Cymbals have a narrow frequency range, so they feel the effects of processing faster than drum hits. As a result, it is easy to get too much saturation, EQ, or compression.
Quality recordings are the best way to avoid making this mistake. You won’t feel the need for excessive effects.
You can re-record the track or use Splice to find a substitute. You might be able to save some time by starting over with a new hi-hat.
If you must, take frequent breaks to ensure your ears are fresh. For example, it is easier to detect ringing or harshness caused by over-processing if you are 10 minutes from the mix.
These two transient shaping techniques can be used to add flair and clarity.
Neutron’s Transient Shaper is a not-so-secret weapon for all types of drums. Based on experience, here are two ways you can use the plug-in to cymbals.
If a cymbal mix lacks flair, turn up the transient attack dial until it cuts through the mix more. You don’t need to push cymbals too hard to sound lively.
If you are looking for an aggressive EDM or trap sound, going above and beyond the normal limits might be the best option.
Complex transients and cymbals that are too aggressive can be tamed by reducing their attack.
This method has a corrective function. Some samples and recordings have too much room tone or bleed from other instruments.
It usually happens when you record music in your room and it is not insulated correctly.
These sounds shouldn’t be ruined, but making adjustments such as trimming the tail of an open hat to separate the snare and the hat’s tail will create a balanced mix. Increase the sustain to increase hi-hat length.
A dynamic EQ can help you get corrective.
Cymbals can’t be adjusted without affecting the snare in most cases. Dynamic EQ is a solution.
Select the frequencies you are concerned about, and then choose the snare to be the sidechain input.
The snare will automatically duck the frequencies you have selected.
These tips will help you understand some common problems that can arise when mixing hi-hats. Once hi-hats are heard, they can contribute to the overall groove in a fun way. Also, a clean sound helps ensure minimal processing (over-) later.
Before you start, here’s a bonus tip: Many of these tips can be combined, such as combining transient shaping and dynamic EQ or swinging with panning. So keep trying out the tips above