Mastering Modern Dance/Bass Music
Getting the levels that are demanded by modern Dance/Bass styles like House, Trap, Dubstep and drum and bass while retaining the dynamics, punchy drums and huge bass is a seemingly impossible task.
After all, you are pushing general levels up to where the transient energy is, so on the outside it sounds like a clear contradiction.
But then we know very well that people are doing it.
Take, for example, the track “Centipede” by knife party, huge bass (arguably too much on some systems) massive level and punchy as all hell.
so what’s the secret?
In truth it’s a mixture of alchemy… modern, intelligent algorithms, great ears and a whole lot of experience. You can’t have one without the other.
Pop music still needs to be loud if it’s going to compete on radio etc. But it usually doesn’t need so much sub bass and consequently there is more headroom.
Rock and metal are in the same basket mainly. But do you remember the controversy over “Death Magnetic” by Metallica where the whole loudness war issue was taken way too far. It’s a lesson worth remembering.
Honestly, you don’t have to play the loudness war but it’s often a brave move not to.
With acoustic music, blues and jazz you really don’t need to have your tracks particularly loud in my opinion (and in that of most mastering engineers). It’s a good thing too because acoustic instruments don’t stand up well to being slammed with a limiter.