Alesis Strike Kit - Hi-Hat Configuration and Troubleshooting

With every new firmware update, the Alesis Strike kit grows smarter and more capable of automatically adapting to each player, including the elusive hi-hat. Hi-hat auto-calibration and new precision settings for fine-tuning response means a better feeling hi-hat and a more satisfying kit overall. This article covers every step of hi-hat configuration, including physical setup, adjusting settings (if necessary), and what do if the hi-hat is not responding as expected. 

 

Contents

  1. What to Expect
  2. Setting up the Hi-Hat
  3. Calibrating the Hi-Hat
  4. Fine-tune Settings
  5. Troubleshooting
  6. Further Technical Support

 

What to Expect

Beginning with firmware update v1.3, several changes have been made to the hi-hat performance settings that will make it easier to achieve the ideal hi-hat response. While there is no one perfect preset to encompass all drummers, playing styles, hi-hat stands, etc., this guide will explain what you need to know to best adapt the response to you. 

While following this guide, remember that every percussion instrument, acoustic or electronic, will require a unique touch. Electronic drum kits rely on distinct and deliberate performances in order to correctly read the player and react with the appropriate sound, velocity, volume, etc. This makes for a satisfyingly consistent and reliable sound when done correctly, but can be more unforgiving to mistakes than their acoustic counterparts. No amount of setting adjustments can account for simply not striking a pad consistently, completely or with enough force. 

The intent of this article is to get you as close to a "perfect" hi-hat response as possible, so you can play the Alesis Strike kit with confidence. 

 

Setting up the Hi-Hat

The first step to being successful with the Strike hi-hat is the physical arrangement of the hi-hat pads and stand. The Strike hi-hats will work with virtually any hi-hat stand and can easily adapt to your playing style, but their response and feel will depend on if the pieces were put together correctly. Changing settings to account for placing the spring upside down, may only make the response worse. 

So, before touching any settings, it's important to ensure the hi-hat is arranged correctly on your hi-hat stand. 

  1. The hi-hat control module will go on first. But before placing the hi-hat control module on your hi-hat stand, look for and remove any felt washers that would sit directly beneath the control module on the cymbal seat (i.e. where a real bottom hi-hat cymbal would normally be resting). 



    Most, if not all, hi-hat stands will include a felt washer or pad to be placed below the bottom hi-hat cymbal to protect it. If not removed, this felt will contribute additional and unnecessary suspension to the Alesis hi-hat and control module that will result in unexpected hi-hat behavior.

    For the most accurate and controlled response, please make sure that this felt piece is removed and the hi-hat control module is resting directly on the hi-hat cymbal seat. 
     
  2. Make sure the smaller 1/8” cable coming from the bottom cymbal is plugged into the hi-hat module which the bottom cymbal sits on top of. This cable will communicate to the module that the hi-hat pedal is closed.


     
  3. Make sure the spring that rests on the bottom cymbal has the black "stopper" on the top side, closer to the top cymbal and not down inside the cymbal. If this 'Stopper' is upside down inside of the bottom cymbal, it will not function properly.
     
  4. Now loosen your hi-hat clutch and let the top cymbal rest on top of the spring.


     
  5. At this point your setup options will be somewhat preferential:
     
    • You can tighten the hi-hat clutch right where it is. However, some users may prefer to have the top and bottom hi-hat cymbals a little further apart when idle. If this is your preferred setup, it is recommended that the top cymbal is pulled up off the spring slightly, or about an inch or so. However, lifting the top cymbal too high off the spring may result in some unexpected behavior when "stomping" the hi-hat pedal.
       
    • Pushing down on the spring and then tightening the clutch is not recommended. Not only does this make the two hi-hat cymbals contact more frequently, but compressing the spring actually limits how much data the module can use to make the different hi-hat articulations sound correctly!

During your setup, be cognizant of the placement of the ALESIS logo on this pad. The logo should be farthest away from you, so you can read ALESIS correctly. If you need to turn this around to get a better response, see our troubleshooting section below for instructions. 

 

Calibrating the Hi-Hat

Beginning with firmware v1.3, the Strike module now incorporates a hi-hat calibration procedure that will automatically adjust settings to your playing style and hardware performance. The procedure takes about 30-45 seconds and can be initiated by pressing the Reset button on the hi-hat trigger settings page in the module. 

  1. Press Edit > Triggers on the module.
  2. Set the trigger selection to Hihat Bow or Hihat Edge and press F1/F2.
  3. Press F1/F2 again to select Reset and initiate the calibration procedure

For around 30 seconds, play the hi-hat as consistently as possible with wide variations of hits so the kit can get a full picture of your arrangement and style. Be sure to adjust the pedal to all open, mid, and closed positions, chick or splash the hi-hat pedal, and hit the top cymbal with a variety of velocities and speeds. This should be a casual example of your hi-hat work, not unlike a simple warm up before a gig. 

Any time a change is made to the hardware arrangement (i.e. changing the height of the cymbals), it's recommended to perform a new calibration so the module can re-adjust.

 

Fine-tune Settings

The calibration procedure will complete the hi-hat setup process for most users. But if necessary, additional settings are available to fine-tune the response with more precision.

