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Lets talk Aria Mastering?
Old 10th March 2019
  #1
Lives for gear
Lets talk Aria Mastering?

Ok ch'all,

I realize that these instant mastering sites get a lot of debate, criticism, etc...that's not what this thread is for.... I completely realize, as I've used some top Grammy winning mastering engineers, that there is no substitute for the real person, with real ears, taking special care of your music.

However...

I've been watching and reading reviews on some of these sites, and have become quite interested in Aria Mastering. Apparently it is "analog mastering" through some top of the line gear, using a robotic arm that tweaks the analog processors after analyzing your mix...pretty freaking cool if you ask me!

But, cool doesn't mean it sounds good. So, I've decided to try a few samples with my latest EP I just finished mixing. You only get 15 second samples, but I threw 2 songs at Aria, had them sample the songs using a couple different settings, and so far I'm pretty impressed. Specifically the type B setting seems nice...the type C setting crunched the mix up a bit too much for me.

What I like is the fact that it really didn't change too much...I barely notice any difference other than it's louder, and there is a bit of a polish around the track...maybe a bit more depth...the vocal seems to pop a bit more...it's pretty nice. I've spent a lot of time and care with the mixes, so I'm not looking for magic...just something that does a good job getting the level up and adding a bit of polish.

So lets discuss:

Who else is using Aria, or LANDR, or whatever...? Have you had success with it? What kind of music are you mixing and what settings on the Aria site are you typically using???

It would be pretty cool to have a quick reliable way to get good sounding masters for clients and projects that don't have the budget for a top mastering studio...without me having to do it all. That would be my main use of something like this.

My final thoughts are...sometimes I'm sure this can work...sometimes maybe not...but as long as I'm the one using my ears, and having final say on what goes out to the world...what can it hurt? So far...I like what Aria is giving back to me...subtle but sweet. I've heard some sites that change it up way too much...make it really bright and crunchy, etc...but this one seems to do pretty good. Maybe it's because of the analog chain that I'm hearing a subtle polish and depth...??? Anyways...discuss!!!

Last edited by SDB_12; 10th March 2019 at 09:42 PM..
Old 10th March 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Justin P.'s Avatar
 

It’s stereo bus processing but it’s not a full mastering solution in my opinion unless we’re changing the definition of mastering.

More here:
What Automated Online Mastering Services Can’t Do For You
Old 10th March 2019
  #3
Gear Addict
What kind of cabling does LANDR use?
Old 11th March 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
Update...Seems Type B for my EP was a little too pushed...distorted in some spots...didn't do that in the 15 second samples but once I sent the whole song through...it did.

Also, ran a song through twice on the B setting, and got slightly different results. Sonically, both sound good and pretty similar to each other...can't really hear a difference there as far as tonal balance and eq, but one was pushed harder and distorting more than the other in the loud spots...hmmm.

I tried several different settings, and have determined I like the Type A setting. It's the least pushed, retains the sound of the mix...adds a bit of polish, still plenty loud for me.

Another thing I've noticed...it seems that the output level of the final limiter is set to -0.1db. I even took the output knob on the site (advanced settings) and dropped it down to -1...whatever that means...and it still was hitting -0.1db in my DAW after download...so I'm assuming that the output knob on the site is actually dropping the level of the signal "GOING INTO" the chain...as it sounded a bit less compressed...but still hit the same output level...maybe a better explanation of what your "advanced settings" knobs are doing would be great...what does Low Frequency mean??? High Frequency??? And especially...what does "Output" mean?

Regardless...I've spent all day and night listening to the masters from this site...and have decided to use the Type A settings as the final masters for my EP as of now. The mix is how I want it already...so wasn't looking for much or anything to change really...and the mastering didn't really change too much...like I said, just added a bit of polish around the track and made it pop just a bit more. I plan to listen a bunch tomorrow on tons of systems to verify my decision...so I'll report back if I change my mind

Anyone else?? What are your experiences?
Old 11th March 2019
  #5
Most of the regular posters on this board are professional mastering engineers, so a service like Aria is really of no use to us. And, as mentioned above, it does not do everything that a mastering engineer actually does as part of their work.
Old 11th March 2019
  #6
Gear Addict
I listened to a few YouTube auto-masters last night. They sounded ...ok..for a digital master. Seems like you'd have to spend all day setting the parameters (which most people wouldn't know anything about??) to get what one would want. I never heard anything with the "bite" of an analog master. Now, analog auto-mastering is a no-brainer step away from the digital masters and I believe it's already available.

