Before saying anything I have to say that I, and I'm sure all the other
professional mastering engineers here, have seen questions similar to yours many, many
times. Sometimes they are are genuine but often they are from those trolling a forum. I'll
assume that it is the former.
I can't really say for certain why your home
master doesn't compare with a commercial track but the perceived volume of a track has
much to do with the composition and arrangement. It is also affected by the quality of the
recording and mix.
Mastering engineers use what equipment and techniques they
need to achieve the requirements set out by the producer. There isn't a set formula of
techniques and/or equpiment used to make tracks 'louder', what is used and done depends on
the specific track and the requirements of the producer. Many of us prefer not to clip
audio or shear waveforms whether to achieve preceived volume or for effect. When we are
required to we often 'clip' the ADC hardware by affecting the analogue gain structure
rather than by using software vsts.
Depending on the source the clipping that
you see on a commercial track may be due to other issues rather than deliberate clipping
by the mastering engineer.
So if your track isn't achieving the perceived
volume first look at the composition and arrangement and carefully consider how that
affects things. Then look at your mix and how that affects things.
Senior mastering engineer - MiroMastering