In this BandLab master review, you'll learn:
- What is online mastering
- What makes BandLab's online mastering unique
- Additional services offered by BandLab
- Hear 2 real demos of BandLab online mastering
- BandLab pricing and whether BandLab is worth it
- What alternatives to BandLab are available
- What people are saying about BandLab
- Closing thoughts of this review of BandLab
As always, please feel free to share any questions or concerns about this BandLab review in the comments below. If you've used BandLab before, I'd especially be interested in hearing your reviews and evaluations.
Note: some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning that I receive a commission if you purchase through them.
What is Online Mastering?
Simply put, the primary purpose of mastering is to transfer the final mix of a master track to a storage device from which all copies of the track will be produced and distributed for commercial use.
The ideal outcome of mastering is to optimize the playback experience across all media formats (Spotify, CD, TV, etc.). Mastering is the final step in the music production process – much like the final coat of paint is for a bedroom wall. Adequate mastering requires sharp listening skills and is achieved through methods such as equalization and compression.
Historically, the skill of mastering was limited to professional sound engineers who had access to robust equipment and a versatile listening environment. Nowadays, an abundance of incredible tools on the market gives artists with little to no experience the ability to adequately master tracks from the comfort of their own home. In fact, the tools we will explore in this article live completely online so you can access them in a ‘drive-thru’ fashion for little to no cost.
Online mastering has proliferated over the past few years, and relies heavily on AI. Essentially, they've trained an algorithm by making it listen lots and lots of really good sounding, well-mastered recordings. Then they've taught it how to transform what you upload into something that reflects the qualities of the best masters out there.
Given how subjective art is, nothing can really compare to the results of a professional mastering engineer, but, as you'll hear later on in this eMastered review, the results from AI mastering are surprisingly usable!
What Makes BandLab's Online Mastering Service Unique?
Well, for starters, the BandLab is completely FREE.
Yes, that’s right.
Mastering on the BandLab website is forever free for an unlimited number of master tracks. This allows you to gain access to the algorithmically designed mastering tool used by 25 million musicians completely risk free. To boot, BandLab will not take any named-credits on your production notes.
BandLab emulated classic mastering processors to offer an industry leading audio signal-chain, reel-to-reel tape emulator, mastering limiter and multi-band compressor. In addition, the BandLab team analyzed the highest quality master tracks in the world in painstaking detail in order to create their three unique setting modes which can be used for master tracks in all genres. Those three settings are: CD quality, bass boost and enhance clarity.
CD quality is a filter that can be applied to your track which boosts the overall volume and polishes all of the details and ‘loose ends’. It is a perfect layer to throw on top of any of your finished master tracks to give it added quality and brightness. The bass boost feature will be your go to for any heavy master tracks in genres such as rap, EDM and heavy rock. Enhance clarity adds brightness to each layer of your track to make them pop and stand on their own.
The best part of BandLab’s mastering software is that it is stupidly simple to use. Simply drag and drop your master tracks into the main homepage and instantly preview what your master will sound like with these various filters. After tweaking and editing, simply download the high quality MP3 or WAV track and you’re done.
BandLab – additional services they offer
In addition to the mastering tool, BandLab has a free library of loops and samples to choose from for your master track. With 10,000+ samples of royalty-free online mastering sounds, you will have no problem finding the exact loop your track needs. New loops are added weekly and the library is extremely easy to navigate with categories like retro, intense, percussion and many more.
One of the most valuable aspects of BandLab is its community. BandLab is widely adopted by musicians around the world. Being part of the network means you have access to these artists for collaboration purposes. You can also publish songs to the BandLab community which has over 25 million users so you essentially have a ‘built-in’ fan base.
Lastly, Cakewalk by BandLab is the company’s flagship service. Cakewalk is a DAW which is completely free and allows you to compose, record, edit, mix and master tracks all in one package. It even has a mobile app available on iPhone and Android.
BandLab – Pricing
Free online audio mastering for everyone! 'Nuff said.
Real Examples of BandLab Mastering
For the purposes of this BandLab mastering review, I've gone ahead and run two of my songs through BandLab so that you can hear demos of how well BandLab mastering did. I've also included a version of the songs that I've mastered myself, using offline software. I'm not a pro at mastering, but I've got enough experience to do ok. I'll let you be the judge of whether you think I did better than BandLab mastering.
The first BandLab demo track is a hip hop beat:
The second BandLab demo track is a rock song:
I think the results from BandLab, sound good, but not great. Still, if you don't want to hire a mastering engineer or take the time and expense of learning how to master, I think BandLab offers a pretty decent choice.
BandLab Mastering Alternatives
Of course, BandLab mastering isn't the only option for mastering, let alone the only option for online mastering. When it comes to online mastering, BandLab's two big competitors are eMastered and LANDR.
You can find my eMastered mastering review here.
You can find my LANDR review here.
Additionally, as I mentioned above, you can purchase some good mastering software and learn how to use it. Then learn how to put together a mastering signal chain. This will cost more money in the short-run, and take awhile to start getting good results, but over the long-term, you'll probably end up saving money and get better results.
Finally, you can hire a real, honest to goodness mastering engineer to take your tracks to the next level. This will undoubtedly lead to the best results, but may cost more - though it's still relatively affordable. Sites like AirGigs and LANDR Network offer lots of professionals to chose from.
BandLab – What people are saying/review quotes
BandLab partners with Microsoft and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, GuitarPlayer Magazine, Billboard and Bloomberg.
“Love this app! Great recording sound, I can add layers of rhythm, bass and lead all by myself & no need for jamming partners.” – Sherry Akber
“Best app for a guy with a guitar I've been looking for something like this long time ago. Sometimes I just don't have my computer close to record something but this baby does it.” - Luis Manuel Deras
“BandLab. I love this app. To be honest it can't get any better. 10 stars if I could.” - Garrett Greenstreet
FREE AUDIO MASTERING WORKSHOP - SECRETS WILL BE SHARED!
LEARN HOW TO MASTER YOUR MUSIC, EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO START!