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Mastering With Cloudbounce – My Experience

CloudBounce Mastering

So I chose Cloudbounce to master these 5 songs with. It was an interesting experience. I’ll tell you all about it here.

I basically chose them for two, really unromantic reasons.

  1. I didn’t trust online mastering
  2. They were the cheapest option that still seemed to know what they were doing.

So yeah. Pretty great reasons, right? I guess if I wasn’t convinced an AI could master my song, I wanted to spend the least amount of money possible to find out the hard way. Make sense?

But that’s not what I found out. It was actually a pretty amazing experience, although I dug myself into a bit of a hole – through no fault of Cloudbounce. I’ll explain.

Preparing the songs

This was step one. I had to open up my DAW, Reaper. Turn off all the effects on my master bus. This was The Ferric TDS plugin, and a Master Limiter. Easy enough. I wanted to give Cloudbounce good clean material.

Then, according to their instructions, I made sure I was peaking at between -6 and -10 on the master track. This meant sliding that fader down considerably, way lower than I am used to it. Then I had to turn up the volume on my monitors a bit, to be able to hear everything again, and just did a quick sanity check, to make sure everything still sounded the way I wanted in the mix.

Next, I exported these tracks to high quality WAV files.

Uploading to Cloudbounce

This can’t get any simpler. You pull the songs into a circle. You press a button, and wait.

Cloudbounce did a couple things really well. It made the songs “shimmer”. It seemed to level out the mixes a bit too, somehow. Like, songs where there were moments of competition between a guitar and a vocal, for example, those competitions seemed to get smoothed over, and were less noticeable in the final product.

And of course the loudness thing. I found the default setting to be pretty perfect. It gets your track competitively loud, but still with some pretty varied dynamics. Something I found really hard to do with a master limiter in my DAW.

Tweaking

I ended up trying a few of their options too, like “warmer” and a few others, but ended up staying with “warmer”. I did notice when you change a setting, of course it has to remaster the song for that setting, but then if you change back to a previous setting / combination of settings, the song doesn’t have to be remastered, it will pull that audio file back out and let you hear it again. I did appreciate that time saver quite a but, because I did spend some time flipping between different settings.

It would be cool if they had a screen where you could quickly A/B a few different tracks with various settings, but no big deal. I appreciated the way things were set up.

How I goofed up

So for some reason, 3 of the 5 songs I did with Cloudbounce, ended up having the low end cranked up quite a bit. I tend to mix a bit high on the bass and drums, partially because I like it, and partially because as we know, my room lies to me. Well, I think with lowering all the levels (remember, the -6 to -10 thing) it provided some headroom and my slightly bassy mixes had more room to be bassy. Plus whatever EQing Cloudbounce does.

Since my room lies to me, and it was hard to preview the tracks in my car without buying them, I didn’t notice this until I got in my car and practically blew out the windows.

Not Cloudbounce’s fault. They do mastering, not fixing your derpy mix mistakes.

But you can learn from my mistakes. When you’re prepping your tracks, make sure they still sound the way you want after you lower the levels to get that headroom, and before you drop them into Cloudbounce.

Would I recommend Cloudbounce?

Yes! You’ll get a professional mastering that you can be sure will sound good on a bunch of different devices, and probably iTunes and Spotify as well. Speaking of which, I did notice my songs sound way better from a compatibility standpoint.  The two songs I didn’t booger up with too much LF sound amazing across different devices.

I was even really happy about everything else in the 3 songs that I messed up. They actually still sounded quite good, all things considered.

And the two that I didn’t mess up – they really do sound amazing. And I feel confident in these masters, too – which probably wouldn’t be the case if I had tried to master in my DAW.

What I mean by that is that I am confident that they are squished enough to be even and sound good & loud, but they’re also way more compatible with Spotify and iTunes than anything I’d churn out of my DAW.

Mastering really is a different skill, you can be an amazing engineer/mixer/producer, and still booger up the mastering. It’s not the same game.

So I think in the future I will use Cloudbounce.

If you check out Cloudbounce from my link here, you’ll get a free track to see how your music sounds Mastered by an AI that actually seems to know what it’s doing! And I’ll get a free track too! Win win!

Thanks for reading.

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