Why Does My Hi Hat Sound Bad?

If you want your hi hats to sound good, you have to make sure that you have them in the right place and at the right time. There are a number of reasons why you might need to move your hats around in a recording.

You may have noticed that your hi hats are out of phase with other tracks in your mix. You can either fix this by using a gain plugin, which flips the phase, or by making two separate hi hat tracks. This can be done manually if you are comfortable, but you can also bounce the tracks to audio. Look up examples of out of phase audio on youtube, and then you can decide what to do.

Another option is to use multiband compression to reduce the frequency range that your hi hats are in. EQ can also be used to modulate the hats, enabling you to manipulate their sound. Some hats are designed for a softer, less aggressive sound.

Sometimes the problem is caused by a poor set up. Make sure that your snare mic is at least a few inches away from the drums. Also, you might consider slamming the snare track. This will change the level of the snare hits, turning them down. It will also turn up the peak of your hi hats.

In addition, you can add tape to the cymbal to control the volume. You can do this inexpensively by buying quiet sticks and using tape. Similarly, you can put some muffling materials on your hi hats to muffle the noise.

Another way to help you fix your out of phase issues is to get a hat mic. Most drummers prefer not to have a hat mic, since they dislike cymbals, but if you are a drummer who plays at a higher volume than your neighbors, it is a good idea to mic your hats up. By doing this, you can easily isolate the issue and fix it.

One other thing you can do to improve the sound of your hi hats is to wear them out. Depending on how thick your cymbals are, you might find that they are too thick for your tastes. For example, some drummers like to have a thicker bottom cymbal than the top, which helps to increase the sustain of the sound. However, it can also make the hats more muddy.

Lastly, if you think that your hi hats are too loud, you can use an EQ to reduce the frequencies. You can try a widening Q, which will make the hats less peaky, or you can use a narrow notch in your parametric EQ to get rid of the extra frequencies.

Hi hats are a very important part of a track, and it is a mistake to just dismiss them as being “things.” They are much more than that. A poorly played hi hat can cause a lot of mess, so make sure you do your best to get them in the right place.