With EDM production, if your drums don't kill it, chances are your track will be overlooked. Competition is fierce. But as usual, yourbroducer JT has your back and knows exactly how to achieveloud AF drums like Skrillex, Flume and Porter Robinson.
The first tip I've got for y'all is to use a reference track. This might sound silly, but when you've spent 8 hours producing and mixing a track and your ears are basically cherry Jell-O, you lose sight of what's what. Using a professionally mixed and mastered track allows you to gauge levels, clarity and punch.
Allow me to be brutally honest: unless you work with the best drum samples, you will never compete with the best producers. Invest in your sound. Buy drum sample packs. There are countless good resources out there. Here are my 3 favourite spots to get good drum samples:
Parallel compression is the oldest trick in the book for great-sounding drums. Ever since the disco days, engineers have been layering drums tracks with a heavily-compressed copy of said drum track. Most software compressors now have this function built in. Simply over-compress your drums and tuck them underneath the original track. As they say: once you go parallel, you don't go back.
Finally, if you want your drums to knock, you have to EQ everything else in your track "around" your drums. Pinpoint the main frequencies in your kick and snare and remove most of these frequencies in your bass, synths, vocals, etc.
And now, enjoy this cool little video!
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You don’t need anything. You can achieve incredible mixes on your white iPhone earbuds for all I care, given that you understand their frequency response (what they sound like at each crucial frequency bands). So my short answer to the question in the title is: headphones. Plain and simple. Oh… and here are 5 reasons why.