A point about mastering / loudness these days


I wanted to raise a point about loudness and mastering these days.
I was going thru some bigger label promos today and was struck by the same feeling I’ve got many times before: it’s too loud.
I know, I know – this is actually old news, and I’ve been happy to see a lot of artists and labels going for sound that’s way less crushed.
However, if you’re getting your songs back from a mastering engineer and it looks like this and sounds unpleasant, you’re totally entitled to ask for better dynamics, and probably are better off looking for someone else to do your job. Just not happy to see one of the biggest labels in DNB put out stuff like this. The RMS is hitting above -3, and that’s just unnecessarily loud.
We don’t need to go that loud – the days of loudness wars are over (I wish).

I admit, when I started doing mastering, it happened to me many times that the masters were left unnecessarily loud; in the beginning you do a little bit of “muscle-flexing”, but once you progress, your hearing becomes more refined, hopefully, and you’ll find the spot where it’s competitively loud but doesn’t start to distort.
Also, sometimes, when you work long days and treat, say, eight songs a day, your ears do get tired and they want it louder, and your judgement gets a bit clouded. As a mastering engineer, I always leave re-listening for the next day so I can judge better the quality as well as overall loudness.