If you would have asked me 5 years ago about using an online mastering service, I would have told you to dig deep into your pocket to pay for a real engineer instead. At the time, the results were okay, but not in the same ballpark. Today the services have improved greatly thanks to the many years of training that these Ai-driven processes have had. The oldest, and most thoroughly trained by virtue of the 5 million tracks the platform has serviced, is LANDR, and the company has taken the next step by offering its service as a mastering plugin that now works in any DAW.
LANDR online mastering is pretty simple and allows you to select different characteristics of the mastered sound, but the mastering plugin proves much more control. There’s a three-band Equalizer, a Stereo Field control, and a Dynamics section that lets you control the amount, character and saturation of the compression.
A Presence control lifts the 4k-6k frequency are that will move the vocal forward in the mix if needed, and a De-Esser lets you zero in on resonant peaks that are jumping out of the mix in an unnatural way. A large Loudness Amount control adjusts the overall level of the track, while a LUFS meter allows you to adjust the overall output to the level of your choice.
Just like with the online service, all you need to do is play about 8 seconds of the loudest portion of the song and the LANDR Ai will design a custom sound chain. And just like online, you can select from Warm, Balanced, and Open general frequency curves. Warm emphasizes the lower mids, while Open emphasizes the upper frequencies.
There’s a display that shows you not only the frequency response, but the difference in level between input and the master. If you want to hear the differences in EQ and compression but not be fooled by the increased level of the mastered track, just hit Gain Match for a quick comparison.
The plugin also has a not-so-obvious input gain control at the top with an indicator to tell you if the level is correct or not. White means the level is too low, red means too hot, green means on the money, and orange means be careful.
The LANDR mastering plugin is now available at a 25% discount for $224. It’s also part of the LANDR Pro subscription package. Click here to learn more, or watch the video below.