Creating hi-hat patterns that are both interesting and rewarding may be challenging for even the most experienced music producers who program drum grooves. In the next tutorial, we will show you some ideas on how to process your hi-hats by using RitMix.

As usual, we prepared a short sequence in our SoundBridge: DAW. It includes most of the elements of a full mix, including a simple hi-hat pattern made in the RitMix Drum Machine, by SoundBridge. Let’s take a listen to it.

This is a screenshot of my mix taken before we process the hi-hat sequence with Ritmix.
~Full Mix – Hi-Hat Sequence (Unprocessed)

Hi-hats can sound processed significantly more quickly than other drum beat elements because they fall inside a narrow frequency band. Therefore, they easily suffer from excessive saturation, EQ, and compression, or in general, over processing. It’s better to start with subtle processing and tweaking methods to prevent this.

We will touch on simple tweaks that work wonders. In addition to them, remember to rest your ears when mixing. After taking a break from the mix for ten to fifteen minutes, it’s easier to detect the ringing and harshness brought on by over processing.

Let’s hear our hi-hat sequence solo.

This is a screenshot of the MIDI editor used to write the hi-hat sequence.
~Hi Hat Sequence (Unprocessed)

Process your hi-hats

The hi-hat pattern sounds too clean and lifeless as it is. To begin fixing this, we’ll switch to the RitMix interface and focus on the Amp/Pitch editor. Let’s start with the amp envelope, where we’ll use slightly shorter decay and sustain settings.

This is a screenshot of the Ritmix interface with accent on its amp envelope section.

After that, we’ll move on to the pitch envelope and humanizer. Here, we will reduce the semitones by -10 while adjusting the envelope amount and decay time slightly.

At this point, humanizing the panning will be enough to already feel a much more dynamic sequence. Let’s hear how this sounds.

This is a close-up screenshot of the Ritmix Pitch editor section.
This is a close-up screenshot of the Ritmix Humanizer section.
~Hi Hat Sequence (Pitch Envelope & Humanizer)

Our hi-hat pattern will now be colored with an additional bit-crusher effect to complete the processing. This is a particularly useful effect to process audio material such as cymbals and hi-hats. It can introduce grittiness and cut-off unwanted high frequencies, in a different and often more pleasing way than standard equalizers. Let’s set the downsampling at 4.

This is a screenshot of SoundBridge: DAW Interface and the interface of the Bit Crusher effect applied to process hi-hats.
~Hi Hat Sequence (Bit Crusher)

Finally, let’s hear our processed hi-hat sequence in the context of the full mix.

~Full Mix – Hi-Hat Sequence (Processed)

If you liked this article on drum processing, here are some more on the same subject: