Volume too soft for audio mixdown


It seems that whenever I exported my music to mp3 @ 320kbps, it will be softer, by few notches.
I have checked that my mixer, the master max level is already at -0.1 dB.
Somehow, after I have exported to mp3 and play it on Windows Media Player, i have to switch the volume of the player to 100 (to match the volume I have heard in my DAW).

I have tried exporting to .wav. But the volume is as soft.

Is there any I have missed?
I have put it on soundcloud, it goes even softer. And this is the version that I have amplified by 1.3 dB using some software.
What’s wrong with my settings or export?
I am using Cubase 6 by the way.
This is my link:


Trust me, this is not the volume I heard in my DAW. This is just way too soft.
Any advice?


This is normal. Cubase’s “player volume” is set into “100”, if you are not using the “Control Room” feature of Cubase. To match volume of Cubase, you’ll need to crank WMP’s volume up to “100”.

I have no technical details about Soundcloud, but I guess, it’s player component’s default volume is set even lower than WMP’s one.

Can’t quite make out what’s happening here but on my general mixes I usually start with the Master at -6db and all the other instruments around the bass drum or drums at around -6 to -10db depending, for headroom as I go adding tracks and FX etc.
On Export however I have to raise the Master volume to 0db to get the level heard in Cubase in,say, WMP at a reasonable level in WMP so about 75% volume is about optimal loudness.
This seems to work for burning CDs or using as YTube soundtracks etc.

At least your getting somewhere. I haven’t been able to get any sound of my WAV files at all.

I have tried using limiter to boost the overall export.
But came to know that the brass call finale in the last few bars are limited such that its volume is “pushed back” whenever they get cresc. The overall export indeed sound somewhat louder, but it is still far from the volume we heard in music cd. Any workaround on this? This volume thingy is driving me crazy.

I have even boosted the input of the limit, and now i am seeing red number in the input, while the master volume doesnt get clipped.
Output is out of the qns, and for sure it will clip the master.
Is it a normal approach to boost input even it surpassed 0db as long as the master does not get clipped?

Neither input nor output should exceed 0dB, there’s only at input and output the files may clip, at the AD/DA converting stages that is. If you have made the file clipping at input stage, you’ll never get it right. If it clips at output you may change the mix and ev’rything is ok.

Why the export-output is too low is a complex matter; for instance:

  • Are you meassuring the peaks or the overall (RMS) level?
  • The peaks are not meassure for percepted overall levels. Use RMS!
  • Have you check whether there is some inaudble bass frequensies that makes the file clipp when boosting?
  • Have you check the levels at other players than WMP (Cubase itself, Hi-Fi, carstereo)? The soundcloud file is not that low at my place, even tho it need some mastering; limiting, stereo exspanding, Multiband compression etc may do the trick.

You need to work at mastering or finalising a track, this is where the loudness is created. Of course the way a track responds to loudness maximising is dependent on the original mix qualities!

As stated you’ll need good loudness metering, generally a meter that displays the RMS levels, Cubase meters are peak meters and will not really give you the information needed to compare loudness.

It may be a good idea to get some additional metering and mastering plugs.
T-racks 3 - http://www.ikmultimedia.com/Main.html?MainPage.php
Mastering plugs - http://www.voxengo.com/group/mastering-plugins/
Mastering plugs - http://www.meldaproduction.com/mmasteringbundle/
–On the same site you may have a good read : http://www.meldaproduction.com/audiotutorials/mastering.php

These sites also have some ok free plugs worth looking at.

Split is on the money.

Set everything bar the initial source (VST/audio) at zero and work backwards.