Realistic, continuous hi-hat control module for Hydrogen (for edrums with CC pedal, with bonus cymbal choke)

I wrote this article back in 2012, to workaround some limitations in the Hydrogen drum machine. It was impossible to control the hi-hat from closed to open (and viceversa) seamlessly, so I wrote a MIDI router to fix it.

Here you can see it in action:

I wrote this script mostly in order to improve the Hydrogen hi-hat feeling, but I accidentally added a couple other features too.

It can seamlessly switch from closed to open hihat (and vice-versa), supports cymbals choke (both the ride, crash and via the hi-hat pedal), and slightly improves the dynamics range.

To use it, you will need:

  • an edrum (I used a Roland TD9)
  • several (at least 3) hi-hat samples from closed to open, i used those plus some closed hihats from other sets
  • mididings (on Debian or Ubuntu, sudo apt-get install mididings)
  • this script: (if you have less or more than 7 hi-hat samples like I did, you’d better modify “hihats_pedal_range” in this script to make it match your number of samples)
  • in Hydrogen, setup your kit like this:
    • first sample from the top: footclick (will be note 36)
    • sample #2: completely closed hihat (will be note 37)
    • sample #3: slightly less closed hihat (will be note 38)
    • … and so on…
    • then, all the other instruments (it is crucial that all the hihats are consecutive, and my script expects to find the first on note #37)
  • in Hydrogen, disable all mute groups (they don’t sound great for this purpose), disable “ignore note-off”, and make it listen to channel 9 if it’s not already so (channel 10 does not seem to be good for noteoffs, maybe it’s faulty in mididings, i don’t know)
  • in your edrum: use channel 9, set footclick to note #36, hihat to note #37 (both open and closed if you have both), and hihat pedal to CC#04 (it’s called “foot(4)” on mine)

launch script (“mididings -f <script>”), route your midi data into mididings, then from mididings to hydrogen (or another sequencer, maybe for recording, if you like), start banging on your edrum, you should be good to go.

There used to be a discussion about it on the Hydrogen forums which are now unavailable, but you can still read it thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine.