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Equalizing the hi-hat

From: Audio Mixing Bootcamp

Video: Equalizing the hi-hat

The hi-hat is the timekeeper of the drum kit, and depending upon the player and the arrangement it can be a signature of a song. Let's look at how we can EQ the hat to make it sound clean and crisp. First thing to remember is that, all hi -hats don't sound the same and that's because of the thickness. Usually studio players tend to get really thin hi-hats. And those sound clean and crisp and usually really good under a microphone. But the problem is they never last if you play live with them because they break and that's why most players will have heavier cymbals.

Equalizing the hi-hat

The hi-hat is the timekeeper of the drum kit, and depending upon the player and the arrangement it can be a signature of a song. Let's look at how we can EQ the hat to make it sound clean and crisp. First thing to remember is that, all hi -hats don't sound the same and that's because of the thickness. Usually studio players tend to get really thin hi-hats. And those sound clean and crisp and usually really good under a microphone. But the problem is they never last if you play live with them because they break and that's why most players will have heavier cymbals.

Now the heavier cymbals will last a lot longer but they don't sound nearly as good under a microphone and tend to clang a little bit. So we can help that with a little bit of EQ. So let's listen to what that sounds like. Concentrate on the hi-hat because we'll hear the entire drum kit. (Music playing) Let's listen to the hi-hat soloed. (Music playing) So take notice of the leakage there.

We hear a lot of kick drum and we hear a lot of the snare drum. So let's go to our EQ plug-ins and once again we will go our trusty native 4-Band EQ. The first thing we are going to do is add a high-pass filter. And the high-pass filter is important because what it will do is it will get rid of a lot of frequencies that we don't need and usually those frequencies are down below 200, 400 cycles, even more. The hi-hat is mostly high frequencies. That's what the ear wants to hear there and anything that's kind of below 200 cycles or so just doesn't register and it just clutters up the mix.

So I want to get rid of that. A way to do that is we add the high- pass filter and near about 12 dB per octave or so and let's bring this up to 200 Hz or so, have a listen from there. (Music playing) Now let's listen with the Bypass and listen to the kick drum. (Music playing) Now let's listen with the filter in. (Music playing) The kick is really attenuated as soon as we get rid of those low frequencies and actually take a notice that we can go pretty drastic here with the high-pass filter and bring it up to even 1K.

And it doesn't affect the sound of the hi-hat all that much. (Music playing) Let's listen in the track, listen what happens. (Music playing) And now let me Bypass it, have a listen. (Music playing) And watch when we put the EQ in. (Music playing) Here, we get rid of a lot of leakage and it sounds pretty crisp as a result.

I wouldn't go quite up to 1K. I would probably put it at 400, 500 in a Hz there. It is about right. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) And you can hear that the Kick drum is pretty attenuated at that. Once again we are getting rid with a lot of frequencies that don't really add anything to the sound of the hi-hat to begin with. The next thing we are going to do is add a little crispness to it and the crispness and sparkle comes from somewhere between 8 to 12 K or so, and once again it really depends on the sound to begin with. We'll just start at 10K and we are going to exaggerate it here so you can hear it so, we will go to 6dB, have a listen.

(Music playing) Let's listen to some Bypass. (Music playing) I may even come down a little bit a K or so. (Music playing) Let's listen to the track.

(Music playing) And of course, the sound of the hat is filled in through the leakage of all the other drum mikes. So in fact, it never sounds as crisp and clean as when it's soloed, but even so, you can hear just what you need, you can increase definition and that's what we are looking for. So that's how to EQ the hi-hat. Remember that there is not a lot of low frequencies to the sound of the hi-hat, so you can get rid of a lot of the leakage by using a high-pass filter to filter out the bottom end.

Also remember that sparkle from the cymbal comes from around 8 to 10 K.

