Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

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Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Lunkhead »

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... -mastering

Pretty interesting article, with perspectives from both the creators of automated mastering services (specifically LANDR and CloudBounce) and professional mastering engineers. Having never really put out an album I've never bothered to think about mastering, other than just slapping a maximizer on individual tracks to make sure they're "loud enough". :roll:
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by jb »

How hard is it to predict what they’re gonna say in that article? Before I go read it just wondering...
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Pigfarmer Jr »

Not too hard at all as it turns out. It's basically a slightly more nice way of saying the same shit they've been saying for a while. The new angle of Abbey Road Studios was.. erm, new to me, but otherwise....
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by jb »

Yeah now that I’ve read it I wish they’d do a serious take from musicians who’ve used both or one or the other etc. getting takes from the LANDR ppl and then professional masterers is basically just asking two polarized camps which is better.

I mean, for songfighters, LANDR’s free account level is a good way to polish your MP3 real quick before you send it in. I think you get two free MP3 masters per month.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by ken »

I hoped they would take songs, have the same tracks mastered by professional engineers and online and then do a blind test with professionals. That would be useful information.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Lunkhead »

Didn't they do that? After the the main article there were a bunch of sections in gray boxes, one of which was about the author doing exactly that I thought.

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... ring#para8

And there are audio samples here:

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... ing#para11

I thought there were some interesting points made that I hadn't considered before, like, how the algorithms would probably only ever trail after the established practices of the humans. Meaning, as trends change and mastering develops and human mastering engineers develop new/different techniques, the algorithmic solutions would be trained to replicate that, so there would potentially always be some lag in the algorithms in terms of supporting current best practices. Also I thought the article framed the different situations for using the two options well and also painted a picture that the two options could probably co-exist since they're largely targeting different consumer bases.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by fluffy »

As I understand it, most of the automated mastering systems are really just like, predefined multiband compressors with some target EQ. Which a lot of DAWs have built-in now (such as Logic with its mastering presets). They might also do a bit of loudness targeting as well. They likely won't ever be able to make creative decisions based on what will make instruments feel well-balanced or fix issues in the mix in general.

Another thing that bugs me about any mastering service that starts out with a final mixdown is that it means that you have to do it all over again from scratch if you end up fixing a mistake somewhere in the song, espeically if it's not something you notice before mastering. But I like to keep stuff as nondestructive as possible for as long as possible, which might actually make things more difficult in the long run.

There's also no real reason for it to be cloud-based except to justify a subscription business model.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Lunkhead »

CloundBounce at least offers pay-per-song, although at $5/song, somebody with an EP or an album might be better off signing up for one month of their $20/month subscription level.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by fluffy »

Pay-per-use is still a subscription though. I'd much rather have something I run on my own local machine.

I mean, "Cloud" is really just a euphemism for "you keep paying" these days (see: Adobe Creative Cloud, none of which actually runs "in the cloud" but they sure charge you a monthly fee as if it does)
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by jb »

Then I guess you want Ozone, which has an auto master function.

To me a subscription would be to assume I get the latest algorithm improvement as they come out. Otherwise you wait and pay to upgrade Ozone. Which you can skip one or two but eventually you have to buy it over again to get the improvements.

So many obsolete daws in my life, from Magix to CEP to Fruityloops to Cakewalk— a subscription wouldn’t bug me overmuch. (Yeah I know they eveloved into other stuff. But what I started on is dead.)
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by fluffy »

I mean, if the version I pay for keeps on working, I'm happy. If I get upgrades as part of that, or reduced upgrade pricing, even better. But "cloud" means that if the company goes under, the software disappears entirely, meaning I've got to find something else, with a new set of quirks and problems and workflow limitations to get around.