The fact is that people get dumber while technology gets smarter, so auto-master won't be a passing trend. Also, there is absolutely no doubt that the code has been already written by plugin companies that do this same thing. They just don't offer it yet because there is more money in selling the individual pieces.

When the time is right LANDR and the rest will probably just be acquired by a "reputable" plugin/music production software company anyway.
Old 11th March 2019
  #7
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teebaum's Avatar
anyone who has put their heart and soul into a production and wants it to be presented in a decent way do a REAL mastering (not only a clumsy stereo processing).

everyone else doesn't interest me & when i look at my agenda, my customers seem to see it the same way.

that's why we shouldn't waste our time here at the MASTERING-forum with this rubbish.
Old 11th March 2019
  #8
Mastering Moderator
 
Riccardo's Avatar
 

Verified Member
This has been discussed before as a topic as well as with direct reference with the mentioned service providers. Please avoid duplicates.
Thanks.
Old 12th March 2019
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 View Post
Ok ch'all,



I realize that these instant mastering sites get a lot of debate, criticism, etc...that's not what this thread is for.... I completely realize, as I've used some top Grammy winning mastering engineers, that there is no substitute for the real person, with real ears, taking special care of your music.

However...

I've been watching and reading reviews on some of these sites, and have become quite interested in Aria Mastering. Apparently it is "analog mastering" through some top of the line gear, using a robotic arm that tweaks the analog processors after analyzing your mix...pretty freaking cool if you ask me!

But, cool doesn't mean it sounds good. So, I've decided to try a few samples with my latest EP I just finished mixing. You only get 15 second samples, but I threw 2 songs at Aria, had them sample the songs using a couple different settings, and so far I'm pretty impressed. Specifically the type B setting seems nice...the type C setting crunched the mix up a bit too much for me.

What I like is the fact that it really didn't change too much...I barely notice any difference other than it's louder, and there is a bit of a polish around the track...maybe a bit more depth...the vocal seems to pop a bit more...it's pretty nice. I've spent a lot of time and care with the mixes, so I'm not looking for magic...just something that does a good job getting the level up and adding a bit of polish.

So lets discuss:

Who else is using Aria, or LANDR, or whatever...? Have you had success with it? What kind of music are you mixing and what settings on the Aria site are you typically using???

It would be pretty cool to have a quick reliable way to get good sounding masters for clients and projects that don't have the budget for a top mastering studio...without me having to do it all. That would be my main use of something like this.

My final thoughts are...sometimes I'm sure this can work...sometimes maybe not...but as long as I'm the one using my ears, and having final say on what goes out to the world...what can it hurt? So far...I like what Aria is giving back to me...subtle but sweet. I've heard some sites that change it up way too much...make it really bright and crunchy, etc...but this one seems to do pretty good. Maybe it's because of the analog chain that I'm hearing a subtle polish and depth...??? Anyways...discuss!!!
I often wonder if these types of questions are actually being put up by the people who offer AI mastering? I think in the real world it is called shilling. See Urban Dictionary: shill for more info.

FWIW
Old 14th March 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
Hello all,

Ok, I expected this But it's ok. I wasn't at first sure how to respond to all of this...but...here goes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin P. View Post
It’s stereo bus processing but it’s not a full mastering solution in my opinion unless we’re changing the definition of mastering.

More here:
What Automated Online Mastering Services Can’t Do For You
I COMPLETELY agree. I spent the entire day (about 10 hours) sending things through this service on multiple settings and analyzing the results. No replacement for a mastering engineer...added a bit of something cool...also some things I didn't like though. More on that below. Thanks for the article...good read


Quote:
Originally Posted by eternalsound View Post
What kind of cabling does LANDR use?
...funny


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocratic Mastering View Post
Most of the regular posters on this board are professional mastering engineers, so a service like Aria is really of no use to us. And, as mentioned above, it does not do everything that a mastering engineer actually does as part of their work.
Hey...I hear you. But, this is a mastering forum where people who are NOT mastering engineers also come for information, correct? So, I'm simply trying to have a discussion about a service that is out there and available, whether we like it or not. I truly, truly do not mean to offend anyone or take away from what mastering engineers do...you all are amazing...I've used some good ones...and will continue to do so whenever I possibly can.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eternalsound View Post
I listened to a few YouTube auto-masters last night. They sounded ...ok..for a digital master. Seems like you'd have to spend all day setting the parameters (which most people wouldn't know anything about??) to get what one would want. I never heard anything with the "bite" of an analog master. Now, analog auto-mastering is a no-brainer step away from the digital masters and I believe it's already available.

