Last month we talked about the 2track instrumental and the mixing of that instrumental. Now we will talk about proper mix levels for the best possible master. I know that most everybody nowadays wants their song to be loud and proud! I feel that but, there is a proper way to achieve that as well as a wrong way to achieve that. Let me explain.
Do not normalize or place a limiter on your mixes in an attempt to make your song loud before mastering. This severely derails the mastering engineer's ability to give you a quality sound. You should leave your mixes in their raw form, ideally -1db to -2db below zero; this gives the mastering engineer "room" to increase the overall volume before distortion is introduced to the signal.
The goal here is to have the loudest possible volume without distortion. If you hear distortion, you have gone to far. In my personal opinion I believe quality should win out over top volume any-day. A lot of today's songs are loud but they lack the clarity, quality and warmth of the recordings of yesterday. Take Ice Cube's "amerikkka's most wanted" CD or Blackstreet's self titled debut CD, both of these Cd's may not have been very loud, compared to today's standards but they sounded great! I would gladly turn up the volume myself on the CD player any day to get a better sounding product! But that is just me. Lol
I am a total music fan and enjoy working in the studio. To know me is to know music.