Soft/heavy sounding hi-hats

wraub

Well-known member
I recently switched out my older ZHT hats because I thought they sounded soft... Maybe look for a pair, likely not too expensive. ;)
 
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Peedy

Senior Member
Thanks guys for your replies! Will test all of these!
A lot of this depends on just how much softer you need to go. The 2002s should take you from a 5/5 to about a 3/5. If you need 1/5 or 2/5 you’ll need some kind of matched pair (two thin hats of about the same weight).

Pete
 

Jerome

Junior Member
A lot of this depends on just how much softer you need to go. The 2002s should take you from a 5/5 to about a 3/5. If you need 1/5 or 2/5 you’ll need some kind of matched pair (two thin hats of about the same weight).

Pete
Yes Pete, indeed it's a fine tweaking to have everything well balanced. Maybe I don't need to go to 1/5 as you say. That's why I was into checking the 2002s.

Or maybe just increasing the size from 14 to 15 will help reach a better balance between elements, even if it won't sound softer per se...
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Yes Pete, indeed it's a fine tweaking to have everything well balanced. Maybe I don't need to go to 1/5 as you say. That's why I was into checking the 2002s.

Or maybe just increasing the size from 14 to 15 will help reach a better balance between elements, even if it won't sound softer per se...
AAX Stage hats are VERY bright and loud, and so are 2002s. It's pretty much a lateral move.

Someone mentioned 15" Paiste Masters, and those, OTOH, are quite a step in the dark/warm direction. So maybe consider some 15" New Beats, or 15" Modern Essentials. By all means, mess around with what cymbals you already have!

As stated already, it takes quite a bit of practice to reign in the cymbals, while continuing to properly spank the rest of the kit.

When mixing in room mics, you can use a shelving EQ to cut the high end, starting around 3kHz, in order to tame the harshness of the cymbals. This is pretty common practice. You might also do a small, curved boost around 2.5kHz to bring out the snare. Nothing wrong with using an EQ once in a while. Very rarely, in ANY studio, is an album tracked so perfectly that it doesn't need some knob-twisting. In your case, there *could* be a technique issue, but there could also be some room acoustics and cymbal choices that are not working in your favor.

A good way to tell if it's the room, and not your playing, is to bring up the overheads and the kick. Is the hi-hat still too loud/bright? Is the balance worse or better than the room mic?
 

Jerome

Junior Member
Thanks brentcn for all these good advices. I would love to reach the prefect balance with no EQ, but indeed it's pretty much utopian :)
 

Peedy

Senior Member
Thanks brentcn for all these good advices. I would love to reach the prefect balance with no EQ, but indeed it's pretty much utopian :)
I’ll throw something up later today that might be helpful. Even my New Beats are dark and subtle so I live on that end of the cymbal spectrum. Note - I’m a total amateur but somewhat of a dark cymbal nut.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
This is why I use 17” Thin Crashes for hi hats. The pitch is lower, and it doesn’t cut through everything. The slosh is incredible. The other issue is how you mic up - you have an overhead, a snare mic and a hi hat mic, and all three will pick up the hats. So you can try different hats, or alter your playing
 

Peedy

Senior Member
This is why I use 17” Thin Crashes for hi hats. The pitch is lower, and it doesn’t cut through everything. The slosh is incredible. The other issue is how you mic up - you have an overhead, a snare mic and a hi hat mic, and all three will pick up the hats. So you can try different hats, or alter your playing
My wondering includes the question, how much trial and error did you go through to find two that were “it”?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Well, I owned one 17” thin Crash. When I bought another identical 17” thin Crash that matched in size and was just a little bit heavier, they were it.

I heard Steve Jordan was using a couple of Paiste thin crashes as hats and decided to try it, and it works. There’s a trade-off: the “chick” sound is very quiet with the foot, so you adjust for that. But the slosh and the ability to ride the hats make up for that. But it’s not for everyone.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
Honestly I love the meinl Byzance Vintage Pure hi hats. They are articulate but also crunchy and not harsh on the ears.

