Tips For Increasing Loudness In Your Mix
🔊INCREASE YOUR LOUDNESS
Before you scream at me, I'd like to start by saying WE LOVE DYNAMIC MUSIC at Audio Mixing Mastering😂
I personally side with dynamics, over loudness, in my own music.
HOWEVER, there are instances where one might want, or need, more loudness and thats what this post is here to help with!
Now that we're breathing easier...lets go:
1 - Competing Elements & Frequency Masking: use subtractive EQ to remove competing frequencies between elements. Also remove frequencies that are just not necessary in sounds (low end in hi-hat recordings, etc.). Sidechain Compression is another tool that can fix overlap of sounds (think kick and bass).
2 - Dynamic Control using compression: loudness isn't only based on peak amplitude, but also how long we perceive that level. Transient sounds might have high Peak values but very little RMS (Perceived Loudness) because they dont hold that loud level over time. We use compression to shape these dynamics, and in return can gain "loudness".
3 - Balance your kick and bass! They are two of the loudest elements in a mix! If they overlap, or are just too loud, they eat up all your headroom.
4 - Going back to dynamic control, we can use peak limiting to remove excess peaks on bad recordings / samples / etc. This in turn will eat up less headroom, for the same perceived loudness.
5 - Harmonic Distortion and Saturation are also forms of adding loudness. It doesn't always have to be so obvious either. Try experimenting with parallel distortion/saturations.
6 - Use Panning to separate competing elements. Adding a bit of width and space will also increase perceived loudness in a mix.