View Full Version : studio hi hats
06-25-2003, 06:36 AM
Of all the elements of a drum set, hi hats are the hardest to isolate from spilling all over.
Some like this, and use it as an integral part of the sound, miking traditional or jazz kits with a few microphones.
But how about the brand of hi hats that sound the same when you mike them as an integral part of the kit, with just overhead pair, as well as individually, with all the other elements of the drum kit with their own mikes.
Are the 10s better than 12 or 14 since smaller - so less spill?
Please submit Your expirience and mark the best sounding hi hats, which are ballanced with the rest of the kit in both situations.
The answers should concern all styles but preferably pop and rock music.
06-25-2003, 07:36 AM
Simply because of dynamics, I find that you do need to mike the hats separately if you want them to have the same presence as the rest of the kit. Otherwise, you need a pair of hats which are very loud, very cutting, and henceforth very out of balance with the rest of the kit acoustically. If it's a dense mix and you want the hats to cut through, especially when played closed or with the foot, separate miking is very helpful. For quieter, sparser music, you can get away with just the overhead pair.
One helpful trick I have used with overhead mics to enhance the "cut" of both the ride cymbal and the hi-hat is to insert a compressor on the overheads set to compress 3-6 dB on peaks, and with a slow attack and medium release. The slow attack allows the transients of the cymbals to get through, while pushing down the rest of the kit a little bit.
Incidentally, I also very often place a SD condenser under the ride bell, and bring up just a little bit of that mic in the mix to give the ride a little more bite in pop and rock tracks. But not so much so that it sounds artificial.
I have two pairs of hi-hats I use regularly for recording. One is a pair of Paiste Signature 13" Dark Crisp Hats, which are great for slightly more subtle music and pop. They are very colorful. My other pair is a set of Zildjian 14" A Quick Beat Hats, which are great for pretty much every contemporary style, and which are a bit louder and quicker. Hat mics are generally a Neumann KM184, Shure SM81, or Audio Technica 4033.
Are the 10s better than 12 or 14 since smaller - so less spill?
Not really...they won't be as loud, but they'll also be higher in pitch and more "splashy". Smaller hats like that are generally considered specialty cymals and aren't useful for a variety of styles.
Nothing will sound exactly the same when recorded up close and far away.
Why do you want to stop the sound from "spilling all over"?
06-26-2003, 06:49 AM
Thank You for Your answers and oppinions.
I would like to see more on this topic with Your own expiriences about brands.
This 10 vs 12 and 14 is certanly helpful and clears some aspects.
Common law of phusics.
I don't know how much of a difference the brand would make...I'd say that the sound qualitly should be your main consideration, regardless of brand or size. Typically the higher-end models from companies like Sabian, Paiste and Zildjian are pretty good bets, although not every model is appropriate for every situation. For good versatile hats I'd probably go with a 13" or 14" model...the smaller ones may be quieter, but they're typically also higher in pitch and may be more problematic for you. They also may not "blend" as nicely.
I think that the best way to "tame" these issues if necessary is with microphone technique and selection. Try moving around your microphones until there's as little bleed from the hats as possible, or until the bleed you do get sounds as natural as possible. Nothing like nasty off-axis coloration.
You can always take more extreme measures...physically moving the hats themselves is one thing you can try, although most drummers have a spot where they like their hats to be and won't want to move them. You can also use a physical barrier between the snare and the hats to cut down bleed there...personally (as a drummer) I'm not sure how much I'd like that, but I believe Bruce Swedien used that trick when recording drums for "Billie Jean" and I think the results speak for themselves...
Hopefully this is somewhat helpful...unfortunately I don't believe there's a simple answer.
07-01-2003, 09:41 PM
Thank You for Your answer
Not knowing that he has done it. simple common sense, I have done it by wrapping the top of SM 57 with acoustic absorbent materiallong time ago.
Also I always insist that drummer rises up hi hats as much as possible as long as he is comfortable with it.
Microphone positioning with assistant musician mooving till i say stop is a must too.
Also the choice of sticks and where to hit the hats helps enormously.
Thank You for Your kind reply.
Lets hear more about this
07-03-2003, 04:39 PM
Different hats have different sounds, each of which can be appropriate for different players and styles, so it's as hard to say which is the best one as it would be to sat what the best guitar is.
I used to record a great drummer with a set of extremely heavy Sabians that he played with plastic tipped sticks. His style involved a lot of tricky rolls on the hats, and it sounded great. I have recorded other drummers with extra light Zidjians and wooden tipped sticks, and for their style of playing it was equally appropriate. One personal opinion on brands is that Paiste cymbals seem to cut better through a dense mix, although I may not always prefer the tone.
As for mic choice and techniques, I agree with Ted about the whole off axis coloration thing being very important to look out for. My go to mic for hats is the Neumann KM84, which exhibits almost no off axis coloration. Whatever bleed I get from the kit actually sounds like the kit. I should maybe mention that I personally like some bleed - to me it makes the kit sound more alive, and less like a bunch of samples. I always put up a hi hat mic, but there are some times on a mix when I will use it sparingly or even not at all, such as when a drummer plays a lot of open hits.
Amen! I love bleed! In fact, I rarely use a hi-hat microphone...I found that when I did it was usually so low in the mix I could drop it out entirely.
I'd agree on Paiste cymbals in general...not just the hi-hats, but overall they do tend to have a more "cutting" sound (although they do have a few darker models)...they're manufactured using an entirely different philosophy and technique than Sabians and Zildjians, which are based on a secret centuries-old Turkish method...
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