I have volume problem hi hats in EDM, Trance tracks

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KVRist
60 posts since 9 Nov, 2019

Post Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:19 am

I'm not a professional music producer but I try to create EDM or Trance songs. I especially like club songs from the early 2000s.
I noticed that something was wrong with the loudness of my samples hi hats in the chorus when there is the most going on in the song.
At the beginning as the song slowly develops, hi hats seems to play normally but when the chorus is going it suddenly becomes much less audible and even hardly heard, and when the chorus passes and fewer instruments appear, it becomes audible again.
In order to counteract this, he uses automation of the volume, e.g. in the chorus, so that the hi hats samples play louder and after the chorus they are silent so that they are not too loud and it seems that it works when the automation is carefully set.
For example, songs like this are my reference songs and all the hi hats seem to be playing at a similar level of volume throughout the song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH7mGUojuWA

So my question. Could they have used the volume automation of these instruments during the chorus, for example, where they were voiced and muted after the chorus?
I realize this track has been mixed and mastered by professional sound engineers but can you get similar effects in a regular home studio?
It seems that it's not a big problem but mixing Hi Hats samples well causes me more problems than kick and bass :)
I hope you understand well my problem I had to use Google Translate.
Maybe someone knows good techniques of mixing these percussion elements so that they do not pose big problems.

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addled muppet weed
77663 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:27 am

without listening...

there could be a raise in volume at certain parts, this is a common technique (as is increased bpm for a chorus, just a couple, creates energy!).

it could also be a simple eq thing, if their mix has more space around where the hats sit, they won't become lost in the mix.
hats usually have most of their body around 12k up, so try hipassing them, and cutting as much of the highs as you can afford to from the other instruments.

or sometimes it's a case of less is more, do you have too much going on in the highs for example?

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KVRAF
6528 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:05 am

Sounds to me like the hats in the reference track consist of several layers on separate tracks with different samples during the chorus. I think I'm hearing at least 5 or 6 different hats/shaker samples in the reference track, panned across the stereo spectrum, some with filtering, pitch-shifting, and/or bitcrushing. There is some low-pass filter automation happening at various parts. I'm not sure what you're using, but if it's just a single HH sample that's being automated, it probably won't get you close to the reference track.

KVRist

Topic Starter

60 posts since 9 Nov, 2019

Post Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:19 am

Thanks for the answer.
I forgot to write that the biggest problem is with Open Hi-Hat, because it seems to me that in old school tracks like this Sash! is more important than closed hi hat, tamburine shakers etc which are kind of in the background.
And this is Open Hi Hat that gets lost the most in the mix, especially in the chorus where synthesizers leeds, pads, chords, kick, bass etc. play together like in this example track in 3:51.
I am not a mixing expert, so maybe I am setting the compressor wrong?
I heard that it is good to send the hi hats, tamburines, kicks percussion to one separate channel and use a compressor so that it compresses them all, not each separately.
I bought this MJUC compressor which is a Vari-Mu emulator and I like to use it on percussion elements but I try not to set it too aggressively so that the compression is not strong because I do not know 100% how it affects these instruments yet.
I know how the compressor works, but I'm still learning how to use it correctly and I don't use a lot of compression.
I see, for example, on Youtube that people use the Vari-Mu compressor in rock or metal songs on real instruments and maybe this type of compressor is not suitable for EDM and Trance?

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KVRAF
3919 posts since 6 Nov, 2009

Post Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:13 pm

I'm not in a good position to listen right now, but it's common for different parts of a song to use completely different samples or layer them differently. Even Van Halen's "Jump" bass drum is far more dynamic than one might expect on first listen. They either layer it or crank the volume at certain points to give the song more energy at certain spots.

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KVRian
685 posts since 7 Apr, 2019

Post Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:32 pm

consider saturation as a physical principle, only objects with a high level of physical complexity are higher in the 1k range due to atomic diversity. Consider leaving those areas out of high hats, they are heat treated metal and all remnants of organic matter are baked away.

This heat treatment also causes the complexity of the steel to become less also, meaning that they become more brittle under less applied force.

Physics are laws that define what you can and cannot do with an EQ, using mid ranges for steel is implausible, as is anything high above 9k.

Wood, and fibrous objects occupy above 9k, where cymbals occupy 4k. It's a matter of understanding atomic complexity. Consider in the case of acoustic drum heads, they're plastic; you'd believe they are artificial, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact they are the result of the most complexity of all, trees, leaves, plant matter and animal carcasses to name a few things decayed; becoming a black oil used to make plastic.

What could be more complex after all, everything has to do with physical laws. I loved your track.
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KVRist
423 posts since 10 Jan, 2017

Post Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:59 am

hinson wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:19 am
Thanks for the answer.
I forgot to write that the biggest problem is with Open Hi-Hat, because it seems to me that in old school tracks like this Sash! is more important than closed hi hat, tamburine shakers etc which are kind of in the background.
And this is Open Hi Hat that gets lost the most in the mix, especially in the chorus where synthesizers leeds, pads, chords, kick, bass etc. play together like in this example track in 3:51.
I am not a mixing expert, so maybe I am setting the compressor wrong?
I heard that it is good to send the hi hats, tamburines, kicks percussion to one separate channel and use a compressor so that it compresses them all, not each separately.
I bought this MJUC compressor which is a Vari-Mu emulator and I like to use it on percussion elements but I try not to set it too aggressively so that the compression is not strong because I do not know 100% how it affects these instruments yet.
I know how the compressor works, but I'm still learning how to use it correctly and I don't use a lot of compression.
I see, for example, on Youtube that people use the Vari-Mu compressor in rock or metal songs on real instruments and maybe this type of compressor is not suitable for EDM and Trance?
You can use any sort of compressor on anything, just be mindful how it sounds and whether it's helping you achieve the results that you want. Sometimes compression may not be needed at all.

I would maybe avoid bus compression - i.e. compressing groups of percussion at this stage if you're still new to mixing. You might find balancing your mix with levels alone might be enough.

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KVRAF
4136 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Post Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:21 am

The track is very sparse in first place, so there's enough space for every sound. Secondly, in the finale hat hits when there's no note playing - and that's pretty common technique for dance music.

A lot of different hats and percussion is used thorough the track, it doesn't need to have anything to do with volume automation.
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KVRAF
4394 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:58 am

your highs are being compressed. too much compression.

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