If you feel it’s not good enough after hard worked mix, it might because you didn’t make automations correctly.
Firstly, what is “Automation” in DAW music.
It’s the recordings the change of volumes, pan and values of plugin on each track.
Now a day, there is no software that can not automate.
In other words, that means that automation is one of the things we have to do.
The function that you are not using in general software are often showing what is missing for you.
Whether automation is done well not affects the quality of the song from the various aspects.
This time I suggest 4 things.
1.Going closer to human performance.
For example, only you make small random up and down (only 1 or 2db is enough) in your percussion loop, the tracks become much better.
We can make a simple loop closer to human performance by intentionally making the swing of the volume that would happen if it is a human performance.
Not only the volume but also attack of compressor, send to the reverb and so on will work in here too.
2. It’s inevitable to keep the mix balance .
When you put the same shaker sample throughout the song.
You will mix the most dense part firstly, according to the general mixing procedure.
Then it will be good on there. But before there, the shaker will be too loud since there are still only less other sounds.
In other words, the appropriate volume will always change in a track depend on the status of the other tracks.
3.You can get more loudness by tricking listener.
This is a famous TIPS, for instance, you put the guitar riff from a certain point.
So, you turn up the volume only the begging of that riff.
Then the listeners notice the that and feel that the guitar riff keeps the same volume after too.
But in fact, if you turn down the volume to some extent, they won’t notice that.
This can down the dynamics of the song and make it louder.
4.You can control the impression of the song.
This is close to No.3. When lister notice one marked sound, they tend to chase that sound after.
It means that you can present the sound which you want them to listen to at every important point.
Conversely, you have to design the pass that the listener should go through from the beginning to the end of the song, otherwise the song will make the boring or chaotic impression.
By the way, this is possible to say about all the matter of automation. If you once write the automation line on the track, it will be hard to change the level of the whole track.
Then you can put the simple plugin (for instance WAVES Q1) to the end of the track to change the volume.
The automation is necessary, especially for the dance music or electronica that tend to use the loops and the repeating the same phrase.
We have to remember that the recording of real instruments is same with the sounds already have been made automations.
Real instruments recording or singing has quite huge amount of the information in itself, so we have to compensate the lack of it somehow or another.