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This video is part of

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Audio Mixing Bootcamp

103 video lessons · 18991 viewers

Bobby Owsinski
Author

 
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  1. 1m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
  2. 8m 20s
    1. Determining the listening position
      2m 27s
    2. Fixing acoustic problems
      2m 5s
    3. Setting up your monitors
      3m 48s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Setting up your session
      5m 52s
    2. Setting up your subgroups
      7m 50s
    3. Setting up your effects
      6m 35s
  4. 8m 45s
    1. Developing the groove
      3m 46s
    2. Emphasizing the most important elements
      3m 44s
    3. Knowing what to avoid
      1m 15s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Learning the principles of building a mix
      1m 1s
    2. Assigning the drums to a subgroup
      3m 55s
    3. Building the mix from the kick
      10m 8s
    4. Building the mix from the snare
      8m 46s
    5. Building the mix from the toms
      5m 25s
    6. Building the mix from the overhead mics
      3m 53s
    7. Checking the drum phase
      4m 44s
    8. Balancing direct and miked bass channels
      3m 36s
    9. Building the mix from the bass
      3m 26s
    10. Building the mix from the vocals
      4m 19s
    11. Balancing the rhythm section
      2m 44s
    12. Balancing the rest of the instruments with the rhythm section
      5m 22s
    13. Making a mix without building it
      4m 20s
    14. Balancing the harmony vocals
      2m 35s
  6. 23m 2s
    1. Looking at the three main panning areas
      9m 23s
    2. Panning the drums
      6m 9s
    3. Avoiding pseudo-stereo
      7m 30s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding compressor parameters
      3m 42s
    2. Setting up the compressor
      14m 44s
    3. Compressing the drums
      7m 53s
    4. Compressing the room mics
      4m 9s
    5. Compressing the bass
      5m 24s
    6. Using the New York compression trick
      4m 23s
    7. Compressing the clean electric guitars
      4m 40s
    8. Compressing the distorted electric guitars
      4m 48s
    9. Compressing the acoustic guitars
      8m 7s
    10. Compressing the piano
      6m 35s
    11. Compressing the electric keyboards
      4m 32s
    12. Compressing the vocals
      4m 34s
    13. Compressing the horns
      3m 55s
  8. 25m 36s
    1. Learning noise gate basics
      9m 23s
    2. Using the noise gate on guitars
      3m 57s
    3. Using the noise gate on drums
      7m 38s
    4. Learning de-esser basics
      2m 15s
    5. Using the de-esser on vocals
      2m 23s
  9. 36m 4s
    1. Understanding equalizer parameters
      10m 16s
    2. Learning subtractive equalization
      8m 57s
    3. Learning frequency juggling
      8m 28s
    4. Using the magic high-pass filter
      7m 39s
    5. Learning the principles of equalization
      44s
  10. 49m 46s
    1. Equalizing the kick
      6m 7s
    2. Equalizing the snare
      2m 57s
    3. Equalizing the rack toms
      5m 4s
    4. Equalizing the floor tom
      4m 32s
    5. Equalizing the hi-hat
      4m 56s
    6. Equalizing the cymbal or the overhead mics
      6m 49s
    7. Equalizing the room mics
      5m 13s
    8. Equalizing the bass
      3m 59s
    9. Editing the bass rhythm
      4m 21s
    10. Equalizing the rhythm section
      5m 48s
  11. 47m 58s
    1. Equalizing the electric guitar
      8m 15s
    2. Equalizing the acoustic guitar
      4m 55s
    3. Equalizing the hand percussion
      3m 28s
    4. Equalizing the lead vocals
      6m 5s
    5. Equalizing the background vocals
      4m 14s
    6. Equalizing the piano
      4m 46s
    7. Equalizing the organ
      6m 49s
    8. Equalizing the strings
      6m 4s
    9. Equalizing the horns
      3m 22s
  12. 30m 47s
    1. Learning the principles of reverb
      1m 59s
    2. Understanding reverb parameters
      6m 49s
    3. Timing the reverb to the track
      6m 6s
    4. Equalizing the reverb
      2m 51s
    5. Using the two-reverb quick setup
      5m 35s
    6. Using the three-reverb setup
      7m 27s
  13. 59m 8s
    1. Adding reverb to the drums
      7m 56s
    2. Adding reverb to the vocals
      11m 59s
    3. Adding reverb to the guitars
      5m 17s
    4. Adding reverb to the piano
      4m 19s
    5. Adding reverb to the organ
      3m 43s
    6. Adding reverb to the strings
      5m 36s
    7. Adding reverb to the horns
      2m 57s
    8. Adding reverb to the percussion
      4m 46s
    9. Using reverb to layer the mix
      12m 35s
  14. 46m 8s
    1. Learning delay principles
      1m 40s
    2. Understanding delay parameters
      6m 54s
    3. Timing the delay to the track
      1m 28s
    4. Using delay timing variations
      2m 51s
    5. Equalizing the delay
      4m 23s
    6. Understanding the Haas effect
      2m 51s
    7. Using the three-delay setup
      7m 23s
    8. Adding delay to the vocals
      8m 43s
    9. Using delay to layer the mix
      9m 55s
  15. 21m 35s
    1. Understanding the types of modulation
      2m 43s
    2. Understanding modulation parameters
      4m 13s
    3. Modulating the guitars
      4m 7s
    4. Modulating the keyboards
      3m 17s
    5. Modulating the vocals
      4m 17s
    6. Modulating the strings
      2m 58s
  16. 12m 22s
    1. Mixing with subgroups
      5m 5s
    2. Using mix buss compression
      4m 21s
    3. Understanding the evils of hypercompression
      2m 56s
  17. 39s
    1. Goodbye
      39s

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