At one point another you may have encountered a song that sounded quite after you exported it out of your DAW.
this is common especially if you’re a just starting out in the music production world,
So why does your song sound quiet after export?
The common cause of a song sounding quiet after export is using the wrong export settings or not properly mastering for loudness.
But this could not the end to it,
therefore let’s dig deeper and figure out factors that could be causing a quiet export.
Every Digital Audio Worstation (DAW) comes with specific settings that determine the output of a song/vocal/instrument.
Therefore if these settings are not properly optimized,
you could experience a low sound quality exported song.
If I were in a position where a song I exported sounded quieter than how it sounded in the Daw,
the export settings are essentially the very first thing I’d check.
DAWs at their very core are different therefore a good understanding of yours will be helpful in dealing with any problem.
It’s very difficult to give exact settings for export because songs are different and a variety of factors will come into play.
but I’ll give you general direction atleast.
The first thing you have to ensure to do is to export your song using the same sample rate that you used to record.
44.1 KHz is the common sample rate for recording,
therefore your export settings should be also set to 44.1 KHz.
Another key element is Dither,
when exporting a song with low level depth that has to be later mixed and mastered by an engineer,
export it with no dither,
only apply it after the song is mixed and mastered.
Also remember to CHOOSE THE RIGHT DAW!
Your Sound Card
Not all computers are meant for music production,
some are meant for video editing, picture editing and so forth.
With this in mind you need to realize that the output of your song will greatly depend on the Input/Output device you’re using.
if you’re using your primary sound card,
it could be the reason why you’re getting a low quality exported song
because it could not be meant for music production.
Therefore you could use an audio interface that comes pre-equipped with ASIO drivers or you could purchase Virtual ASIO drivers that you could install on your computer to serve a similar function.
You don’t even need an expensive audio interface, check out this post to learn what to look for when buying an audio interface.
Another reason why your song could sound quiet after is because of conversion.
When you listen to a song in a DAW,
it is of its highest quality which is a loss-less format.
During conversion into a format like MP3, the sound quality will be greatly compromised.
MP3 is typically a compressed audio format, that’s why its never advisable to send an MP3 to your engineer for mastering.
Over limiting could cause your song to drown, that’s why you have to take account of this when trying to figure out why your mix particularly sounds quite.
Some DAWs will have a default limiter on the the main master channel, which can easily drown your mix.
Therefore it’s a good idea to check the master channel to see if there any effects that come with your defaut session in your DAW.
Using a limiter on a master channel is not a bad thing, but you have to make sure that you use it with the right parameters depending on the song.
Song-to-song dynamics are different that’s why you cannot have the same parameters everytime.
One other reason why your music could be sounding different or quiet after export could be that it has not been mastered for loudness or commercial consumption. (Use this checklist to check if your song is mastered)
this is very common for beginner producers.
A song in your DAW will sound great,
but if it’s not mastered,
it will most likely sound different after conversion or export.
therefore learn how to master your music for loudness, because it will help you figure out if it’s really mastering that’s causing you to export low sound music.
Digging deeper into learning how to master will help you, check out the best books for mixing and mastering here.
I also have some tips that can help you get better at mixing and mastering HERE !!
The other reason why your mix could sound quiet after export ;
is that you have too many low frequencies making it difficult for your other sounds to cut through the mix.
naturally , when your lower frequencies like bass are too over powering,
your mix will sound dull and unclear.
Therefore good EQ could solve your problem in a situation like this.
Check that your low range frequencies are well optimized,
also check to see if some of your mid range frequencies are not bleeding into the lower frequency area,
because this will cause lower range frequencies to stack on top of each other therefore making your song unclear.
If you’re new to the world of audio, learn how to read frequencies in this post.
Plus, you can check out THIS POST that covers how you can handle any muddy mixes.
As discussed here you can obviously deduce that it could be a number of reasons why your audio sounds particularly low after export.
The very first thing you have to understand is that your DAW will play your session in the highest possible quality which is a loss less format,
highly optimized for high quality play back, and your sound card will play a very vital role in conversion to a media playable format.
Another key thing that will affect your song after export are the settings that you utilize for export.
Ensure that the bit rate, bit depth and sample rate are well optimized.
You also want to check for any default limiters that may be on your master channel.
Its vital that you properly optimize these limiters to ensure that they don’t affect your playback,
because not all limiter settings will work for all songs.
also ensure that mastering is done for optimal loudness,
sometimes a quiet mix export could be the result of a song not being properly mixed and mastered.
Also consider the media player you’re using to play the song as it will also play a role,
but mainly your exported song sounding quiet or different has to do with your computers audio processors and your export settings.
I’ve highlighted other possible causes to give you more to look at when forming your opinion.
I hope this was helpful.