Soft/heavy sounding hi-hats

Jerome

Junior Member
Hi all,

When recording my drum kit, there is way too much hi-hats in the room mics (compare to the snare). I think I should learn hitting softer BUT I'm wondering if some models of hats sound softer than others? I currently own a pair of 14'' Sabian AAX Stage Hat. I feel that they are pretty thick, especially the bottom hat. Would a Paiste 2002 sound less loud/harsh? What do you think?

Best,
Jerome
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Paiste 2002 are loud & cutting.
I agree with PushPull, the Paiste masters dark are less cutting.

I’m sure Sabian makes a line of tins that are mellow (Artisan?).

But the real lesson is: play your hats gently. Balance each instrument’s (hats, snare, bass, etc.) volume to make the kit a cohesive unit.
 

Jerome

Junior Member
But the real lesson is: play your hats gently. Balance each instrument’s (hats, snare, bass, etc.) volume to make the kit a cohesive unit.
Yes, I agree. And it will take a looong time to achieve that. But I can see some rock drummers hitting hats really hard without overwhelming the general balance of the drum and especially the snare. Example:
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Don't like your drum mix? Play the drums EXACTLY the way you want them to sound without mics. I used to be heavy handed on my hats for years on end, and after recording, I would always sit back and think things like, "Why are my hats always hot in the mix? Why are they bleeding in on everything, especially the snare mic? Why can't ANY of the engineers I work with get them to soften during mix-down?" I was too self-centered to realize that I was the problem, not my gear.

Even with that said, I totally get if there's a ton of cut in your hats. If what you have simply isn't working, or if you feel like you are having to change your playing way too much to get the sound you need, you may need to reconsider another set of hats. I have a set of Sabian AA hats I bought new from the early 1990s, but I wanted something lower pitch. I bought a set of Heartbeat Studio 15" hats. They are very well-balanced, record well, and they don't hurt my bandmates when we play smaller stages.

Hope this helps!
 
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ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
PorkPieGuy just said everything I wanted to say. Having balance in your technique is often overlooked. The Stage hats are thick and I don't think the 2002 are going to necessarily be lower in volume as they cut very well. You might want to look for a thinner top hat or 14" crash to use as a top, or go up in size and thinner.
 

OSDrums

Well-known member
By the way, does the size influence the loudness? Would a 15'' hat be quieter than a 14'' ?
In one of my bands I started playing my 14“ 2002 Sound Edge HiHat and some weeks later I aquired a 15“ Sabian Vanguard HiHat which is lower in volume and not as harsh. I wouldn’t want to go back.
 

Jerome

Junior Member
Don't like your drum mix? Play the drums EXACTLY the way you want them to sound without mics. I used to be heavy handed on my hats for years on end, and after recording, I would always sit back and think things like, "Why are my hats always hot in the mix? Why are they bleeding in on everything, especially the snare mic? Why can't ANY of the engineers I work with get them to soften during mix-down?" I was too self-centered to realize that I was the problem, not my gear.

Even with that said, I totally get if there's a ton of cut in your hats. If what you have simply isn't working, or if you feel like you are having to change your playing way too much to get the sound you need, you may need to reconsider another set of hats. I have a set of Sabian AA hats I bought new from the early 1990s, but I wanted something lower pitch. I bought a set of Heartbeat Studio 15" hats. They are very well-balanced, record well, and they don't hurt my bandmates when we play smaller stages.

Hope this helps!
Thanks! I totally agree with you. That's what I'm trying to achieve. But to me, it feels a bit unnatural to play hard on snare and soft on hats. I guess it need to find the good balance, which must be mure subtil. Time and practice will sure will help me achieve, but if changing gear won't help that much, it's always a source of motivation he he...
 

Jerome

Junior Member
In one of my bands I started playing my 14“ 2002 Sound Edge HiHat and some weeks later I aquired a 15“ Sabian Vanguard HiHat which is lower in volume and not as harsh. I wouldn’t want to go back.
Thanks! I asked because I just switched a Sabian AAX 18 crash for a Paiste 2002 20 crash, and it sounds softer to me. But the 2002 is thinner too. (That's also why I first considered to change the AAX hats for a 2002)
 

Jerome

Junior Member
Hey,

One last question: my AAX bottom hat is much thicker than the top hat. What if I replace that thick bottom hat with a 14'' thin crash? (for example an AA thin crash). That's a more affordable option and it's easier to find second-hand 14'' crash . But will it sound funny?
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
Hey,

One last question: my AAX bottom hat is much thicker than the top hat. What if I replace that thick bottom hat with a 14'' thin crash? (for example an AA thin crash). That's a more affordable option and it's easier to find second-hand 14'' crash . But will it sound funny?
Use your top as the bottom and the thin crash as the top. Swap all of them until you find what you like.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Hmm . . . this sounds much more like a microphone placement problem than a hi-hat cymbals problem. When you are recording, you have the volume controls in your mixer.

In the end, though, if your problem is definitely your hi-hats, do as ineedaclutch suggested: buy a 14" thin crash and start switching combinations around.

GeeDeeEmm
 

Craig J

Senior Member
15s are a bit warmer and tend to sit in the mix better. especially those on the thinner side. you might want to look in that direction as well.
 

Jerome

Junior Member
Hmm . . . this sounds much more like a microphone placement problem than a hi-hat cymbals problem. When you are recording, you have the volume controls in your mixer.

In the end, though, if your problem is definitely your hi-hats, do as ineedaclutch suggested: buy a 14" thin crash and start switching combinations around.

GeeDeeEmm
Not really, I'd like to have a well-balanced sound in the room mic. So not much control in a mix. Besides, I never mike the hats. But I agree with the fact that mic choice and placement have a great influence though.

At home I play a 6.5-inch Ludwig LM402. In our practice room, I play a 8-inch Ludwig Coliseum which I think has more power. If I can't bring the hats lower, I can bring the snare louder. That's another option.

Anyways I think that if I can improve every facet of the recording (the way I play, the loudness of the hats, the relative loudness of the snare, the mic placement, etc...) I can have great results.
 
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