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The Best Online Mastering Services Reviewed 2020

Photograph of the blog post author, Jamie Ellis

Jamie Ellis

13.11.2019

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Mastering is the final stage of music production and is highly recommended for any release. It is the icing on the cake which ensures your track is sonically balanced across all playback systems. If you are releasing an album or EP, online WAV mastering also ensures a consistent, clean sound across all tracks. The 24 bit final master audio can then be duplicated and distributed. With many singers, songwriters and artists taking an indie approach to making music, not everyone has the budget for expensive production costs. So, how can you get your tracks mastered to a high quality without breaking the bank? In this article, we will look at online mastering services, including pricing, free options and what happened when we tested these services out!

What Are Online Mastering Services?

Online music mastering is exactly as it sounds – it is a service that allows artists to get their music mastered from the comfort of their own home. Ranging from free online mastering to paid online sound mastering from some of the biggest recording studios in the world, you can now have quality production services at your fingertips. Online music mastering services are rapidly growing in popularity, especially with indie artists, as there is also an increased need for instant online audio mastering for super quick turnaround. 

We know how difficult it can be to find the best service for your music, especially when money is involved. That’s why we’ve done the research for you! We mastered the same track with six of the best services available today, so you can hear the difference. 

PS – we aren’t being paid by any of these services, and we paid for them ourselves to conduct this review. The companies didn’t know we were reviewing their services – so, read on for our reviews!

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1. Abbey Road Studios

It goes without saying that Abbey Road Studios is one of the most iconic studios in the world. With award-winning audio engineers and a vast catalogue of vintage and state-of-the-art equipment, quality masters are guaranteed. 

Abbey Road offers its services for a price of £90 per song (ex. VAT). This service includes a mastered WAV file and promises a turnaround of five working days (a Fast-Track service is available). You are also given communication access to your mastering engineer and one set of revisions to ensure your tracks sound just the way you want.

Furthermore, you are able to choose a format that best suits your project. Additional fees do apply, so here is a breakdown of the recording studios’ format options:

  • DDPi Download – £25 per format
  • iTunes Download – £30 per track
  • Physical CD – £50 per format
  • Vinyl mastering LP Album – £500 per format
  • 12” Single (Vinyl) – £400 per format
  • 7” Single (Vinyl) – £300 per format

This historic studio has produced some of the most iconic albums the music industry has to offer. From Rock to Rap, you can be sure that wherever your genre lies, you will receive a mastered track that is of the utmost quality.

Our Review

Overall, the whole process was incredibly easy. The Studio’s website is very clear and intuitive to use. Simply upload your track to the Abbey Road website, select a specific mastering engineer and provide any reference tracks or notes to help specify what sound you’re looking for. Furthermore, the turnaround was quick thanks to the studio’s 5-day turnaround guarantee. 

In regard to the audio, my opinion is obviously subjective. I listened to the master on multiple devices and speakers in order to give a comprehensive, honest review. The master, in my opinion, sounds warm and full. It has created a sonic depth in the track that wasn’t there before. Everything sits well in the mix, with levels balanced beautifully. My only possible critique is the amount of low end. I personally feel that the master has a cluttered lower end that feels almost muddy compared to other masters in this review. Listen to the masters yourself here.

Ease of Use rating: 5 / 5

Pricing rating: 2 / 5

Audio Quality rating: 3 / 5

Overall Rating (Average): 3.3 / 5

2. BandLab

BandLab online mastering

BandLab has been creating quite a storm with indie musicians, producers and artists over the recent years. 

The service provides a free DAW that allows you to create and collaborate across platforms with unlimited cloud storage. Interestingly though, they provide free online music mastering to take your tracks to the next level. With free mastering services, however, you get what you pay for… in this case, not a lot! 

BandLab, although intuitive to use, doesn’t offer anywhere near the number of features that other services offer in this review. Perhaps that makes it ideal for those wanting a simple master without having to mess around with the complicated producer lingo. Features offered are limited too: ‘CD-quality audio’, ‘bass boost’ and ‘enhance quality’.

Our Review

Despite its simplistic service, I am quite impressed with the end result. BandLab’s master has taken our mix and created a well-balanced track with most noticeably an improvement on the crisp tightness of the guitars. My only fault with this master is its lack of depth and power. Compared to masters from the top UK studios, BandLab’s feels thin and lifeless compared to that of Abbey Road and Metropolis. My overall opinion though is that this isn’t too bad! 

