Originally Posted by Nonlinear
Let me re-phrase my question: if my mix wasn't "typically" loud would there be a tendency for an outsider to think it hadn't been mastered, i.e., wasn't finished?
Depends on the "outsider"! One Outsider might say "Wow, you were too cheap to pay for mastering, huh?" Another might say "Woah dude, this sounds...uh, I don't know...not loud?" and another might say "Right on, your mix sounds great and boy, I can now listen to your album right next to my Kool & The Gang albums!"
OR - if you're confident in the quality of your mix and don't want to process it further, you're allowed to not care how "loud" it is.
As a side note, I wish more people would realize that laptops and ipods don't have balls when it comes to amplifying audio, and that buying good amps and gear that has good quality volume knobs is actually a cool thing to do.