While trying to find the best mastering solution for my next self funded project I’m releasing as The Resident Alien I decided to put together a very unofficial comparison of some different mastering solutions to see what is available at a variety of budgets and whether there is a noticeable difference between these services.
I sent the same track to 4 different services and compiled the list on my Soundcloud page. In order to maintain impartiality and as a gesture to these businesses (which were all kind enough to provide a free sample of their services), I’m not going to name any names. I will only declare the name of the service that comes out on top (‘cause who doesn’t like free good publicity!?). I also included the unmastered version that I sent out for mastering as reference point.
Two of the services are high end mastering services that start at either $90(CAD) an hour or $130(CAD) per song. I tried a popular online service where the tracks are mastered by a computer algorithm for $10(USD). I also tried a producer who contacted me through a message board who said they mastered their own tracks and would be willing to help me at an extremely reasonable rate.
If you are interested in taking part in this trial, this is what I would like you to do:
Listen to the 4 versions on my Soundcloud page (https://soundcloud.com/theresidentalien/sets/resident-alien-mastering-examples) and “Like” the one that you think sounds the best to you.
Also, if you have a Soundcloud account and would like to answer the following questions in the comments:
1. Can you hear a noticeable difference between the 4 versions?
2. What kind of system are you listening to the tracks on? (ie. computer speakers, studio monitors, earbud headphones, etc..)
Extra credit: Which version do you think is done by whom? (ie. Version 1 = Computer Algorithm, Version 2 = $75 an hour service, etc…)
I will keep this open for a week and after Monday Oct 26th I will declare the results. Thanks for participating!