Good morning, and thanks for visiting Midnightdrummer.com today!
This time, I'd like to introduce you to my favorite hi-hat microphones and why I think, that these are great mics to capture the sound of your hats.
The best hi-hat mic and why you need at least 1 of them
Beyerdynamic MC 950
This is the Beyerdynamic MC 950 studio condenser microphone which I mainly use as a hi-hat mic.
This condenser mic has a supercardioid sound pattern which allows capturing the very source this microphone is aiming at only.
In particular this is very useful to avoid as much bleed from other instruments as possible (which can be a real hassle if you don't have the right kind of microphone at your hands).
The MC 950 is very well-built and comes with a microphone clamp and a little carrying bag.
The Beyerdynamic MC 950 hi-hat mic is made in Germany and its overall quality and specifications meet the highest technical standards.
It is a very versatile condenser microphone which is capable of capturing a variety of instruments like piano, guitar, drums (cymbals) and even vocals.
This allrounder microphone is a universal weapon, and it is a fantastic addition to any microphone locker.
The MC 950 microphone comes in a small card box including a microphone clamp, a bag, some information about its frequency response and the usual paperwork.
The Beyerdynamic MC 950 isn't cheap (at 1st. sight) and costs appr. $599,- here. This price becomes fairer and more justified if you are searching for a flexible microphone for your studio which is capable of doing many recording jobs!
The MC 950 is a fantastic condenser microphone which does an excellent recording job. Due to its neutral sound it is capable of capturing hi-hat cymbals, piano, guitar, other percussive instruments and vocals too.
Its supercardioid sound pattern works very well on the hi-hats because it is capable of avoiding too much bleed from other instruments.
How to mic hi-hats
Micing hi-hats on a drum set isn't as easy as it first seems to be.
In particular this is very true, if you don't have a sophisticated microphone at your hands, which can do a proper job.
1st. you have to keep in mind, that the proximity between the hi hat and other instruments like the snare drum can cause a lot of trouble. Most times you will experience a lot of snare bleed in your hi-hat recordings if doing it wrong.
The best hi-hat microphones have a supercardioid sound pattern so that sounds from the rear are eliminated as much as possible and bleed becomes a minor issue.
When micing hi hats and using a supercardioid microphone, you should aim the microphone capsule towards the hi hat cymbals and away from other instruments to avoid the bleeding effect.
The ideal hi-hat mic placement
I have seen it many times!
Many inexperienced audio-engineers and drummers position their hi-hat mics in a way that bleeding from other instruments is unavoidable and – at worst – ruins the mix.
Any microphone – even those with a supercardioid sound pattern – will pick up other instruments if you are aiming towards them.
The hi-hat mic placement is crucial to prevent bleeding the best way possible.
If you place the mic towards the hi-hat and other instruments like the snare drum, you will capture a lot of snare drum.
A better way is to aim away from all the other instruments. That will help to get the best sound.
No matter how much time you invest in mic placement and soundcheck, you will always hear bits and pieces of other instruments (bleed) as long as you record all drum set parts at the same time in the same room.
If you want an absolute clean sound, you need to work with a gate or – as mentioned – record each instrument on its own.
Here are a few noise gates for a 1st. impression.
More hi-hat microphones
Shure hi-hat mic – SM81
The Shure SM81 is a high-quality, unidirectional condenser microphone designed for studio recording, broadcasting, and sound reinforcement.
Its wide frequency response, low noise characteristics, and low RF susceptibility have made it a standard for applications involving acoustic instruments, especially guitar, piano, and cymbals.
Which is the best mic for recording hi-hat?
Finding the ideal hi-hat mic isn't easy. It takes time and quite some experience to decide which one is the best for your needs and for the sound you are looking for.
There's no “one size fits all” and there's not THE best hi-hat microphone for everybody and for all hi-hat cymbals in the world.
In many cases it's a good idea starting with a cheap microphone and to experiment with it on your hi-hat and other instruments. Getting to know your equipment and creating the best sound possible with your own material will help you get an idea of what to buy next.
Now it's your turn.
Please let me know which microphone you prefer for hi-hats and which one is the No 1 on your wishlist. Please let me know in the comments!
Enjoy playing drums and talk soon!