High Hat Processing

For some reason, High hats are my biggest challenge. I have tons of great hi hat samples, but they sound awful when I put them in my mix and takes my tracks from sounding good to amateur real fast.

Literally just trying to do something as simple as this :

Any pointers would really be appreciated

u might wanna show your approach on that drumloop so one can figure out what issue youre talking about

i’m trying to figure out how to make my hats sounds like the ones in the example loop

yes i understood that, but without hearing how your sound, its difficult to tell you what to change


like maybe 2 samples going on in there, splashy ride cymbal playing all the time and a more shuffly clicky one a bit lower in the mix,

or maybe that’s just 2 parts of same sample

like i think the splashing 1’s playing same all the time (might just be 1,2,3,4 with long like sustain), riding through, then the clicky one’s shuffling up and down one and two and Three and four and, you can automate velocity or like volume to get them a bit more moving like that, makes it feel a bit more like real drumming when they’re not hitting exactly the same each time

beyond that no clue son

have you ever tried using panning and delay? Like, put some delay on one channel with for example 25% wet/dry-then have another channel with different grid spacings and pan them both slightly to opposite ends


I’m not really what are you asking?

If you’re just after that sound, I’m pretty damn sure those hats on that clip are just 909s or something like 909 based layered hi-hats from some overused Vengeance pack. Also, they’re mixed very low, so they blend into that background noise.

The actual pattern is really simple, It’s just kick - ch - oh - ch - snare - ch -oh -ch, each hit being 1/8 note apart from each other. I quickly threw up something similar (different sort of sounds and somewhat crunchier tho, but the same pattern).


Thanks, that was a helpful post. I guess i’m mostly just asking about typical processing tips for them. Such as eq, compression, saturation possibly? Panning each hat differently, or keeping them relatively the same but adding stereo enhancement to the whole group?

I like the sound of that open hat, its like white noise lol

EQ and compression is really just about your taste and how you want your cymbals to sound like. It also depends on what exact hats you have, what else there is in the mix etc. For example, open hat in that example loop is actually 3 hits layered together. There’s open hi-hat from a real drum kit in the center with high end removed with eq, then there’s 909 hat, I used haas effect to make it stereo. And finally there’s some timestretched vinyl noise on the background. Then all 3 (+ that closed hat) are grouped and bitcrushed to get some more crunch. it also fills some gaps in the frequency range with noise, that’s why it sounds like there’s white noise on it. Then all the regular stuff, cutting the low end, boosting highs slightly etc.

Generally speaking, without having heard what your hats sound like, most inexperienced producer have their hats way too loud, they can be a lot quieter than you probably think. It’s often good to highpass them somewhere in the 250-500 hz range, as well as using tight eq cuts to pull down the harshest high frequency stuff. Low pass filtering or using a high shelf to cut or tame stuff above 10k will also help when it comes time for the inevitable shitty mp3 or soundcloud conversion. I also often like to pan closed hats of to the side a bit and open hats off to the other side to give a bit of stereo interest just from the high hat pattern itself. Again, it all depends on the track and what kind of hats you want to use.

1 BigUp

bro you have to hi pass all your cymbals, give them a tiny splash of reverb, and work the levels as nice as you can, that’s how you get it sounding clean

1 BigUp

tiny bit of chorus/flange on hats goes a loooooooooooong way.

If you’re using ableton run the hats through a return track with reverb. Also varying the db levels throughout the loop makes it more natural (aka sound better).

Quick way to get diff velocities is by using the randomize feature in th midi note tool folder that’s in between audio fx and instruments in ableton. Be careful not to have the velocity range go down to low!

Flange (FL stock flange has a great preset called Moving Disto (I think) that gets them all jittery)

Adds depth to the hi hats. High pass as mentioned above and make sure they’ve got space in the. Is. You could even isolate the frequency range the hats are on then have the snare (for example) EQ side chained so it drops out whenever the hats hit on that specific frequency range only. Create space in the mixdown and added bonus of giving the snare a bit more character.

you gotta post your stuff if you want people to be able to provide constructive criticism. otherwise, what are we even talking about, but abstractions.