The fact is that people get dumber while technology gets smarter, so auto-master won't be a passing trend. Also, there is absolutely no doubt that the code has been already written by plugin companies that do this same thing. They just don't offer it yet because there is more money in selling the individual pieces.

When the time is right LANDR and the rest will probably just be acquired by a "reputable" plugin/music production software company anyway.
Hmmm...interesting ideas...and yeah I could possibly see that in the future. I like what you said about listening to some files on youtube...sounding..."ok..." I agree. They really do sound "ok!" Well, some I heard sounded terrible...but, some sounded pretty "ok" and even "good." Of all the ones I heard, I liked Aria the best so that's why I tried using them just to see how it sounded. And yes, you're right...I did spend all day playing with the results and ended up tweaking...more detail and all my thoughts are below.


Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post
anyone who has put their heart and soul into a production and wants it to be presented in a decent way do a REAL mastering (not only a clumsy stereo processing).

everyone else doesn't interest me & when i look at my agenda, my customers seem to see it the same way.

that's why we shouldn't waste our time here at the MASTERING-forum with this rubbish.
Ok...you feel a certain way about all of this. And that's cool. But, I would say it more like this. "Anyone who has put their heart and soul into a production and wants it to be presented in a decent way...is going to use their absolute best judgement in combination with all other factors such as budget, time, resources, knowledge, talent and experience to see their project all the way to the end, making sure that every step along the way is an improvement...while signing off on the final master for themselves...feeling confident in THEIR decisions for how it sounds. Phew...that was a long sentence...

Look...I understand that you are probably referring to musicians who maybe don't have much knowledge in mastering...who upload their hard work to a site with zero real knowledge of what is "real mastering." And I DO agree that this can be a big mistake for some...b/c the results may suck and if you don't know better...you may just go with it. But, to say ANYONE who cares about their music is going to have to go with a real mastering engineer...is to me...rubbish. What about the young musician, trying to make a break in the industry, spending every waking hour working on his or her music...learning as much as they can along the way, who simply can't afford a mastering engineer at the end??? They don't care about their music? I don't think so. I get the point you're trying to make...but maybe reword it...b/c it's not all true.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
This has been discussed before as a topic as well as with direct reference with the mentioned service providers. Please avoid duplicates.
Thanks.
Ok...fair enough. I did do a search and found a bunch of threads with the same types of replies...I just wanted to have a new real discussion about this service as I am "trying" it out for the first time, to see what it's like...and wanted to talk about results and things that work, don't work, experiences, etc.. I don't see anything like that on here. It's all just people either bashing it or asking about it...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
I often wonder if these types of questions are actually being put up by the people who offer AI mastering? I think in the real world it is called shilling. See Urban Dictionary: shill for more info.

FWIW
haha...It's funny when I posted this I even thought..."I bet someone calls me an advertiser or I guess (shill) for simply trying to strike up a conversation about a mastering service, on a mastering forum, wanting to hear replies from real mastering engineers...silly me. I think if you take the time to read this whole reply, you will clearly see...I'm not a ...."shill." Oh...and I don't know what "AI mastering is...?"



Guys...I simply want to talk about a services that is real...it's out there whether we like it or not...I just want to discuss it...I'm not trying to offend...step on toes...feed the idea that "real mastering" isn't necessary...etc. I've been recording and mixing for I don't know...18 years or something...I love this stuff and am very passionate about it...and I'm not scared to talk about new technology...be it a fad that will die, or the way of the future.

If interested...here are my thoughts based on my own REAL experiences...again spending about 10 hours playing with this site with 5 songs I recently mixed for an upcoming EP.

The EP is kind of Americana, Rock, Pop

Ok...I first started by uploading 2 songs for a "sample." I randomly picked a 15 second spot to demo on each song. From the sample, I thought it actually sounded pretty decent. Not much of a change...but a bit of a "blossom" and obviously louder.

