One of the perks of running my website and having a pretty big newsletter and platform, is that from time to time I get free access to different industry tools and resources.
The last few months I’ve been putting together a course all about using AI as a musician. During that process, I’ve had the opportunity to check out a lot of different AI tools on the market for musicians. I’ll be discussing a lot of them in my soon to be released video course and website all about how to use AI to make more money as a musician, which I’ll be releasing January 15.
But today I have a fun post about an AI driven tool for musicians that is pretty amazing. A few weeks ago, Landr, a company that offers AI driven mastering online, contacted me and offered me free access to their site and tools, if I would consider promoting their service.
Now, if you’ve been on my email list for any length of time, you’ll know that I rarely promote other products and services. It’s just not what I do. But I had a chance to sit down yesterday and actually play around with Landr’s mastering tool, and I’m pretty blown away.
Now, one caveat, which I want to preface upfront, is that I am not a music producer per se. Yes, I record music and I have a home studio which I use to write and lay down many of the tracks for the songs that I create, which I’ve been doing for many years. But I’ve never really considered production to be my forte and I typically outsource a lot of the production and mastering for the tracks that I license to other producers.
I realize there is some controversy when it comes to tools like Landr, and I have no doubt there are mastering engineers out there that can outperform what the Landr tool does. It goes without saying, that in music production, like anything else in life, you get what you pay for.
But, with that said, I have ears and I know what sounds good to me, in terms of production and mastering, and for the price, what Landr does is pretty mind blowing! Not all musicians have the budget to hire a professional producer and mastering engineer for every track they produce. A lot of times, probably even the majority of times for indie artists, it’s simply not feasible. Landr seems like a great alternative for these situations.
I’m going to share with you a few of my own tracks that I mastered yesterday. All I did, for all three tracks below, is simply upload my tracks to Landr and in about two to three minutes each track was fully mastered, with several different options in terms of volume and mastering style.
The first track I’m going to show you is a demo for a track that I wrote the day before yesterday. Now, I want to stress that this is a really rough demo, and a far from finished track. But I’m showing you this one first so you can really hear the difference with a track that sounded pretty rough to start with.
This will also give you a little insight into my writing and recording process. What I will typically do when I’m writing a song, especially if I’m really feeling it, is just start making a demo right away. The first demo is usually pretty rough, as I’m just trying to get my idea down and I’m not really concerned about performance or nailing the takes and so on. In this initial stage, I’m just fleshing the track out. Sometimes, during this stage, I’ll even record with fans on and noise in the background. I’m just getting my ideas down with no concern for sonic quality.
Then, when the song is finished, I’ll go back and re-record each track from the initial session, paying more attention to performance, the quality of the recording, noise issues, timing and so forth.
Then, depending on the track, I might simply send the stems to one of several producers I work with and have them finish the track from there. Or, I might have one of a few different collaborators add parts to the track, or in some cases I’ll have a different vocalist re-record my vocals, if it’s not quite the right fit for my vocal range. Every track is different and it’s ultimately about serving the song.
This particular song was just me laying my ideas down. I started the process of cleaning up the tracks and the timing on some of the guitar takes, but again, it’s rough and raw, even though the arrangement and vision for the song is pretty much finished.
Here’s my unmastered demo (mp3 version):
Now, check out the mastered version that Landr created (mp3 version). I want to stress, I didn’t do anything else to the track but master it using Landr, which again, took about two minutes to process.
Now, again, I’m not an expert on mastering, but that sounds night and day to me. The individual parts are much easier to discern. It’s not just louder, but it’s also brighter. The drums are crisp. I can actually hear what I’m getting at with the song and can better imagine what the finished version will sound like. And again, this was just a demo, but it’s a pretty remarkable difference to my ears.
By the way, this particular track is one I’ll likely find a different vocalist to sing. If you’re a vocalist and would like to take a stab at the vocals, comment below!
Next, let's check out a track that was a little more fully produced, but still not finished. This is a track I recorded last year called "And The World Just Turns". This is a track that I started working on but never finished. Sometimes this will happen. I'll start a track and for whatever reason something about it doesn't quite sit right with me and so I don't take the time to completely finish it. It takes considerable time and energy to complete a track so if I'm not completely feeling it, I will sometimes move onto other tracks that I'm more inspired by.
Anyway, let's hear the before and after.
Here's the original version (mp3):
Here's the Landr Mastered Version (mp3).
Again, it's a pretty huge difference. The mastered version is much clearer and brighter.
Ok, finally, let's do one more. This track is called "Light Ahead" that I did a few years ago with my friend MJ, in his home studio. We already did some mastering to this track, but I wanted to try this one to see how much of a difference Landr would make.
Here's our version (mp3):
Here's Landr's mastered version (mp3):
Now, one caveat about the last two tracks. These tracks were both tracks that I had on my Youtube channel, but didn't have quick access to the masters. So what I did was I downloaded the mp4 from Youtube, converted that to mp3, and then mastered the converted mp3.
There was obviously some degradation in quality in going from mp4 and then back to mp3, but what you are hearing is the mastered mp3 version of the mp3 I uploaded To Landr, which in a way makes what Landr does that much more impressive. Landr does a remarkable job both in boosting the volume and cleaning up the EQ of the low quality mp3s I uploaded.
Again, I'm not a producer, but I have ears, and in my opinion Landr is an amazing mastering tool for the money.
Learn more about Landr and get 20% off the regular price here.
For more information on my upcoming course, "The Complete Musician's Guide To Making Money With AI", go here.