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.
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.
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’.
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.
Next in the chain is another distortion plugin. It brings a nice tube character, making the hi-hats sound crispier and glued together.
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.
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.
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.
Reverb is adding a subtle simmer to the high frequencies. It brings the hi-hats nicely together and makes them sit in the mix.
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.
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.