Mixdowns Clipping But Too Soft

Hi All,

In Cubase, my mixes are just below clipping on the output meter in the session, but when I export them, the audio files are really quiet. Does anyone know how I can fix my levels so my mixes come out at a normal volume without clipping?



Is it quiet when you compare it with other commercial records? Or how do you know, it’s quiet?

If you import the exported file back to Cubase, is the Peak below the clipping?

If it’s quiet when you compare it with other commercial records, then this is question of mix art. Use different (mainly) EQs and compressors settings.

Hi Martin,

Yes, for instance, the mix is so loud in Cubase that it’s nearly clipping and sounds fine on my computer when exported, but if I listen to the file on a different computer, it’s extremely soft. I know mixing has a lot of other aspects, but I should be able to get a mix with a normal volume without EQ and compressors. Any ideas?

Thanks for your help!


No, if you compare your record, which is without EQ and Compressor and any commercial record, then the commercial record will be much much louder. To get the same volume, you have to mix it properly, i.e. to use EQs and Compressors.

Import whatever material you’re comparing your music with into your cubase project, and you’ll see that although neither are clipping, the commercial record is much louder than your music.
There’s nothing wrong with your export, it’s just not mixed for loudness as much as commercial stuff.

Sorry for the extremely late response but I’m still having this problem - I do mix with EQ and compressors, but the mixes are still extremely soft on any other device. And imported audio also clips unless I turn the volume way down on them.

There is definitely something wrong with the exports - I’ve gotten feedback from several people that my tracks are way too soft.

The weird thing is that this is consistent with every program on my computer - I’ve tried bringing the files into ProTools to increase their volume, but even then, when I export at a level that’s just below clipping, the files sound extremely soft on every other device. I’m not sure what’s wrong with my system or how to fix it - any ideas? I have a Mac Pro, an Apogee Duet, and Rokit 8 speakers.

Try this: put the Steinberg Brickwall Limiter (threshold @ -0,3 db, release fully counterclockwise, auto off) in insert slot 7 or 8 of your master channel. Raise the master channels gain (pre section) until you have a comparable level to commercial masters.

That way you get it loud. Don’t wonder if it doesn’t instantly sound like a commercial master, but it will get as loud as you wish. Refine the sound by using primarily EQs and compressors in the upper slots of the master channel.

To get a really great result, your mix will have to be really good in the first place. Smashing it against a brickwall + pumping it up ruthlessly will reveal any shortcomings in regard of how the mix works at your intented level. Re-tweak the mix if needed.

There’s much more to ‘real’ mastering but you’ll get somewhere for sure.

If it’s happening in other programs, it must be a OS/hardware/interface problem, not a Cubase one. I don’t have a clue about Macs, though… :frowning: