a club/at a performance and have commercial volume + allow them to stand up against your other library.
The quality of Landr's masters are fantastic, and they are also pretty cheap too.
They offer less customisation than Emastered and CloudBounce but, if you don't know what you're doing, this might suit you.
BandLab is entirely free and provides some great quality results, considering you're not paying them a penny for their services.
However, you won't get a lot of customisation, no cloud storage, and the masters don't sound anywhere near as good as the other picks.
All mastering services reviewed here allow you to download in Hi-Res formats, and offer cloud storage (apart from BandLab, which is free).