Become a member
Become a member

or
Continue with Google
Log in
Log in

or
Log in using a Google account

Tutorial: Tips For Making Your Mixes Louder

By moosers on 09/20/2009 - (Beginner)
< All tips & tutorials

Introduction

In this tutorial, we'll talk a little bit about some techniques on how to make your mixes reach their loudest possible potential.  While the 'loudness war' is one that cannot be one, it is always good to try to make sure that your mixes don't sound small and depleted when played next to a big budget record.  It isn't always easy, but here are some pointers on how to do this.

Step 1

First, let's talk about a few basic things that a lot of home studio owners tend to over look.  One thing that I see from a lot of amateur studio users in their mixes, is that they have a lot of overloading channels in Pro Tools and don't try to remedy the situation.  Every time that a track is overloading, you are getting some distortion and it is a good idea to limit this as much as possible.  For example, if you have a compressor on a track that has the make up gain too loud, simply turn it down to a level that it will not overload at.  While you might want to have your tracks reach their maximum volume level, overloading your tracks isn't the way to do this and you should always be conscious of this!

Step 2

So once you have all of your levels in place and aren't overloading (which is a constant struggle), you should make sure that your overall level isn't clipping as well.  Simply add a master fader to your track or use some sort of plug-in metering to do this.  A lot of times a single track could be overloading the entire thing, or sometimes a combination, but it is important to make sure that you aren't clipping on the master fader.  One way to do this is by using compression, which will talk about in the next step.

Step 3

Probably the best way to keep your signals sounding loud without overloading them is by using compressors and limiters.  One thing that I usually do is compressor the entire drum set by sending it to an aux channel.  This allows me to boost the volume while keeping it in check by the limiting the volume that it will reach.  I tend to do this for most of the instruments within the mix, of course if we are talking about rock and pop.  Sometimes I will even touch up a signal ever so slightly just to make sure that the level doesn't get too much.  The more that you can make your tracks sound louder while maintaining a maximum output, the better off you will be in overall volume.

Step 4

In addition to using compression in the mix, limiters can also be quite helpful.  I tend to mostly use a limiter on the master fader, but they can definitely come in handy for individual tracks as well, especially on a drum bus.  Limiters will allow you to crank up the overall level, while setting a strict point that it will top out at.  All mastering engineers will use some sort of limiter, but if you are mastering at home, a limiter is an absolute must.

Step 5

One thing that I really want to hit home with this tutorial is making sure that in your effort to make your mixes louder, you don't over do it and overload.  To me, it is better to have a mix that is lower in volume but doesn't distort.  Even if you aren't hearing it all, if your meters are overloading there is something wrong that needs to be fixed.  I know that most people are only after making things louder, but in the end you will be much happy with as clean a mix as possible.  Don't sacrifice sound quality for loudness!

Conclusion

While getting your mixes loud is never easy, I hope that these tips will help you understand a bit better on how to do it.  The main thing is that you get your tracks recorded at the proper level so you have enough room to work with..
Be the first to post a comment about this tutorial

    Would you like to comment this tutorial?

    Log in
    Become a member
    cookies
    We are using cookies!

    Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

    We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

    Our cookies
    Cookies not subject to consent
    These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Example: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).
    Google Analytics
    We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.
    Advertising
    This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest.

    We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

    Our cookies
    Cookies not subject to consent

    These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Examples: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).

    Google Analytics

    We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it. When this parameter is activated, no personal information is sent to Google and the IP addresses are anonymized.

    Advertising

    This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest.


    You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.
    You can also find information about how Google uses personal data by following this link.