how do I properly level and louder a mix?


New member
Hi Guys,

In need of some mixing advice, I am in desperate advice of how to properly level your mix when making beats i.e when would you add a compressor or how much volume db should the mix be at before limiters or final compressors?.

Also when I do add a limiter on the master channel and boost the gain. The louder I go, the more the sounds start to sort of muddy and come apart rather than gel together. Of course I'm guessing this has a lot to do with the mixing but I'm not sure what I am doing wrong. For example If I'm mixing the low end wrong, causing the whole mix to muddy or If it's something else.
Using FL11, my current process is mix my melodies by cutting unwanted low end and high end and then cutting/boosting if needs be then adding a slight touch of waves S1 imager to certain melodies to widen them. With my drums then, I again cut the unwanted lows and highs and again boost/cut where needed. On my kicks which are normally quite punchy before any treatment, I tend to boost a tiny bit around the 90-130hz area and then sidechain the 808/bass. I do cut low end from my kick too at about 50hz on average.

(Each sound is done in solo and at full volume on the dedicated channel, and the 808/bass is always put in mono. I also don't use any compressors on these sounds, I literally just use EQ on the kick/808 then EQ, Reverb, S1 Imager and other effects on all the other sounds where and when I need them.)

After I have done this, I pull every sound down to 0db and then loop the part of the beat with everything playing. I then begin to gradually pull up each sound whilst my interface volume knob is on medium'ish volume. I try to make the overall thing come to about minus 8-10db, once this is done I then go to my master channel, load up Fabfilter Pro L and just pull the gain up till it sounds loud basically.


Getting a louder mix that sounded good has taken me about 15 years to figure out. Unfortunately all the advice in the world can't help because the key ingredient is really psychological. You have to be able to tell when a sound needs treatment, how to achieve the fix, and be able to do it relatively quickly. The longer you try and fix a problem, the more reality slips away from you and you really are just doing nothing helpful.

How many times have you spent hours on a mix, and you think it is amazing.. and you even compared it to a commercial song and somehow told yourself it was still good. Then a month later you play your mix again after not having heard it for a while and can immediately tell it sucks. That's the psychological thing I'm talking about. At the time, you were convinced it was good. But after you had time to distance yourself from it you realized it was bad.

What you might try and do, is when you first start a mix, immediately write down the things you want to fix, because after you listen for too long those things won't seem like problems anymore. Next, when you try and fix one of the problems, if you can't get the fix within a couple minutes, move on to another task, or just hit the stop button and Google how to fix the problem so you get a new idea of how to do it, bc obviously what you were doing wasn't working.

Eventually you'll get to the point where you instinctually know when youve been working on a problem too long and will move on to something else so you don't lose objectivity. Being able to do that will allow you to make better mix decisions, leading to the kind of loudness and leveling you want.

Lastly, it will be really hard to get a good level if you are in an untreated room that is causing lots of the room response problems. You should dedicate lots of time to learning how to properly position your speakers and measuring your room response and adding some treatment.