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[Guide] Hitsounding (in current year)

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Topic Starter
Mentai
After having a million maps get DQ'd for lack luster hitsounding, and overall complaints from everyone about maps with poor hitsounding, I think making a slightly in-depth guide on hitsounds is not a bad idea. Do keep in mind that I picked up most of my basics by reading Kibbleru's Guide, so this guide will be expanding on some of those ideas. For something succinct, I would go there.

also pishi's hitsounding video is also not a bad starter, and it is also quite succinct, you can find that here



  • Sections:
  1. Shortcuts
    -Priority
  2. Sampleset names
    -General Comments
  3. The Actual Options
    -Whistle
    -Finish
    -Clap
    -Volume Settings
    -Bass Kicks
  4. Keysounding
  5. Hitsound Copier






Shortcuts

  1. w - whistle
  2. e - finish
  3. r - clap



    These will be the simple addition tools for the current sampleset and additions you have selected, which is based on the current green line section you're in, which can be altered by the following


  4. shift + q - switches to auto sampleset
  5. shift + w - switches to normal sampleset
  6. shift + e - switches to soft sampleset
  7. shift + r - switches to drum sampleset

    Memorizing these and mapping them to your muscle memory is a very, very good idea. With some of the hitsounding techniques used nowadays, hitsounds change per beat, for bass kicks, whistles, different claps, etc. so having this memorized will increase efficiency incredibly


  8. ctrl + q - switches to auto additions
  9. ctrl + w - switches to normal additions
  10. ctrl + e - switches to soft additions
  11. ctrl+ r - switches to drum additions

    same as above, this will you speed up hitsound placing that does not happen consistently enough for copy and paste (such as, using a normal sampleset for a bass drum sample, and placing a soft whistle on the melody)

    here is an example of using the commands shift + w and ctrl + e (which is a combination I use a LOT):


Priority


Something Kibbleru mentioned is the priority of these samples. When you set a green line to a certain sampleset, say S:C1, you can override that green line entirely using the per object hitsounding shortcuts above, namely the last two utilizing the shift and ctrl shortcuts. Basically, Additions will override the claps, whistles, and finishes of the current sampleset to whatever you choose, regardless of what the green line is. Following that, Sampleset
will override the hitnormal of the section to whatever you choose. This means doing Normal Sampleset with Drum additions is possible even with a S:C1 green line, making it much more effecient than placing a green loine every time you wanted to add a bass kick or something similar (more on those later). Lastly, if both options are set to Auto, the green line sample will default and any additions will default to whatever that green line is.

Take note that even though you have a good amount of freedom with this, you must stay within the number sampleset you are currently on. So if you wanted to add something from S:C2, you must place a green line to change what number you are on. This is the clunkiest part of hitsounding, but you just have to deal with it, having 3-5 samplesets just to change small thing like a different finish or a different clap is normal, just make sure you don;t include files you don't use because bns will yell at you


Sampleset names (as .wav files, explicitly)


Multiple samplesets can be used of each file, simply add a number ascending from 2 if you want multiple samplets (e.g. soft-hitnormal.wav, soft-hitnormal2.wav, soft-hitnormal3.wav, etc) and change within the timing menu

  1. soft-hitnormal.wav
  2. soft-sliderslide.wav
  3. soft-slidertick.wav
  4. soft-hitwhistle.wav
  5. soft-hitfinish.wav
  6. soft-hitclap.wav

    This happens to be the most popular sampleset, mostly because mapping assumes that you will be using the Default osu! skin, along with its hitsounds. And because of this, these hitsounds are quite calm and non-abrasive, and usually is the standard go-to set. It is never a bad idea to start your map with S:C1 (Soft sampleset, Custom set 1 ) as it is essentially the current default set, and adding custom hitsounds is very common currently as well. you can see this here:


  7. normal-hitnormal.wav
  8. normal-sliderslide.wav
  9. normal-slidertick.wav
  10. normal-hitwhistle.wav
  11. normal-hitfinish.wav
  12. normal-hitclap.wav

    This is definitely much less used than it was in the past, and the editor starts with this as the default sound, displayed simply as an N. I tend to use this sampleset for bass kicks and any major/loud sounds that in general require very strong hitsounds. however, I tend to be able to achieve this effect with the Soft sampleset anyway, but that is more so a consequence of song choice than anything else.

