X-Hat setup

Silver’n’Smac

Active member
Hi there - I consider myself somewhere between a beginner and intermediate in terms of skill set. My kit is a 6 piece Tama Silverstar birch kit with mostly AAX cymbals and an old pair of Iron Cobra double bass pedals (see attached pics for setup).

I’m really new to double bass playing and would like to know what I need to do for an X-hat setup. I just purchased a Tama MXA73N closed hi hat adjustment but I don’t know what else I need. Do I have to have both the top and bottom hi hats for this setup or can it be achieved with a single fixed top hi hat only (such as a 13” Sabian AAX X-Celerator cymbal? So in a nutshell, I guess I have 3 questions:

1. With the Tama attachment that I already have, do I need a dedicated cymbal stand or will that attachment allow me to clamp directly onto my ride or crash cymbal stand? As you can see in the pics, I’m super limited in available space.

2. Do I have to have both a top and bottom hi hat?

3. I can afford a single AAX X-Celerator top hat right now but not both the top and bottom. So if I do indeed need both, I’d like some recommendations on another brand or model that would sound good with the rest of my kit without breaking the bank. I’m not fixed on Sabian but that’s my go-to for cymbals.

Sorry for the long post (my first) and thanks in advance!!! (I’m sure this topic has been discussed elsewhere so my apology for a repeat topic!)
 

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iCe

Senior Member
Well... yes... if you want an auxiliary hi-hat you need a bottom and top cymbal. Otherwise you can just mount one cymbal one a regular cymbals stand. A x-hat is designed to accommodate the bottom and top cymbal. You can adjust how tight or open you want your x-hat to be. Just a top cymbal would sound very weird. Just tap your regular hi-hat top cymbal and image having that sound on your x-hat with only a top cymbal (and higher pitched if you want a 13" hi-hat on the x-hat).

The most easy way is to get a pre-matched set (like an AAX X-celerator 13" hi-hat), but AAX are pro line cymbals and aren't cheap. I also spot a Paiste in your setup, so what a cheap alternative could be is a Paiste PSTX Swiss hi-hat. It's cheap, has a very trashy sound and you don't bust the bank with it. Otherwise look at some cheaper lines, like the Sabian XSR, Paiste 900 or Zildjian S-series.

You can mount the x-hat of a cymbals stand, but indeed you need a clamp for it. Just be sure that the stand doesn't tilt when you add the extra weight on it. If the stand starts to lean to one side, adjust the legs to compensate. Using an x-hat can be tricky to find a sweet for it and you'd might need to alter your setup. In the signature of this post is a link to my kit. I also use a x-hat and although i use a different setup, it's wedged in there somewhere :p

I like to have my ride over my lowest rack tom (12" on the right) and plays really comfortable. That allows me to put the x-hat in closer and in a better accessible position, but if you want to do that it means moving your right crash. But there are tons of options on where you can mount it, all up to you :)
 

Silver’n’Smac

Active member
Man, that was super helpful - thanks!!! Yeah the Paiste splash is the only non-AAX cymbal I have. . . other than my 20” HHX China LOL (that thing is a beast!).

my stands are all double-braced but thanks for the typ about adjusting the leg position. So now I’m thinking I’ll just save up to get AAX’s for my X-hat but now I have 3 more questions about that:

1. Since my current hi-hats are 14” stage hats, would it be boring to duplicate that on my right side for x-hats? And is it a waste of money to get hi quality cymbals like that, only to leave them in the closed position all the time?

2. I’m leaning towards 13” for the X-hats just to mix things up and I’m looking for a crisper/higher sound anyways.

3. Of the AAX series high hats, which would you recommend for my x-hat? Stage hats, fast hats, studio hats? I’ve heard some people say that the X-celerator’s don’t sound that great in the closed position because of the bottom grooves.

