Maximizer/Limiter dilemma

Maximizer dilemma

I use Ozone 9 and its Maximizer plugin on the main bus. Problem is, when my overall song output is too low, and I pull the Maximizer threshold fader down to get some limiting so the song level comes up, of course the sounds that weren’t as loud before become much louder and my mix balance gets screwed up and I have to go back and remix everything. Is this normal or is there an easier way? Related question: if my song level is not loud enough, should I use the maximizer or just add a few DB to the master stereo out? Admittedly when I see the red lights on stereo out channel showing clipping I get nervous (even though I don’t hear any audible distortion). Thx

This is not really a Cubase related question but more about general mixing and up & downward compression. Look it up on Google and understand how this works. A hint: First you should make sure your mix and the overall level is good before you even start to mess around with something like Ozone 9.

This is normal and there is no easy way. You change the dynamics of your mix and this leads to changes in the sound and the relations of your initial signals.

You can absolutely add some gain in the pre-gain section of the master bus. Just insert the limiter last in chain and let it catch the peaks. If you don’t like the sound of it, just don’t drive the limiter as much. I rarely do more than 3bB of limiting (depends on the material, of course).
By the way, it is normal that the mix might sound somewhat different if you listen back to it with very different levels (because of the famous Fletcher-Munson-Curve).