    In general, I access this sampleset almost exclusively through shortcuts, and almost will never have a Normal green line placed. In a lot of softer piano songs (that will be under Keysounding), I won't even use this sampleset at all. It is always safer to start with Soft sampleset as it is essentially the new Default nowadays, rather than Normal


  13. drum-hitnormal.wav
  14. drum-sliderslide.wav
  15. drum-slidertick.wav
  16. drum-hitwhistle.wav
  17. drum-hitfinish.wav
  18. drum-hitclap.wav

    To be honest, I actually never use this sampleset, and there is essentially one reason why: the drums on the Default set are way too tonal for me, and conflict with the pitch of most of the music. This may just be a me thing, but being born with perfect pitch has cause things like this to really make me cringe. I think adding your own custom sounds to the Normal sampleset is in general just as efficient, and more rewarding as it can better follow the song. I will link drum based hitsounds to better facilitate this.

    However, this set is in no way unusable, and many sets use this successfully. If you want to follow my guide, you'll generally avoid this sampleset, but other good hitsounders may also advise to use it. Use your own discretion for this

    General comments


    A common thing I will do is to add too many samplesets, just in case I want to add something later, like a hit-finish. Adding a number to the filename corresponds to the Custom set it is on, which is only interchangeable with green lines. Once you switch to a specific sampleset (e.g S:C2), using the shortcut commands above will navigate hitsound in that specific set of sounds. So if I want to use a unique finish in N:C3 with soft hitnormals, I will have to place a green line for sampleset 3, and then do the commands to do so, which would be shift + e followed by ctrl + w, and finally e on the desired, selected hitcircle.

    Digressing a bit, I tend to simply delete samplesets I do not use at the very end of the hitsounding process, so I will very often have 4 or 5 samplesets with all the same hitsounds, which i will replace with hitsounds i eventually want with them. It's not incredibly effecient, but it at least keeps you within your custom sets when switching, rather than regressing to the Default skin sounds, until you add the respective hitsounds

    Also remember that your hitsounds cannot have a longer delay than 5ms, which can easily be checked in Audacity, for free. Also, all sliderslide sounds must perfectly loop (skins like angelsim's new skin does NOT perfectly loop for example, and is not allowed in ranked beatmaps as custom sounds). I don't usually have a reason to use any custom sliderslides other than an empty file, to not have sliderslides at all, but there are circumstances. Keep in mind that you can not mute both sliderticks and sliderslides, it can only be one or the other. I will include a mute file with the correct size at the end, you will simply have to rename it

    examples of custom file names (in a ranked set):

The Actual Options (in order)


Whistle


This is the most important hitsound, and that isn't arguable. You will be using this one the most, no matter which hitsounding style you use, if you are doing so properly. One of the simplest applications of whistles is every time there is vocal/melody sound, you place a whistle on that hitcircle, slider, or sliderend. This is pretty simple, but in some scenarios, it can be overwhelming. Whistle-spamming happens when the vocal or melody line is very repetitive in its micro patterns, for example, constant 1/2 vocals for 4 measures straight. A good way around this is to avoid placing whistles on sliderends in these scenarios. Another method (which I use with the previous one), is to use a suitable custom hitwhistle, which allows for constantly usage of whistles without being abrasive. Here's the one I use the most: https://mentai.s-ul.eu/VRs9R6aC (soft chime, bell sounds. this is literally the soft-hitwhistle but slightly edited. I like this file for forcing this hitwhistle on other samplesets that aren't soft and need something a little sharper, but in general you'll usually be fine with the default skin hitwhistle)

Another method is to use whistles on major emphasis points of the song, and this is simple when paired with mapping, such as, the vocal that gets the bigger spacing deserves the whistle, and so on. This is a bit tougher to grasp early on due to having to make sure it's not used too frequently or infrequently, and certain custom sounds effect this method more than others. This is probably the least abrasive and most agreed on method of using whistles to avoid spamming in particular.

