Artificial intelligence and machine learning are transforming many aspects of music production, including mastering. AI-powered mastering tools can automatically process tracks to achieve professional sound quality and loudness levels. This guide explores the top AI mastering software available today for polishing mixes.
What is AI Mastering?
AI mastering utilizes machine learning algorithms to apply processing like equalization, compression, limiting, and more to mixes and tracks. The software “listens” to analyze the audio, then makes intelligent mastering decisions to optimize quality.
Key benefits over manual mastering include:
- Speed – AI can master tracks in minutes with no human time required.
- Affordability – Lower cost than hiring professional mastering engineers.
- Ease of use – No advanced audio engineering expertise needed.
- Consistency – AI delivers polished masters time after time.
AI solutions can be ideal for amateur producers and home studios. However, some musicians still prefer human mastering engineers for a personalized touch.
Top 8 AI Mastering Software & Tools
LANDR is one of the most popular online AI mastering platforms. Users simply upload audio, select a preset mastering chain, and LANDR’s algorithms handle the processing.
- Intuitive drag and drop interface
- Preset mastering chains for different genres
- A/B comparison of unmastered and mastered audio
- Real-time rendering in the cloud
- Distribution to streaming platforms
- Collaborative tools for feedback
- Free trial available
LANDR is easy to use for beginners but also allows advanced customization for experienced users. It can master tracks as well as full albums. Integration with music distribution makes LANDR a streamlined option for finished masters ready for release.
CloudBounce provides AI-powered online mastering with a simple web interface. Upload your mix and choose a preset matching your genre. Adjust intensity of the processing if desired.
- Super fast mastering times
- One-click genre presets
- Ability to toggle specific mastering tools on/off
- Real-time waveform preview
- Pay per master – no subscriptions
- High resolution audio output up to 24 bit / 192 kHz
CloudBounce masters individual tracks for a low per track fee. The ability to easily toggle specific mastering modules makes it flexible for fine tuning results.
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3. iZotope Ozone
iZotope Ozone is a premium mastering plugin with AI-powered presets and intelligent processing. The Assistant feature analyzes your track and suggests processing chains tailored to the audio.
- AI Assistant for intelligent mastering
- Customizable mastering modules
- Time-saving presets for various genres
- Visual feedback for gain staging
- Ability to match reference tracks
- High quality 64-bit audio processing
- Compatible with all major DAWs
As a plugin, Ozone runs locally within your DAW for offline mastering rather than cloud-based online processing. The AI Assistant makes it easy for beginners while still providing abundant flexibility for professionals.
4. Bandlab Mastering
Bandlab Mastering is integrated into Bandlab’s free online DAW for simple AI-assisted mastering. Upload a mix to Bandlab then use the Mastering tool to improve audio intelligently.
- Streamlined online mastering workflow
- Genre-based AI mastering presets
- A/B comparison with original mix
- Ability to tweak parameters like loudness
- Real-time cloud rendering
- Completely free to use with unlimited masters
- Native integration with BandLab DAW
Bandlab Mastering makes polishing mixes easy, approachable, and affordable – all within Bandlab’s online music production platform. Helpful for social music creators.
eMastered is an online AI mastering service with customization options for both presets and audio processing modules. Upload your mix and choose a preset, then tweak modules like EQ, compression, and limiting as needed.
- Detailed control over mastering signal chain
- Customizable presets
- Ability to AB compare revisions
- Intelligent assistance for gain staging
- Real-time waveform preview
- High resolution audio output up to 32 bit / 192 kHz
- Per track pricing model
With abundant options for tailoring the mastering chain, eMastered sits between automatic one-click AI mastering and manual human mastering. Provides a balance of algorithmic and human touch.
6. Aria Mastering
Aria Mastering utilizes a unique approach that combines AI processing with human mastering engineers. Users submit mixes then Aria’s algorithms generate multiple mastering options. The engineer chooses the best version to provide to clients.
- Hybrid AI algorithms with human oversight
- Dedicated engineer assigned to each project
- Engineers can further tweak processing
- Feedback on why mastering choices were made
- More affordable than fully manual mastering
- High resolution audio up to 24 bit / 192 kHz
The human element in Aria’s process allows for greater quality control and personalization than fully automated services. Provides cost savings over pure human mastering.
7. Sonible smart:master
smart:master by Sonible is an AI-powered plugin for mastering directly in your DAW. It intelligently applies processing based on analysis of your mix. Tweak the amount of compression, clarity, punch and other parameters.
