A tech house track example. (credit: Waking Up by Audial)
As a mixing style, tech-house often brings together deep or minimal techno music, the soulful and jazzy end of house, some minimal techno and microhouse (especially with a soulful feel, such as Luomo’s music), and very often some dub elements. There is some overlap with progressive house, which too can contain deep, soulful, dub, and techno elements; this is especially true since the turn of the millennium, as progressive-house mixes have themselves often become deeper and sometimes more minimal. However, the typical progressive-house mix has more energy than tech-house, which tends to have a more “laid-back” feel. Tech-house fans tend to appreciate subtlety, as well as the “middle ground” that adds a “splash of color to steel techno beats” and eschews the “banging” of house music for intricate rhythms.
As a musical (as opposed to a mixing) style, tech-house uses the same basic structure as house. However, elements of the house 'sound' such as realistic jazz sounds (in deep house) and booming kick drums are replaced with elements from techno such as shorter, deeper, darker and often distorted kicks, smaller, quicker hi-hats, noisier snares and more synthetic or acid sounding synth melodies from the TB-303, including raw electronic noises from distorted sawtooth and square wave oscillators.
Some producers also add soulful vocals and elements (David Chambers), and equally as much raw electronic sounds in their music. However, a rich techno-like kick and bassline seems to be a consistency amongst tech house music.