I am constantly impressed at how many major free upgrades Apple has given as part of a one-time Logic purchase ever since it moved to the App Store. I do not count on all software being distributed that generously. And that is fine. Before Logic went rolling-update I was dutifully paying the $100-ish a year to upgrade to the latest version, if there were features I wanted. If Apple were to discontinue Logic entirely, I'd still have the last version I paid for, at least until it succumbs to bitrot and macOS changes. If they finally go from Logic X to Logic XI or whatever I'll have to decide if I want to pay to upgrade, and I probably will, but it'll be my decision to do so.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by jb »

I agree that if a cloud-based company you rely on goes under, it really sucks that their product will disappear with no recourse. I think the mastering cloud services aren't in that category, since they are competing with mastering services and not downloadable software. So if LANDR goes under it's more like your mastering engineer died.

I hope more companies that have a suscription-based model for downloadable software (with a cloud-based authentication), if they are about to close or EOL their software, they will choose to provide one last update to their software that removes the lock the last time you authenticate. Unfortunately at those moments this is the last thing on their minds...
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Caravan Ray »

jb wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 8:15 pm
Then I guess you want Ozone, which has an auto master function.
I bought ozone, only to find it doesn’t work on GarageBand and the version of logic I have seems to be dead

So now I master with ozone on reaper after recording on GarageBand. Slightly annoying - but is does seem to do a decent job
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Chumpy »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:38 pm
I bought ozone, only to find it doesn’t work on GarageBand and the version of logic I have seems to be dead
Ozone might not work as a plugin in Logic, but you should be able to bounce from GarageBand to a .wav file and then load that into the standalone Ozone and then master it from there.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by jb »

Ozone certainly works in Logic— just not Caravan Ray’s ancient version. I haven’t tried it in GB, not sure what’s up there but maybe I’ll try it just to see.

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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Caravan Ray »

Chumpy wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:48 pm
Caravan Ray wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:38 pm
I bought ozone, only to find it doesn’t work on GarageBand and the version of logic I have seems to be dead
Ozone might not work as a plugin in Logic, but you should be able to bounce from GarageBand to a .wav file and then load that into the standalone Ozone and then master it from there.
Didn’t think of that. But the reaper workaround is ok. One day I may actually try to learn how actually record on reaper. I think I paid about $50 for it. Does it have any advantages over GarageBand? I’ve been using GB for so long I am a bit set in my ways. Maybe a change would be good.

I bought logic ages ago - maybe 10 years. Never really got into it. The version I have seems to be completely unsupported now. Just like my aperture photo software. Apple needs to put out a Mac for old people that just keeps using the old software I am used to

But back to the point - I do like the ozone auto mastering. It seems pretty good. Haven’t tried the online mastering. Is there much of a difference?
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Caravan Ray »

jb wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:04 pm
Ozone certainly works in Logic— just not Caravan Ray’s ancient version. I haven’t tried it in GB, not sure what’s up there but maybe I’ll try it just to see.

JB
I recall writing to ozone support to ask about it. They said they don’t support gb. Apparently I didn’t read the side of the box.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Chumpy »

jb wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 3:04 pm
Ozone certainly works in Logic— just not Caravan Ray’s ancient version. I haven’t tried it in GB, not sure what’s up there but maybe I’ll try it just to see.
My mistake I meant to say "GarageBand" instead of Logic. I just tried using Ozone 8 with GarageBand. I loaded it up on the Stereo Output bus, had it listen to "Fashion" (my favorite GB Jerkatorium track) it came up with some recommendations, and when I hit "OK" it crashed and took GB with it. I then looked around online, and sure as shit, iZotope doesn't support GB with any of their products.
izotope's website wrote: iZotope plug-ins are not compatible with GarageBand. We strongly recommend upgrading to Logic Pro or another supported host application. While you can insert most iZotope software on a GarageBand track, most advanced features will either cause a crash or limited functionality.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by jb »

No support I get but I’m a little shocked it doesn’t just work. GB on OS X appears to be just a cut down Logic.
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Re: Sound On Sound article about automated mastering services

Post by Caravan Ray »

Yeah. As chumpy says - the auto master thing on ozone 8 made it crash. I used to use ozone 5 on gb fine - but I upgraded to get the auto master feature.
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