With the internet now readily available in most areas of the world, whether at home, at school, or a local library, you can now find online mastering services without calling a professional. For those looking to release music independently, professionally with a label, or without high cost, these online services are great tools available 24/7.
What Is Mastering?
Mastering is the term used for the final step in music creation or audio production. This is the portion where everything is finalized and put together. This can mean different things depending on your product. Still, it can include sequencing, enhancing various aspects of the sound, finding and removing unwanted and unintentional sounds, correcting tone, etc. Think of mastering as a cleaning service for your audio you are applying the polish and wiping it clean for a finished product. Once this is done, you are ready to distribute your music for its intended use and audience.
Why Online Mastering Services Are Crucial for Any Audio Production
Everyday listeners have an endless array of options for music or any other audio productions available. Having a completed product that sounds like professionals curated is essential for competing within the music and audio industry. Mastering gives your audio that final touch, allowing it to sound just as high quality as the top-selling artists out there.
Questions to keep in mind when choosing a mastering service include:
- What is my budget?
- How important is the final quality of my audio?
- What are my goals within this area of my life?
- Is the reputation of the company necessary to me?
- How much audio do I need to master?
- What is my timeframe for a finished product to be returned to me?
After answering these questions, you are ready to choose the right online company to help you reach your audio goals. Keep reading to learn more about the various online mastering services available to you!
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The Best Mixing and Mastering Services Online for 2022
Abbey Road Studios
Arguably the most famous name in the recording studio industry, Abbey Road Studios is an expert in the field, and its track record speaks for itself. Perhaps the most iconic band of all time, The Beatles, worked significantly within these studios and produced some of their most meaningful and ever-lasting work, including their world-renowned album, appropriately named Abbey Road. Since then, Pink Floyd, Aretha Franklin, and The Hollies have recorded with Abbey Road Studios.
Speaking specifically of the mastering services available with Abbey Road Studios, music artists such as Ed Sheeran, Radiohead, Rudimental, Lily Allen, Paul McCartney, and Elton John have hired the business to complete the final touches on their tracks. With such famous and reputable names as clients, it is clear that Abbey Road has maintained and succeeded well beyond measure within their mastering abilities.
Digital Packages offered:
- DDP Download- £25 per format
- Apple Digital Masters- £30 per track
- SD 16bit- £15 per track
- 320kbps MP3- £15 per track
- FLAC- £15 per track
- Digital Package- £50 per track
Physical Packages offered:
- Physical CD Masters- £50 per format
- LP Album- £550 per format
- 12″ Single- £450 per format
- 7″ Single- £350 per format
Simplicity: The website is clear and easy to use, with instructions on exactly how to start your journey with them and what the process will entail. An individual who is just starting our in the music industry could easily follow how to accomplish their mastering needs with Abbey Road Studios. It is as simple as downloading your track, choosing your preferred engineer, and including any requests or notes on what you are looking for.
Time: With a guaranteed time frame of return, the benefit of knowing when your track will be ready can put you at ease if you are on a time crunch. Note: the time may increase depending on if you choose a specific engineer, but this is up to you. At the time of this writing, there were ten engineers to choose from.
Quality: While this particular judgment is highly dependent on your wants and needs and taste, Abbey Road Studios has a reputation of high-quality, marketable work. This is a reputation worthy of trust all on its own, but it also guarantees that the audio will come back with the masterful touch of experienced engineers who have the best equipment at their hands.
Price: The saying goes: “you get what you pay for”, and this could not be truer than with the services provided here. The prices are most likely higher than you will find on most other websites offering mastering services, but you also get the name attached, not to mention the skillset of highly skilled engineers.
While it does have some credits that are worth noting within the music industry, the main draw for Bandlab clients is the price: FREE. That’s right- you can have your tracks mastered for free with this service! What’s the catch? Will get to that. First, let’s talk about what Bandlab is, and isn’t.
You can almost think of Bandlab as your local co-operative, except it’s online and it’s worldwide. Bandlab boasts that it was created by artists, for artists. This incites a great appeal for those looking to avoid the more technical language and business feel of some of the other better-known studios. Instead of feeling intimidated, you might feel at ease and at home. Another benefit of this collaboration: Bandlab hosts many blogs which help educate artists on mastering and other aspects of creating music.
This all sounds great- but a couple of aspects that this site misses out on is state-of-the-art technical equipment and the ability to exclusively hire experienced and talented engineers who know exactly how to master a piece of audio. Unfortunately, these detriments are evident in the quality of the work.
