How To Create A More Powerful Chorus

The chorus in your track is the most memorable part of your song. 

This section of your track is the main event and will be providing the theme to the listener. This makes having a compelling and memorable chorus section a must for your song. 

Thankfully, there are a few minor adjustments that you can make to your existing tracks to have your chorus stand out in the mix. In this article, I am going to go over four different tips that you can apply to your existing tracks and future tracks to create a more powerful chorus. 

Volume Adjustments

The first tip is the most basic tip, but also the most powerful.

The volume of the individual sounds and groups of sounds in your mix plays a huge role on the overall power of the mix. Louder sounds are almost always going to sound more appealing to the listener. 

Knowing this, we can carefully manipulate the overall volume of our track to create the perception of loudness without having to raise any volume levels which could cause imbalances in the mix.

To implement this volume trick, we are going to head on over to our master channel. Then we are going to add in volume automation eight or four bars before the actual chorus. The volume will go down -2 to -3 dB during the eight or four bars. Based on your specific track, you will want to choose the volume dip at the appropriate bar length before the chorus. Some tracks might sound better with the volume dip four bars before the chorus and some might sound better, slowly going down over eight bars. 

From there you are going to bring the volume automation back up to unity one eighth note before the first beat of the chorus. This gradual volume dip over the four or eight bars will get the listener used to a lower volume level without them feeling like the volume really dipped.

Then once the chorus hits, the volume will be back to unity and will appear much louder and fuller to the listener without it being overbearing. 

Get unbiased fan feedback on your songwriting, production, and more with brand new Crowd Reviews

Stereo Width

The next tip for creating a more powerful chorus is to adjust the stereo image of our track. This tip is actually very similar to the previous tip in that we will be applying stereo imaging to the eight or four bars before our chorus. This stereo imaging will not actually widen the mix though. 

Pro Tip: Click here for 10 of the best stereo widening tips.

We are going to be reducing the stereo image on the master channel and then bring it back to unity right before the chorus hits. Just like the volume automation tip, the gradual narrowing of the stereo image and quick return to its original stereo imaging before the chorus will give the perception of a wider mix. 

Place a utility plugin on your master channel. Most DAW’s will have a utility plugin. Either eight or four bars before your chorus, bring down the stereo image of your track around -10 to -18% by using your DAWs automation. Then an eighth note before the chorus, bring the width back to unity. 

Now your chorus will appear much wider. 

Mid Side EQing

Finally, we are going to apply a mid-side EQ to the master channel of our track to create a more powerful chorus. 

A mid-side EQ is an EQ that allows you to have separate control over the frequency spectrum in the mid (mono) part of the stereo field and the sides of the stereo field. Our two previous tips did not affect the actual chorus itself, it just adjusted the track before the chorus. With our mid-side EQ, we are going to have it turn on when the chorus plays and turn it off when the chorus is not playing. 

Go into your master channel automation lane and turn the mid-side EQ on only for the chorus. All DAW’s have a stock mid-side EQ that you can use here. Once we have the automation in place, we are not going to adjust the actual EQ. 

To create more power in our mix, we are going to adjust only the sides of the stereo field. By boosting high frequencies in the sides of the stereo field, you will give your track an added perception of width and brightness. We are going to add a high shelf filter to the EQ in the sides of the stereo field and boost the high shelf filter around 0.6 to 0.8 dB.

A little goes a long way here as this side high shelf filter will be applied to the entire track and small EQ changes will be noticeable. 

Conclusion

In order to create a professional track, the chorus in your track must impress your audience. The chorus is the most important part of your song and must be highlighted in your track.

By applying the three simple audio processing three tips above you will give greater emphasis to your chorus and make this section stand out.

Daniel is a caffeine-dependent entrepreneur, music producer, sound design junkie, and world traveler crazy about teaching modern electronic music production through his site SoundShock.

RebeccaHow To Create A More Powerful Chorus

7 comments

Join the conversation
  • Leisa Johnson - September 25, 2019 reply

    Awesome!

  • Robert Molema - September 26, 2019 reply

    Where is the professional vision about the most important part? The melody. The hookline (a part of the melody that will stay with you forever!) is more important than changing volume. Also changing chords will not work as best as writing a very powerfull hookline/melody with maybe another rhythm and chord-rhythm or turning up the volume. The listener will only notice the volume change as a cheap annoying productional trick which will not work to remember the son at all……

    Write a good song: liek Roxanne, Yesterday, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, We didn’t start the fire, Waterloo, Money Money Money and I can go on or hours with titles of songs with very good hooklines!!!!

    There are no productional tricks that will repai a lousy/missing hookline in a song!

    Robert Molema 🙂

    Maertin - October 3, 2019 reply

    These tips and tricks are made to be applied along a good hookline and what a chorus needs to have musically speaking. These are technical production advices just to get the chorus even more powerful, assuming it has what it takes first.

  • Hannah Paris - September 26, 2019 reply

    As an artist who is learning to record and mix music, there is some good information here. Even if its something you might know, its worth reading as it brings it back into sharp focus.

  • John Cleghorn - September 27, 2019 reply

    Great tips to excite an already strong hooky chorus!

  • marc R robillard - September 27, 2019 reply

    These tips are really great, simple and effective!!!! Nicely done!! Thanks man!!!

  • Sofoni Beats - September 27, 2019 reply

    Thanks for the tips…..I was just working on a track that I needed this advice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *