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Produce more powerful drops in 4 steps

As producers we're always struggling to get a clean mix, but sometimes we do things that take away the power of the drop. In this blog you'll learn how to make your drop sound as powerful as possible while having a clean mix.

Produce more powerful drops.

Table of Contents


1 - Compression

Many YouTube videos tell you to compress sounds to create a tight and powerful sound. That's not a wrong point, but the problem is that if you don't have a lot of experience in music production, you can over-compress things and make it sound like the opposite. The main problem is that your sounds will lose all of their transients. Your track will sound lifeless and flat. We also have to talk about volume levels. A compressor can reduce the volume dramatically if you over-compress, which is most of the time, not the thing you want to achieve. If you want to learn more about what a compressor does and how to compress properly, there is a previous blog where we've covered all you need to know.

Music production compression.

2 - Build up

Making a drop hit hard isn't all about the drop itself. It's also about what is leading up to it: the build up. For the build up, you want to increase the tension and get the audience hyped for the drop. There are different ways of doing this.

1) Add snare rolls and sweep-ups for an uplifting feel.

2) Cut the lows by using an automated low-cut EQ. Make sure you release it before the drop comes in. This will not just create insane tension but makes the drop hit way harder at the same time!

3) Use automated reverb to wash out the sound before the drop comes in. You can do this with any reverb but the plugin Endless Smile is absolutely insane for build-ups!

4) Try adding a small gap before the drop. This is great for creating contrast because this gap will create a moment of silence before the drop hits hard.

Endless smile. Buildups in music production.

3 - Volume

Let's talk about volume. It often feels like louder equals a more powerful sound. Overall that's not wrong because you definitely want the drop to be the loudest part in comparison to the rest of the track. But make sure this difference is just a few DB since you don't want to scare the listener just because your drop is crazy loud. Also, proper leveling of the different drop elements is important. Make sure everything is balanced and side-chained well. Since a lot of people think that a louder kick equals more punch and power, don't forget that the thing that makes a drop powerful is a glued feel of all the elements together. You will notice this when you listen to reference tracks. You will hear the presence of the kick, but it just sits well in the whole mix and is not crashing through it.

Volume. Music production.

4 - The riddle of a full mix

In the end, it all comes down to a proper, well-balanced mix that fills the whole audio spectrum and gives the listener a punchy, wide listening experience. But what are the main points you should look out for when trying to solve the riddle of a full mix? Basically, you can split this up into three things:

Frequency Spectrum - Make sure to do a proper EQing that cuts unwanted lows to create enough space for the kick and bass. Make sure to fill the whole audio spectrum so all frequencies are covered. If not, your mix will sound thin, and make sure you don't cut too much since things will sound unnatural fast.

Stereo Image - Make sure to create a wide sound with the help of panning and stereo widening, but keep an eye out for phase issues so no elements chancel out each other.

Leveling - Proper leveling is very important. Before you even start with any more complex mixing like compression, start doing a really good leveling. You will notice that things are much easier if you have a great foundation. Learn more about leveling and mixing here.

Music production mixing.

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