So...I went ahead and uploaded all 5 songs on this new EP, to see what happened. I started with the Type B setting...which is considered their Standard Mastering. (A is moderate, B Standard, C LOUD, D I think is somewhere inbetween A and B...and I don't know what E is).

When it finished, after about an hour...everything sounded ok...but was a bit too squashed for my EP. There was one song specifically that was distorting in a couple spots toward the end...when it got really loud. All the other songs were ok...but just too squashed for my taste.

So...I thought...I need to throw 15 second samples at this thing with the loudest part of the song playing. So I picked the song that was distorting the worst in the loud parts...and edited a 15 second clip out of it. Sent in for a sample...and when it came back it did not distort...on the exact same setting...hmmmm. So...it seems that each pass is a bit different...but ok...I think if we asked a real mastering engineer to master a song on two separate days...the results would be different right? But...this is definitely a disadvantage when it comes to just a small tweak...it seems that it doesn't save and recall your settings...at least not from a sample to the full song...

Anyway...I sent the songs through several of the types. C was way too crushed...B was too crushed in some spots on certain songs...but I wonder if I'd ran the songs through multiple times if it would have been different...A is the least processed and ultimately the one I decided was the best. D sounded pretty good, but still a bit distorted in spots.

So I liked Type A the best, and ultimately chose that setting to download. I imported into my DAW and found out that it outputs the masters at -0.1dB peaks. True peaks were hitting anywhere from 0.4-1.7db depending on the song. Average LUFS was -10.4 to -10.7 from song to song. So, fairly consistent. Plenty loud for me.

But, WHAT ABOUT THE SOUND!?!!?

Honestly, when comparing side by side and level matched to my mixes...there was not too much difference in the sound overall. It seems it had a bit of a gloss on it, the vocal popped a bit more...and maybe sounded a bit more finished. As I continued to listen on more systems...the vocal sibilance caught my attention of a few songs...it wasn't overly hyped or horrible...but it was certainly "enhanced" compared to my original mixes..and not in a good way for me.

Also, there was one song on the album that I mixed a bit differently...and it sounded a bit darker, less clarity...than the rest of the album. Something a real mastering engineer would have possibly compensated for.

So final conclusion:

After downloading all the tracks and tweaking them each a bit myself...I was able to come up with some good sounding masters that were loud, but not overly smashed, retained the sound of the mix, with a bit of shine and polish. Most of the songs ended up needing some deEssing on my end...and one song needed a bit of stereo widening and eq to match the rest of the tracks a bit better...very slight, but still.

So, my opinion is that if you are an engineer with some knowledge, who has been working on recording and/or mixing an album for weeks, months, years...and simply want a new perspective but maybe the budget isn't there for real mastering...give it a shot and see what it sounds like. Do not expect better automatically, and don't settle on the first thing you get back. Use your ears, decide for yourself whether or not it's better, and stand by your decision either way. I personally went back and forth, and at one point thought I was going to ditch the whole thing and just master it myself...but there was a certain polish or touch that it had that I actually liked...despite some of the things I didn't like. I ended up deciding to go in and touch up the masters from Auria myself to sound the way I wanted...keeping what I liked from their service and correcting anything I didn't like. I then put a limiter on it, not compressing but brought it down to -0.1db and output to -0.1db just to stop any overs from my processing. The average LUFS ended up being about the same after my tweaks, and in my opinion it sounds pretty good now. I can post the link to the EP when it drops on March 26th if interested


I hope someone finds this post helpful. Maybe you are in the same boat as me. I work with people who want me to do it all sometimes, and I can lose perspective by the end. I just did a 13 song album for a songwriter that took a full year of mixing...I also mastered it because he had no budget...so yea....some sort of outside perspective is nice sometimes when I'm the one doing everything. In my opinion, it's another tool for me to use in order to find the best sound for a particular project...sometimes it's going to work great, and others not.

Bottom line...if you or your client can pay a reputable mastering engineer to finish your album....DO IT DO IT DO IT!!! But, if it's not possible...well...give Aria, or LANDR, or whatever a shot...but use your ears and if you are not an engineer...get ones opinion...it's a shot in the dark and you just don't know. I think it heavily depends on the mix for a service like Aria. I'm hoping my mixes were good enough that it didn't need too much processing...which is why they may have come back sounding pretty much the same...aside from the issues I mentioned. Use your ears, use your ears, use your ears!!!! And if you try out one of these services and it sounds better...cool! If not, don't be afraid to pull the plug and move on to something else.

Thanks all!
Old 14th March 2019
  #11
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 View Post
.this is definitely a disadvantage when it comes to just a small tweak...it seems that it doesn't save and recall your settings...at least not from a sample to the full song...
An interesting and rarely discussed aspect.

It's not uncommon for me to get a new mix from a client and they want me to do the EXACT same thing, they just needed to fix something on their end like a missing part or abrupt ending etc.

With my workflow, I feel that I can recall my settings 99.9%.

I wonder if Aria and the others can do this.

I'm not surprised that some especially loud parts of the mix have some distortion. This is one of the many reasons why a human's ear and emotion are an important part of the process.

I bet most clients don't have a good enough monitoring system/ear to catch such distortion until it's too late, if at all.
Old 15th March 2019
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 View Post
What about the young musician, trying to make a break in the industry, spending every waking hour working on his or her music...learning as much as they can along the way, who simply can't afford a mastering engineer at the end???
Good question. Yet reality is hard.

1. Any musician who wants to make it in the industry needs to spend way more on promotion of his/her music. So, if he/she can’t afford rmastering (reasonably priced these days), he/she might not be able to afford to make a profitable existance from his/her music. And it’s even more hard to make it after hours of regular job.

2. If musician can afford to waste time on learning on his/her own mistakes repeated over and over again with no clue, likely he/she can afford mastering as well. Learning from a human is way more effective.

it is really that simple.

Art
Old 15th March 2019
  #13
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 View Post
Who else is using Aria, or LANDR, or whatever...? Have you had success with it? What kind of music are you mixing and what settings on the Aria site are you typically using?
Wrong forum, surely?

It's like addressing the annual conference of the Custom Tailors & Designers Association by asking: 'Who here is wearing an off-the-shelf $49 Walmart suit?'
Old 15th March 2019
  #14
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teebaum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riccardo View Post
This has been discussed before as a topic as well as with direct reference with the mentioned service providers. Please avoid duplicates.
Thanks.


let's stop being a promotion platform here for a "sum processing" that sells under the wrong flag of "mastering"
Old 15th March 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin P. View Post
An interesting and rarely discussed aspect.

It's not uncommon for me to get a new mix from a client and they want me to do the EXACT same thing, they just needed to fix something on their end like a missing part or abrupt ending etc.

With my workflow, I feel that I can recall my settings 99.9%.

I wonder if Aria and the others can do this.

I'm not surprised that some especially loud parts of the mix have some distortion. This is one of the many reasons why a human's ear and emotion are an important part of the process.

I bet most clients don't have a good enough monitoring system/ear to catch such distortion until it's too late, if at all.
I agree, most clients of this service are not going to take the time to really study and make sure that the master is indeed "BETTER!" And the recall thing is big...had I absolutely loved one of the masters, but wanted it just a bit louder...what then? I'd probably get back something different each time...but maybe not? Who knows as it doesn't state it anywhere on the site..although to my ears after sending a mix through the same setting twice...it was a bit different both times..


Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtSta View Post
Good question. Yet reality is hard.

1. Any musician who wants to make it in the industry needs to spend way more on promotion of his/her music. So, if he/she can’t afford rmastering (reasonably priced these days), he/she might not be able to afford to make a profitable existance from his/her music. And it’s even more hard to make it after hours of regular job.

2. If musician can afford to waste time on learning on his/her own mistakes repeated over and over again with no clue, likely he/she can afford mastering as well. Learning from a human is way more effective.

it is really that simple.

Art
Good points Art. You're absolutely right...from what I'm hearing you are saying when you go all in...you should go all in. Today I took my tour van in to be fixed, and it's going to cost me $600 for some repairs...I had to pay it b/c I need the van...if we will pay this much for vehicle services...we should be willing to pay for the music we create that will be out in the world forever. I get it.

I guess it's still considered a luxury...something we don't "need" but more "want." So, people have a hard time spending the money when they can possibly get similar results for less.

