Old 01-13-2018, 03:09 PM   #1
Cjsleme
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Default How can I make my drops more powerful/energetic?

This is a question for anyone that makes EDM, I am new to it and would love for you to listen to this song I made. (I wrote all the parts and made all the synths). My issue is the first drop doesn't have the power to it I envision, I want it to be a blast of big sound when those chords hold out and hit. Also the last drop what should I do or add to make it more energetic and sound like a big room house drop? I am just not getting the full dynamics I want in my music. =(
Any advice would be appreciated.

EDIT: the link I originally posted didn't work so here is one that does. https://soundcloud.com/curtis-sleme/electric-6/s-lIg75

Last edited by Cjsleme; 01-13-2018 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:01 PM   #2
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The link doesn't seem to work.

Anyway...

I notice a particular approach used often in EDM for this kind of thing. I hear it almost every day in some soundtrack or song:

Put a compressor on your master mix and side-chain it (trigger it) from your kick track (or whatever you want). Make its response somewhat slow so you can hear it swell.

Alternately you can mix everything except the kick to a sub mix, and compress that side-chained from the kick. That way everything except the kick will be compressed and swell.

Or you can selectively side-chain synths (etc.) from the kick, on a per-track basis.

Here are a couple examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qELUfGKzJg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT5Tgnc7JvM
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:55 PM   #3
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Link isn't working for me either, but here's a couple of things you can do.

1. Before the drop, subtly EQ out the extreme low and high end of the whole track. This way, when it hits, it feels even more weighty. It helps to think about the buildup arrangement versus the drop - take out as much during the buildup as you can to exaggerate the contrast.

2. Make sure the drop has not only plenty of sub bass and mid bass, but also higher end harmonics so it translates across all listening environments. Some distortion or saturation will go a long way here.

3. Compress the hell out of it

4. Utilize things in your buildup like noise sweeps, stutter edits, snare rolls, etc. to lead the ear toward the drop, building anticipation. Leave a 1-bar or half bar gap in between.

5. Automate master volume to lower 1-3 db before the drop, then back to full volume when it hits.
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:30 PM   #4
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A working link would be better to identify the problem. It's pretty much subjective. Maybe you're doing it as good as it can get and many advices here would be useless to improve the result.

Music and "arranging" are pretty much related to creating illusion/perception and subtle changes make big differences in the big picture when you layer things up.

Same for every genre of music. You wether call it a drop/tension/relief/chorus/verse etc... From a composer and arranger's POV if you plan the order of sections cleverly, it will shine itself. The rest is EQ, compression tweaks etc.

If you want to emphasize a part or make it stand out, decrease the power of the rest. This can either be accomplished via, EQ, compression, Chord progression etc.

Examine verse/chorus relationship in the songs.

Those are just theoritical things to keep in mind not knowing what kind of a material you came up with since we can't hear it.

From technical side of things, higher frequencies tend to create a louder image compared to lower frequencies. If you want to create that powerful shot with the lowest freq in your spectrum then previous section's overall volume & freq combination shouldn't top it.

Fundamental EQ'ing would help you get started. Cutting of unnecessary parts to create room for the overall mix so that your composition/arranging wouldn't all be left in the middle of a war where instruments battle each other.

There are many tricks...
Like employing different/out-of-genre elements/ideas gently to stengthen the overall structure. As an example, you can throw a real lower piano note which is barely heard as a layer below the guitars in a metal music track to make it feel stronger in the lower freq'd parts.
I know this is not related to EDM at all but you get the idea.

These are just my thoughts as a listener and intermediate music producer. I'm nowhere a professional so you can just skip the above thoughts if you've already passed those phases.
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Old 01-13-2018, 07:37 PM   #5
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Also, reverb is one hell of a department which is hard to tame when it comes to maintaining the overall "energy" you speak of.

EQ'ing is like a child's play when you compare it to adjusting reverberation.

Reverb, where not applied and tamed carefully would drop the overall energy that you might expect to have.

If you need more focus/in-your-face sound, check with your reverb color and amount.
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:01 PM   #6
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Hey guys sorry I updated the link! Going to read the replies now! Please listen now!

https://soundcloud.com/curtis-sleme/electric-6/s-lIg75
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SymboliC View Post
A working link would be better to identify the problem. It's pretty much subjective. Maybe you're doing it as good as it can get and many advices here would be useless to improve the result.

Music and "arranging" are pretty much related to creating illusion/perception and subtle changes make big differences in the big picture when you layer things up.

