Lately I've been running into a wall with my hat loop creation. Any of my Dubstep tunes just seem to be lacking that groove that the top layer percussion adds. Does anyone have any tips or tricks in regards to generating those really groovy syncopated hat loops that you hear so ofter in Dubstep, Drumstep, and DnB tracks? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Don't go overboard with the rhythms of the high hats. Keep it relatively simple. Pick 2 to 3 Hi-hat or shaker samples and mess with those. Load them up in a sampler and play with them on your controller. Loop a section of your song and just keep playing different rhythms. You are bound to get something that interests you. Add some EQ, reverb, optional compression, and you're good to go.
Have 2-3 hat samples, and like YoMyEx says, it often helps to have some sort of shaker/brush sound to help carry the rhythm as well.
Vary the velocities - this is very important, unless you're going for a machine-like sound. You can effectively accentuate whatever syncopation pattern you want by having a sort of velocity ramp, so that a run of hats starts with a low vel., and builds to a high vel. on the syncopated beat.
On similar lines, you can get shuffle rhythms not only by the placing of the hats, but by using ghost notes (barely audible hits, usually immediately after another, more audible, hit).
Again, unless you're going for a deliberately mechanistic sound, turn off grid snapping, or even the grid entirely. Just use your ears for hats (for most/all drum sounds, in fact. Dance music tends to have rigid kicks, just because they tell people how to dance).
Use multiple samples. Keep one or two hat's consistent, i.e. one on all up beats, while a very low velocity light sounding shaker doing sixteenths(Make sure you side chain them). And quantize the 16th shakers to a light shuffle. This lays down the groove. To add flavor, get more hat samples to get more syncopated. some open hats with adjusted envelopes to the tempo.
i know the 16th shakers might sound too much for dubstep, but you could still try it. even with other genres
one thing i love to do to open up my hat's and percussion by a HUGE amount is to slap on a stereo delay. light feedback, and not too much in the mix. maybe set it to a dotted eighth note on one side and a quarter note on the other. this will add the 16th note's without you writing it in.
again, use the simple loops to lay down a groove(however dont make it too robotic) then use other samples to add syncopation.
get like 5-6 ticks, clicks, shake, and just really abrupt samples, take those and just put them all in different patterns, then give it some swing with the swing button(FL) or groove from the groove pool(ableton), makes some pretty banging percussion, and it takes only a few mins.
Variation and swing are KEY to making groovy hi-hat lines, and was said before, multiple samples, filtering, panning, triplets, etc. are all great ways to keep the hats lively. The key is to find what you like the sound of, and how to implement it.