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I would like to know how loud or quiet we should mix so there is enough room for mastering.

I've knowledge about it but I'm confused. Some people say it should not be good above -3 dB, some say -6 dB, some say 0 dB.

Also, let's say you're mixing a hip hop track. What should be the loudest thing (Snare i guess), and what levels do you give to the melody and the 808 bassline?

E.g in Old school beats, melody is really quiet. But in modern hip hop it is prominent. But how quiet and how prominent? Are there any guidelines does it depend on taste?

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There's no definitive answer to either question.

The more headroom you give the mastering engineer, the more room he has to play with the dynamics of your song. This can be a good or bad thing, depending on how much you trust the engineer. I've heard a few mastering engineers say that 6dB is a healthy amount of headroom to work with. The best thing to do though is ask the mastering engineer that you're sending the track to, they will tell you how they'd like it!

Regarding the levels of particular tracks in the mix, it completely comes down to the kind of sound you want to achieve. You're on the right track in that you're referencing other similar tracks and gauging the mix of your own track. Find a few examples of other artists that fit the genre and sound of the music that you're mixing and use those tracks as a reference to your own mix, without losing your own unique style.

Good luck!

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I would like to know how loud or quiet we should mix so there is enough room for mastering.

---leave some room for the peaks, and the loudness can be adjusted later by mastering engineer. just dont clipped

I've knowledge about it but I'm confused. Some people say it should not be good above 3Db, some say 6Db, some say 0Db.

----loud enough not to hit the peaks, and not too low near the noise floor of your recording.. There is no strict rules

Also, let's say you're mixing a hip hop track. What should be the loudest thing (Snare i guess), and what levels do you give to the melody and the 808 bassline?

---- loudness meter is not the way to measure a mix, it should be in context.. first start the mix with drum and rythm tracks for hip hope genre. Next the vocal and rest blend it in context.. this way your drum tracks and vocal will be in focus...

E.g in Old school beats, melody is really quiet. But in modern hip hop it is prominent. But how quiet and how prominent? Are there any guidelines does it depend on taste?

----- it depends on standards, like there is RMS loudness recommendation for every type of music. some classical music RMS loudness will be around .. EXAMPLES: -20 dB for movies and classical music, -14 for Jazz and Rock, and -12 for pop

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It's not the peaks that make the loudness, it's the crest factor. Crest factor is the difference between the peak level and the RMS average level.

For setting the crest factor, first realize that master can reduce crest factor, but basically can't ever add it. Technically a mastering engineer could insert an expander to add crest factor, but an expander is going to make the mix sound very strange and won't do a good job of adding crest factor anyway.

The point is, you should send the largest crest factor to mastering that you can. Generally that means you should use no limiters or compressors on the stereo output bus. None! In fact, a good rule of thumb is to put nothing on the 2 bus, because processing the 2 bus the mastering engineer's job.

Streaming services like Spotify are now processing the music they stream by setting the average level, not the peak level. That means if you reduce the crest factor by too much before you send to Spotify, they will turn down your whole mix and you peaks will be made quieter. They are now recommending a crest factor of at least 14 dB when you deliver music to them. Most CD releases from the last 20 years have crest factors of 6 dB or less (that means they are 8 dB louder than the Spotify recommendation). Spotify wants your stuff to be quiet! Some online services are benchmarking average levels at -18 dBFS, which means you'll want a crest factor of 18 dB. And that's after mastering!

So, you probably want to deliver a crest factor to mastering of at least 20 dB. Mixing to a 20 dB crest factor means you can more easily put your music with film or video, which has been standardized at 20 dB crest factors since the 90s.

Just to be on the safe side, your peak level probably shouldn't be above -3 dBFS. That means when you're metering your mix, you should see RMS average levels around -23 dBFS and peaks not greater than -3 dBFS.

Beyond all that:

Ask your mastering engineer what you should deliver to them!

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