Over-compressed mix downs 

The days of needing crazy loud mixes are thankfully over. Dynamic is the new loud!

I recommend removing anything doing a large amount (more than 4-6dB) of gain reduction on your main bus, especially ultra-maximizers like Waves L2/L3, FabFilter Pro-L, iZotope Ozone Limiter, etc. If you like whatever mix bus compressor/limiter you have, go ahead! However, I don’t recommend letting it do much more than 2-4dB of compression.

Whether or not you use those maximization/limiter tools, my two main recommendations on getting the most out of your levels is to:

A) make your digital headroom great by leaving your maximum PEAK LEVELS somewhere between -9dB and -3dB on your main bus out. Then…

B) leave 18-12 dB Dynamic Range, which can be read on some meters by the distance between your peak maximum and the average RMS (Root Mean Square) level. Leaving your dynamic range this large makes it so that drums can hit harder! Also, with good headroom, loud sections can increase in average volume without clipping or feeling squished.