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BandLab Review- Mastering For Free? Is It Any Good? 

The rise of AI mastering services means there are lots of options now to get your track mastered quickly and to a decent standard. With all those options can come too many choices, however, and what’s more, how do you know which one is worth the money? 

Well, BandLab offers an unlimited free mastering service made by artists for artists, as the tagline says. As boasted on its website, it is the “ONLY” truly free mastering service out there. Is it too good to be true? Or can it compete with the likes of LANDR and CloudBounce? Let’s find out in this review! 

BandLab Review – Overview

BandLab Mastering

BandLab offers a free AI mastering service with four preset options. While it provides quick results and can be useful for demos, the overall sound quality is amateur and lacks customization. It's better to use paid AI services or professional mastering engineers for release-ready tracks.

Sound Quality:
Ease of Use:
User Interface:
  • Less than a minute to get results!
  • Four different masters for free
  • Not release quality
  • Lack of customisation in the mastering options limits your result
  • Overall amateur sound that beyond hearing demos mastered, doesn’t seem to have much use

A side note on AI mastering versus a real mastering engineer: 

AI mastering is not better than a real mastering engineer, especially in this instance where the AI mastering is for free! Paid services such as LANDR, eMastered and CloudBounce are still not at that standard and won’t be any time soon. 

With a human mastering engineer, you pay for years of experience and expertise and communication and collaboration that can get you fantastic personalised results. In general, you get what you pay for in these situations, going free may even get you decent results, but paying a professional rate will get you a professional track. 

With this in mind, let’s see what BandLab is about! 

What is BandLab?

BandLab is a truly free online AI mastering service, made by artists for artists. It was designed by multi-platinum award-winning engineers and professionals with the artist in mind. It gives you unlimited masters, access to all features and an apparently very quick and efficient master. 

It’s worth noting that BandLab seems to pride itself on stacking against the competition in the quality of their masters, how quick they are to get your masters to you and how they put you the artist first. We’ll see if this is the truth when we try mastering some tracks! 

As well as mastering, BandLab offers a browser DAW of sorts, as well as sample packs, opportunities to collaborate and share your work, and even an AI-powered royalty-free song idea creator! 

How much does it cost?

It’s free! Apparently the only truly free service online. No hidden costs or subscriptions, just free, unlimited masters with access to all the features available on the service. 

Using BandLab

Setting up an account with BandLab is simple enough with just an email and a password before selecting some profile customisation options. Once you have passed those, you come to quite a busy home screen. 

BandLab Review

In the left corner, you can select a dropdown menu which takes you to the mastering screen where you can choose mastering. You are then taken to where you can upload your track. In less than a minute, you have a mastered track. 

using BandLab

There are four mastering settings to choose from: Universal, which is a simple dynamic and tonal balance with widening and volume increase.

Fire, which focuses on a punchy low-end and midrange clarity. Clarity, which brings pristine highs and light dynamic increase. Then finally, the tape which uses a vintage sound of warm saturation and analog. 

bandlab four mastering settings

These settings seem to be linked to genre as they have tags that apply to each of them when you scroll down. Universal seems to be, you guessed it, universal, Fire is based on Trap and Hip-Hop, Clarity is allegedly for singer-songwriter, RnB, and acoustic or classical, and Tape is for Rock, Alternative or Jazz. 

Once you have a master you are happy with, you can download it as a WAV, MP3 or MP4. Now we’ve gone through how to use BandLab, let’s see what results it gave us when we used it. 

Rock Song Example

All of the tracks we used to test out LANDR are from the Cambridge MT website. We started with the hard rock/metal song ‘Flames’ by The Black Crown, and we used ‘Goliath’ by Karnivool as a reference, as the mix and production on that Karnivool album in particular are great.

Side note:

The unmastered tracks have been brought up in volume so you can tell the difference between the unmastered and mastered versions without having to turn up your volume!

Flames Unmastered

Mastering the track with the Universal setting, you can immediately hear some more stereo width, boosts to the highs and mids and an overall tightness to the master with glue compression and saturation. There’s a slight volume increase but not by a lot, especially when compared to the reference and metal or rock songs out there currently.

Flames Universal Master

BandLab Review

Wanting to experiment, we tried out the other mastering settings. The fire setting intensely focused on the low end, making the sound quite boomy and over the top in the bass range.

Flames Fire Master

The Clarity setting added a slightly scooped sound but a pleasant (pristine?) high end. The tape gave a very scooped sound, which really took out the power behind the chorus of the track in particular. 

Flames Clarity Master
Flames Tape Master

The universal setting was best for this track, and gave some decent results surprisingly for a free master. This would be really useful in getting an idea of how a track may sound mastered, or getting a demo to a high volume with some mastering polish. 

RnB Song Example

For the second example, we used ‘Bankroll’ by Tytillidie x Xollllinnnn, with ‘Don’t Tell ‘Em’ by Jeremih as the reference. The vocal balance is quite similar in both tracks, on the reference track the high end is nice and smooth but the low-end is club ready.  

