Mixing Cymbals and Hi Hats: Getting it sound right

This will remove the harsh metallic sound associated with cymbals. However it depends on the music and the type of the cymbal. If you can still hear some metallic sound, you can increase the cut-off frequency to 1000Hz or even 2000Hz until the cymbals sounds nice with its natural treble/ringing response.

b.) Cut 3dB at 3000Hz, Q = 1.4
c.) Boost 3dB at 12500Hz Q=1.0

Note: Some drum kits have only one cymbal, so in this case, it functions as both ride and crash cymbals. For mixing of this type of configuration, refer to ride cymbal tips below.

2. Ride cymbal – this is the soft sound of the cymbal, as opposed to crash cymbal. This is located to the right of the drummer instead to the left.

Panning definitions: RIGHT, 12.5
EQ setting:
Low shelf filter at 500Hz -6dB
Cut -3dB at 3000Hz
Boost +3dB at 10,000Hz

3. Open hi hat – this gives a crash sound of the hi hats, typically used for rock alternative choruses.

Panning definitions: Right, 12.5
EQ settings: Same with crash cymbal

Picture of pedal and open hi hat:

Hi hats

Hi hats

(photo by:Stephan Czuratis)

4. Pedal hi hat– this is the soft equivalent of open hi hat. Typically employed in song stanzas.

Panning definitions: Right, 12.5 (the same with open hi hat, since they are same structure, played in different style – open or closed)
EQ setting: Same with ride cymbals

For EQ settings of other drum kit components as well as the rest of your mix, you can read this comprehensive guide on EQ settings to be used during audio mixing. I also recommend to read this additional resources on mixing drums.

Overall note: These tips are not one-size-fits-all-EQ, so I suggest to start with these settings and then tweak your sound to perfection.

Content last updated on October 23, 2012