Mixing a cohesive album

Hey everyone,

I am in the final stages of mixing my album and have been recently trying to find the best way to get consistent and cohesive volume levels of individual elements throughout the entire album. I came up with an approach that I think should work, but id love any feedback or input on how I might do it differently if needed.

So drums are a main focus in my music, and to get a more cohesive sound I thought to focus on creating a consistent drum volume throughout the whole album. To do this I thought that I would start by matching each track to the same integrated LUFS level of -20. Once they all have the same LUFS level, then I would reference each album track back to back in the same session, and adjust the drum volume on each song to work towards creating a consistent drum volume throughout all tracks. I would be simultaneously making sure each song is still reading -20 on the integrated LUFS meter so that I won’t be tricking my ears with loudness.

Id be doing all this with the goal of making it so once the album is mastered, and you listen from start to finish, the volume of the drums in each track is relatively the same and has a cohesive sound… If I go about creating consistent levels in this way, will all of my tracks maintain that cohesive sound and loudness of the drums once they are mastered? Is there anything else that I need to keep in mind when doing this?

The main thing I am wanting to avoid is to think that I have a cohesive sound and volume level on the drums in each track, yet once the songs are mastered and the headroom is lost, then the consistency of my drums may not be as accurate as I thought it was before mastering.

Just want to be clear on this before I start, because I know that I can end up chasing my tail and wasting time if I don’t approach this in the proper way.

Appreciate your time and input!


Yes, that sounds like a good way to do it! Another good option is to mix one song and then use that one as a reference for the rest.

  • If I where to mix an album today I would probably use a first mix as a reference for setting the levels since it will give me a good result in a very short time.
  • If I planned to work with mixing I would setup a template with for example Hornet AutoLevel or whatever that plugin is called which lets you specify levels in LUFS for each track or bus… and then import all audio tracks to the right tracks and let AutoLevel(?) do it’s thing. I think this would save a lot of time in the long run, but might not give you as aligned perceived level on each track.

indirectly related, highly recommend these two plugins.



Not sure if you plan on mastering them yourself but dynameter is my new favourite tool. Be careful about overprioritzing loudness over dynamics, dynameter will help you ensure things arent too crushed for loundness sake. perception will also help you determine if you are actually adding mix value via plugins or are just hearing things louder. cheers