Simplicity: Bandlab shines with their website. The layout is accessible and easy to follow, and the customer can quickly choose the sound they are looking to create. It is not intimidating and has a welcoming feel for new artists whose goals include collaborating with other artists. More experienced artists may be left looking for more, however, as the site does seem to cater to the novice artist.
Time: The site insists they are “10x faster than other services”, and this can hold a massive draw for someone on a time constraint. Afterall, time is money!
Quality: Considering the final product is free, the quality isn’t horrible. There are definitely benefits to using Bandlab’s mastering service and you will notice an improvement with your tracks with their help. You will not get the level of quality that you would find from a skilled and experienced engineer, but for a novice musician Bandlab is not a bad place to start.
Price: For a musician on a budget, this service offers a great deal. Being able to master your product for free can allow you to budget your money in other endeavors and services that can help boost your musical career or hobby. Depending on your situation, this may be the best service for you, based on pricing.
Going with the technology of the day, Landr utilizes AI (artificial intelligence) for its mastering services. While this does have its drawbacks, such as not being able to communicate openly with an engineer, it also allows for the final product to be ready much faster than if it were completed by a human.
With Landr, you can master a single song or go onto master an entire album. It starts as a free subscription service, but also offers premium services at a cost.
Premium Packages Available:
- Basic: £4 a month / £48 a year
- Advanced: £9 a month / £108 a year
- Pro: £25 a month / £299 a year
Simplicity: The site is fairly easy to use and visually appealing. While subscription packages do offer more complexity and stress, they do a good job of promoting each aspect of each plan. They should consider limiting the amount of information and movement on each page, as it can be overwhelming to consume all at once.
Time: Landr boasts that results are instant. This is slightly dependent on the user, of course, but the speed of turnaround is definitely an appealing aspect of the site and caters well to the musician in need of quick results.
Quality: Landr is limited in the services and options they offer, and this therefore limits the quality of the final product. While they are good at what they DO offer, you might still leave feeling like you are missing a piece of the puzzle that you might have wished to be included.
Price: The service starts free, but you will likely want to adopt some of the premium services. Overall, Landr offers good quality for the price that they charge.
A similar service to Landr, CloudBounce also uses AI to master audio productions. The limited communication is counteracted by their high-quality technology. It’s incredibly easy to use, quick and offers a very clean product. While CloudBounce is not yet as widespread as some of the other services we are discussing, they will certainly be making a name for themselves in the music industry.
- $9.90 for a 24 bit WAV master
- $19.90 per month
- $199.99 per year
Simplicity: CloudBounce offers the easy site yet! Their website is clean-cut and customer ready. As soon as you enter the site, you can drop a file to master.
Time: Like Landr, CloudBounce gives an almost immediate product back to the client. This is one of the major draws of using services that utilize AI.
Quality: Comparatively, the quality of the final product with CloudBounce is quite good. While you may not get all of the technical nuances to perfection, the mastered content will sound professional and ready to distribute.
Price: The price is a little on the higher side. However, overall, the final product is not a bad compromise.
For the name drop, Metropolis Studios is worthwhile to consider. This studio has been jumping into the public eye with iconic artists such as Amy Winehouse, Jess Glynne, and Adele. It’s award-winning work has propelled it to a place of respect in the industry, affording it the ability to higher top-notch engineers who have the best technology available to them.
The price you’ll pay for Metropolis Studios to master your work is high- but you’ll receive perks such as one revision and being able to choose your engineer. For the artist who is serious and wants the best, this may be the perfect service.
- $102 per track- 16/44 WAV file
- $114 per project- DDP for CD manufacturing
- $60 per track- Apple Digital Master
- $12 per track- WAV file
- $6 per track- MP3
Simplicity: Metropolis Studios offers a wonderful, clean website that is easy to use. They lay out the process step-by-step, with no surprises.
Time: Like Abbey Road Studios, the mastering service will not be immediate, as an actual engineer will be working on your audio. The time frame depends on the engineer you choose. This service is not suggested for those in a rush.
Quality: Fantastic, professional finished products should be expected. The mastered piece will likely be distribution-ready, but you are able to receive one revision, if needed.
Price: While this service is pricier than others, the added benefit of having a revision available makes the price easier to swallow. For the quality and revision included, the price is fair and reasonable.
