Ill try to keep this as short as possible. Ive been mixing/mastering my own tracks for a little over a year now…ive come a long way in figuring things out, but i am at a stopping point where i cant seem to progress farther to make my tracks competitive as far as loudness goes. I know about the loudness war bs, and im not looking to make my track the loudest thing ever!! But it pisses me off when im done mastering a track, and it takes a pretty drastic volume increase on a stereo to get it to the same level as most commercial releases.
When mixing, i follow the rules of leaving plenty of headroom on the master bus…usually around -5db. I make cuts and boosts with eq in my instruments so that none of them are fighting for space… i compress mostly everything so that all the dynamic levels flow nicely… and i use group channels most of the time to make things sound like they are coming from the same place. As far as my mixes go…they sound good to me.
When mastering, i load the audio mixdown into a new project. I add some slight eq if needed, maybe a small bost to the lows and highs, and maybe a cut around 200hz to take some muddiness out. I then put on a multiband compressor, with high attack times, low and even ratios, and thresholds where there are just a little bit of gain reduction. I then sometimes add a stereo enhancer for widening. Finally i slap on a limiter and increase the input to where it is louder, but not distorting the sound. Last i put on a dither at 24 bit.
This has been my process for the past few months…and im still not getting the results im looking for… If any of you out there have read this long ass post and can tell me if im doing something wrong, then PLEASE criticize me… if it seems im doing things somewhat right… then are their any suggestions for experimentation to get my tracks louder, and more professional sounding?? Any responses would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks!