From day one, you’ve faced this issue.

You’re working on a song, it’s sounding great in the studio, so you bounce it to CD (or your iPod) and proudly walk it out to your car to have a listen.

Then you become painfully aware how quiet the mix is.

You turn the volume knob on the car stereo as far to the right as it will go, and the mix still isn’t loud enough.

What to do?

Well, some people might tell you to simply slap a big fat limiter on that mix and yank the threshold down until the mix squeals.

That’s one approach.

I highly recommend that approach if you’re the kind of person who likes his mixes to sound distorted and bad. 🙂

If you’re in the OTHER group of people who want their mixes to sound great AND loud, then you need to learn how to properly master your mixes.

For me, it starts with using a gain plugin and a limiter.

I use the gain plugin to get the mix nice and loud. The limiter keeps the occasional peaks from clipping. Nothing dramatic here.

THEN, I use EQ and multi-band compression to shape the tone and maximize loudness without killing the dynamics of the song and making the mix sound worse.

That’s the hard part.

It takes a crapload of practice.

The phrase “practice makes perfect” is really only true if you know HOW to practice.

Practicing bad technique just means you’ll get really good at that bad technique.

Let Ian Shepherd, seasoned mastering engineer, show you the RIGHT approach to mastering your songs (an approach that, by the way, preserves dynamic range and makes your mixes sound GREAT).

It’s all here:

Joe Gilder

7 Responses to “How to Get Your Mixes LOUD”

  1. letzter geist

    i’ll go the gain into limiter approach when i just want to make a mix louder for a client or for myself for listening purposes before the “real” mastering begins. mastering wise, i roll off super lows and highs with an eq, a bit of stereo widening, harmonic max (just a hair for some extra energy), mulit-band comp, then a single band comp (for some intentionally pumping if the song needs it), and then the limiter. works well for what i do and brings the mixes up near commercial releases without sounding too flat

  2. Curious

    Is……is every “article” on this site an advertisement for a class?

    • Eric Jean

      Hey man, just be happy you’re getting free content.  Joe runs a business and why shouldn’t he advertise his videos, which by the way are excellent?  I got the EQ one and it was well worth it, and contained plenty of content not covered elsewhere on the blog.  Plus it’s great to have all content related to EQ in one video series.

  3. Miguel Sanchez

    This isn’t what you said yesterday (Gain > EQ > Multi-Band Compressor > Limiter).

    • Joe Gilder

      This is still consistent with what I wrote yesterday.

      I’m not saying I don’t use that order. I’m saying I start with the Gain and the Limiter. Once that’s set up, then I put EQ and Multi-Band Compression in the chain IN THE ORDER you listed here. It’s almost always in this same order.
      The order never changes, but I adjust the Limiter and Gain first before enabling the EQ and compression.


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