- Mastering integrated into your DAW
- Processing modules include width, clarity and punch
- Ability to adjust intensity of mastering
- A/B comparison with unmastered signal
- Visual quality control with LUFS meter
- Natural, musical-sounding results
- 7 day free trial available
With its smooth, natural sound and simple control parameters, smart:master makes AI-assisted mastering accessible within your existing workflow.
Maastr.io offers an automatic AI mastering web app with genre-specific presets and complementary plugins. Upload your mix and process it in the cloud, then install plugins for further tweaking during mixing.
- One-click genre-based mastering presets
- Optional plugins for mixing and loudness
- Cloud-based online processing
- Automatic gain staging
- Ability to tweak intensity and EQ
- Per track pricing model
- 7 day free trial
Maastr.io focuses on speed and ease of use. The optional plugins help optimize your mix for mastering while integrating with the online app for a streamlined workflow.
Should You Use AI Mastering?
AI-powered mastering tools make polished, professional-sounding masters far more accessible and affordable than manual mastering. However, there are a few factors to consider when deciding if AI is right for your needs:
Music genre – AI masters well for contemporary, commercial genres. Acoustic, intricate music can pose challenges.
Release plans – If releasing professionally, a human mastering engineer may provide the personalized attention needed for the best quality final product.
Mix quality – AI can struggle with poorly balanced, messy mixes. Quality mixing is key to get the most out of AI mastering.
Ears over eyes – Trust your ears over waveform visuals when judging AI masters. Results may look different but sound better.
Try before you buy – Experiment with demos and free trials before committing to a service or software.
AI Mastering vs. Human Mastering
AI mastering provides benefits like speed, cost savings, and accessibility over human mastering. But human engineers still have advantages in areas like:
- Subtle audio judgments – Humans excel at nuanced tweaks across frequencies.
- Creativity – Engineers make impactful sonic choices relying on taste and artistry.
- Tonal balance – Human ears assess and adjust tonal balance holistically.
- Musical understanding – Engineers mix technical and musical perspectives.
- Customization – Engineers adapt to each client’s unique needs and goals.
- Analog touch – Some engineers incorporate analog gear for natural sound.
- Quality control – Engineers rigorously critique issues and fix problems.
The ideal solution depends on your budget, goals, and mix quality. AI and human mastering can also be combined, with engineers perfecting an AI pre-master. For non-professional use cases, AI mastering provides tremendous value and convenience. But top-tier releases may still benefit most from human mastering artistry.
Tips for Best AI Mastering Results
To get the most out of AI-powered mastering:
- Strive for a high quality, well-balanced mix. Fix mix problems first, don't rely on mastering to “fix it in the mix.”
- Use reference tracks in the same genre for gain staging and tonal balance comparison. Level match precisely.
- Try multiple genre presets on your track and tweak intensity sliders. See which one sounds most pleasing to your ears.
- Solo instruments and listen critically to check for issues like masking, imbalance, or harshness introduced by AI processing.
- Don't obsess over waveform images or loudness numbers, trust your ears when judging the final master.
- Use AI mastering services with high resolution output capability for full fidelity.
- For important projects, consider having a professional mastering engineer review and tweak the AI pre-master.
What’s the cost of AI mastering services?
Costs range from free (Bandlab) up to around $30 per master from advanced services like eMastered. Many offer pay per track pricing. LANDR and DistroKid have annual subscription plans that lower the per track cost with high volume.
How fast does AI mastering work?
AI mastering is extremely fast, processing tracks within minutes in most cases and often delivering immediate online results. Some services render faster than others.
What file formats does AI mastering support?
The most commonly supported formats are WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and high-quality MP3. Some services accept additional formats like OGG, M4A, and more.
What sample rate and bit depth is best?
For full fidelity, use a sample rate of at least 44.1 kHz and a bit depth of at least 16-bit. Many services support high resolution formats up to 24-bit/192 kHz for even better quality.
Can the AI be adjusted or customized?
Yes, most services offer some way to select genre presets and tweak the intensity or strength of the processing. Advanced services allow further parameter adjustments.
How is AI mastering different from human mastering?
AI is fast, affordable and accessible but lacks the subtlety, customization and finesse of human engineers. Many use AI as a starting point before having a human refine the master.
Should I have my music mastered by AI or a human?
For professional, critically important releases, human mastering is still advisable. But for demos, personal recordings, and non-commercial use, AI provides enormous value. Try both and see which meets your needs.
AI-powered solutions like LANDR, Ozone, and CloudBounce make mastering your music far more accessible than ever before. Intelligent algorithms can polish mixes and prepare tracks for distribution with the click of a button. While human mastering still has advantages for top-tier production, AI is ideal for home studio producers looking to save time and money without sacrificing too much quality. Try multiple services and see which workflow best fits your needs as an independent musician.