What kind of db levels would you suggest having your tracks at? People have said to have your kick and snare hitting at -10db and your sub -3db below that. If thats the case, where abouts would your hi hats and mid bass etc be hitting?
forget numbers, they aint gona help you, just use your ears load up a few of your favorite tracks into your daw and have a look at them with a spectral analyzer, that will give you some idea about the levels (nice gentle slope 140hz-20khz generally), but still, forget numbers
i use numbers mate, i have the drum bus around -10 mark, no defined rules though, depends on the tune. sub bass depending on style and tune 2 or 3 below but the key is to use your ears. good gain structutres have improved my mixdowns quiet a lot over the past few months. as a rule i never touch the master volume, only sometimes add a compressor/saturation/limiter on the master as a rough mastering job. imo my tunes dont sound poorly mixed down but theyre still a long way off where i wanna be
Its something that youll learn and develop over time really, with lots of practice.
I generally don't follow explicit rules really. One thing I try to do is have my kick, snare, and sub peaking the most so by the time I get to final limiting I know for a fact those will be heard in master. Also I try to keep a minimum of -6db headroom following mixdown.
It's quite simple really. Use your ears to adjust the volume until it sounds reasonable. Just make sure the kick, snare and sub are fairly loud in the mix. Your mix should peak at about -6db.
Once you've finished the mix, export it as a WAV then bring it back into your DAW for mastering. Or you could apply the mastering directly onto the master channel (But i don't like to do this, it can get very CPU intensive).