This free audio mastering would be ideal for artists on a tight budget, or those wanting to up the quality of their tracks for a simple portfolio (session musician’s recordings to show off talents etc). Listen to the masters yourself here.

Ease of Use rating: 4 / 5

Pricing rating: 5 / 5

Audio Quality rating: 2 / 5

Overall Rating (Average): 3.6 / 5

3. Landr

landr logo

Landr has been growing in popularity over recent years. This expanding service offers a variety of tools such as samples, plugins, distribution and an online audio mastering studio.

Landr masters your tracks using its genius AI system. This system replicates the processes human engineers make when reviewing tracks in a real studio or home recording studio to give you indisputable results. By analysing the production of the style of your track, Landr can cross-reference with its extensive music library to create a unique master fingerprint. The AI then creates a unique set of post-production processors to ensure perfect audio balance. You can even master entire albums with this intelligent AI by grouping tracks in a playlist to ensure a consistent sound throughout your album.

Although a free trial service is offered, premium features do come at a price. Landr offers three subscription packages to its users that provide ‘Pro’ tools to further tailor your experience. 

Basic:

  • £4 a month / £48 a year
  • Lo MP3 file downloads are unlimited
  • Higher quality downloads are charged additionally 
  • Distribution included

Advanced:

  • £9 a month / £108 a year
  • Lo and Hi-quality MP3s are unlimited
  • WAV files are charged additionally 
  • Distribution included
  • Offers three distinctive styles to better shape your sound
  • Volume matching
  • Ability to save your preferences for future work

Pro:

  • £25 a month / £299 a year
  • Both high and low-quality MP3 and WAV files are unlimited
  • Distribution included
  • Offers three distinctive styles to better shape your sound
  • Volume matching
  • Ability to save your preferences for future work

Our Review

Landr’s master feels nicely balanced with each instrument cutting through the mix well. There is a clear warmth to this which I personally like. I personally love the low end to this master. It feels warm and clean with lots of depth. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the top end. Sonically, the top end in this master feels thin and lifeless. If I could take the top mids and highs from BandLab and combine them with the bottom end of Landr’s master, I’d be very happy. 

Regarding the service and its user experience, I don’t really have a lot to say. It was simple and to the point! Like BandLab, features are extremely limited. Landr only allows you to select the intensity of your master, which is a real shame considering the subscription fees and additional charges to download WAV and other quality audio files. Listen to the masters yourself here.

Ease of Use rating: 5 / 5

Pricing rating: 3 / 5

Audio Quality rating: 2.5 / 5

Overall Rating (Average): 3.5 / 5

4. CloudBounce

cloudbounce online mastering

CloudBounce, like Landr, is an online audio mastering service that uses intelligent AI to quickly and accurately master your music to a professional mastering level. 

Priced at $4.90 (£3.80) per track, this service allows the artist to download both CD quality and Hi-Res WAV files in a matter of minutes. Furthermore, CloudBounce allows the artist to tailor their master to their music’s genre and edit other elements such as volume, brightness, warmth and bass… all without additional subscription purchases. 

For those artists that have a busy release schedule, a ‘Pro’ subscription is available, which allows for infinite masters and expanded cloud storage on the CloudBounce servers. 

Our Review

CloudBounce, like all other services in this review, was easy to use and very self-explanatory. I like that the service allows you to choose a specific genre to tailor the sound of your master. However, this is the only customisable feature. Should you wish to experiment and hear how the different genre options affect your track, you, unfortunately, have to ‘remaster’ each time you select a new genre.

I felt that forcing you to wait for the AI to recalculate was a little time-consuming. It made comparing the options very difficult when you can’t listen to them side by side in quick succession. As far as quality is concerned, I can’t really complain! There may be some clarity differences in the vocals when compared to the masters from the big studios, however, it is only noticeable when A-Bing multiple masters together. The track feels warm and has some depth. There is clear energy, power and punch to the CloudBounce master that is lacking from services like BandLab. Listen to the masters yourself here.

Ease of Use rating: 5 / 5

Pricing rating: 5 / 5

Audio Quality rating: 4 / 5

Overall Rating (Average): 4.6 / 5

5. Metropolis Studios

metropolis studios

Metropolis Studios is unquestionably up there, with Abbey Road, as one of the most iconic British music studios. Their catalogue alone features artists like Jess Glynne, Adele, Blue, Take That and Amy Winehouse. 

