When I compare one of my projects to someone else’s, mine are lacking in presence, clarity, volume and sounding up-front. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
That could come from multiple sources, starting with your original track records. Start from there and follow the path of each track to hear if you encounter any degradation by the time you get to the final output. If there is no significant difference, then you need to make sure that your tracks are sparkling from their original recording.
You can spice up what you have with eq and effects being careful not to further cloud the original signal. When you eq, remember that less is better. Instead of adding highs, take down lows and mids. Take frequencies off of tracks that aren’t being used. (for instance, roll off frequencies that are lower than that instrument or audio would go)
Color your tracks with reasonable amounts of effect. Too much can also rob it’s clarity.
Also, make sure your individual track volumes aren’t too advanced as to not rob headroom. If you have instruments that are generally big, (like bass drums and bass guitars) compress them to save headroom. It also helps to compress the final mix but always remember to season to taste. You don’t want to take away your dynamics.
Make sure you have a fair share of separation in the stereo field. Spread it out a little to give it a chance to breathe.
Listen to some good mixes that you like of others to get a perspecive of where things are in the stereo field. Listening to these mixes would also give you better perspective in other areas including volume mixing. Final volumes, well, turn it up without going red.
If you have friends that have Cubase and present those final mixes that you like, have them send you one of their projects so you can see what they’ve done. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to use a wide stereo enhancer on the master channel. Does wonders.