You may of heard the words “double drop” in some context relating to DJing in DJ sets. There are a few DJs out there that use this technique and I must admit it takes some skill to pull it off.
What is a Double Drop in DJing?
A Double Drop in DJing is when a DJ plays and mixes two tracks at the same time where the chorus of both tracks play at the same time in sync with each other. This means that when the first beat of the chorus on track A plays, the first beat of the chorus on track B will play. The basslines, melodies and beats will initiate on the first beat at exactly the same time.
Once you’ve mastered this technique you can utilise double dropping tracks effectively throughout your DJ sets. Drum and Bass also Dubstep are popular genres in which this happens, so if you’re into these two genres then you are in the right place to understand how to use double dropping as a technique.
How does Double Dropping Music tracks work exactly?
The phrases of two tracks match up, but both tracks need to have both beats matched up together and finally in line to drop both chorus sections together. This is is specifically after the build up section.
In music tracks, especially in electronic music this is very important area to know what phrases and music sections are. You can check out my article on phrases here.
Just to re-cap, lets look at the different sections of an electronic music track.
 Intro ->  Break Down ->  Build Up ->  Chorus ->  Verse -> repeat 2, 3, 4 plus an outro to finish up with.
It’s worth noting that not all tracks have a break down and build up at the beginning, some tracks simply just roll straight into the build. This does depend on which genre of music that you are DJing.
The trick is to align the phrases of two tracks with the ‘breakdown / Build up’ together in the mix.
Having the two phrases aligned sets you up perfectly to drop the basslines on the chorus of two tracks together at the exact same time.
Usually in Drum and Bass there are 64 beats per phrase. So my tip is to count 64 beats back from the first beat of the Chorus section.
Once you’ve counted 64 beats back from the chorus first beat, you can set a cue point marker on your DJ software or using your CDJ.
You need to do this for two tracks when planning and eventually practicing this on your DJ set up.
The key to a double drop in DJing is the planning, practicing and execution on the day of playing a live DJ set
Let’s look at an example of how to set this up and practice a double drop
Step 1 – Planning and Cue points
Setting the cue points for both tracks is step 1.
Setting two cue points can be really useful if you need to use double the amount of time to get the two phrases in line with each other.
But in this scenario we are going to use cue point B, which is 64 beats out from the drop, the first beat of the chorus.
Here’s the other track that’s going to be double dropped with the track above. One cue point has been set in this instance Cue point A.
As mentioned above, both cue points need to be 64 beats out from the first beat of the chorus, this is so that both chorus sections can mix into together at the same time.
Step 2 – Preparing the Tempo of Both Tracks
Now you need to practice getting the beats in sync with each other, this is so that you can practice getting the two tracks breakdown and intros in line with each other.
Step 3 – Practice the Double Drop
Now it’s time to play track A (Backspin by DJ Marky & XRS) from the very beginning. At this point you should have the cue point ‘A’ ready on track B (The Things You Do by Random Movement).
On track A when you an hear the breakdown section arriving and you can see the marker hit cue point ‘B’ then that’s when you initiate the cue point for track B.
Now from here, get both tracks aligned and beat matched together.
Slowly bring the fader up for track B.
At the end of the breakdown and build up both tracks will play the chorus at the exact same time. Boom! Double Drop!
How to use the mixer once you’ve double dropped your tracks?
The main key with double dropping tracks together is to make sure the basslines fit together well and don’t muddy the sound of the mix.
In order to achieve this you have a couple of options.
First option is to taper down the EQ of both LOW (Sub) frequencies so that the basslines fit well together in the mix. This only works well if the basslines are quite prominent in sound and are in a similar key.
The second option is to do what Andy C does when double dropping tracks and that is to chop and change the basslines of either track every 2 or 4 beats.
Doing so gives a really great sound and sense of showmanship from the DJ. You can do this for a few bars and then eventually mix out track A letting track B take over.
Where to Double Drop tracks in your DJ sets?
When considering where to place double drops into your mix there are two areas in which you can add them.
As an Intro to Your DJ Sets
The intro to your DJ set is quite a good way to introduce a double drop into your set. You’ve seen how you can do this above from a technical stand point, so that’s fairly easy to achieve once you’ve perfected it in practice.
I feel personally that double drops as an intro to your DJ sets need to be done well and practiced very well. At the beginning of your DJ set you might be nervous and doing a double drop that you’ve not practiced much could be high risk. So practice makes perfect, and don’t pull off the double drop mix if you don’t feel comfortable do so.
Picking the right tracks for the intro double drop is key. You could really make a name for yourself too. The beginning of DJ sets are really important are generally quite memorable to the audience live on the night (or day if a festival) and especially if people are listening/watching your mix on YouTube.
During your DJ sets on the Breakdown / Build Up
Double drops can easily be introduced in the middle and during your DJ sets. This is great as it can add some power and energy to your DJ sets getting the crowd pumped up.
All you need to do differently really is to set your cue points slightly differently and practice your double drop mixes for multiple tracks.
Once you’ve become more established at DJing and more experienced with knowledge of your DJ tracks you’ll be able to do this on the fly much more easily.
Who Uses this technique in DJing? Examples
Andy C has become known for double dropping big bassline Drum and Bass tracks so well that it’s certainly his signature DJ skill that I know him for.
So much so there are people that have curated on YouTube his double drops onto one video. This is epic to watch and learn from as there a plenty of different double drop examples.
My favourite is when Andy C double drops two tracks but cuts out the bassline for 4 beats and then lets the two track play out together.
Here is another video showing double examples too. This video is way better quality recorded by the BBC on Annie Mac’s show. DJ Andy C Djing on 3 turntables double dropping galore.
Tips & Advice Double Dropping Music in Your DJ Sets
- Pick tracks that have similar rhythms and mix well together in on the first beat of the chorus.
- As above, the harmonic key of both tracks needs to be compatible otherwise they will totally clash.
- Two tracks with vocals on the chorus don’t go well together.
- Pick tracks that have interesting build ups and drums, you can play about with chopping between two tracks during the build up before the double drop kicks in.
- Practice, practice, practice. It honestly pays dividends when you practice techniques in DJing, especially techniques like this one.
- You can double drop music tracks with any format, DJ controller, CDJs or turntables.
- DJing with normal vinyls though you will need to look out for the dark grooves on the record vinyl to find where the cue points are to drop the vinyl in at the right time, it can help by putting a small circle sticker on the inside of the vinyl where the cue point is.
How do DJs make good transitions?
Good transitions the DJs make can take the form of very short transitions dropping in new tracks swiftly. Other transitions can be mixed very smoothly using the crossfader and others can be used to be drawn out very long as the vocals of harmony might compliment the track of another in the mix.
How do DJs Do smooth transitions?
Smooth transitions can appear in DJ sets by DJs controlling the crossfader on the mixer which enables a DJ to blend the music from one turntable to another. EQ settings allow DJs to blend to audio of two tracks together too which allows for a less frequencies within the mix.
What does a DJ do exactly?
A Disc Jockey (DJ) uses a mixer and two turntables to mix music together continuously to create a DJ set. DJs blend and beat match music tracks together using the crossfader and EQ settings on DJ mixers. The goal is to entertain people dancing on a dance floor for a set period of time.