#1 This is a hard rule to live by for producers… Do NOT master your own music for the final product! If you have not gone to school to learn mastering you WILL end up just ruining your song and over compressing. Mastering is a VERY difficult job to do and you have to have a trained ear and have full knowledge of compression, eq, exciters, and spatial wideners. Also, due to the fact you have so much “baggage” that comes with working on the song that you will not be able to give 100% full attention to the song because you have heard it a million times already.
You need to give it to someone with fresh ears who can analyze the song and not the song process. If you want to get into the world of mastering you should ask your producer friends if you can practice mastering on a song of theirs. (Maybe even swap songs with them so they can practice as well). Just throwing a compressor and eq on a track may help a bit, but overall it will not make the song sparkle or boom like a great club track should.
The great thing about mastering is that the price has gone WAAAAAY down. Now I know there is still guys out there who charge $1000’s per song… and they are worth it. But since you and I are broke like a bad joke we need something a little less expensive. Your best bet is to do a search for local (for now) mastering agents and listen to their work on their site. They must have songs that fit your genre, otherwise your probably going to get the wrong sound a the end of the mastering session. If you do not find a good local mastering agent then try spreading out to find one. The reason I say start local is that you can sit with them and they can pick your brain in real time and not have to do the whole download, listen, critique, download, listen critique, and so on that can go on if you use someone out of town. The great thing is the pricing, you can find some great mastering agencies that charge $20-$50 a song and most have deals for mastering albums.