Interesting thread... I don't think it is fair that the mastering engineers are always getting the blame for CDs being too loud and having no dynamics. A lot of dynamics are lost already in the mixing stage, I think.

Looking at my own stuff, I used to use way too much compression on individual tracks in my early mixes (in part because of the limited set of tools offered by the DAW software I used early on). Nowadays, I use compression in the mix very selectively, because it's such a double edged sword. If something needs to be louder in the mix, I mostly rely on gain to get it there. What's interesting is that my newer mixes are both louder and more dynamic.

Jim Offerman ~ inspirational pop music
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