Mixing-Mastering Advice Needed!!!!

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!


Sounds like you’re not getting what you want by reading and experimenting, or practicing, so I would take it to someone to mix it and sit in on the sessions. Then I would take it to someone to master and sit in on that too. If you keep your eyes and ears well open then you will learn an enormous amount. And if that doesn’t help then just give in and accept that you’re not so good at mixing/mastering, concentrate on what you do better and develop that instead.


Room Acoustics/Speaker placement is Key in making your sound sound professional

give us a listen

And a lot of experience :stuck_out_tongue:

If your songs sounds loud enough in Cubase as you edit then if you Export a master track your master fader should always be set at 0db as you export.
For instance I will always have the master at -6 to -10db as the song is collated and let the FX eq and channel faders do the work to bring levels up. But at mastering time I have to set the masters at 0db to get the true output value to print.
If still not loud enough then there may be more mixing to do or sometimes just experiment with that output master level at over the 0db some.

I disagree. If the mix is right, it is finished (Ofcourse, master fader should be as high as possible without clipping). The rest is mastering. I’m a strong advocate of keeping the two processes separate - even when mastering in Cubase.

There is no sonic advantage to pushing the master fader up. anything loudness related should be done AFTER you export your mix. You’ll get more dynamics in your mix if you are not borderline clipping all the time. If you are clipping, your speakers aren’t loud enough and you are making the waveform itself louder to compensate. Calibrate your monitors to the K system. Between 79-83 dB SPL per channel on a C-wight slow response SPL meter using pink noise test tone. This is ensures the best dynamic range for wide dynamic range music, and then all of your peaks will be WELL below clipping. You can squash it and maximize it later, but all of your dynamics will be preserved using this method.

+1 for Arjan’s post.