Online mastering services have grown into serious competitors to traditional mastering studios over the last few years. In a move that seems like a logical consequence, streaming giant SoundCloud has now introduced its own online mastering service in collaboration with Dolby. After uploading your tracks to SoundCloud, you now have the option to have them mastered automatically.
SoundCloud online mastering
With more and more online mastering services becoming available, it seemed only like a matter of time until SoundCloud would implement its own service. Why leave that revenue to someone else, when you can keep it to yourself, right? Now, the company has teamed up with Dolby to integrate online mastering directly into the popular streaming platform.
As of now, the new service still seems pretty basic. After uploading your tracks, you have a choice of four mastering algorithms, which focus on different frequency ranges and loudness targets: Thunder, Aurora, Clear Sky and Sunroof. For example, Thunder is intended for bass-heavy tracks, while Clear Sky is a transparent mode meant for pop music and similar styles. You can preview and compare the results using a selectable 30-second snippet of your track, and adjust the mastering intensity. After deciding on a mastering style, the system will render the final master in a matter of minutes.
According to SoundCloud, the new service works on files submitted in WAV (16/24 bit), FLAC, AIFF and MP3 formats. It delivers the final master in the same format. The company recommends that you leave about 3-6 dB of headroom in your uploaded mixes, and minimize the use of compression and limiting. The maximum length is 10 minutes.
The quality of the final results will of course depend on your uploaded mixes; don’t expect the service to work magic. Unfortunately, the marginal audio quality of the demo video makes it hard to tell how good (or bad) it sounds. But SoundCloud lets you try it out for free on an unlimited number of snippets of your own tracks, so it might be worth a try.
For the new service, SoundCloud charges USD 4.99 per track or the equivalent in your local currency. The uploaded file format does not affect the price, which sets it apart from some other online mastering services.
If you’re a SoundCloud Pro Unlimited subscriber, you’ll get three masters per month at no extra cost, and a discounted price for additional masters.