Thanks again for the great feedback. And by the way. . . Your kit looks amazing! Love the color and the setup looks fantastic. Seeing 2 bass drums always brings out my inner-Neil Peary (haha). I wish I had room to expand like that. I just spent a lot of time and money building myself that little drum room in my garage. It’s basically an 8 ft x 7.5 ft. cube that the garage door can still slide over the top of. I’ve sound dampened the crap out of it (LOL) and built 10 custom acoustical panels on the inside. The last piece to complete is the front wall. I’m adding tracks so that the entire front wall can slide out in case any buddies want to come jam together. Maybe I’ll share some pics when it’s finally done.
 

Silver’n’Smac

Active member
Well... yes... if you want an auxiliary hi-hat you need a bottom and top cymbal. Otherwise you can just mount one cymbal one a regular cymbals stand. A x-hat is designed to accommodate the bottom and top cymbal. You can adjust how tight or open you want your x-hat to be. Just a top cymbal would sound very weird. Just tap your regular hi-hat top cymbal and image having that sound on your x-hat with only a top cymbal (and higher pitched if you want a 13" hi-hat on the x-hat).

The most easy way is to get a pre-matched set (like an AAX X-celerator 13" hi-hat), but AAX are pro line cymbals and aren't cheap. I also spot a Paiste in your setup, so what a cheap alternative could be is a Paiste PSTX Swiss hi-hat. It's cheap, has a very trashy sound and you don't bust the bank with it. Otherwise look at some cheaper lines, like the Sabian XSR, Paiste 900 or Zildjian S-series.

You can mount the x-hat of a cymbals stand, but indeed you need a clamp for it. Just be sure that the stand doesn't tilt when you add the extra weight on it. If the stand starts to lean to one side, adjust the legs to compensate. Using an x-hat can be tricky to find a sweet for it and you'd might need to alter your setup. In the signature of this post is a link to my kit. I also use a x-hat and although i use a different setup, it's wedged in there somewhere :p

I like to have my ride over my lowest rack tom (12" on the right) and plays really comfortable. That allows me to put the x-hat in closer and in a better accessible position, but if you want to do that it means moving your right crash. But there are tons of options on where you can mount it, all up to you :)
Man, that was super helpful - thanks!!! Yeah the Paiste splash is the only non-AAX cymbal I have. . . other than my 20” HHX China LOL (that thing is a beast!).

my stands are all double-braced but thanks for the typ about adjusting the leg position. So now I’m thinking I’ll just save up to get AAX’s for my X-hat but now I have 3 more questions about that:

1. Since my current hi-hats are 14” stage hats, would it be boring to duplicate that on my right side for x-hats? And is it a waste of money to get hi quality cymbals like that, only to leave them in the closed position all the time?

2. I’m leaning towards 13” for the X-hats just to mix things up and I’m looking for a crisper/higher sound anyways.

3. Of the AAX series high hats, which would you recommend for my x-hat? Stage hats, fast hats, studio hats? I’ve heard some people say that the X-celerator’s don’t sound that great in the closed position because of the bottom grooves.

Thanks again for the great feedback. And by the way. . . Your kit looks amazing! Love the color and the setup looks fantastic. Seeing 2 bass drums always brings out my inner-Neil Peary (haha). I wish I had room to expand like that. I just spent a lot of time and money building myself that little drum room in my garage. It’s basically an 8 ft x 7.5 ft. cube that the garage door can still slide over the top of. I’ve sound dampened the crap out of it (LOL) and built 10 custom acoustical panels on the inside. The last piece to complete is the front wall. I’m adding tracks so that the entire front wall can slide out in case any buddies want to come jam together. Maybe I’ll share some pics when it’s finally done.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
1. clamps to any stand
2. Any 2 cymbals. I have used hats, 2 crashes, and a china under a crash. You can also make a stack to use there. No rules really.
3. Again, it is up to you, but I like to have something that sounds completely different from my regular hats. If I am using 14' hats in the regular position, then I use 2 18" crashes with a ching ring on top for the x-hat.
 

iCe

Senior Member
Man, that was super helpful - thanks!!! Yeah the Paiste splash is the only non-AAX cymbal I have. . . other than my 20” HHX China LOL (that thing is a beast!).

my stands are all double-braced but thanks for the typ about adjusting the leg position. So now I’m thinking I’ll just save up to get AAX’s for my X-hat but now I have 3 more questions about that:

1. Since my current hi-hats are 14” stage hats, would it be boring to duplicate that on my right side for x-hats? And is it a waste of money to get hi quality cymbals like that, only to leave them in the closed position all the time?

