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Hi-Hat Recording Help

Hey guys, so ive been taking all of you guys advice in my other threads and i got to admit my recordings sound 3x better then what they did. But when every i record my drums, the Hi Hat sounds like a "CLANK". its louder then the snare and kick drum. Ive tried aiming all of the mic's away from it but it still finds a way to get way up in the mix.

Are there any micing tips to fix this, or any EQ drops i should make?


natural Wed, 11/01/2006 - 20:43
Needless to say, something has gone horribly wrong if the hat's are louder in the kick mic than the kick.
Assuming that the other drum bits are not a problem (ie: the cymbals and floor tom are NOT louder in the kick mic than the kick)which rules out the kick mic being positioned totally wrong,then the problem seems to logically point to the Hat's themselves (possibly the drummer, buy we'll give you the benfit of the doubt for now)
So the first test is to use different hats.
Not possible? Ok, then get out the duct tape and dampen those babies down.
Report back to the success or failure of that test, and if we have to, we'll move on to Plan 'B'.

stickers Wed, 11/01/2006 - 23:10
Before I get into mic'ing tehnichue, i'd like to point out how the make of the hihats and the drummer play a huge part in this.

If you have big heavy/loud bright hi hats and you have a drummer who plays them harder or as hard as he hits the drums , it's not a good thing.

I have pair of 1960s 14" zildjian avedis that are pretty thin and they are not clangy at all. very smooth and yet crisp (IMO). I got them on ebay for $109..woot love em.

Asking the drummer to think about self mixing himself. Basically, cymbals and hi hats tend to project more so they should be hit softer than the drums.

I just started drumming about 6 months ago. About a month ago, for fun, I recorded myself on drums using 2 overheads (nt5's) and a d6 on kick. (NO eq or reverb or compression) Im not that good but I still try to self mix myself. it's just a matter of pounding the drums more the cymbals.

here's a clip:

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If you are recording an a small room perhaps the early reflections from the hihats are causing more leakage into the other drum mics than normal.??

Make sure your tom mics and snare are as close as possible with it sounding like poo. I would say between 1-3 inches away from the drums. Also, most of the time you shouldn't need a hi hat mic but it ok to hhave it tracked as an option down the road.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 11/02/2006 - 12:09
I think the small room idea might nail it. Everytime I record drums in a smallish room without suitable acoustic treatment, the hi-hats are really clunky. Are they leaking into your close mics, or are you just using overheads or what? You can gate your close mics carefully and see if that helps, and then just lower the volume of the overheads and room mics. Also watch out with your processing. Its a common technique to compress the overheads, but if your attack and release times are out of wack, they have the effect of bringing up the cymbals and turning down the drums. Same with your snare mic. If you are slamming the snare track, a lot of times the snare hits will get turned down, but since the hi-hat peak level is lower, it gets turned up.

If the room or the mics you are using are peaky, i'll often take a narrow notch on a parametric EQ and turn it all the way up, and sweep for the harshest frequency. Then I'll notch it out, and widen the Q to find the right balance. Quality of cymbals and definetely quality of drummer make a massive difference though. Turn up the overheads a lot in drummers HP mix and he might even out, or if its specifically the HH, mic it up and pump it through his HP mix. He'll be pissed, but he might balance himself better.


Pro Audio Guest Sun, 11/05/2006 - 13:21
As someone earlier mentioned I think you may be fighting the cymbals themselves. If the drummer is using the cymbals he uses live please consider that in most clubs only the drums are miced, occasionly you see overheads but i've never seen anyone use a separate mic on the hihats in clubs.

The results are that cymbals and particularly hihats have evolved (Zildjian Z series) to become much heavy and louder than ever before. This design is intended for live and not necessarily recording.

I'd look for a some 14 or even 13 zildjian newbeats or the 12 special recording hihats. I am sure the other cymbal companies have similar product.

mark_van_j Sat, 11/11/2006 - 00:39
I used to have the same problem a couple of years ago. I found out 3 things that affected the sound of my old recordings, compared to those I do now. I'm not saying this is the only reason for your problems, but think about them:

1) Room. The smaller the room, the more bleed I had in between mics. I was never able to understand why I had bleed in my basement, and never as much on stage. The smaller the room, the bigger the bleed.

2) Drum quality. Crappy cymbals will always sound crappy.... including "clangy". Better cymbals need hardly any eq, and you can sometimes even get away with micing them up with a 57. So it can't be mic quality.

3) Drummer. You need a drummer that plays his instrument with confidence. A lack of confidence will always differentiate your recordings to proffesional ones, even if they "sound" identical. You need someone who knows how to hold a stick properly, how to hit the drum properly, and how to swing yet play in time.