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EMastered Review – Great Mastering at a Cheap Price? 

Once your track has a fantastic-sounding mix, the inevitable next step is to get it mastered. The final polish that mastering brings is what gets your music on the same level as your favourite tunes out there at the moment. 

Mastering adds volume, EQ, saturation and limiting amongst other effects to get your music to the same standard as the biggest hits out there on streaming platforms. 

Mastering engineers can be expensive, however, and a rising alternative is AI mastering services. They can be far quicker as well as cheaper than a human mastering engineer, but are they as good? I’ll put eMastered to the test in this review. 

eMastered Review

eMastered
3.0
From $13/mo

eMastered provides quick mastering with decent results. However, for the price, you could get a real engineer and get a five star result for not a lot more money, and the subscription only works best if you pay a year upfront. 

Sound Quality:
2.5
Ease of Use:
4.0
User Interface:
3.0
Value for Money:
2.0
Pros:
  • Incredibly quick mastering, around a minute to get results.
  • Friendly customer support
  • Good masters that depending on your result, could be what you release on streaming services
  • Affordable with the yearly subscription if you can pay upfront
  • Doesn’t squash tracks to make them louder, it retains dynamics
Cons:
  • For the price, you could pay a real mastering engineer for not a lot more money
  • Lack of customisation in the mastering options limits your result
  • Subscription plan only works best if you commit to a year upfront
  • The lack of a human touch is quite noticeable, not a lot of character to masters beyond basic compression, limiting and EQ boosts.

A side note on what your money can get you: 

Paying the extra money for a real mastering engineer will get you personalized attention to detail, a collaborative approach and ultimately better results.

A professional effort requires a professional budget though, and this is where AI mastering can come as a cheaper alternative

Paying a real engineer what you would pay for a cheap AI master could result in slower results, and maybe even worse results in some instances as when it comes down to it, you get what you pay for. Keep that in mind as I go through the pros and cons of eMastered!

What is eMastered?

eMastered is an online, AI mastering service created by a Grammy award-winning team that builds a custom master with the unique features of your song in mind. It utilizes the typical mastering processes of a professional studio such as EQ, compression and saturation.

eMastered is said to work across all sorts of genres such as Pop, EDM, Rock and many more. The service boasts several advanced mastering options that are included with all of their paid plans, such as being able to manually adjust stereo width, volume and compression.

It also allows you to upload a reference master which eMastered analyzes and then applies similar processing to your track. 

How much does it all cost? 

eMastered has three payment plans: $18 a month with a one-year commitment, a one-off payment of $138 for a year which works out at $11.50 a month, then finally a monthly payment of $37 which allows you to cancel anytime.

The refund policy is valid for 14 days after subscription and is only valid for less than 4 downloads from the service. 

Comparing the anytime cancellation monthly fee of $37 to the lower-end price of a real mastering engineer which is around $51, there isn’t a huge difference like there is on other AI mastering services. Cloudbounce for instance, charges $10 per track and has a lower monthly rate. 

So, with this higher price point from the get-go in mind, let us see if eMastered delivers a result worth paying for! 

Using eMastered 

Using eMastered is quite simple, which is great for the quick and easy service it says it provides. You upload your track onto the website after subscribing, and in around a minute you have a master to listen to.

You are given choices of comparing the original and a first and second eMaster. You can also save your eMasters on a cloud library which is helpful for those with storage problems!

EMastered Review

For customizing your master, there is an options tab that allows control over mastering intensity, compressor intensity, equalization intensity, stereo width, volume and equalization.

These controls have between three and five settings. For example, the compressor intensity can be set between very low, low, normal, high or extreme. 

Using eMastered mastering intensity

There is a third tab which allows you to upload a reference track, and then customize how similar you would like your master to be to your chosen reference track.

Finally, there is a preset tab where you can save mastering settings to use again, which could be very useful when mastering numerous projects on eMastered. 

eMastering a Rock Song

All of the tracks I used to test out eMastered are from the Cambridge MT website. I started with ‘Flames’ by The Black Crown, and I used ‘Goliath’ by Karnivool as a reference, I feel they have a similar vibe in production, mix and style. 

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!

Starting with the eMaster 1 option, the master immediately jumped out with a sizable frequency boost in the highs and lows, more wideness, and noticeable but transparent compression to balance the track as a whole.

I thought the highs were a bit too present in this master, adding an almost tinny sound that the reference and original track did not have.

