You can hardly find another aspect of EDM and Dubstep ixing and mastering services in any of contemporary musical forms which is more controversial and much livelier discussed than loudness that you need to get at the output. By all means, everyone has right to his own opinion, and my personal attitude to maximizing of track loudness at mixing services isn’t an absolute rule or an example for imitation. Nevertheless, a loud, deafening track crushed to a complete loss of dynamics is far from being bound to success with both listeners and record labels. However, if your goal is the loudest track in the world, I’d advise you to listen out to some tips before getting down to work.
1. Loudness is set at the stage of arrangement
When you get down to composition, you should already understand nuances of processing which it’ll have to undergo – first at production stage and then in mixing engineer’s hands. The more dense and saturated with synthesized lines the arrangement is, the more difficult it’ll be for you to make it sound really loud without any audible distortions. No wonder, the more elements there are in the arrangement, the more difficult it’ll be to find a space for each of them in an oversqueezed track. The conclusion is forced upon you; keep arranging using your head and realizing that you can get really considerable loudness from minimalistic arrangement much easier. Personally, I’m strongly convinced that exactly musicality as well as an innovative approach in particular must be of utmost importance. But if you are all out for exactly the most powerful sound, pay attention to production. It has to be smooth and careful what will finally release you from criticism about the quality of the sound.
2. Much brighter, more and more.
As opposed to bass, high-mids are perceived by our ear a lot louder, and one can play the card by boosting general loudness while mastering electronic dance music loud. All the techniques described in item 2 will suit. But use high-mid frequencies excitement carefully. Unreasonable enhancement of “highs” threatens you with transferring your track from a class of genius creations to a category of those which awfully irritate and are even unhealthy to listen to.
3. Squeeze stepwise
The simplest and common technique to extract the maximum of loudness from music is to squeeze a track with a clipper/limiter to its limit. It’s necessary to realize that it leaves its mark – you’ll have to put up with blurring and even distortion. Only the lazy didn’t speak about killing of natural dynamics as well. However, there is a technique to do this violence against a sound on mixing in a much more delicate manner. Use compression and maximizing at each stage of composition mixing – each element, each instrumental line must be compressed and even hard limited/clipped so that a limiter placed at the end of the processing chain won’t be able to become a destructive stage while polishing a track in a mastering laboratory.
It’s obvious that the essence of the above-described techniques is a search for compromises. Only you decide how loud you desire to get your music at the output from studio, how important to you its naturalness and the depth of sound are, what depth of pumping corresponds with your perceptions. Yet listen out to the recommendations stated in this article, and your personal search for a compromise and a perfect sound will be much easier.