Sam Inglis wrote:Actually nothing about the mix that the OP has posted suggests any problems with gain structure to my ear. It isn't wildly out of kilter and nothing is obviously clipping.
I'm not saying it's the one and only problem, but you need to start at the beginning! Some fundamentals need to be in place if this guy is going to help himself out of the problems he's hearing. Without the fundamentals that's not easy.
Straining the audio chain on the way in may be skewing the recording from the very start - it doesn't need to have obvious clipping to make a difference. Faders get raised, plug-ins are pushed hard, other stuff is added louder to compensate, faders get raised, D/A is strained and mix choices are made based on all of this, faders are raised... I've seen it happen many times. It's hard to know, obviously, but to sort this out you have to start from the very beginning of the chain. If we can be sure we have clean recordings then we can move to other options.
And I'd second the vote for Eddie's guidance!