Same for every genre of music. You wether call it a drop/tension/relief/chorus/verse etc... From a composer and arranger's POV if you plan the order of sections cleverly, it will shine itself. The rest is EQ, compression tweaks etc.

If you want to emphasize a part or make it stand out, decrease the power of the rest. This can either be accomplished via, EQ, compression, Chord progression etc.

Examine verse/chorus relationship in the songs.

Those are just theoritical things to keep in mind not knowing what kind of a material you came up with since we can't hear it.

From technical side of things, higher frequencies tend to create a louder image compared to lower frequencies. If you want to create that powerful shot with the lowest freq in your spectrum then previous section's overall volume & freq combination shouldn't top it.

Fundamental EQ'ing would help you get started. Cutting of unnecessary parts to create room for the overall mix so that your composition/arranging wouldn't all be left in the middle of a war where instruments battle each other.

There are many tricks...
Like employing different/out-of-genre elements/ideas gently to stengthen the overall structure. As an example, you can throw a real lower piano note which is barely heard as a layer below the guitars in a metal music track to make it feel stronger in the lower freq'd parts.
I know this is not related to EDM at all but you get the idea.

These are just my thoughts as a listener and intermediate music producer. I'm nowhere a professional so you can just skip the above thoughts if you've already passed those phases.

Here you go! https://soundcloud.com/curtis-sleme/electric-6/s-lIg75
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cjsleme View Post
For the first problematic part I think you're referring to 1:16?...

If so, I would layer another synth sample, a brighter one, more saw-ish or horn-like thing to accompany that part. But if you don't want to change the overall color, you can also automate the high freq's over there to make it gain some "air", "bite" + tidying the thump of the kick drum with compression&eq.

Let's see what others will suggest, since I'm not a pro as I said before, this is my humble opinion.
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SymboliC View Post
For the first problematic part I think you're referring to 1:16?...

If so, I would layer another synth sample, a brighter one, more saw-ish or horn-like thing to accompany that part. But if you don't want to change the overall color, you can also automate the high freq's over there to make it gain some "air", "bite" + tidying the thump of the kick drum with compression&eq.

Let's see what others will suggest, since I'm not a pro as I said before, this is my humble opinion.
Thank you! This is a good start! I will try another layer (though I already have a few pads and a few bass layers.) and try to mess with the kick! To be honest I am using a just a kick .wav sample since I downloaded a free sample pack of EDM kicks/snares. I haven’t messed with it much and will try.

What does it mean to automate high frequencies?

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Old 01-14-2018, 05:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cjsleme View Post
Thank you! This is a good start! I will try another layer (though I already have a few pads and a few bass layers.) and try to mess with the kick! To be honest I am using a just a kick .wav sample since I downloaded a free sample pack of EDM kicks/snares. I haven’t messed with it much and will try.

What does it mean to automate high frequencies?
Indeed it is not always necessary to add new layers. You can also subtract or replace 1 layer/sample temporarily. It all depends what kind of a transition you are after. Just like sharp and soft turns when travelling on the road.

When I try to compose EDM music I usually reserve the samples which have the most bite & high freqs for those parts that kick in just after the drop.

By automating high frequencies I mean, if you are already happy with your "Lead" sample selection but thinking that it is too weak or needs a little bit more power, you can just scoop out its Mid frequencies and boost higher frequencies just a little in those parts where you want it to shine. Otherwise it feels a bit flat. Subtractive EQ is therefor important. You wouldn't want to boost everything to stay away from a muddy, weak mix.

These suggestions & decisions also heavily depend on what kind of an overall sound you aim for. Apply them too much or without control, you'll start to get away from "that sound" in your mind/imagination.

EDM is mostly generated digitally except the sampled kicks and snares etc where you don't have to worry about the real acoustics or spend your time trying to clean them up in opposed to a real-time recording of a metal music piece or a symphonic orchestral piece where you try to simulate the realism as much as possible.

OTOH, for me and most of the beginners out there, the tricky part with EDM is choosing & layering the correct samples with each other that serves for a purpose and having a nice, subtle or maybe sharp transitions between the sections.

Bass frequencies just spread all over the place, and lower mids can make it muddy/boomy by flattening out your mixes. Try to tame those low-to-mid frequencies with subtractive eq without killing them too much and then, you'll have plenty more room to throw bright elements which will double the effect of perceived loudness & energy.

The other experienced users on this forum can make more spot-on and surgical suggestions maybe.
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