Hi-hat and dynamics

Duracell

Senior Member
I recently joined a band and we've made some recordings. They sound pretty good but the hi-hat sounds pretty harsh and is very present even when closed. I felt that I wasn't hitting it particularly hard and my teacher often asks me to hit the hi-hat harder during practice. I wonder if it is normal for the hi-hat to come through so sharply through the mix and if i should change my internal dynamics when recording vs playing live.

(note: recording was made with a single mic with all of us playing at the same time)
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
"Is it normal for the hi hat to come through so sharply through the mix?" No.

You should have control of your dynamics ALL the time. It's part of playing the instrument that is often lost. Use the recordings as a tool to help you figure out how to do that.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
You must also learn that some sounds are just more able to pierce through walls of sound as well. Anything not in the same frequency range as everything else (like hi-hats, small splash cymbals, piccolos in a marching band, etc.,...) tends to cut right through the mix, so you can afford to lay back a bit on those cutting sounds and relax and just play.
 

Duracell

Senior Member
Thanks for the reply guys. Pretty much what I expected to hear. Btw. the problem is not so much control over internal dynamics as it is knowing at what level to play what. I just made some recordings again and this time around everything sounds much better. It's most likely going to be a point of contention between me and my teach as he frowns on me laying back on the hats. I guess he's just not used to playing in small spaces like I am...
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Thanks for the reply guys. Pretty much what I expected to hear. Btw. the problem is not so much control over internal dynamics as it is knowing at what level to play what. I just made some recordings again and this time around everything sounds much better. It's most likely going to be a point of contention between me and my teach as he frowns on me laying back on the hats. I guess he's just not used to playing in small spaces like I am...
Sounds like your teacher doesn't play out enough with actual people ;)
 

Duracell

Senior Member
I'm wondering though. He has a heavy dry hi-hat and I have rock hi-hats (paiste 404's) think that makes a difference as well?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If he has pro hi-hats of anything, they will be louder than your 404s. I recall the 404s as being a student model, and they seemed softer than my Zildjian New Beats. Maybe that's why he thinks you're laying back on the hats - he can't hear them!
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
Heavy hi hats are usually loud as crap. I actually tend to use two top hats so that the hats don't overbalance the rest of the set.

Most people mic the hi hats and then mix them out in the final version, that tells you that most hats are loud enough to use just the overheads that get the whole kit.
 
X

xymbalreborn

Guest
If you're recording, your mics play a big role when mixing. Certain mics catch certain frequencies better than others. Even the mixer and the mixer settings play a big role.

By nature though, higher frequencies move faster thusly sound louder than you would intend.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
By nature though, higher frequencies move faster thusly sound louder than you would intend.
i'm pretty sure the speed of sound is the same for all frequencies. and i don't think high frequencies are inherently louder either. maybe our ears are more sensitive to them than low frequencies. that could be.

i've noticed many times that the hats cut through just about everything. in my recordings of gigs, jams, and practices the hats, snare, and cymbals are usually the most audible things, but the toms and especially the bass drum can get buried in the mix unless they're miced.
 

chaymus

Senior Member
i'm pretty sure the speed of sound is the same for all frequencies. and i don't think high frequencies are inherently louder either. maybe our ears are more sensitive to them than low frequencies. that could be.

i've noticed many times that the hats cut through just about everything. in my recordings of gigs, jams, and practices the hats, snare, and cymbals are usually the most audible things, but the toms and especially the bass drum can get buried in the mix unless they're miced.
another long-winded reply reduced to a link. +1 to this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoacoustics
 

chaymus

Senior Member
long winded? gimmee a break!
lol sorry for the misunderstanding, I was talking about myself reducing the original reply. I nearly melted my head when I read the original frequency comment and wrote pages about sound wave composition and why I disagreed. I'm merely agreeing with your comment and instead of getting on my soap box am backing your idea with why we perceive certain things as "louder" when they're not.

On-Topic: My teacher chewed me out when working on latin beats for being an obvious 'rocker trying to fake the beat'. I'm currently trying to lighten up my hats a ton and not rely on them for a deafening click track. I am really impressed with the dynamic range of hats and they've always been my favorite piece on a kit.
 
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Davo-London

Gold Member
I think some responses have been a little harsh. We can only adjust the dynamics in accordance with what we hear whilst sitting at the drum kit. It may sound completely balanced. However, the balance may be off 10 m away in the audience depending on whatever else is going on. If you have a sound guy (or someone you trust) he/she should be able to guide you to balance nirvana.

Davo
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
lol sorry for the misunderstanding
no worries.

in the studio they usually put a condenser mic on the hats and another mic very close by on the snare. i don't know if that's what they did but if they did then maybe your engineer mixed the hats too high, or maybe the snare mic is picking them up too. like everyone has been saying, hats are very cutting and tend to dominate the mix if you're not careful.
 

last man to bat

Senior Member
I was after getting some new hats recently and bought a pair of darker sounding hats for this very reason. The lower frequencies of the hats clashed less with the snare so EQing the snare did not affect the hats so much. They can now both be EQed without affecting each other. Problem now is the hats always sound to quiet to me when I play acoustically... Is there ever a happy medium?
 
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