14" vs 15" Hats.. Which do you prefer?


Well-known Member
Recently I pulled the trigger on new hihats for my setup. I went with Sabian AAX Medium hats as I'm a rocker and felt those would fit my playing best.
But this is my first time finally doing 15" hats and man I am in love!!!
I did a small quick sound comparison video.

What's your preferred size and why?!

14s just like my snares
owned 13s tried 15s
actually have a few 16s I can mash up that I sort of liked and did use /out.

The 15s I tried were cool. Old Ks not too old. 50s top (III) and a New Stamp 70s bottom.
Just liked 14s better.

Actually the 13s were Ok too. 13 K/ K Custom notched bottom-
they had a wicked sizzle half open I remember.

But eventually enough fussing around.
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When I went all Paiste in 1994, I bought 14" Signature Sound Edge and used them daily for about 10 years. They were great for cutting through thick guitars and synth pads. Then I noticed a small, 1/2" crack on the edge and cried for a day while drinking beer. Then I saw that Drum Center Portsmouth was selling a 14" Signature Traditional top and bought it (after calling for a better price 😉) and the sound was noticeably softer, less cutting but still sweet. I used this pairing for funk music and its higher pitch fit nicely with that music. When Paiste introduced the 602 ME series, I bought the 15" and the lower pitch along with a chunky sound/feel won me over. I used them for years, letting my 14" pair collect dust. When Paiste introduced the PST-X series, I bought the 16" hats and fell in love again! They were on my kit for my personal playing, but the few bands I played in preferred the 602 ME 15" hats.

At one point, I was playing the 15" 602 ME pair on my normal hat stand, and using the 16" PST-X on my cable/remote hat rig. It required the use of a couple quick release hi-hat clutches, but it was fun to get that much variety in sound.
I've watched/listend to a lot of 15s online. Finally got to play some this Summer at a festival. The backline included two sets of cymabls; Sabian AAX or Zildjian Sweets. I have never played the Sweet series so picked those. The hi-hats were 15"

They were fun to play. Definitely more presence at the throne.

I've since revisited 15s by my prefered brand, and found some I like. Just can't justify the cost.

I have 5 sets of 14s. All sonically different from each other, and I have no qualms mixing them. Probably a good thing.
I know it's blasphemy, but it's definitely 14's for me. They can be dark and rich but still quick and high-pitched, not loose and muddy. I've owned very bright 15's that are just fine, too, but the less bright (more midrangey) ones were a disaster. Overall it's my philosophy of using larger, thin bright cymbals and small, heavier dark ones.
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my early 90's era 15" Zildjian Quick Beats are the only pair I use. All genres; all applications; all the time

I have my dads 1950's era Zildjian A 14" hats, but they are kept safely away from the rigors of day to day use
I take it on a case-by-case basis. I’ve had both 14” hats and 15” hats that have been good, and others that have been dogs.

What I have and use right now:
14” A (60s)
14” A Armand
14” HHX Evolution
14” AAX Stage
15” A (50s)
15” A New Beats

They each have their own character. The older A Zildjians (both pairs) are thinner and more responsive, and give a full, warm sound with a nice “Cush” to the articulation—they’re a pleasure to play. The Armand hats get a little brighter, but remain full-bodied. The AAX hats are bright and shimmery. The HHX hats are articulate, dark, and dry. The 15” New Beats are big and clangy. This smattering of cymbals covers all the bases. To me, it’s not “14 vs 15”, but what sound characteristics can each set of hats produce well.
A set of 15" hats are on my wishlist too. I have 13 and 14" A New Beats and the 14" have been my main hats for 12 years now. 13" hats are perfect for x-hats, but for main hats i find them too high pitched. Had the 15" version on my wishlist for many years, but transitioning back to Paiste the next few years. 15" hats just sound a tad darker and more sloshier, something i'm looking for :)
I got my first pair of 15" hats with my Zildjian K Sweet cymbal pack. I do like them a lot, although I think I would prefer the quickness of 14" slightly better.

Does anyone want to trade?
15" for me. I love my AAX mediums. But then again, I love cymbals sized with odd numbers.

15" AAX Medium, 19" AAX X-Plosion Fast Crash, and 21" AA Bash Ride all blend beautifully into a set. Almost like they should be a box set IMO.

The hats are plenty quick if you hit 'em right.
Been using 15s for a long time now. K Lights to be precise. They just work for everything

Haven't had a pair of 14s since a pair of original Rudes I traded for a pair of K/Zs. Wish I'd have kept the Rudes, really versatile hats.
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I have 13's that I use as x-hats (or for my small footprint kit), had 14's for a good many years & once I got the 15" New Beats, that was it. I found THE one's that do all I need. Full bodied, yet not too "in your face" like some heavy weight models do.
I like the extra surface of 15"s, but the pair I had were too low pitched for the group I play in. Nicest hi hats I ever been around in person were 15"s. I played some 12"s that I liked a lot, but have never met a pair of 13"s that grabbed me
Usually 14", but I have lots of 15" hats. My old Paiste 602s are special.
My current setup right now is the 14" Traditional Istanbul Agops. Its a vintage hi hat that were made in the late 80s or early 90s. Bought from a friend back when I was in college.

Love the sounds of the hi hat. Its dark and warm at the same time. I would say the pitch was in the middle between low and high.

Saving up money right now to get a 15" hi hat. A brand Arborea. They have lots of series from low-end to high-end. The one that I aim for is the 15" Knight Series. I try the 13" and 14". But fall in love with the sound of the 15" straight away. Check it out.