There are several ways to increase the loudness in your mix. Increasing perceived loudness is not something many practice but it can surely provide a punch to your mix. With more recent times, loudness is a goal for most producers. Having the loudest track attracts many listeners as they blast your music. While there are many ways to increase the loudness to your track, many engineers do the following.
Frequency masking is when one signal distracts the ear from another signal. This causes clashing and masking over instruments that occupy the same frequencies. This is something you need to avoid when trying to achieve loudness in your track. This is especially common for kick and bass. It is advised to listen to both sounds individually before finding the perfect place to EQ. Usually, the kick drum gets lost in the bass and if you turn down the bass, it would not be loud enough to carry the song. Read about EQing the bass and kick here.
Peak limiting removes excess peaks on samples, vocals etc. We recommend placing a limiter on the master bus. Then, the output gain should be set to -0.3dB. When you do this, your mix will not clip on sound systems and will provide more space. It is always important to listen by ear when making changes. When you apply peak limiters to other areas, everything will sound more crisp. Click here to read about limiting.
Instead of EQing competing sounds, try separating them with panning. Panning adds width and space into your mix which in turn increases perceived loudness. Random, but in 1930s the Disney corporation tested many different panning techniques and found that panning is much preferred by the listeners. These same techniques are used to make mixes sound louder.
Harmonic distortion is a way to add overtones to the frequencies. There are many kind of harmonic distortion plugins but they all usually add subtle effects like saturation, overdrive, compressions and more. Experimenting with parallel distortion and saturation plugins can really boost the loudness of your track without over doing it.
Increase the loudness in your mix by following the tips above. It is common to play everything by ear, but generally you can do these things to really make a punchy loud track. Frequency masking, peak limiting, panning, and harmonic distortion are great ways to assist your loudness. Let us know what you think below!