Step 1: Any DAW Default Synthesizer will do (or get more fancy as you please)!
What is lofi music without a muted yet somewhat crisp high-end hi-hat in the mix? Throwing those in a non-quantized pattern that has some swing is the secret sauce that has made so many people groove to lofi hip hop.
As always, the synth plugin/VST you wish to use here is really up to you although the steps laid out here should be relevant regardless! We’re going to go with Mai Tai synth VST that is included with my Studio One 4 DAW (link here). Here we are shaping the foundation for the hi-hat so you’re free to get creative, but lets walk through our thinking when designing this. Here we just dropped a 1/16th piano note at C4 in piano roll as a starting point. With Mai Tai we decided to use a triangle waveform in the oscillator 1, and pitch it up an extra octave as you can see in the top left of the Mai Tai interface picture. In addition, there is no use for the second oscillator so the volume level is turned down to 0.
Next was focusing on the “noise” module. Similarly, Feel free to deviate from this and potentially add some vinyl hiss or other lofi background noise as we did in our “How to Create a LoFi Piano with Free Plugins.” Now lets move to the sound envelopes! Being this is a hi-hat you don’t want much sustain and/or minimal release (I prefer some slight reverb later in the mix). Attack is set to basically 0 here so the hat hits immediately and the envelopes fall off pretty quickly.
Lastly – make sure all your FX are off in your synth (or else you could spend 20 mins trying to understand why you hear delay…..as I did….).