Why doesn’t my chorus sound big enough? And how can I make my drop have more of an impact? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, then this post is for you. I’ve used this information to help artists get their drops sounding bigger than ever. Whether I’m working with stadium fillers or bedroom producers releasing their first track, the formula WORKS, and now I’m sharing it with you!
The Most Common Reason Drops Sound Weak
Over-compressing the drop can make it sound comparatively ‘smaller’ than your verse or build up. You can often visually see this issue in an audio file before you even hear it.
There are two things happening here. Firstly, a high ratio and fast attack on a compressor will suck the life out of the transients. Secondly, the compression is reducing the gain, which can literally make it sound quieter than your verse.
The Remedy: Make sure your chorus comes in noticeably louder than your verse or build up. This will give it a dramatic entrance and make it sound powerful. If you use compression on the elements within your drop, keep the ratio at or below 4:1 and make sure the attack time is long enough to keep your transients punchy.
You can use LEVELS to make sure your drop has a louder short term LUFS than your verse. 1-2LU difference is moderate, 3-6LU difference is significant, and a 7+LU difference is very obvious.
Fill The Speakers For A Huge Sound
In the majority of compositions, the chorus or drop is the most exciting, most memorable and most engaging part of the song. The reason choruses are so satisfying is because they resolve the tension from the build up and present the main melody in an energetic way.
When I’m producing or mixing a drop, I’ll try to ‘fill the speakers’ whilst keeping the mix decongested. I’ll sculpt full bodied and powerful sounds to create an encapsulating tonal balance. I’ll also utilise the whole stereo spectrum to make the drop feel as large as possible.
The art of filling the speakers and knowing where to stop is what makes the best mixing engineers so valuable. Make the sounds too full bodied and you’ll get a muddy mix. Place too many sounds wide and you’ll get phase issues and a lopsided result. When you’re working on your mix, be super precise with your adjustments. When you’re boosting or cutting with an EQ, be purposeful with the gain. Don’t just aimlessly EQ your audio, find the PERFECT amount to cut or boost. For example, if it’s a relatively small boost is it +2dB or +2.5dB? Which setting pushes the track towards a better final sound?
For your drop or chorus to sound huge, your build-up or pre-chorus has to sound smaller in comparison. I would recommend making your build-up sound quieter in volume with less width to give your drop the maximum impact when it comes in. If both your build-up and your drop are loud and wide, then the drop will have no distinguishable impact.
You can also use the frequency range to create contrast. Keep your verse and build up free of instruments with a powerful low end, then introduce full range kick and bass in the drop. This can help you create an impact even if it’s just a bar of no low end before the drop. If you strongly feel that your arrangement and song needs constant bass through out the track, try automating an EQ to reduce the bass elements just a few decibels during the verse and build up. Then automate it back to 0dB for the drop. This subtle lift will add to the impact of your chorus.
We have around 20 thousand frequencies to play with when we’re making music, and they run out pretty quickly! There’s a finite amount of space for you to work with before your sounds start overlapping. Try to minimise overlapping to get your audio sounding powerful. If frequencies do overlap, use the stereo width to add separation.
Too many contrasting melodic ideas can also detract from the power of your drop. Make the melodies of your chorus digestible to make it as memorable as possible for your listener.
- The drop should be louder than the pre-chours and verse.
- The drop should fill the speakers utilising the full frequency and stereo spectrum.
- The build-up should sound quieter and less wide compared to your drop.
- Minimise overlapping during the drop to get your audio sounding powerful.