Originally Posted by Trakworx
Honestly, as long as a mix is not clipped, brickwalled, or over-compressed, it's very easy for me to control it's level going into my analog chain. I never understood why so many ME's are so particular about precise peak levels. I don't care what the peak level of a mix is as long as it's below 0dbfs. But even just that is often too much to ask it seems.
This is how I feel too. I don't care if the highest peak is -3dBFS, or -9dBFS or -whatever. It's insanely easy to lower the level of the mix before going into the analog chain.
The problems begins when mix engineers have a bunch of compression/make-up gain/limiting/maximizing on the master already that makes it hard to do any outboard work. If it already sounds smashed, it's usually not going to benefit from the analog chain.
Un-limiting, un-brickwalling etc. is not really possible.
If I can't get a proper mix from the client after 2 or 3 attempts (not counting my PDF that clearly explains not to send smashed mixes), I simply do an in the box master which is fine with me at this point because it takes less time usually. I'm talking about mixes that are basically already as loud as I would master them. It sounds silly, but I do get these from time to time. Sometimes is easily rectified, and sometimes it's a lost cause.
Another thing for mix engineers to consider is that the mastering engineer will in almost all cases apply a limiter as the very last step (other than dither, I happen to use a limiter with a dither option), so to send mixes that are already limited just means that your mix is getting double limited which usually results in a weird, over-hyped, too aggressive sound.
In my PDF, I encourage those that are afraid of their mixes without anything on the master to send a version with & without the processing and I can
a) see what they're used to hearing and shooting for,
b) start with the version with no master processing so I can take full advantage of the analog chain.