2. I’m leaning towards 13” for the X-hats just to mix things up and I’m looking for a crisper/higher sound anyways.

3. Of the AAX series high hats, which would you recommend for my x-hat? Stage hats, fast hats, studio hats? I’ve heard some people say that the X-celerator’s don’t sound that great in the closed position because of the bottom grooves.

Thanks again for the great feedback. And by the way. . . Your kit looks amazing! Love the color and the setup looks fantastic. Seeing 2 bass drums always brings out my inner-Neil Peary (haha). I wish I had room to expand like that. I just spent a lot of time and money building myself that little drum room in my garage. It’s basically an 8 ft x 7.5 ft. cube that the garage door can still slide over the top of. I’ve sound dampened the crap out of it (LOL) and built 10 custom acoustical panels on the inside. The last piece to complete is the front wall. I’m adding tracks so that the entire front wall can slide out in case any buddies want to come jam together. Maybe I’ll share some pics when it’s finally done.
No problem! Most of the members here are happy to help each other out!

Regarding your questions... there is no right or wrong. There are a lot of drummers who use identical hi-hats on the hi-hat stand and on the x-hat. Around 2002 until 2005 i had 2 14" hihats (different series though). When i got all my Zildjian cymbals and i wanted an x-hat again, i really like my 14" A-series New Beat hi-hat and was a no brainer to get the 13" version.

Money aside; quality cymbals cost more, but it pays of. I have my 13" New Beats on the x-hat and some could say that it's a waste, but i like the sound of them there. When i use them as a main hi-hat i find their sound too high pitched. Perfect for some applications, but these hi-hats are (to me) the best set of hats for an x-hat.

So reading what you've wrote a set of 13" hats are what you want. I'm not familiar with Sabian and I'm not going to say which you should get, because depends on the sound. If you really like your main hi-hat, check out vids of the 13" version. Pay extra attention to the closed sound, since you'll be getting that sound a lot. A wavy bottom gives you a faster sound because there is no air-lock between the cymbals. The purpose of those waves are when you play them closed to get a more fuller sound. I find it hard to explain, but i had a pair of Meinl 14" Classics Powerful Soundwave hi-hats years ago. Compared to a regular hi-hat, i found that if i played the ones with a way bottom closed i'd got more volume and a nicer said. On the other side i find it harder to get a good definition from a set of hats with a wavy bottom (more a sloshy sound).

But to close things of... decide on what you want and what your budget is. Then check out vids, do some research on how they sound and you'll pick the ones you want :)
 

Silver’n’Smac

Active member
Thanks, Ice - Awesome feedback!

I think that almost all of my cymbals (Sabian AAX's and HHX) would be "high end" so I might as well stick to that, even though I will definitely be buying my x-hat in used condition. As of right now, I think I'm leaning towards the 13" Sabian AAX Stage hats. These would match the ones I have but in the smaller size. Your comments about the ripples is what I was grappling with. So many people love the AAX X-Celerators (which have the ripples on the bottom hat). . . . . .but I heard the same comment that you made about the "sloshy" sound in the closed position. For that reason, I'm probably going to stick with the Stage hats. I've heard a lot of the Sabian lines but not the Zildjian's so I should probably give the New Beats a listen as I've heard many good things about them.

Thanks again - I'll probably make my purchase early this week. . . ..then the challenge comes of fitting them within my tight setup LOL.