Now offering its services to the ‘everyday artist’, you too can have your tracks mastered by Grammy-Award winning engineers using state-of-the-art equipment. Without doubt, Metropolis’s mastering service is the most expensive service reviewed in this article, with a price of £102 per track. Purchase of this service does, however, include one set of revisions and a choice of mastering engineer. This allows you to pick the best person for your style of music.

Our Review

Metropolis’s master could possibly be one of my favourites from this review. The tack sounds perfectly balanced, warm and powerful. There is a clear depth to the track, and every instrument has its own sonic space. I personally don’t feel like I can fault the master at all. Don’t just take my word for it, listen to the master yourself here.

The overall experience with Metropolis was very smooth. Their website is easy to navigate and like Abbey Road, they have a 5-day turnaround guarantee. Admittedly, the service is pricey. If you have got the budget and really want your tracks to sound top dollar, Metropolis might be the service for you! 

Ease of Use rating: 5 / 5

Pricing rating: 2 / 5

Audio Quality rating: 5 / 5

Overall Rating (Average): 4 / 5

6. eMastered

emastered online mastering

eMastered is another online music mastering service that offers fast and affordable music mastering. Built by Grammy-Award winning engineers, this powerful AI even allows artists to upload reference tracks for increased genre accuracy. Always wanted your music to sound like those early Led Zeppelin records? Well, eMastered might make that wish come true. 

This online mastering service also provides a range of pro features that allow you to mould the master to your liking, including compressor intensity, basic equalisation, equalisation intensity, strength, stereo width and master volume.

Unfortunately, this is not a free music mastering service. eMastered provide three subscription tiers to its users. All of which supply the advanced mastering options listed above, cloud storage, track statistics and a shareable library page. Higher tier subscriptions offer unlimited masters uncompressed and high-def WAV file downloads over the standard $14 (£10.87) a month subscription (which only provides unlimited high-resolution MP3 downloads). WAV files are available with the standard subscription but are charged additionally. 

Our Review

I am honestly a little disappointed by eMaster’s master. After seeing the full list of features to play with, I honestly thought we could have found a fantastic budget mastering service. I personally feel like the master falls flat when compared to other services. It lacks depth, power and I don’t feel like it utilises the full sonic scape when compared to other masters. 

That being said, I may be responsible for the (in my opinion) poor sounding master. Having such a range of editing options at my fingertips allowed me to really shape the sound of the track. With no real reference, this may be a good explanation for it not holding its own next to other services versions. 

I wouldn’t completely write eMastered off. It is the only service in this review that allows its users to edit in such depth. That has got to be worth something! I don’t doubt that some of you may be able to make better-sounding masters than myself through this service. Listen to the masters yourself here.

Ease of Use rating: 4 / 5

Pricing rating: 3 / 5

Audio Quality rating: 2.5 / 5

Overall Rating (Average): 3.1 / 5

Chosen Masters

One service we didn’t get to try out but would like to mention here is Chosen Masters. Chosen Masters is a semi-automated, professional-grade audio mastering tool that uses software that gives you instant results.

Here is what Chosen Masters have to say: “Our mastering adds presence while maintaining dynamics throughout the entire frequency spectrum. Unlike other software that can leave your songs sounding either thin or squished, Chosen Masters gives you rich textured, full & pristine sounding results.”

If you would like to check Chosen Masters out for yourself, you can do so here. Let us know what you think!

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Final Thoughts

vinyl records

I can safely say after carrying out this experiment to master songs online is that each online service has its own distinctive sound. That is why it’s so important for you to listen to the masters yourselves, to form your own opinions. 

My personal favourite has to be Metropolis Studios. In my eyes, you get what you pay for: a quality master, a revision and communication access to your mastering engineer. You don’t get all that with an AI! 

That being said, with such a range of services at various price points, there is without question, a service here to suit everybody’s needs. Now, it is time to make your own decisions about these services. Listen to all of the masters in one neat place, right here. Once you have decided on a service that best suits your music, back up your masters to a cloud service. There’s nothing worse than losing all of that time and money when your computer crashes!

Lastly, a huge thank you to singer, songwriter and artist Calum Jones, who allowed us to use his latest single release to feature in this review. We love “One For The Road”, and hope you do too!

If you are looking for a platform that offers everything you need in one place, why not try Music Gateway? We can help with promoting your music, improving your streaming presence and providing Sync opportunities. Try it out for free today by signing up or clicking the button below.



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