The last real semi-orthodox method of using whistles is something I've come to favor over the years, which is using whistles to emulate a rhythm or drumset-esque cymbal based beats. One of the core differences with my ideology from most other hitsounders is that hitsounds function to the song, rather than the map. Hopefully, the map follows the song as close as possible, and this idea falls naturally in line with normal hitsounding. However, not every mapper maps the same, and if you're ever given the task to hitsound a map for someone, the question of hitsounding the map or the song tends to come up often. Regardless, I like to create an interesting sub rhythm or layered rhythm to the song itself, usually by using additive ride cymbals and hi-hat variations as the whistle. This is essentially creating an additive rhythm over the song using your hitsounding, and it sounds like a crazy idea, but can lead to some really cool results if you handle it properly and well. That being said, very few people tend to go this route with whistles, and almost always require multiple custom sets to get it just right. If you are considering hitsounding like this, please PM me on discord or in-game and we can talk about it in-depth there. I want to reassure you that very few people employ this ideology, so do not be surprised to be met with some backlash. Refer to this to get a general idea of what I'm talking about, specifically the kiai sections.

That is really it, using some creative freedom with whistles is a good thing. For example, using whistles ina very soft section/quiet section isn't advised, you can get enough feedback with just the hitnormals, or possibly just using them very sparingly

an example: https://streamable.com/09oft
Finish


Generally, you use this option the least. Although it might seem otherwise, Finish is used mostly on large impacts on the start of phrases (think of the beginning of <anime tv size> kiai). You can normally just line these up with the a cymbal crash in the song, though these really come alive when they're used creatively. In the streamable above, the song has a boom sound, but it is still in the soft section of the song, so using a custom finish with echoing bells fits more than a loud, abrasive, rock crash. Having a duality of finishes like this helps bring a map to life, as using the generic rock style crashes as the song dictates is good practice, adding some specific textures is an even better practice

here are some finishes I always use: a rock-style crash with a bass, great for impacts; an echo-y ping effect; and the chime-y, sleigh bell style finish I used earlier, for texture: https://mentai.s-ul.eu/Xms1y4h3
Clap


Though you may use this more than a Finish, it is the simplest to implement. Most songs support a clap on the 2nd and 4th white tick, at the common bpms. Some halftime style beats will have claps on the 3rd beat, and a lot of high bpm songs (technically, low bpm: 120+ bpm 1/4) will have snare sounds on every red tick. Though discretion is advised, the songs mapped on osu! have reliably followed this metric, so it is a good baseline. Use a clap on anything that has a snare/clap/electronic set sound in the background. These will not always be on the same previous beats, as drum fills, variation, etc. happen. Just listen closely, and see what works best for what the song is doing

an example: https://streamable.com/2blnd
the song doesn't necessarily have claps the way they are hitsounded, but the mixture of those with the bass drum makes it fit well for the effect the song was creating

Something people tend to not do is to continue their hitsounding through streams, using claps on drum fills can be a bit testy, as using to much can be annoying. I normally will start with hitnormals only, move to whistles, and then climax with claps; or just go from whistles straight to claps. Example, if a drum fill is 8 1/4 circles long, and is increasing in intensity, I will use claps on the circles 5-8, and do something else with the first 4.

