The hi-hat has a riding force that floats above the grounded kick and snare hits. No matter the genre, well-produced and mixed hi-hats can make the difference between a professional and an amateur mix. There are many ways and approaches to blending the hi-hats into the mix. In the next tutorial, we will focus on one of them.

As usual, we have prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW. It contains all the essential elements of a drum section. Let’s have a listen to it.

SoundBridge Hi-hat width session
~Full mix – Without Additional  Hi-Hat Sequence

The drum sequence sounds good, and it already includes the main hi-hat sequence. However, there is some room to add another hi-hat pattern on which we could experiment with width and other parameters. All this in order to spice the groove up. 

Let’s start by selecting some hi-hat samples and building a simple pattern. Here is how that sounds solo and in the context of the full mix.

New hi-hat pattern
~Hi Hat Sequence – Unprocessed
~Full mix – With Hi-Hat Sequence (Unprocessed)

Increase the width of the hi-hat pattern

To increase the width of the hi-hat sequence above we will use an effect called MicroShift by Soundtoys. MicroShift is known to work great for widening the stereo image of incoming audio. It’s often used on vocals, guitars, and synths, but can give interesting results on drum elements as well.

As you can see in the picture below we didn’t apply any Detune or Delay movement. That’s because in this case, our pattern gets pretty wide with just the Mix parameter set to maximum. Other than that, we have chosen the style II algorithm. Let’s hear the difference.

Microshift for width
~Hi Hat Sequence – Processed With MicroShift

Final touches with a frequency shifter

Once we’re satisfied, we can do one more thing to better blend the new hi-hat sequence into the overall mix. We’ll do this by adding a frequency shifter. This is a very useful effect for drum tuning covered in-depth in one of our previous tutorials. Our tool of choice will be the MFreqShifter by Melda Production. Here, we will just increase the Shift parameter until we reach a pitch that blends well with the other elements of our drum groove. Let’s have a listen.

Frequency shifter
~Hi Hat Sequence – Processed With MicroShift & MFreqShifter

Finally, let’s listen to the full mix with our newly processed hi-hat sequence.

~Full mix – With Hi-Hat Sequence (Processed)