Bankroll Unmastered 

We were curious to test out the Fire setting on this one as it is meant for this kind of track, but first things first we heard the Universal setting.

As same as the first example, EQ boosts to the mids and highs are audible, alongside volume increase and width. However, the low-end wanted for this kind of track wasn’t quite there, so we went on to the Fire setting. 

Bankroll Universal Master

Disappointingly, the Fire mastering option felt a bit like a YouTube bass-boosted track in that it just focused on bringing the bass up with no consideration of it being boomy, which it was on this master. 

Bankroll Fire Master

Clarity and Tape didn’t bring much refinement either, pushing the track too much on the highs or just scooping it. 

Bankroll Clarity Master
Bankroll Tape Master

On both masters so far, universal was the best setting and the volume increases have been noticeably quiet, not stacking up to reference tracks or Spotify releases in the same genre. 

Dubstep Song Example

For our third example, we used ‘Centauri B’ by Brennon Causey, with ‘Tears’ by Skrillex as our reference track. The heavy bass and knocking drums are similar on both of these tracks, and Skrillex is as great a reference as you can get in this genre. 

Centauri B Unmastered

The volume increase was barely noticeable on this master, with the results being quite underwhelming across the board. There was a real lack of control on the low-end across every option that wasn’t the Universal setting.

Centauri B Universal 

Options such as Fire and Tape sounded quite unprofessional on this track, with Universal being once again the obvious choice.

Centauri B Fire 

The wideness and bright EQ boosts are quite good with BandLab so far, as well as how quickly you get a master, but overall it doesn’t feel like there’s a truly professional result that stands against the competition as of yet. 

Centauri B Clarity 
Centauri B Tape

Pop Song Example

Our final example will be ‘Never Let You Go’ by Brian C Cai Fei Hong, and our reference track will be ‘Closer’ by The Chainsmokers. With similar instrumentation and a bright, controlled, EDM-influenced pop sound this seemed to make sense as a reference choice. 

Never Let You Go Unmastered

Without much surprise, once again the Universal setting was the best result on this track. Giving a good, balanced sound across the board, with the biggest volume increase yet, making this possibly the best master of the four. 

Never Let You Go Universal

Fire, as usual, gave the track an amateurish bass boost, Clarity came with a smooth high end, but took away from the fullness that was present on the Universal setting, and Tape highlighted a sibilance in the vocals whilst bringing a surprisingly nice low end to the track. 

Never Let You Go Fire

It seems that BandLab works best with pop genres such as this, as this is the best master out of the four with some noticeable enhancements from the master. However, there isn’t any customisation beyond these four options to refine the master, so this is the best we get.  

Never Let You Go Clarity
Never Let You Go Tape

What Are Other People Saying About BandLab?

A quick search on Trustpilot isn’t very revealing about BandLab, as there are only 14 reviews. However, those reviews average at 3.5-stars.

The positive comments only mention and praise the DAW aspects of BandLab with no mention of mastering, whereas the negative reviews express some frustration at the DAW with again, no mention of mastering. 

Other sites reviews have a positive view of the mastering and things on offer on BandLab, especially when considering the fact that it is free. 

Is BandLab Good For Mastering?

Considering that it is free, it’s good. The Universal setting is a safe option that can add some basic mastering effects to your track for demo purposes, but anything beyond that, BandLab isn’t quite capable of to ears. 

Services such as LANDR, eMastered and CloudBounce all offer cheap and very reasonable rates for one master at a time, and if you want your music on streaming services we would recommend using one of those if you have to use an AI mastering service. 

In all honesty, we don’t really see the use of BandLab beyond getting a rough demo sound for your track or mix, as the quality for a finished track isn’t there. If you’re a beginner, it’s an easy and quick way to hear what mastering could do to your song. 


Is BandLab better than a mastering engineer?

Definitely not, you get what you pay for (or don’t in this case) and expecting a professional result from a free software is not the reality of what you will get. That being said, if you are a beginner and want to hear the difference between a mix and master on your track for free, BandLab can be really useful for that.  

You won’t beat a real human engineer with AI mastering, even if you do pay for it, as the expertise, collaboration and communication that working with a real engineer brings is irreplaceable. 

Will BandLab improve my mixes?

BandLab will not improve your mixes. Mastering does not change your mix, it enhances and adds to what is already there rather than adding something entirely new. This works great for mixes that are already solid, but also can highlight issues that need to be fixed beforehand. 

Is it better to get a real mastering engineer?

Yes it is, every time. BandLab, especially in our eyes, is not industry standard and you want your music to sound the best it can be before putting it out there. A real mastering engineer can get you to that standard if you have a good mix. It doesn’t have to be hugely expensive either, we ourselves have had great masters for between $40-50$. 

Is there a BandLab app? 

There is a BandLab app for mobile which allows you to upload mixes to master and use the DAW features available with BandLab. 

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