Crispy Techno Hi-Hats

Crispy Techno Hi-Hats

Audiotent Tip 424 // Crispy Techno Hi-Hats

There are multiple ways to create and process techno hi-hats. Recording drum machines or layering the top loops seems a common practice. However, we wanted to showcase, how to achieve crispy sounding hi-hats using single shot samples.
Here is a simple pattern we programmed using 3 different hat sounds.
Dry Hat Pattern

Next, let’s add a simple melodic motif accompanied by the kick. This will help to get a feel on how the hi-hats sit in the context of the mix.

To make the hats sound crisp and cohesive, we send them to a dedicated group channel. There are multiple processing plugins used to achieve a final sound. Feel free to experiment with your own favorite distortions, compressors etc... In this case, we will show you, what worked for us.
Hats group
Kombinat Dva
First in a chain is a multiband distortion plugin. It’s a great mangling tool, capable of achieving subtle saturations or crazy distortion, if that’s what you are after. Once applied to the hi-hats, Kombinat Dva makes them sound noisier, more ‘machine-like’.
Kombinat Dva
Before Kombinat DVA:

After Kombinat DVA:

Low Cut EQ
Low cut EQ is added to make sure any unnecessary low-end rumble is being removed.
Low Cut EQ
D16 Redoptor
Next in the chain is another distortion plugin. It brings a nice tube character, making the hi-hats sound crispier and glued together.
D16 Redoptor

The Glue
Compression is being used to reduce the sharp spikes in the hi-hat. The glue compressor is also adding some density to the group. Fast attack and release worked perfectly for this example. We blended the DRY signal back a little, to retain some of the original transients.
Cytomic the Glue

J37 Tape
Tapes or tape emulation plugins are great for adding extra grit to the sounds. We used J37 plugin to add a few extra harmonics to our hi-hats.
Waves J37 Tape

Pro Q2
Final touch of processing, before we add some reverb. High Pass filtering ensures that any unnecessary low-end, introduced by previous distortions, is being filtered out. 10k cut, reduces a slightly harsh frequency in the top end.
FabFilter ProQ2

RC 48
Reverb is adding a subtle simmer to the high frequencies. It brings the hi-hats nicely together and makes them sit in the mix.

LFO Tool
Final plugin in the group is LFO Tool. We used it as a volume shaper to achieve sidechain effect. Mainly, to get the reverb grooving better against the kick.
LFO Tool

Let’s hear the before and after. We started with a dry hi-hat pattern. This is how it sounded in the mix:

That’s how it sounds after we applied the group processing.

As you can hear, the result is a crispy hi-hat groove. It sounds glued and cohesive, like it’s coming from a single sound source. Try experimenting with your own favourite distortion/saturation plugins and achieve unique sounding hi-hats every time.

Reading next

Processing Organic Techno Percussion
Kick Saturation

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