6 months ago, my wife and I quit our full time jobs (I worked as a studio broadcast and FOH mix engineer, she in a nice coffee shop as a chef)...sold all our belongings and moved across the country to pursue music full time. Since Sept. of 2018...we've toured full time, I continue to mix freelance, etc. It's wonderful...risky...we've spent soo much money making this dream come true (the van I mentioned earlier...it's our 2nd van we've bought in the past month...long story)...so yes...I agree you should go all in for your dream...I'm doing it. I guess the point I wanted to make is that if someone is working on their music and putting their heart and soul in it...but uses a service like Aria at the end...doesn't mean they don't care. Just that they maybe aren't educated...or are hoping for good things whether or not it happens...that's all. Anyways, thanks for chiming in


Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
Wrong forum, surely?

It's like addressing the annual conference of the Custom Tailors & Designers Association by asking: 'Who here is wearing an off-the-shelf $49 Walmart suit?'
Funny Ok...maybe read the rest of the post...especially my 2nd post...it's more than that here...maybe you don't have time, or don't care to read through it all...and that's fine...but if you did you'd see that this clearly is more than what you think...my findings while some good...also had things I wasn't happy with...I'm just talking about my experiences...I hope that is ok


Quote:
Originally Posted by teebaum View Post


let's stop being a promotion platform here for a "sum processing" that sells under the wrong flag of "mastering"
Actually, you make a good point. I think you are correct...this shouldn't be advertised as mastering. I think if you'll read my 2nd post and throughout this thread, you'll find that it was more of a "step" for me...that I ended up using in the end...after making my own tweaks to their "masters." I took the good things, and corrected or added to what I thought was bad. I ultimately decided that what it did do was cool enough to keep, so long as I could tweak on it to finish. So yeah, maybe it's more of a "mix enhancer" program??? Or..."mix polisher," "new perspective tool..." Ha...something like that. Not really mastering in my opinion...but a tool that can be cool
Old 15th March 2019
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 View Post
I guess it's still considered a luxury...
To whom?
Luxury? How would one call a luxury to spend just a small fraction of all expenses musician in his/her career should spend to grow? Come on.
Similar results? In my opinion they’re not similar. Frequency curve and loudness level are just 2 ingrediens out of many and one never knows which one might impact his/her career. Why lower the chances just at the start for the sake to save few bucks?
You certainly make valid points, yet you are asking the wrong questions , I guess you are actually looking for proofs to your own agenda.
It’s a myth to be a profitable, yet cutting corners artist. Why audience should spend money on artist who does not invest on him/herself and his/her career?

Art
Old 15th March 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtSta View Post
To whom?
Luxury? How would one call a luxury to spend just a small fraction of all expenses musician in his/her career should spend to grow? Come on.
Similar results? In my opinion they’re not similar. Frequency curve and loudness level are just 2 ingrediens out of many and one never knows which one might impact his/her career. Why lower the chances just at the start for the sake to save few bucks?
You certainly make valid points, yet you are asking the wrong questions , I guess you are actually looking for proofs to your own agenda.
It’s a myth to be a profitable, yet cutting corners artist. Why audience should spend money on artist who does not invest on him/herself and his/her career?

Art
Let me clarify Art...I wasn't saying that I personally think it's a luxury easily replaceable...I should have said I think many still think it is...b/c I witness it all the time. 7 times out of 10 when I mix an album for artists funding everything themselves...they tell me to master it so they don't have to spend more for "real mastering." I tell them upfront...I'm not a mastering engineer, recommend they go elsewhere...sometimes they listen...but if not I can do it if absolutely necessary...just like most all other mixers in my position. And I think I've proven through my posts that I don't think they sound similar...again...I meant, I think most people using these services will believe that...I think most engineers, myself included...know better.

I've used 2 grammy winning mastering engineers for my last 2 personal albums...there's a difference...they offer way more. I realize it. But these are real questions many people making music have. I was curious...so I took the time, and spent some money to find out what services like Aria can do...

My responses are meant to be pretty hypothetical...coming from the mindset of a musician, songwriter, young engineer...etc...I'm hoping that my posts are making it clear that I'm on your side...I value what we all do for this industry...and certainly do NOT want computers and automated systems to replace what I'm doing, or you are doing, etc...I'm trying to have a discussion with questions from the real world...everyone is making music now days...in their apartments, mixing themselves, mastering themselves...etc. I'm not against it, but also have lots of concerns about it, just like you.

