Mastering is the final and the most crucial phase of the post-production. Since all future recording copies will be based on the master, it will determine the mix's sound and how it sounds across different systems and media formats. Audio mastering is a field that needs deep expertise to optimize the mix. However, many robust new cloud-based services and plug-ins use AI to polish mixes to professional standards in minutes. In this article, we will get into everything you should know about AI mastering.
What is AI Mastering?
AI mastering refers to automated mastering processes powered by artificial intelligence algorithms. It combines technologies like machine learning, digital signal processing (DSP), psychoacoustics, and more to analyze the audio input and make appropriate tonal, loudness, stereo imaging, and corrective adjustments during mastering without human guidance.
Over the years, companies have amassed datasets of thousands of tracks mastered by award-winning engineers. By studying these professional masters and developing deep learning models, AI can map the relationships between mix characteristics and ideal mastering parameter adjustments. Applying an AI mastering solution to your mix measures your track’s dynamics, frequencies, and stereo width. It then automatically determines and applies the processing needed to achieve desired auditory and sonic qualities, emulating human mastering judgment.
AI mastering provides faster turnaround times and more consistent sound. If you are a novice and learning the ropes of mastering, it can save you costs compared to hiring mixing and mastering engineers.
Is AI Mastering Good?
Yes, AI mastering is good, but it comes with some limitations. Modern AI tools provide a cost-effective alternative to hiring mastering engineers. Although they still need to improve in replacing human expertise, their quick learning and analyzing capabilities make them an excellent option. AI mastering has come a long way due to rapid advancement in technology.
AI mastering tools can automate many tasks that would otherwise take hours. They utilize machine learning to study thousands of professional mixes of various genres to understand what constitutes a well-mastered track. The AI will then analyze your mix and apply processing based on the track’s audio. These versatile tools can provide multiple mastering on the same track, providing you with the flexibility to choose one that sounds the best to you.
Best Tools For AI Mastering
Many AI mastering tools are available these days to help you master your tracks quickly and conveniently. We have listed some of the most popular ones below.
Izotope Ozone 11
Ozone 11 by iZotope Audio includes several new AI-powered modules to help producers achieve professional-quality masters. A key new feature is Clarity, which uses machine learning to adaptively maximize the spectral power of tracks to make them sound louder and more polished without penalties. Stem Focus allows the application of any Ozone module to an isolated stem within a mixed track to precisely control the internal balance of a mixed file.
The transient/sustain section enhances the components separately. The assistive vocal balance feature helps place vocals perfectly in the mix based on an analysis of hundreds of hit songs.
The Master Assistant has also been updated with the latest targets for tonal balance, width, and impact from current hits to optimize masters. This version has many usability upgrades, like new UIs, delta buttons to hear processing changes, and enhanced metering to speed up workflows. With versatile processing and intelligent assistance for every stage, Ozone 11 provides everything novice and professional producers need.
When you upload your mix to LANDR, the AI scans and analyzes the audio, detecting properties like punch, width, resonance, and dynamic range. It compares these attributes to its database and renders a master tailored to your mix. It can optimize EQ, manipulate compression to bring low-level elements, increase stereo enhancement, and limit noise to achieve loudness and clarity.
It can create sound in three distinct mastering styles, warm, balanced, and bold, to match the vibe of your track. You also have control over the Loudness with the help of the LUFS meter. LANDR Mastering Plugin helps you achieve pro-level mastering right from your preferred DAW.
It allows real-time mastering processing to hear results while you mix and revise tracks instantly. It analyzes your audio and refines the sound. This versatile plugin has a suite of controls, including EQ, stereo width, compression, and saturation, to help you with mastering. It works in both macOS and Windows systems.
eMastered is another AI cloud mastering service that delivers professional polish to your track. It has a machine-learning model created by an in-house engineering team of Grammy award winners.
Its algorithm analyzes your mix's frequency response, loudness, punchiness, and width to determine the needed adjustments. It applies corrective EQ, multiband compression, stereo enhancement, etc, to your mix.
A standout benefit eMastered provides is built-in reference matching capabilities powered by their AI. When mastering your song, you can provide an audio reference track, which eMastered analyzes to find your desired tonality. It will match the tonal balance and vibe of your reference recording while retaining your mix’s core identity. The AI learns with each master and adapts to your style. It makes achieving your preferred sound much more effortless.
Amuse offers its innovative mastering service through its online platform. You can simply drag and drop your unmixed track, and the AI will master the track for you. It also offers many benefits to budding artists to help release their music.
The algorithm leverages machine learning to add processes to create a polished and streaming-ready master. It uses AI to enhance EQ, optimize speakers, stereo imaging, compression, saturation level, and loudness according to your mix.
Aria is an automated analog mastering service developed by mastering engineer Colin Leonard to provide fast, high-quality masters without compromising sound quality. It utilizes the same high-end analog gear and techniques top mastering facilities use worldwide.
Through a proprietary automated system built from scratch, Aria can utilize these analog signal chains to master tracks in real-time. You must upload the mix, choose settings, enter the project information, and checkout.
Aria's robotic arm makes precision adjustments to emulate an experienced engineer's process. The quick turnaround and fully automated nature make Aria accessible for independent artists or mixing engineers wanting polished masters. More than just equipment, Aria combines the expertise of a team that has worked on countless records while mastering.
When used properly, these AI mastering tools will help you achieve great masters at a fraction of the cost. It will also save you valuable time and let you focus on creating great tracks without distractions. By letting AI do all the heavy lifting, you can focus on fine-tuning your sound for great-sounding records.