Similar to Landr and CloudBounce, aMastered uses AI to finalize your music. Unlike other platforms that we have reviewed, eMastered has a unique feature allowing the client to upload music that is similar to what they are wishing for. Example: If you like Katy Perry’s music, you might upload a Katy Perry song in addition to your song to get the same feel. This is a wonderful added detail that can help you land the exact tune you are looking to create.
- $49 per month
- $19 per month with a 1-year commitment
- $13 per month with a 1-year commitment and $159 upfront
Simplicity: eMastered is much like CloudBounce, in that you are able to immediately get started as soon as you enter the site. It’s simple and effective, with no intimidating lingo or complexity.
Time: Like other AI services, the turn-around is quick with eMastered. If you need a quick final product, you don’t have to worry about time with this service.
Quality: eMastered leaves the consumer wanting more. The services provided seem to offer all the options available to make your music exactly what you want, but the final product doesn’t quite meet the bar. The quality is okay- but it doesn’t reflect the opportunity presented.
Price: With the quality of the product in mind, the price is slightly overinflated.
Offering a highly professional experience, Sage Audio is a great retreat from other mastering services. For those looking for a more business-like experience to curate the perfect music portfolio, Sage Audio provides a top-of-the-line opportunity while working with a human engineer. To ease the pressure of purchasing a subscription, they also offer a free sample to new clients.
- $54 per track- 1-3 tracks
- $48 per track- 4-6 tracks
- $44 per track- 7-9 tracks
- $42 per track- 10+ tracks
- Expedited service at a fee
Simplicity: Sage Audio’s website is professional and beautifully orchestrated to be easy to understand and easy to use. Their customer service helps make the process stress-free and client-friendly.
Time: Expect a slower time frame, due to the client-oriented model of meeting your needs first. If needed, they do offer expedited services at a reasonable fee.
Quality: Based in Nashville, Sage Audio knows music. Their quality of work is something you’d be proud to stand by and is reflected in their communication of your wants and needs first.
Price: While this service may have a higher cost to start, the quality and ease that they provide does match that price-set. This service is tailored more to artists seeking to make a career out of their work.
Using AI, MasteringBOX creates quick finished products for the artist in a hurry. Their marketing points out “professional mastering” at “affordable pricing”, while allowing artists to have options and control over some aspects of their music. Using a subscription-based model, the lesser-known MasteringBOX also allows one free master per day.
- $7.99 per month- Basic
- $12.99 per month- Pro
- $24.99 per month- Unlimited
- $44.99 per month- Studio
Simplicity: While the website does appear user-friendly, it also leaves a lot to the imagination. The lack of information is also met with a confusing price scheme. Even the pricing is not set into a standard dollar, while some of their prices are in the U.S. dollar and others are in Euro within the same plan.
Time: With the use of AI, the turn-around is quick and desirable for those in need of finished tracks within a short timeframe.
Quality: A benefit of MasteringBOX is the control that the client has available to them to manage the loudness and EQ- but otherwise the quality is lacking for what they propose.
Price: Fairly affordable pricing, especially considering that they offer one free master per day. There is also flexibility within each plan itself, which includes various formatting options.
As a declarative “hub”, this site is great for the novice musician trying to find their footing in the industry. Mastering is just one of the many services that ProMusician promotes and discusses. Within this website, you can find blog articles on anything and everything music related, including reviews for various businesses and services.
ProMusician Hub is wonderful for learning new techniques and researching professionals before hiring. However, the site can also be frustrating to use, as ads pop up unexpectedly and the interface is glitchy. It’s a good start to research but has its limitations due to poor design. If you are more interested in mastering your own music, without hiring a service, this site can help you learn the skills needed to be a completely self-sufficient musician.
Unlike the other servicing websites we have reviewed thus far, GemTracks allows the artist to hire freelance mastering engineers to provide finishing touches to their music. Like ProMusician Hub, the site is known to have random glitches and they do utilize ads. However, hiring a freelance engineer is a great way to start your career on a budget and collaborate with a fellow musically-minded professional. The price, quality and process will vary considerably depending on the freelancer hired. If the unpredictable nature of this doesn’t deter you, this could be a great adventure for your music career. You never know, you may even find a freelance engineer that becomes a lifelong professional partner!
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Final Thoughts on our pics for the Best Online Mastering Services for 2022
Choosing a mastering service can be a challenging task, with so many available to use at the click of a button. Reviewing each business is the first step in finding the servicer that is right for you. Another recommended option for research is listening to the music that each mastering service has successfully finished. For most of these websites, this music is included as an example of what to expect. This can also give you ideas for your own music and what to ask for.