LANDR Mastering

The Value of Human (Pt. 2) – LANDR

A Series Reviewing the Most Popular Automated Mixing Services

09.19.19 | Podcasting | By: Pat Kicklighter

LANDR Mastering

The next company we’ll be looking at in our automated post-production series is LANDR.

What is LANDR?

LANDR is an automated audio mastering service most commonly used in music production.

While they specifically market themselves to musicians and music producers, nothing is stopping you from uploading your podcast recording for their algorithm to master. 

So let’s take a deeper look into what exactly this AI service can and cannot accomplish, specifically compared to what we provide at Resonate Recordings.

The Post-Production Process 

To kick off the conversation let’s review what post-production could involve here at Resonate. Our services include Editing, Mixing, Mastering, Sound Design, Scoring, Audio Restoration and more. LANDR obviously won’t be able to compete in all these areas so we’ll mainly focus on audio quality.

Setting Up LANDR

Uploading a file to LANDR is very easy after creating an account with them which only requires giving up your name and email address. They even give you a couple of free credits to use. These free credits will provide you a lower quality mp3, however, it’s totally fine for podcast audio and is actually higher quality than most sites in the game. The problem here is that certain hosting platforms and streaming services require certain specs for your audio. You’ll still be able to upload your podcast but the audio will be converted yet again to a lower quality.

Mastering Your Podcast 

The next step is to select the “intensity” of your master. They provide a sample section to playback and compare the 3 intensity options (Low, Medium, and High) as well as the original audio. This is pretty much the only input you have on the final product. While testing this out with a podcast recording I had on my computer I noticed a few issues with this process. 

LANDR Mastering
Setting the “Intensity” of your master

The intensity options are basically just loudness options. Most people with untrained ears will just pick whichever option sounds loudest thinking it’s better. Louder audio will always sound better to our ears because of something called the Fletcher Munson curve. Basically we hear more bass and treble the louder things get, making them sound “better” when really they are just louder. I personally found the medium option to be fine except the section of audio they provided as the sample playback only featured 1 of the 2 speakers on this podcast, so I had no idea how the processing sounded on the other speaker. On top of that, the other speaker who wasn’t featured in the sample was not recorded well and was much quieter than the other. If I had recorded this podcast, equalizing the volumes between speakers would have been the number 1 reason I had chosen to send my recording out for mastering.

Let’s pause here for a second. This is a common problem we see every day with our client’s audio. As I said in the first post in this series, podcasters are not recording engineers, nor should they expected to be. They are content creators, producers, communicators, storytellers. This is why post-production is important. You want your audience to hear every word of every episode. You don’t want them thinking about audio quality and constantly changing the volume while trying to focus on content.

This is the whole point of uploading to LANDR isn’t it? You want your audio Mastered. Well, when I got the master back the speaker who was recorded poorly was still much quieter than the other. The recording overall was definitely louder and more smiler to other podcasts you might listen to on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, but I still needed to “mix” the audio as I listened to it, meaning I had to turn the volume up and down whenever the speakers changed. I don’t know about you but if I’m going to submit my podcast for post-production I’d want it to come back at least listenable. 

The Limitations of LANDR

This is pretty much where the road ends for LANDR in the podcast world. They are able to distribute your file to a streaming service, but the only relevant one in the podcast space is Spotify. This is different than a hosting platform that can distribute your content to all available streaming platforms. If you are a Resonate client you have access to our web app where you can send and receive files, comment to approve final mixes, and post to your hosting platform with 1 click! 

While LANDR might be making waves in the indie music world, there is still a ton of room to grow in the post-production space. Again, post-production for podcasting is about so much more than just being loud enough to be heard. Take a look at our Services tab on our home page to learn about all the different ways we can take your podcast to the finish line after you stop recording, or even before you buy your equipment.

Let’s Connect 

Resonate Recordings is a comprehensive podcast production company. Headquartered in Derby City–Louisville, Kentucky–we are committed to developing partnerships with our clients, not just performing transactions. Since 2014 it’s been our mission to make podcasting easy for businesses, brands, entrepreneurs, and individuals. We do this by providing support with podcast launch, podcast consulting, podcast editing, podcast production, and other creative podcasting services. If you have questions or are looking to start a podcast, our in-house team is available and ready to help! We would love to schedule a call with you and learn more about your podcast needs and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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By: Pat Kicklighter

As an Audio Engineer at Resonate Recordings, Pat implements Resonate’s unique mixing and mastering services to ensure your podcast audio consistently sounds as polished and professional as possible. Pat lives in Louisville, KY with his wife, 2-year-old daughter & 4-year-old Lab.