LANDR Promises Drag & Drop Mastering

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Montreal based music software company, MixGenius, claim to have created a one-stop, drag-and-drop mastering solution. The software is called LANDR, and you can check it out here. This is certainly an intriguing idea, and is a mastering solution that we imagine there will be a ready market for. The project is still in its infancy, but has already won fans in certain areas, picking up the ‘Technovation’ award at Canadian Music Week a couple of weeks ago.

There are three pricing options available; all of which are significantly cheaper than using one of those old fashioned humans to do your mastering! You can try out the service for free by signing up for an ‘Amateur’ account. This will allow you unlimited mastering of 192kbps mp3s through the service. If you upgrade to a ‘Pro’ account at $9/month, you are entitled to four uncompressed masters per month in addition to the unlimited mp3 mastering. Finally, a ‘Pro Unlimited’ account entitles you to unlimited uncompressed mastering for the sum of $19/month.

The key question here of course, is whether this type of service can compete with getting your tracks mastered professionally in terms of both audio quality and musicality.

MixGenius claim that they “incubated and refined algorithms developed over eight years of university research” to create LANDR. The idea is that their team, composed of music industry veterans – award winning mixing engineers, top-level DSP programmers, musicians, producers and label owners – know exactly what is required of a master, and they have worked hard on providing that through this software. The software is obviously automated, but MixGenius are keen to stress that although it “employs artificial intelligence, [LANDR] is guided by profoundly human thought.”

They go on to say that their system is “built around an adaptive engine that ‘listens’ and reacts to music, using micro-genre detection to make subtle frame-by-frame adjustments selectively using tools like multi-band compression, EQ, stereo enhancement, limiting and aural excitation based on the unique properties of the song. Basically, the more we throw at LANDR, the better it gets.” It definitely sounds as though the thinking behind this is solid – they are not just following a ‘louder is better’ philosophy, and it sounds as though thought has gone into making the final masters musically satisfactory.

The masters created through LANDR actually do sound pretty good, but they are not really able to compete with a professional mastering service just yet. Although the algorithms are undoubtedly impressive, they are not yet at a level where they can make solid creative decisions based on genre and style that a mastering engineer would be able to, and to be fair, MIxGenius pretty much admit as much on their website. Despite this, the service could prove very useful to many producers out there.