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Terminator times... I`ll be back!

Do you remember the old Terminator movie? Are we living in Terminator times in the music industry? Nowadays there's AI this and AI that... Even AI based mastering software. Bullsh*t... Music is being made by humans for humans, no algorithm will replace that. Music carries emotions and creates emotions. No computer algorithm will replace that or even come close to understanding what emotions to emphasise in the song to make it work better. No AI based mastering software will come even close to bringing out the feel of the song and creating it. Period. Some popular AI based automated mastering platform shouts on its website: "There’s nothing quite like hearing your song polished and ready for release, and thanks to AI, this can happen in an instant. Using machine learning, genre-specific mastering options ensure your audio files always sound best-in-class, with no need for expensive mastering studio rates or complex audio processing software. Say hello to the future of music mastering." I call it bullsh*t... Here`s why... Mastering for example a very complex operation is probably the most human aspect in audio engineering (apart from production and writing the song itself of course). Mastering is not just slapping a few limiters, pushing the track and calling it a day. Mastering apart from emphasising micro and macro dynamics, preventing the tonal balance of the mix is about psychoacoustic. The way we hear and more importantly feel the song. It's about listening. Mastering is about 70% listening, listening and listening again. Your job is to work on the feel finding little magic bits and bringing them out to work for the song, not against. Loudness always comes second. With AI based software the algorithm picks LUFS target, analise the EQ spectrum and tweaks both to achieve some sort of a match with specific template, Mastering is hard not because it's an obscure part of music production, it's hard because of the level of concentration and attention to details required when listening to the material. Mastering is mostly listening, tweaking hardware gear or plugins is only a small part of it, same as focusing only on the frequency balance and LUFS metering (which can be very very misleading with judging the loudness but that`s another story) Mixing and mastering is not only about technical aspects (although it's still important). It's about the vision and feel of the song. Automated mastering uses AI to simulate the decisions made by a mastering engineer. It’s a computer making its best guess about what to do with your music... yes... best guess... How good can it be? Another thing I would like to mention is that mixing doesn't work on compartments. I`m afraid that all AI based software works like that. Your low end will be right only if your mids and high frequencies will be right. Frequency mirror effect is a real thing, not many realise that working on high end actually has an impact on your low end too. Looking mindlessly at LUFS and/or RMS meter without having your mix well balanced frequency wise and with a good crest factor without huge transient spikes is pointless and useless. LUFS (even integrated) is NOT ultimate loudness guidance. So that proves that all algorithms aiming for specific LUFS while doing automated mastering are not a good idea. Don't get me wrong, this software can be useful for preparing a quick rough mix or preparing a quick reference master. Nothing more in my humble opinion.


Lucas/LUMIC Studio

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