Thanks for chiming in!
Old 16th March 2019
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Fair enough

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 View Post
I'm trying to have a discussion with questions from the real world...
And these are the wrong questions in my opinion, because they lead nowhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDB_12 View Post
everyone is making music now days...
and many dreaming to be a star, most wanting to make a living from that, with actually shred percent who made it.
And still some do not make proper conclusions from that and still do it all in a wrong way, spend money unjustifiably, trying to save them at wrong spots. For example, they still buy an expensive recording gear without a recording experience, when it’s now easy to hire good recording studio with experienced recording engineer at a very reasonable price, also being a very small part of all the costs to break in.

Simply put, there's currently a very little entry point as to price for all the services in a whole technical chain to record music in order to make it really good and engaging, and focus solely on creativity and then promotion, that's how it works in a pro world.

That said, topic like this one can’t be boiled down to just a bag of technical things that are just a little part of a whole equation. Yet people more or less consciously eject the rest, that is actually much more important (like dealing/working with real people who have connections in the industry, etc.). It’s a big mistake for any career. As well as it’s a myth to become big without any signifficant investment to learn to do things right, technically and commercially, with an emphasis on the latter.

So what's the point on saving few dollars in just few steps of a whole chain? None in my opinion. These are just wrong savings, wrong decisions.

Maybe I am wrong here by assuming that most of the artists want to make reasonable profit from their music, but that’s actually what I am hearing from them.

Thanks for the interesting discussion!

Art
Old 16th March 2019
  #19
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audioforce's Avatar
 

Kind of a crazy-ass topic, imo, already basically beat into the ground, no?



warmly,


audioforce
Old 16th March 2019
  #20
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lowland's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Probably not a popular reply amongst professional mastering engineers (I'm one as well if you don't know me), but I'm convinced that a greater or lesser degree of reliable automation will at least become available in the future.

What the take up of such availability would be, and how much or little overall control by a human would remain is too early to tell, but LANDR and its ilk are just the very beginning of the technology, and have a way to go. I would like to think that ultimately it could be used as a powerful aid for the mastering engineer.

If it's any comfort: while (obviously) there's far more at stake, the debate reminds me of my Dad's work from the 40s to the 60s helping to develop blind landing systems for aircraft - a consequence of it has been that commercial flights have been capable of functioning very well without a pilot for decades, yet there are still humans up front.
Old 16th March 2019
  #21
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowland View Post

If it's any comfort: while (obviously) there's far more at stake, the debate reminds me of my Dad's work from the 40s to the 60s helping to develop blind landing systems for aircraft - a consequence of it has been that commercial flights have been capable of functioning very well without a pilot for decades, yet there are still humans up front.
But today most pilots only manually control their planes when they are taking off or landing. Most times the planes are on automatic pilot. And from what we are seeing on the news lately all the "automatics" currently on planes may get the plane into trouble which the pilots are not able to recover from. I am personally against AI mastering in any form due to taking the human element out of the picture. Now if the AI guys could take the brains of the best mastering engineers in the world an put that algorithm into their software they might have something.

FWIW
Old 16th March 2019
  #22
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Now if the AI guys could take the brains of the best mastering engineers in the world an put that algorithm into their software they might have something.

FWIW
I believe good MEs have been staffed for the creation of these things. Anyway, no matter because the software still couldn't tell human preference or psychological matters related to mastering. For example, when it needed a little more space or when it might need a little reverb.

Overall I'd say auto-mastering is great for anything but "major" album releases. If I didn't master my own stuff I'd probably use it too.
Old 19th March 2019
  #23
Gear Guru
Honestly I think mastering is a huge bargain. I've had a lot done with very little and having another viewpoint and a world of experience in another pair of hands is truly worth it. "Real" mastering may be a lot less than you think and if you're not on a deadline, that helps a lot in getting a great rate. I can think of five guys I'd reach out to on here in a heartbeat if I didn't have someone who's given me amazing results.