However, the loudness of the track was significantly brought up whilst retaining dynamic range, which I found quite impressive. 

The second master, while less compressed, sounded incredibly scooped and muddy to me. Out of the two, I feel the obvious choice of quality was the first, although I wanted to see if I could customize it to make it sound better. 

A problem with the overall service so far is that the original track is not boosted to match the rough volume of the masters. This could potentially fool you into thinking the master is better because it is louder rather than enhancing your track. 

Customisation

Following on from my criticism of the highs in the first master being a bit tinny and potentially fatiguing with repeated listening, I used the Equalisation option to turn down the highs, which only gave three options of reduce, increase and normal for the low, mid and high ranges. 

Listening to the updated master with fewer highs there was an improvement, but now less clarity on the guitars.

With no option to go to an amount of EQ reduction between reduce and normal, I had to choose between the second or first version, both not being 100% for me even though they had made significant improvements to the unmastered track. 

Neither master was very close to the reference track, which I achieved better to my ears with a mastering chain of my own with some glue compression, EQ, more compression then saturation and limiting. 

eMastering an RnB Song

For this master, we used ‘Bankroll’ by Tytillidie x Xollllinnnn, with ‘Don’t Tell ‘Em’ by Jeremih as the reference. I think the vocal balance is quite similar in both tracks, with a high-end Pop/RnB sheen that is quite common in the genre.

Once again, the first noticeable thing with eMaster 1 is a boost in the highs, improved balancing from compression and then increased width in the stereo field. I felt like the quality of this first master compared to the rock song was immediately better. 

eMaster 2 was a lot warmer and less compressed than eMaster 1, which to me doesn’t suit the track or genre it exists in. But, it is a nice alternative for someone who may want something different from how I hear this song being mastered. 

Curious to experiment further, I played around with the reference settings and added more smoothing and amount to the mastering process. This didn’t seem to change much about the master apart from making it more compressed and louder. 

Overall, I was pleased with this master, it was louder without being squashed, closer to the reference track and I didn’t feel like I needed to use customisation aside from just being curious about what it would add. 

eMastering a Dubstep Track

For our third example, we used ‘Centauri B’ by Brennon Causey, with ‘Tears’ by Skrillex as our reference track.

I’m sure anyone who listened to the latest Skrillex album can agree that the mix and master on that project was phenomenal and is a benchmark for EDM/Dubstep mixes and masters. 

Typical for the genre, eMaster 1 has a clear boost to the lows and highs. It very impressively enhances the lows in a clear improvement on the unmastered version. There is also a huge increase in volume, with transparent compression and improved balance for the track. 

eMaster 2 on the other hand is far more compressed and boosted in the highs to the point of being unpleasant to listen to. So, without a lot of surprise, eMaster 1 won again. Once again I was impressed by the quick and usable result here. 

eMastering a Pop Song

Our final master example will be ‘Never Let You Go’ by Brian C Cai Fei Hong, and our reference track will be ‘Closer’ by The Chainsmokers, sadly. That bright pop sparkle and vocal are similar in both of these tracks, with a very controlled low end. 

Out of the four examples so far, this eMaster 1 was the best for me. The balance, volume increase, wideness and complete enhancement of the low end whilst balancing the highs were truly very good.

Listening to it felt like it was radio-ready at that moment, whereas the other three songs could have been worked on further. 

As usual, eMaster 2 is not particularly good, compressing the song and adding cheap-sounding highs. Overall though, I do not feel any need to customize or search further with eMaster for a better result with eMaster 1, which is very good!

Extra Features

eMastered has some extra features aside from the mastering service it provides. Firstly, a detailed and regularly updated blog about mixing and production techniques with a great variety of topics. Secondly, an AI-powered synth; ATOM. 

ATOM allegedly uses an AI engine to sound better than any normal software instrument could, but the presets on the website whilst good, don’t indicate that the ATOM is better than something like Serum or Wavetable from Ableton. 

What Are Other People Saying About eMastered?

Scrolling through Trustpilot shows a positive reception towards eMastered, with 190 reviews averaging at 4.5 stars.

Looking through the 1-star reviews, they consist of people taking issue with the subscription scheme being unclear with the cancellation policy, which I disagree with. 

What Are Other People Saying About eMastered

Always read subscription models closely regarding cancellation. Upon reading, there isn’t any deceptive small print with eMastered, they clearly outline that the only cancel anytime option is the $37 a month subscription and I think giving a 1-star review to the service for alleged deception is…unreasonable. 

