Originally Posted by skillz335
isn't that because the harmonic distortion actually changes the waveform, utilizing phase as its time relationship to your advantage making the effected elements sit better or pierce through the mix?
Im not a technical scientific guy, Im more of a "turn the knob until it sounds good" kinda guy. From my understanding its just adding overtones to the source, so it gives more colour to the midrange.
You have to understand that you don't wait to get to the mastering stage. It's all part of the mixing process. Thats the reason why I do most of my mix (75%) in raw form with nothing on the master bus - I get it to sound dynamic and interesting. Next step is to add the limiter and maybe EQ but I dont use much EQ and sometimes I never use EQ. And I am maybe taking off 3db at the absolute most. I dont like to squish my dynamics. But I still have work to do and I do it inside the mix not on the master bus.
For example if the limiter is now making the vocals sound burried, I go into the mix and fix that. Turn them up, maybe add a little mid range EQ If it makes the snare sound squished, I go in and fix that. I might layer another snare under it to bring back those dynamics. The fact of the matter is that you cant rely on just the mastering because you never know what the limiter (or multiband) is going to do to the track once you try and squish it. And also why would you want to use a multiband on the master if you dont have to?? if you need more low end, just push the kick up, screw the multiband. You should only use the multiband if your in dire straights. Everything should be managed inside your mix with maybe a little sweetening on the master fader (a little nudge in EQ, small amount of compression etc).
AudioRadar also mentioned your mixes having a lack of movement. To me thats a huge reason for a lot of mixes dont sound quite there. When you listen to a track that was done "professionally", most of the time the chorus FEELS like a chorus, not like a a busier verse. Its all about how it makes you feel.