Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

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Phobos
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Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by Phobos » Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:06 pm

Obviously people do. And I'm not very experienced at recording drums, so I'll say that up front. But I have always gotten enough hat via the overheads, and found it hard to keep the snare from bleeding into the hat mic, so I stopped mic-ing the hat. Any similar/different experiences or advice? I am setting up drums now, and I have enough channels to mic the hat. But I don't see any reason to unless someone can convince me otherwise. Thanks for your input.
Last edited by Phobos on Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:22 pm

I normally do it when it is required.

For styles such as:

Soft Rock (Eagles).
Jazz of almost any type with drums. They never hit hard, and do detailed work on the HHs, so it is almost always needed.

Otherwise, I listen to the drummer, without any mics first, and start adding until I get a good balance coming out of the speakers
in the control room. Some need it, some don't.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by vernier » Sun Oct 11, 2020 2:37 pm

Phobos wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:06 pm
Obviously people do. And I'm not very experienced at recording drums, so I'll say that up front. But I have always gotten enough hat via the overheads, and found it hard to keep the snare from bleeding into the hat mic, so I stopped mic-ing the hat. Any similar/different experiences or advice? I am setting up drums now, and I have enough channels to mic the hat. But I don't see any reason to unless someone can convince me otherwise. Thanks for your input.
Depending on type of music, a certain mic, eq, and/or filter can place it in the mix without competing with the other parts of the kit.

kslight
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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by kslight » Sun Oct 11, 2020 3:22 pm

I do but 9/10 times I don’t use it, for the same reasons you mentioned...there’s plenty of hat already.

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alexdingley
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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by alexdingley » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:07 pm

I’m not gonna pretend like I do it particularly well, but I always mic the hats.

and many times I end up doing the same thing mentioned above; micing & (subsequently) muting the hat. But when I’m lucky enough to end up using that hat mic, I have found that if I de-ess the hat a little, and eq it just right... bringing it up in the mix will give me some more definition and placement of the hat... so, it really depends on the style & often the song / drumming patten.

I often mic the hat with the same thought that Charlie Brown likely has right before he runs up to the football that Lucy is holding for him.

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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by kslight » Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:49 pm

If I were miking drums for my tastes alone, being honest I like to think of the kit as an instrument not a bunch of separate things that need their own mic...my favorite recordings are more often than not the 2 mic sessions, and there’s never too little hat in those...and even when I have several dedicated drum mics the bulk of mix sound is usually just a couple mics.

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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by losthighway » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:16 pm

Almost never. Part of the reason is I record a lot of heavy handed bashers where it's more about trying to contain the hi hats.

Even with lighter touch drummers, if they have good kit balance a pair of overheads is going to put the hi hats right where they need to be for my tastes.

There has been maybe 2 occasions in almost 20 years where a hi hat mic was added after scrutinizing a playback because something was missing. One of the times it was me playing brushes with a double handed hi hat pattern that needed to feel more pronounced than my meaty snare sound and the ribbon overhead wasn't getting it. That's about as blue moon as it gets.

I think it's funny when people list one of the preferred applications for a mic is on the hi hat. I could put an Sm58 (or any decent SDC, or LDC, or big dynamic mic) over the hats and it would probably cover whatever I needed to get out of that mic (violently high passed, and just barely spicing up the mix a little). If someone told me they mainly loved a nice mic because of its hi hat services I'd probably think I might never buy that mic. I'm sure someone who records some very different genres (prog? jazz fusion? modern gospel?) has their reasons for this mic, but I don't.

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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by drumsound » Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:01 pm

I didn't for a looooong time. There were a few reasons, including track real estate. Another reason was, as mentioned by others, a lot of players hitting the hats way too damn hard anyway. I would sometimes do it when I realized a player was playing really lightly on the hat to not have it overpower the whole drum set. I also had tried a couple different SDCs and they always sounded like ice picks to the eardrums. Once I stated using dynamics, I started to not hate the miced hat sound.

Now I pretty much always use one. I record it at a pretty low level. What I really like is not just definition of what's being played, but I really like what it does for localizing the hat in the stereo picture.

https://open.spotify.com/track/5TM04II0xf9Ax5XeDsoSAo Here is an example of localizing the hihat that I though was pretty important at the time...

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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by wilburguy » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:21 am

I always do, and I almost never use it.

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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by Scodiddly » Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:14 am

I'm kind of embarrassed to think how often we used to mic the hat, even in trashy club gigs. Second-nicest mic after the kick drum, too.

C'mon, even in the 80's nobody did anything special with the hat mic, and it's not like it couldn't be heard.

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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by Colorblind » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:19 am

I’ve done it occasionally if I’m using a darker mic like a Coles 4038 as an overhead, and I want a little more definition in the hats or for them to just sound, well, closer. Depends on the drummer and the song, as Alex said.

Generally haven’t needed to with a cymbal basher. Something I just thought of in those instances: If you were getting an obnoxious amount of hi hat bleed in the snare mic, could it be of use to mic the hats and use that signal to duck them in the snare mic? I guess you might run into the problem of the snare itself getting ducked, but if you’re in the digital realm you could go in and automate it (or cut out the snare hits in the hats mic) so it’s not clamping down on the snare hits. Maybe a gate on the snare is better in that instance, if you don’t mind losing the bleed from the rest of the kit. Y’all probably have better ways of dealing with this, like coaching the drummer to play with more control, etc.

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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by mwerden » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:47 am

+1 for stereo image. Also if there is some pedal work going on.
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Re: Does anyone mic the hat and if so why?

Post by Rodgre » Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:38 am

I have been lately, but for most of my career I haven't. I find that the overheads pick up a good balance of the hat and ride in a stereo image. About a year ago I had a project where the client was wanting to hear a little more definition in the hats so I put a pencil condenser on them and mixed it in. I'm a creature of habit, so I have kept doing that ever since. I put a high-pass filter on it and blend it in panned about 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock. it's subtle and not crucial but it adds a bit of attack to the hat and a stronger placement in the stereo image. I still want it to blend with the ride, without me having to mic the ride. That opens a whole can of worms for me, as I like the drum kit to sound like a natural thing in the room, not all separate like a drum machine with individual outputs. That's why the OHs usually do the trick for me. It is nice to have the option of getting a little more definition out of the hat though. It's also good, like someone else said, to get pedal work represented well.

Roger

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