I remember reading something along the lines of "for god's sake, hitsound your damn streams" somewhere a year or so ago, and it always stuck with me
Volume Settings


Not necessarily worthy of its own General Section, but definitely worth mentioning, is simply Volume settings. I believe that people under-use the vast scale of volume options you have, even with my own personal limitations being between 15% and 90%. Overall, I leave the loudest and most intense sections in music between 75% and 90% (such as the kiai, and whatnot). The verse, or "normal" parts of music I tend to sit at a very comfy 60 or 65%, or somewhere around there. At 100 music and 100 effect volume, this is a nice way to let the song not be dominated by the sheer amount of hitsounds you're going to be throwing at it. Always use discretion, these values change based on the audio quality and simply the genre of the song. between 50% to 70% is normally a nice place to let you move upwards and downwards. Remember that changing by even 2-3% causes a noticeable change in volume. Any other section is normally 45% and below, for the soft parts, and I use 5% lines to mute sliderends/spinners where applicable. I would never have a volume setting of <15% on clickable objects, I don't think they give enough feedback

here are some examples from a map of mine, which you can find here: Rin - Lunatic set 09 ~ Faraway 380,000-Kilometer Voyage

in this section of my map, it is pretty calm, nothing too soft or too loud, I hover around 60% volume and decay when the song does:


in this part, rhythm is super sparse, drums cut out, and mainly just the melody is prevelant. a very quiet volume setting is used due to this:


here I use a technique to increase the volume of the snare on each reverse tick, and it comes across in its effect very well:


the loudest part of the song, the high bpm kiai, has a very high volume and a bouncy bass kick every beat:
Bass Kicks


Similar to above, this does not deserve its own general section, but are so common nowadays, that it needs to be mentioned. Almost all songs that are mapped have a drumset of some sort running in the background, and the core of this set is a bass kick, and a snare. There is only one method I recommend of implementing these, and that's to replace the normal-hitnormal of the sampleset(s) you are using with the bass kick of your choice. This keeps your whistles open for melodic use, and gives you a good reason to use multiple samplesets to keep the hitsounding fresh. Not to mention, this works really well with the drum-hitnormal as well, as people with default hitsounds off (who cares about them though) will have more appropriate sounds for those. But since all Default options are on always, using normal-hitnormal is more diverse, as it allows you to use more whistle and finish combos on your normal sampleset, and also is really easy to switch with the shortcut shift + w and ctrl + e, which I mentioned I use a lot. This switches to Normal sampleset, and Soft additions, and is very fast to apply, as a lot of bass kicks are repeated in a song, and you can fly through the process by getting into a system.

Here are some kicks I like to use, one perfect for more Future or House styles of music, and another that is good for almost all other situations: https://mentai.s-ul.eu/qyH1QIr9

Same advice as claps, these are placed often on the 1st and 3rd white ticks of the measure, Future and House songs have bass hits every white ticks, and DnB songs tend to have bass kicks on the 1st white tick, and the red tick before the the 4th white tick, like this:


There are obviously more complex bass rhythms, such as in rock and metal. I'm sure these are self-evident enough, and will require much more active hitsounding than the normal osu! map

This ends the general hitsounding advice I have, the following is a brief look on something niche



Keysounding

Keysounding is the act of hitsounding specific sounds in the music, normally coming from a piano or strings, with actual .wav files of specific pitches in specific octaves. It's not advisable to attempt to keysound without knowledge of sheet music/music theory/or simply not having a strong musical background, as the process is tedious, and extremely time-consuming even for those who have these backgrounds. Essentially, the editor is not built to support keysounding, so you end up with a mess of green lines, and sometimes a whole 88 samplesets of piano/string notes.

Things like: and are common, and sometimes, terrifyingly, this:


There isn't much to say about Keysounding, other than to not force it. It should be applied to piano most of the time, and strings (stringsounding??????) have their place too in songs that have these types of instruments. I advise to not try and hitsound in the Violin/Viola range (alto, soprano scales) unless you have amazing quality hitsounds for these octaves. Sticking with Cello (tenor, high bass scales) is the safest way to have the strings sound good, as being too high normally just ends up sounding like a sine wave without the proper sound. Similarly, you almost always want to use long piano notes as your hitsounds, as they mimic real life reverb and chamber-echo, creating a realistic effect. It might sound weird or bad while starting and stopping the song a lot, but using short, staccato piano hitsounds is normally detrimental as it adds a flavor/texture that is not supported by the song (unless it IS supported by the song, then of course, by all means use them), and they also don't come across almost at all.

