I’ve already posted this in another branch, thus just repeat the same here, as topic is already exist anyway…
It seems that problem is twofold:
- Your export file sounds lower compares to sound in the DAW;
- Your export file sounds lower than commercial music from your playlist on the same PC and in the same VLC or Win player that you use.
These two problems have different solution. First one is simple. When you listen project in the DAW it works only with audio hardware (mine is UR44 from Steinberg) without sending any sound signals to PC and Windows or Mac. It means that the only control knob is “Output” on your sound card. When you export file and listen on PC you have two controls - one of the Windows and another one on soundcard.
You easily could check this - try to increase/decrease PC volume, when you’re working in the DAW - it has no effect
Thus, - “right click” on speaker icon on the bottom, choose “Open volume mixer” and set level up to 100. Then set to 100 level on your software player, whatever you have - and bingo - your export file sounds at the same level as your project in the DAW. First problem is resolved.
Second problem is 99% about mastering. Normally, -14 LUFS by meter is how music should sound with proper dynamic. I’m speaking in general. But if you measure commercial tracks - you’ll see that they have -6 or even near zero LUFS meter.
To get the solution - try to use Limiter and/or Maximizer on the master channel, and adjust limiter “input” signal higher, say +4-6Db, slightly add output as well, but avoid clipping on output channel.
Sounds of lower end will distort and there is where mastering skills come. The art of mastering is that you slowly increase the volume and start to adjust the frequencies to avoid distortion, and other stuff. This is because the density of frequencies increases as you level up the input signal and hi/low balance is changing as low frequencies jumps stronger. So, to not bother you too long - try to use the limiter and increase “input” signal, do not pay attention to quality by far, then export file and you see that it becomes louder, near the commercial sound.
How to resolve the problem of frequencies in this case is a different topic, mostly dedicated to mastering skills.