When most of us think of a “drop” in electronic music, we imagine something preceding a breakdown or buildup in a song. This is the section of a tune where the energy is focused, the tension is released ,and the main “groove” of the tune enters. Most EDM drop’s are the main climax/focus of the song, and where you really feel the sub bass. In this blog we’ll talk about 3 ways to make your EDM drop sound bigger and more powerful.

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1. Volume Automation

When we listen to music we tend to hear louder music as better, and usually in dance music the harder the hit, the more energetic the dance floor is. With this in mind a simple way to make your EDM drop more impactful and louder, is to automate the master volume. More specifically lower the volume of the breakdown and buildup sections (these are the sections that build into the drop). This will allow your drop to have that instantaneous boost in volume and energy.

Now the key to using this technique effectively is to make sure you’re using it subtly. A random jump in volume will be jarring to the listener and far too noticeable, it’s best to automate slowly (4-8-16 bars) and only do it by a max of -4db.

If it’s possible try and use a plugin to automate the volume, rather then using the master volume. Using a plugin will give you more control and won’t restrict any of the uses you currently have with your master fader. For instance if you’re using Ableton, they have a live utility device on the master bus and it automates the gain control, and can thus lower volume slowly over time.

2. Filter Sweeps

When thinking about ways to emphasize an EDM Drop, looking before the drop is often the best place to start. Using a High Pass Filter before your drop is a great way to use tension and release to push your drop forward. Try taking out the low frequencies before the drop, and when the drop hits bring back in the low frequencies. This will give your drop a harder hit, and will make your drop sound more powerful.

To do this we can create a filter sweep by inserting a filter or EQ plugin to the master channel. MAKE SURE it’s a high pass filter. Next automate the cutoff frequency for 1-8 bars, and right before the drop disable the plugin. This will ensure you have all the frequencies available, and that the plugin won’t be cutting off any wanted to frequencies.

3. Cut Elements In The Mix

When you’re approaching your drop in an EDM tune, cutting tracks and instruments to create a gap of silence is going to give you more impact in your drop. Silence and rest in music is more useful than it’s given credit sometimes. Before your drop having a catch phrase or something that throws you into the new section is a great way to prepare your audience for what’s going to come.

Another thing to think about here is how many sounds or instruments you have playing before the drop hits. One has to be careful when putting a lot of movement and sounds in your build, because if you have too much energy in the build it very likely can overpower the drop.

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