But the Paiste Dark Energy Hats are really good too.

Check out this video of the meinl

 

Jazzim

Member
Thanks brentcn for all these good advices. I would love to reach the prefect balance with no EQ, but indeed it's pretty much utopian :)
Its not "utopian" all good session drummers play with "perfect balance"(balance depends on the song). The use of EQ is there because there are usually more instruments than drums playing solo.
 

Peedy

Senior 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
Well, OK, so I didn't put the post up when I said. It came down to the reality that I needed some brief videos of all three of the different roads to truth.

The first part is method while the second part will be advice.

I've been thinking about this thread for more than a week plus and right off the bat I'm going to say that my method of addressing the need for subtle, dark hi hats isn't what I'd recommend for most drummers, including you. But this should be very instructive to you or any drummer who really wants dark sounding hi hats.

I approached this as a moving target. I had (and have) a pair of New Beats that I'm fond of so I took the slow road to finding the right hi hats knowing I had a pair to fall back on. I currently own about 20 cymbals but in the last 6 years, I've owned 50 or so, selling what didn't fit my vision and keeping those that did.

Using my scale, the 14 inch hi hats are about a 2.0 with 5.0 being the brightest sounding pair and 1.0 being the darkest. They cost me about 200 dollars and were made in about 1954 (top) and 1958 (bottom). Back then most hi hats were sold individually and became a "PAIR" because a drummer thought they should be. Their weights are 727g over 810g. Brief 15 or so second video using an iPhone 7 sitting on my snare drum (same method for each HH pair. My bogus little groove isn't copyrighted so feel free to use it on your next mega huge platinum selling song.


Second pair would rate about 1.5 on my darkness scale. They're 15 inch hi hats that, again, cost me around 200 dollars. They're about a 1958 top over a HEAVILY hammered 1935 bottom. Their weights are 870g over 1455g. These are my favorite pair of hats. Their hammering and diameter makes them very dark and subtle sounding while the weight of the bottom helps them project like a modern set of hats. IMHO, these are the perfect pair of HHs and the ideal balance of old methods of manufacturing laid across the needs of a modern drummer. If I could only own ONE pair, this would be it.


The third pair would rate a 1.0 on my darkness scale. These are 16 inch hi hats that were (or would be) about 450 dollars. I paid 265 for the top cymbal and the bottom was a gift. These are paper thin cymbals (HHs or crashes) that weigh 835g over 875g. They're also very rare Trans Stamp A. Zildjian cymbals from about 1950 to 1953. They're highly prized Jazz age cymbals sought after by collector / drummers, so they may take time and $$$ to ferret out.


Advice time: I really don't use modern cymbals with only a couple of exceptions. So I put these three pairs together slowly and with purpose. If you've GOT to have super dark sounding hi hats, this is the way to go. Companies just don't make cymbals this way anymore because of the number of hours it would take to produce them. (Time is money)

The "DARKNESS" type of hi hat sound is basically coming from a few places:

THINNESS and RUNOUT - how thin the cymbal is in general and where that thinness is.

LATHEING - the grooves: their depth, placement and variation.

HAMMERING - when the hammer strikes are deep and numerous those indentations create little sound deadening pockets that cancel each other out.

Bottom line, if you MUST have an Uber Dark pair of hats, hit eBay or other site and listen to a sound file. Buy the ones that fit your need.

But if you're good with a modern pair of "dark" cymbals, buy new ones that get you close.

The way I did it would be ideal for someone who has time. Buy one or two that sound good to you and check them out. If you buy smart, you'll be able to break even selling them if need be and then move on to your next possibility.

Left to Right . . . 14 / 15 / 16

If you MUST go all the way down to 1.5 or 1.0, send me a PM and we'll go deeper down the rabbit hole.

Pete

ThreePair.jpg
 
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