good hihats for recording?

I’ve asked this one before, but…

I know I’ve asked this one before, but I want to ask again, and get some more feedback. One of the biggest problems I have is with hihats - they are always too loud in the snare mic, at least the hihats that most of the drummers I know use. But I’ve been using a pair of New Beats, and they are soooo much better, which made me suspect the problem was not in my mic positioning or whatever but in the hihats themselves. What do all you drummer/recordists do to get hihat levels correct, what are your preferred hihats? Here’s a related question: how do I tell my drummer friend that his hihats, which sound fabulous live, are not at all good for recording, without insulting him? :)

Is it the case that lighter cymbals generally work better for recording overall?

"how do I tell my drummer friend that his hihats, which sound fabulous live, are not at all good for recording, without insulting him? "

Let him listen to them on a recording. If he is a good musician, he will hear the problem.

Dave T2

Well, I’ll try! :) Do you have favorites, Dave?

I have some 12" hi-hats. They aren’t as loud so they don’t bleed as much and are slightly higher ptched as well which is nice. I haven’t much recording, and none that’s posted, but so far so good.

Lighter-thinner, yes, I love New Beats by the way (I’ve got two pairs). I don’t like typical rock hi-hats at all, except live with a loud band.

There used to be something that I think was called a “quickbeat” hihat pair. My buddy has had his for at least 25 years. They’re 14" and medium weight. The bottom cymbal has no bell and 4 3/8" holes half way from the center to the rim. Best hats I ever heard. Thin 15" Zilcos sound cool too.

Hard to keep a hat basher from overpowering the snare mic. Hypercardioid mic up close to the snare body with maybe a 20dB pad will help some…

The drummer I played with 20 years ago had (and still has) quick beats - and I agree, best sounding hihats I’ve ever heard. He was/is wicked good on subtle hihat stuff too. But he lives in a state far far away now. :)

I know listening out of context doesn’t tell much and neither does listening to any cymbals but the actual ones you are looking to buy, but these samples (below the descriptions at MF) sort of give an idea of the ballpark differences between some I picked out as “interesting”. Cymbals sound so different between sets of the same kind it’s hard to say there’s any value in online samples at all. Ah, well, nothing’s perfect.

Zildjian A New Beat
Zildjian A Quick Beat
Zildjian A Recording
Zildjian A Custom
Zildjian K
Zildjian K Custom Dark

phoo, you rock. :)

Hope there is still interest in this post.

I’m using Zildjian K/Z 14" hats. The bottom hat is a Z which is flat and chinky sounding. The K part is crisp and sharp. Put those together and you get a nice sound.

If you want to hear examples of that go to my website:

Thanks, jn!

Two things screw up hihats… A player who can’t keep his dynamics under control and mic positioning. Here is a snippet of a tune I still have in the tracking stages… check out the hats. Link Do you dig that sound? Those are A Custom 14" hats. However… a few tricks… Gates are your best friends in this game. Gate the toms and kick. Do it. If you do your job well in tuning the gate you won’t sound like Phil Collins and the muted space between the the hits will clean up the bleedy additive garbage. For instance, with no gating… you have 6 or 8 tracks with the hihat in it… Do you really need that? No. You want the hats in the OHs only most likely. So gate the hats out of the other tracks. Also, I alomst never mic hats on their own anymore. The OHs usually have as much hats as I could ever want.

I think your link is wrong Bubba. This is as close as I can find:


Link fixed… I use the NetBIOS name from inside the network that no one else on the planet can use. Doh!