In the 2 star reviews, there was mention of the online chat being poor, which I went ahead and tested!

Firstly, I tried the live chat which took twenty minutes to get back to me, which isn’t that quick but they were helpful and friendly. I also emailed the support email address which took around two hours to reply, which is pretty good!

Similarly to my thoughts, people criticized the lack of customisation in the 3-star and up reviews. In general, though, people seem to be very happy about the service that eMastered provides. Specifically, the speed and ease of use of eMastered, is something that I would agree with overall. 

Is eMastered Worth It? 

eMastered is easy to use, very quick, and produces good results in most instances. However, for the higher price, unless you want to commit for an entire year, you could find a real mastering engineer to do a better and more personalized job. 

For the rock master in particular, I found that I couldn’t get a result that I was entirely happy with. The sound had either too much volume in the highs, or not enough after customisation. I was able to achieve better results with a mastering chain I had made for an entirely different track. 

The other masters were good, but for not a lot more money you could be paying a real master engineer to get a result that has far more possibilities for customisation, communication with someone else for another perspective on your music and finally, a better result. 

The eMastered subscription plan seems to work best if you commit to a whole year upfront, which is clever pricing on their part, but ultimately it only works if you use this service a lot and quite a few times to get the most out of it. 

Is eMastered Better Than a Human Mastering Engineer?

eMastered is not better than a human mastering engineer. No AI service is (yet?). There are numerous reasons why this is the case, specifically with eMastered, the communication between you and a real engineer cannot be replaced at this moment in time. 

This lack of real-life communication combined with eMastered’s shallow customisation options means that you may find the results of using eMastered good, but not nearly as great as it could be if you had someone to dial in specific effects in the way that great masters require. 

eMastered
3.0
From $13/mo

eMastered provides quick mastering with decent results. However, for the price, you could get a real engineer and get a five star result for not a lot more money, and the subscription only works best if you pay a year upfront. 

Sound Quality:
2.5
Ease of Use:
4.0
User Interface:
3.0
Value for Money:
2.0
Pros:
  • Incredibly quick mastering, around a minute to get results.
  • Friendly customer support
  • Good masters that depending on your result, could be what you release on streaming services
  • Affordable with the yearly subscription if you can pay upfront
  • Doesn’t squash tracks to make them louder, it retains dynamics
Cons:
  • For the price, you could pay a real mastering engineer for not a lot more money
  • Lack of customisation in the mastering options limits your result
  • Subscription plan only works best if you commit to a year upfront
  • The lack of a human touch is quite noticeable, not a lot of character to masters beyond basic compression, limiting and EQ boosts.

FAQ

Is eMastered good? 

eMastered is good, especially from my experience using it with a pop style. It is very good at refining and controlling the low end in a master, which is important for that kind of sound. It is also great at increasing volume without squashing dynamic range. However, what is lacking is customisation to further refine your master and overall sound. 

It is very quick at mastering your song, and its cloud storage makes it a very practical and useful tool if you’re using it a lot and have a lot of different masters to store. Overall, it is a good service, just not a great one ultimately. 

Will eMastered improve my mixes? 

Just like mastering, eMastered will enhance what is already there. If your mix is well-balanced and dynamic and every instrument sits just right in the mix, then it will enhance it and add that last stage of refinement that gets it close to perfection. If your mix isn’t at a good enough standard for mastering, that will come out in the master. 

A master will never save a mix, it will only take what is there and make it louder, more compressed and equalized. 

Is there an eMastered app? 

You can only use eMastered on their website, currently, there is no mobile or desktop app for this service. 

Is it better to get a real mastering engineer? 

If you can afford it, every time yes. You will get better, more personalized and human results. But, you usually get what you pay for. I have paid $50 for mastering and seen some fantastic results, but sometimes it is more expensive than that, going significantly higher in price for industry-leading results. 

Services such as eMastering can be great if you are on a budget, as paying lower and lower prices for a human mastering engineer could produce worse results than paying lower prices for AI mastering. 

Is eMastering good for beginners? 

It can be if you are a beginner bedroom producer etc. and you want to hear how your music would sound mastered. However, you will not learn anything about the process as eMastering’s service is not transparent at all. 

Whereas working with a human engineer, you can ask questions and learn how to better mix your music for it to be mastered. You can even learn something about mastering and give it a try yourself!

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