I really want to take that next step from beginner to intermediate. I think I'm somewhere between those two classifications right now. I just signed up for a year subscription to Drumeo online lessons and I'm going to commit to doing the "boring" stuff to really improve on my technique. My left hand and foot are still way behind my right in terms of coordination and endurance.

Anyways, cheers and thanks again!! :cool: I'm sure I'll be seeking your advice again sooner than later lol.
 
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Silver’n’Smac

Active member
So I think I’ve changed my mind. Instead of the 13” stage hats, I think I’m now leaning towards trying out the Zildjian A series New Beats. I love my current 14” AAX Stage hats but I’m not playing any live gigs so having 2 really loud/cutting hats isn’t really a priority. So. . .id like opinions on these 2 questions:

1. If I get the New Beats (in either 13”or 14”) should I use them as my predominant hats and use the Stage hats as my auxiliary? Or keep my setup as-is and use the New Beats as my auxiliary? Some people have noted that the New Beats don’t sound as good when closed.

2. Please see link below. Seems like a good deal, yeah? $245 brand new.

 

Silver’n’Smac

Active member
Hey thanks, I’ll have to give the XSR’s a listen. I just received the New Beats a few days ago and like I said, I’m using them as auxiliary hats to go opposite my AAX stage hats and so far I really like the sound. A lot of people seemed to criticize the sound of the NB in the closed position but I’ve got them mounted pretty loose and I’m really happy with the sizzle sound they’re producing. Maybe I just don’t quite have the critical ear to compare lots of different brands. I just know for the style of music I like/play, I’m digging them. I just ordered (on Reverb) a used 15” AAX X-Plosion crash to go with my 16” & 18” AAX stage crashes, 20” HHX China and 10” Paiste splash. Haven’t received the 15” crash yet but I’m excited about it. I think I’m set for a while as far as having a good range of cymbals goes.
 

iCe

Senior Member
Hey thanks, I’ll have to give the XSR’s a listen. I just received the New Beats a few days ago and like I said, I’m using them as auxiliary hats to go opposite my AAX stage hats and so far I really like the sound. A lot of people seemed to criticize the sound of the NB in the closed position but I’ve got them mounted pretty loose and I’m really happy with the sizzle sound they’re producing. Maybe I just don’t quite have the critical ear to compare lots of different brands. I just know for the style of music I like/play, I’m digging them. I just ordered (on Reverb) a used 15” AAX X-Plosion crash to go with my 16” & 18” AAX stage crashes, 20” HHX China and 10” Paiste splash. Haven’t received the 15” crash yet but I’m excited about it. I think I’m set for a while as far as having a good range of cymbals goes.
Always follow your own ears: if you like it, get it. Shouldn't matter if it's a cheaper line. There is a member here who uses Sabian B8's and loves them above the more expensive Sabians. Even Mike Mangini uses a Zildjian ZBT hihat in his setup because he likes that sound.

Which new beat did you get? The 13 or 14"?
I have the 13" on my x-hat and in closed position. I prefer that sound above the closed sound of my 14". I have is semi loose. It can move, but just enough so i can control it.
 

Silver’n’Smac

Active member
I wanted the 13” since my AAX’s are 14” but I couldn’t find one at a good price so I went with the 14”. It’s kinda weird - I’ve played drums on and off for about 10-15 years but but here I am now at the age of 50 and I’m just now really digging my setup and my kit and finally committed to putting in the practice time to just become a decent drummer (with good technique). In the past, it was like play for an hour then not play for 5 days, etc. I’m finally playing a bit every day and having a blast.

I suppose later is better than never LOL
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
I’m leaning towards 13” for the X-hats just to mix things up and I’m looking for a crisper/higher sound anyways.
13's make great x-hats. Small enough to fit in the space, yet big enough to get the sound you want.
I use "fast hats" (8 small holes drilled about a 1/4" in around the edge) for great, quick response. Leave them a bit sloshy for some good counter sounds to the ride.
 
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