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Ignore the Loudness Wars!!!
By this I mean, stop worrying about your mixes getting crushed by Mastering or radio or whatever. It’s out of your control. Yeah. It sucks. It’s killing all the dynamics in your mixes. But you only have three choices. Whine and complain about it, start your own “Loudness Wars” support group or simply “Deal with IT”.
It’s a given. People like loud music. Labels LOVE loud music and you’re not going to escape it. If you’re doing a spec mix and your mix is 9dB lower than mine, you just did a spec mix and I just got the gig.
Let go of the “audiophile” in you. Brickwall Limiting is a given. It’s not going away. Embrace it. Use it to your advantage. Make great music and mixes “despite” it being crushed to hell.
While you can’t control how crushed your tracks are, you can control how they sound WHEN they’re crushed. Consider this processing in your mixes. Make it sound amazing even AFTER it’s crushed.
Arrange your songs and production ideas to work within these limitations. Pull sounds in and out. Sure. It will still be the same volume in the end but you will create Dynamic moments by using song arrangement. Pull out the guitars for a verse. Filter the drums in the breakdown. Create Dynamics with impact that can’t be created with volume.
If you don’t want to send your mixes CRUSHED to the Mastering engineer, that’s OK. You shouldn’t. But you should at least monitor them with the effect on there so you can hear how they will sound once the dynamics are gone. You need to control what people hear in the end and you can only do this if you “embrace” this technology.
I hope this message finds you. Well. Kenny