It always amazes me that many clients who come into my studio and have track they have finished but are complaining that it ‘just doesn’t sound as good as it should’ , when asked ,have never mixed it down referencing to another track in the same style that sounds good !
A great technique I’ve used to mix down my tracks over the years is to compare my eq’s and levels against an existing track that I know to be of good production and sounds good out in a club. That way , even if you match all aspects of that mix 90% you know it’s going to sound decent to release.
In the early 90’s that process would be setting the 2 tracks at the same level through a mixing desk and switching between the two tracks manually , adjusting sounds and frequencies by ear . These days there are some great plug ins that can help you do that ‘in the box’ and spectrum analyser plugs . I use ‘Sample Magic’s A/B plug in all the time , it’s a relatively inexpensive plug in that you stick on the end of your master chain , you can then load up to 9 reference tracks of your choice in the available slots . Then switch between the mix in your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and one of your reference tracks using the ‘A’ and ‘B” buttons on the plug in ,
This Really helps a mix down , as you switch between the two tracks , ask yourself , is my bass heavy enough as the referance track , my tops etc , and individual elements like drums leads ,vocals etc , you will soon find your track being very close to the track your mixing against after a few of these tweaks .Couple this process with an eq analyser (most DAWS have this in their basic eq ) and it’s a win win as you can hear and SEE what you r trying to achieve !
Another great plug in technique is ‘Match eq’ , Logic Pro has a specific plug for this , where you can literally take a ‘print’ of the Eq of a track you like , and apply that flavour to yours !