Make sure you implement your keysounds as hitwhistles. It is imperative to have feedback for the player, and not having a hitnormal to back up the piano sound is not strong enough feedback. using a hi-hat based hitsounds is something I almost always prefer when keysounding, as they are soft and sharp enough to give feedback, while also not detracting from the hitsounds themselves

This section really exists for one reason: all the piano and string hitsounds. In here is a full piano's worth of hitsounds, for long and short alike. Credit to Lasse, these were a sizable upgrade from the ones I had before (I originally was using rips from Finale 2014 that were subpar overall). These include his string hitsounds as well: https://mentai.s-ul.eu/g9QtEOQQ

I recommend using Soft, Long notes for your default, general piano reverb style, and if your song calls for something else, experiment with it

Hitsound Copier

link to grumd's hitsound copier tool


This tool is the only external program I use on osu! (modding assistant seems useful, though, but I'm I prefer taking my time anyway). This tool is extremely useful for a couple reasons. First, hitsounding your top difficulty, and the copying the hitsounds to your lower difficulties tends to be very efficient. This will bring over bass kick + clap + finish combos that the song does. You will often have to rehitsound the map anyway, because things will be off (certain sounds being missing because of rhythm density changing, following drums more than melody, vice versa, etc.), but this will exponentially increase your productivity, as whistles become the biggest change you have to make.

My greatest use for this is making custom hitsound difficulties, and copying this generic difficulty to whoever is requesting's difficulties. These give great baselines to copy sounds over while also having a backup, and it is pretty much irreplaceable. This causes some issues with sliderslide/slidertick volumes/muting because you will generally make these difficulties with only circles. This can be mitigated by customizing the diffs after copying to them, but this is a small inconvenience wrapped in a giant helpful tool.

here is a song I hitsounded with a "hitsounds" diff packaged with it: https://mentai.s-ul.eu/gal0gkAo

I highly, highly recommend using this tool to speed up your hitsounding process. But also do not leave the diffs untouched after copying to them. Doing volume settings, and erasing useless green lines, changing hitsound patterning to follow what the specific diff is following, are all very important steps to take after copying. There have been times where I followed drums more in my lower diffs than my top diffs, so I have to actually add more bass kicks and claps. Again, just a minor inconvenience .

Also, if random red lines show up, just make them inherit previous timing points in the timing panel, with this button:

That's it for the guide. I hope people will be less foggy on what hitsounding is like in 2018. Kibbleru's guide holds water for sure, I recommend looking at it as well regardless. Also remember that this is how I hitsound, it's my guide, there are other ways of doing these things, and don't take them as the final fact.

also, here's an official empty .wav file to make sliderslides or sliderticks muted in a sampleset: https://mentai.s-ul.eu/CnqMkEdw
ScubDomino
TIL that "succinct" is an actual word
Topic Starter
Mentai

ScubDomino wrote:

TIL that "succinct" is an actual word
TIL TIL is an acronym
Enkrypton

Mentai wrote:

ScubDomino wrote:

TIL that "succinct" is an actual word
TIL TIL is an acronym
TIL how to hitsound 8-)
Epicsteve2
Bless you Mentai
Nevo
Mentai
hi-mei
Gonna add this to compendium. Make sure to hide big images into boxes.
Topic Starter
Mentai

hi-mei wrote:

Gonna add this to compendium. Make sure to hide big images into boxes.
i find it pretty interesting we decided to do these posts at essentially the same time lol
Enzie
no u
Kibbleru
Maybe include something about the priority of samples.

Like Additions override Sampleset, which overrides the Timing Line Selection
Topic Starter
Mentai

Kibbleru wrote:

Maybe include something about the priority of samples.

Like Additions override Sampleset, which overrides the Timing Line Selection
good point
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