Mix for Mastering

Hello friends.
I am about to have my songs mastered but I need to know how to prepare them before I send them out. I am low-budget and don’t have the necessary hardware most producers have to bring up the volume. I go straight from my lap-top to mp3.
First question. As far as volume is concerned, do I raise it to the limit, or do I back down a little before it goes in the red?
Second. Do I mix it dry or is it ok to have a stereo widener on or izotope presets on?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Hugh Bell
San Diego, CA

First of all: all those questions should best be asked to the mastering studio, you are going to send the files.
2. You don’ t need hardware to “bring up the colume”
3. “The red” in Cubase is user definable, so not really very meaningful. Basically you need a healthy level that does not clip your audio.
4. It is your mix. If you think, it needs a stereo widener or whatever on it, to sound the way you want it to sound - do it.
5.Since you will without a doubt get very different answers to your questions, refer to my first point.
6.You are in the german forum.
And last: The Steinberg Lounge would have been the appropriate forum for this kind of question.

Thank you very much.