It amazes me that people will go get cool tattoos and buy cool gear, but basically think someone giving their music polish and sophistication, is "expensive".....
Old 20th March 2019
  #24
Gear Addict
Understand that most artists don't even know about this board and furthermore, the ME members here. This is all coming from a 'bubbled' perspective here at GS. For most their thinking ...upload ...download ..and the first link the comes up on Google. For most also I would suspect it's just another process for their music that is not so 'profound' and indebted to a physical GS ME. Just saying.
Old 20th March 2019
  #25
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da goose's Avatar
To me these kind of discussions always feel like people talking about going to a restaurant for diner and people hop in like, 'yeah, I went to the mc donalds last week, you should really check those new hambugers they have!''. Nothing wrong with mc donalds (OK.. that's not true.. a lot actually, different discussion ) but if I go there, it's for a a quick snack because I don't have the time to go to a real restaurant or I want something fat and unhealthy.

Home cooking (DIY mastering) feels the same to me, I love cooking myself and the result is great sometimes and sometimes it's not. I can make the same dish pretty good actually because all the ingredients are the same all the time and I made it a lot times. (you should really check out my pasta with meatballs!) If I use some kind of new recipe (pretty much all of those youtube tutorials on mastering) this always turns out differently because I use a different temperature for the oven, I undercook the veggies or my ingredients are different or whatever. A real chef in a good restaurant knows what he's doing and he gets the same result all the time and knows what to do with certain ingredients even if they are new to him (maybe some f*ck up once in a while, but he fixes it) It's his job, he does that thing day in day out for years. Experience, the right kitchen and ingredients.

I'm a chef (mastering-engineer) myself and i'm not afraid of the mc donalds, homecooks or microwave meals.
So maybe stop promoting mc donalds or homecooking in a forum for chefs?
Old 20th March 2019
  #26
My 2 cents, after I’ve put so much money on the foundation and the interior why would I skim on the exterior... I’ve tested the site w a song and I actually hated it. Distorted like crazy and the mastering is so audible, it was like a totally diff mix! My music is my baby and I won’t trust it with an online mastering site w an automated setting.. but hey i guess ppl just prefer paying cheaper than having quality. I tried this and landr and was really not impressed (and I wasn’t biased on my opinion). I can’t understand how ppl don’t notice how bad it sounds.
Old 21st March 2019
  #27
Lives for gear
I am not a mastering engineer by any stretch of the imagination. I am good however at tracking and mixing.

I gave Aria a one month trial and threw a bunch of well mixed tracks at it. I like their idea, but I had to run each track through different options and even then I was not entirely happy with the results. I compared them with my mixes run through the Ozone 8 'Master Assistant' feature and preferred the Ozone 8 results. On at least one song, Aria did a better job. Overall, Aria seems to be hit or miss (mostly miss).

Now if they were ever able to create a system which enabled people to remote into their hardware and remotely turn knobs and listen to playback in realtime (sure there will be some latency), THAT would be a game changer! OMG, imagine that! Then again, you would be at the mercy of your monitoring system and room, but still, that would be pretty amazing. I would pay for that service. It would also be a good service for Mastering engineers who already have a great room and monitors, but perhaps not all the hardware they would like.

Anyway... If a person does not want to spend a lot of money on mastering plugins and/or take the time to learn them, I think Aria is a viable option for inexpensive mastering. A person needs to realize however, that you are getting what you pay for. Your final mastered mixes may or may not sound better, and they will certainly not be "Pro" quality. That was my experience anyway.
Old 21st March 2019
  #28
Gear Addict
I believe there is already auto-analog-mastering. I don't remember who does it though. In any case, with digital controlled analog gear it's simply a matter of using the interface API via Java or another language of "their" preference to control it via the web. I can just see the racks and racks of analog gear to fulfil this. There would most likely be wait times on this technology unless mastering demand is dimmer than expected. You would still have the same "unmanned" repercussions with the masters though; however it would be analog at least.
Old 22nd March 2019
  #29
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 

Verified Member
The more these topics use the names of the AI online mastering companies the more you drive people to their websites . I guess that maybe what the OP wanted to do. This is about the fourth or fifth time someone has started a topic on AI mastering on GS. If you want to save money and rely on some algorithm to do your mastering then by all means use the online AI sites . MTCW
Old 23rd March 2019
  #30
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Silvertone's Avatar
I know this is Gearslutz but seriously when has real mastering ever been about the gear?

It’s about the ears, that is where the talent lies... always has, always will.

Will A1 be able to challenge that... you bet, in the future. In the next couple decades AI will exceed our human comprehension so it stands to reason it can learn and figure out what to do given a set of parameters to work within... just like we do now.
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