do i need a hi hat mic?

Hey guys and gals.

So I was wondering...do I need a third cymbal mic for hi hats? I mean will the overheads pick it up and if so , do you guys think that I would still be better getting the full chick-a-chick anyway?

Thanks
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The overheads pick up the hi-hat just fine. If you're a drummer that features the hat (Stewart Copeland), have songs that feature the hat, or need to put some sort of treatment on the hat, you'll need to mic it.

For general purpose playing, the overhead(s) should be just fine.

I use 4 mics to record, because simplicity, low cost, and self regulating/mixing are important to me at the moment.

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=121114&highlight=pulled+the+trigger

There's a couple audio samples in that thread if you want to listen and determine if it's suitable to your playing.

Here's a direct link o a sample to help you out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqiahLv8NFI
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
You don't need one.

The one thing I've found helpful with the hi-hat mic is it helps panning the hi-hat to one side when mixing.

But as far as just hearing the hi-hat, it's generally in the overheads plenty.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry" - Administrator
Staff member
Hi hats cut through. No need for a separate mic. I like the less mic way too. One overhead, one kick and one snare mic is all I use. The rest is just extra work. I don't like mics too close to my drums, but I run everything wide open. If you muffle your toms a lot, you may need separate tom mics. But with wide open toms, the overheads make them sound great.

For a basic capture, you could get away with just 1 overhead and a kick mic. But a separate snare mic allows for some real mixing later. Overheads don't do kicks well, you have to have a kick mic. But overheads get the rest of the kit only as good as your own inner kit dynamics go. You have to mix yourself as you play to a large extent, because you can't just say bring the tom volume up later. You could do a little with EQ but it's not like you have a tom fader. It's easier to get a clean sound with less mics, but it limits how much fine tweaking you can do later. If you need all kinds of options for mixing down later then yea micing everything is the way to go. You could share a mic for both racks if you have them. So a mic each for kick, snare, hi hat, overhead(s) and 2 tom mics. 7 mics tops. One overhead would do for no loss of flexibility for a total of 6 mics. The less mics the less issues.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
You really oughta experiment for yourself. Try putting one mic in your bass drum, and then one mic over the center of the kit, about two drumstick-lengths up pointing down. You should be surprised what a great sound you can get with just that set-up. Most of my recordings I do with just those two mics and it sounds great.

Some guys who've never done anything will buy a bunch of mics and put them on everything, and consequently not know how to solve any problems easily solved by mic placement. Listen to those seminal Led Zeppelin albums- thats the sound of maybe three microphones placed strategically around the kit, and if you can imitate some great drum sounds, then you're learning your craft.

What would be cooler is if you got a really good studio condenser mic, like an AKG 414 or a Neumann U87, and just experimented where the kit sounds good with just one mic. Alot of hit songs were made this way too.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
You really oughta experiment for yourself. Try putting one mic in your bass drum, and then one mic over the center of the kit, about two drumstick-lengths up pointing down. You should be surprised what a great sound you can get with just that set-up. Most of my recordings I do with just those two mics and it sounds great.

Wow, that's exactly the setup I used when I recorded an album with my old band - we did it ourselves on an old Tascam. We scored a few good mikes, but not many, so we had to be judicious. After some experimenting and soliciting opinions around town, we went with one bass drum mike (I think it was a Sennheiser) and one single mike pointed at the rack tom arm, about 24" above the kit (I think that was a Shure 57, but I'm not much of a gear head, and it was a while ago...).

Great sounding recording. My favorite drum sound on anything I've played on, including 'real' studio recordings with multiple mikes. Close-miking kills the kit, in my experience.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Usually a decent set of overheads covers the hats. There are exceptions but in general I find the more numerous the mics are the your sound is in the hands of the engineer. This can be a really good thing or generate a really odd unbalanced kit sound. Unless you are using a really unusual set up 14 or 15 hats will sound pretty balanced without an extra mic.

For me it's partly about balancing sizes so for a long while I used a 20" kick paired with 13 hats and 13 snare; volume wise everything sounds correct with no funny business required. At present I run 14 hats, 22 kick and 14 snare - very normal and very balanced.

The placement and quality of mic makes a huge difference. There are a lot of mic-packs for sale for cheap on eBay, but If on a budget I always recommend not skimping on overheads and kick and then just using sm-57 on snare and or toms.
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
I always have a hi hat mic when I record since people generally expect a hi hat track when I send it off to them. However, I basically never use it in my own mixes--overheads pick it up just fine.

Most hats are really loud--too loud actually. I've had recording where I desperately wanted the hi hats quieter in the mix, but they were just too loud in the overheads (hi hat channel already muted). That's why I quite often use two top hats or go for lighter weights overall.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
So I am no expert and am trying to figure out how to best mic my drums for live gigs. I play in a bar cover band and most places are not real large, but most are big enough that some micing is needed and I prefer it more as a way to improve the tone more than the volume, except for that bass drum which needs the volume.

So often in these places I find the snare, which is usually miced, to be too loud. And since I am a soft hitter I thought micing the snare would be ok. However I still find that a close miced snare is just too loud. And my hats were not loud enough. So I angle my snare mic across the snare and pointed at the hat. This reduces the snare amplification and increases the hat amplification.

This may be a totally bad idea but so far it has been helpful. I sure wish I knew more and had more experience about micing live. I've really only done a handful of gigs since I started playing again. I think it is something I will continue to experiment with as long as I play.
 

SgtThump

Platinum Member
Hey guys and gals.

So I was wondering...do I need a third cymbal mic for hi hats? I mean will the overheads pick it up and if so , do you guys think that I would still be better getting the full chick-a-chick anyway?

Thanks

For recording, overheads will pick up the hats VERY nicely. I do alot of home recording and have a hi-hat mic, but I NEVER use it. I don't even record with it hooked up anymore, because it's just not needed IMO.

For HUGE live venues, mic'ing the hi hat is a good idea IMO.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
For most live things, cymbals get into everything. Start with a kick mic and then a snare mic. If you sing, leave the mic on over you and it will usually pick up enough snare to help in a small venue. As things get larger one overhead will reinforce everything. You don't need a condenser. An SM57 will prioritize the toms. There will be cymbals there, in the front vocal mics and even your snare mic. Then tom mics, and lastly a hi-hat mic.

Recording, it's often difficult unless you are really good at balancing with your hands, to keep the hats from being too loud. They will often be in the top snare mic almost as loud as the snare. Often you'll be gating the snare mic to get the hats down in the mix. And then having to put reverb back into it to get the sustain back. I think the overused gated reverb snare sound was a device to deal with hats in the snare track.

The only reason to have a separate mic on the hi-hat is to add a bit of crispness to the sound of it. Pencil condensers are often used. A little goes a long way.
 
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