By the way, I ALWAYS try to separate mixing and mastering. Though it has become more of a continuum in recent decades, I make it a point to mix in the mix room and master in the mastering room. And to keep the two perspectives as separate as possible. Although after decades of working in this field I feel that being part of the continuum is ok. Initially I felt that “mastering your own mix is like giving yourself your own haircut”. But I’ve come around to realizing that it is a continuum. I highly recommend that mixing engineers who attempt their own mastering better be very certain and comfortable with the accuracy of their monitoring systems, and if possible, seek outside feedback on their projects to be — until they are 100% comfortable that their monitoring is translating well to the outside world.
I also have a very strong philosophy that to obtain impact, punch, depth, warmth, dynamic movement in our productions, we need to master using a monitoring system with extreme headroom. Headroom that will tell us if we are overcompressing — give us that much needed slap on the wrist that says, “Don’t do that”. How can you tell if you are overcompressing if your monitor system itself is compressing! This idea may sound controversial to some, but I’ve seen too much evidence that musical interest and consumer excitement goes downhill when a production has been overcompressed.
A heavy metal scream can be extremely exciting! But a song that consists of continuous screams can get very boring (at least to my ears). One of my favorite new musicians is Willow Smith. I love her performances. The are loud, but they are also dynamic!