Keep in mind, these settings should only be used to correct specific behaviors and changing settings without a full understanding may only make the response worse. Make adjustments only in small increments and as recommended below to avoid going down the rabbit hole. The settings do require a balance for the best response, but if you find that adjusting one setting means that you need to re-adjust another, you may be adjusting the wrong parameter. 

  • Chick: Raises or lowers the point at which your pedal will trigger the "chick/stomp" sound. If you play with the top cymbal really high above the bottom one, or if your hi-hat pedal has high-tension springs, increasing this setting may help you get a more consistent chick/stomp sound. 
  • Tightness: You should not have to adjust this much, but if you tend to play with very little distance between the hi-hat cymbals when opening and closing them, lowering this setting may help capture the finer details of your playing. If this setting is too low, you may trigger unintentional "chick/stomp" sounds while striking the top cymbal. 
  • Sensitivity: Lowering this setting can help increase the dynamic range of the "chick/stomp" sound (though setting it too low can cause inconsistent chick volumes). 
  • Splash: This setting determines how easy or hard it is to create a hi-hat "splash" sound. Higher values make it more difficult to "splash", though you may prefer that depending on your "footwork".
  • Curve: If you prefer to hear more closed or semi-open sounds, choose one of the logarithmic curves (Log 1-4). If you prefer a more open sound, choose an exponential curve (Exp. 1-4). Select Linear for an even balance between these. 

It's popular to reach for the Sensitivity setting when you're experiencing missed or dropped hits, but remember that the sensitivity setting here is intended only for adjusting the chick/stomp setting and will not make the pads more susceptible to responding to hits. 

 

Troubleshooting

This section compiles common hi-hat behavior and what to do if you experience these particular symptoms. Remember that any setting adjustments should be made in small increments and only for the reasons prescribed. If you find yourself, reaching for more than one setting at a time, or pushing some of the values to their extremes, you may want to consider restarting with the calibration process above.

 

I moved my kit to a new location and now my hi-hat is responding differently. 

Your hi-hat settings are specific to your hardware (i.e. hi-hat stand) and the physical arrangement of that hardware. If you were to change the distance between the top and bottom pads, switch hi-hat stands, or even the surface the hi-hat is placed on, you may need to make some new adjustments.

Just like a real drum kit, the surface/stage you are playing on will absorb vibrations better or worse than others, which means more or less vibration to be absorbed and used by the hi-hat trigger. For example, if the hi-hat has been optimized to respond best on a hard, concrete floor, you may find that moving to a soft carpet dulls the response. This will affect all triggers, but the intricate nature of the hi-hat makes this a bit more sensitive than the rest of the kit. In this situation, increasing sensitivity or decreasing threshold for the trigger in question (bow, edge, or pedal) will make the hi-hat more responsive when a portion of each strike is being absorbed into the floor. 

 

Open hi-hat sounds still trigger with the hi-hat closed, or closed hi-hat sounds still trigger with the hi-hat open. 

Depending on the severity, start by resetting the calibration procedure and playing the open/closed sounds more deliberately (i.e. make sure the hi-hat is comfortably closed or open before striking). If it seems like the spectrum of movement between closed and open sounds is slightly off (pressing harder than expected to trigger closed, or mid sounds triggering when the hi-hat is wide open), try a different Curve setting. Choose Log 1-4 to favor more closed and mid sounds, and EXP 1-4 to favor more open sounds. 

 

I have to press down hard on the pedal to trigger a closed sound.

Try a different curve setting. Choosing a logarithmic curve (LOG 1-4) will make it easier to generate a closed or semi-open sound. 

 

I keep getting dropped or missed hits, especially when triggering ghost notes or rolls. 

Try lowering the tightness setting. Especially in cases where the top and bottom cymbals are set very close, this will help pull out more details in the performance. Keep in mind, if you begin hearing unintended chick or stomp sounds, this means that the setting is set too low. 

 

The chick or stomp setting is triggering too much. 

If the Tightness setting has been adjusted at all, try turning this up slightly. It may have been set too low. If the Tightness setting has not already been adjusted, try turning down the Chick setting. This will lower the point on the hi-hat pedal in which the chick sound is triggered, which can help it from being triggered accidentally. 

 

The splash sound is triggering too much or not enough.

Reach for the splash setting. More footwork may make the splash trigger more accidentally, so increasing the Splash setting will decrease the range in which the splash will occur. Decreasing the value will open the splash range and make it easier to hit. 

 

My top cymbal responds better when I hit the Alesis logo. 

If you find that you're getting a better response by striking using the back-side of the top-cymbal (the side with the Alesis logo), this could mean a problem with the pad. Contact your nearest support team to help take a closer look. 

 

I can't get the bow or edge on my hi-hat to trigger. What do I do?

If the top cymbal is not responding, start by making sure that the top cymbal is plugged in correctly by following the steps in the hardware setup section above. The cable labeled "Hi-Hat" should be connected to the top cymbal and the Hi-Hat input on the module.

If that doesn't do it, disconnect the cable from your crash cymbal and connect it to the top hi-hat cymbal. If you are able to trigger the Crash edge and bow sounds than the cymbal is working correctly and the problem is somewhere in the hi-hat settings or physical setup. If it does not respond, this could mean a problem with the pad. Contact your nearest support team to help take a closer look.

 

 

Further Technical Support

For any further questions or technical support, please visit the link below to connect with any of the following support options: online community support, phone support, email support.