Like in many other sectors, AI is pushing the boundaries of what software tools can offer in the music industry. More and more AI-based plugins and services are cropping up, ranging from automated EQ changes to the complete mastering of a track.
The manner and form in which you use these tools can either enrich your learning and creativity or potentially stagnate your growth. We’ll go over some of the best AI mixing and mastering tools you can use to improve your musical creations.
Let’s go through some of the top AI mixing tools that can enhance your workflow.
Neutron 4 by iZotope offers a selection of mixing effects in its component modules that include a sleek EQ, compressor, exciter, gate, and transient shaper. A notable addition to this fourth iteration of Neutron is its Assistant View which is powered by AI.
The Assistant View is designed to facilitate rapid changes that significantly boost the sonic quality of your audio. It’s capable of identifying distinct instrument types, such as drums, guitars, or vocals, and applying suitable custom effects for that instrument type. Assistant View also shines in its ability to match the tone of your audio to references with its Target Library feature.
Overall, Neutron 4 and its Assistant View can provide you with valuable mixing suggestions. These can serve as quick fixes and tools for learning. You can also check out iZotope’s Nectar 4 AI vocal assistant or Ozone 11 for its AI mastering assistant.
Smart EQ 3 by Sonible prides itself on being the first intelligent multi-track EQ in the world. With its AI engine, it can balance out the frequency content of your audio in seconds.
Smart EQ 3 offers intelligent cross-channel processing that uses AI filters to rapidly fix up tonal imbalances. It boasts a well-designed interface with versatile frequency nodes that give you (and the AI) a high degree of flexibility and control in the placement of filters and EQ parameters.
While the AI-powered suggestions can be indicative of effective EQ usage, you may want to check out how to use EQs to better grasp the operation of this plugin (and other EQ tools).
Sonible also offers the smart bundle for those looking for plugins built in the same vein. The bundle includes the smart reverb, smart compressor 2, smart limiter, and smart gate. If you’re looking to speed up your workflow in these areas, give Sonible’s smart plugins a try.
Overdrive Essentials by Fazertone differs from the other AI-based tools in this list. Rather than intelligently automating mixing/mastering processes, it harnesses the capabilities of real-time neural networks to produce high-fidelity hardware emulations.
This results in nine very high-quality hardware emulations of popular distortion gear. You can try them out for free by first downloading a demo of these plugins with restricted features. Sound designers and guitarists will get the most out of these AI-powered distortion pedals.
For more information on audio distortion, look into the different types of audio distortion and when to use them.
As we cover the best AI online mastering engines around, remember that each site offers a free preview of your mastered track. To download the mastered version, you will either have to pay a one-time fee or join a subscription plan.
Another thing to bear in mind when assessing the quality of your AI-mastered tracks is that human ears automatically think louder equals better. To more accurately assess the mastered track, try to match the volume of the master with the original when comparing. This will help you notice actual improvements in sonic quality and cohesion, not just loudness.
The AI mastering service offered by LANDR is one of the best in the business. It provides a sleek interface and options to further refine the desired style of your mastered track.
You can choose from Warm, Balanced, or Open for distinct sonic flavors and set a Low, Medium, or High Loudness for the master. The free preview only lets you listen to a short loop of your track, but you should notice some differences beyond the loudness. Check the Volume Match box, and change between the Original and Master to really hear the more subtle differences.
LANDR offers a range of services, such as distribution, and includes a variety of pricing plans for each of its services. With regard to mastering, you can acquire instant mastering for quick results or additional mastering tools to add a personal touch with its all-inclusive Studio or Studio Pro plans. You may also want to check out LANDR for its selection of royalty-free samples.
Look into the best websites to find samples if you’re searching for some new sounds.
The online mastering engine by eMastered represents perhaps the closest competitor to LANDR. It prides itself on its developers being Grammy-winning producers, and the sonic results do not disappoint.
While it doesn’t quite reach the versatility and editing potential that LANDR offers, you can adjust the mastering intensity of a variety of controls, including EQ and compression. You can also add a reference track of your choice to further influence and refine the direction of the AI mastering process.
The diverse controls and intuitive UI make the process of uploading your track, mastering, and re-mastering your track (with any edits) a simple and smooth process.
Amuse presents itself as an all-in-one company for independent artists, offering both music distribution and AI mastering services. Amuse allows you to listen to the full length of your AI-mastered track before deciding whether to download and pay for that master (if you haven’t subscribed to one of their paid models).
Its AI mastering service is easy to use and can be tried with just a few clicks. Its simplicity is its main attraction as it lacks further controls that let you change certain features of the master. Overall, it provides decent results for a cheaper price than its competitors.
The use of artificial intelligence in any musical work can be a polarizing matter. On one hand, it can seamlessly replace a lot of drudge work that typically distances producers from the spark of creation. On the other, dependence on AI shortcuts could limit learning and challenge the role of the human mixing/mastering engineer.
While the role of skilled audio engineers remains paramount in music production, AI-based tools offer several benefits worth considering. One benefit is the unparalleled speed with which AI plugins can learn and process audio data. Their untiring consistency can also be a plus. If your hobby or pastime is music production, AI plugins can be a great way to gain access to high-grade mixing and mastering options without a great drain on your time or resources.
The biggest potential benefit of AI plugins is their ability to stimulate learning and improvement rather than limit it. Often, expert audio engineers are directly involved in the production of AI mixing and mastering tools. This means that their hard-earned wisdom has been inputted as data to some degree.
Find the Right Mix of Human and Machine
Now that the cutting-edge of music technology includes AI-powered tools, each musician and engineer must find the right balance of AI integration to stimulate rather than limit growth. Use Neutron 4, Smart EQ 3, or Sonible’s smart bundle for rapid AI mixing suggestions to improve your mixes. And try out Overdrive Essentials for high-fidelity AI emulations of distortion hardware.
Then, once your mix is done, consider previewing or producing an industry-standard master with LANDR, eMastered, or Amuse.