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Best Hi-Hat Mics 2024

The hi-hat is the most vital part of your drum kit, whether it’s electronic, rock, or jazz. Many believe that because the hi-hat is near by, it is sufficient to merely mic the snare. The issue is that the snare is so crisp that relying only on a snare mic loses a lot of the clarity of the hi-hat sound. As a result, you should carefully consider purchasing a microphone designed exclusively for your hi-hat. Not only will your hi-hat sounds be better, but you can also limit the snare mic’s range to make everything seem sharper.

Neumann KM 184

Neumann KM 184 Small Diaphragm Condenser...
  • Cardioid Polar Pattern
  • Transformerless circuitry
  • Trouble-free operation even with unbalanced equipment

The Neumann KM 184 is a good hi hat mic due to its specific features and performance. It is a cardioid small diaphragm condenser microphone, which is often recommended for hi-hats due to their ability to accurately capture high-frequency sounds.

One of the key features of the Neumann KM 184 is its ability to withstand high sound pressure levels, up to 138 dBSPL, making it suitable for loud hi-hats. This is particularly important as hi-hats can produce quite a bit of air that “swooshes” out when the cymbals open and close, which could potentially damage microphones that are not designed to handle such high sound pressure levels.

The Neumann KM 184 also has very low self-noise, which is beneficial when recording or amplifying hi-hats as it allows for the capture of subtle nuances without the interference of unwanted noise. In terms of sound quality, the Neumann KM 184 is known for its precision sound, allowing for clear hearing of every note. It has a gentle rise at about 9 kHz, which brings out the sizzle in cymbals. This characteristic is particularly beneficial for hi-hats, as it enhances their unique sound qualities.

Neumann KM 184 is a high-quality, professional-grade microphone that is well-suited for hi-hat miking due to its ability to handle high sound pressure levels, low self-noise, and specific frequency response characteristics. This is the Best Hi-Hat Mics in 2023.

Shure SM81-LC

Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument...
  • This microphone requires phantom power and performs best with a 48 Vdc...
  • The SM81 is ruggedly constructed. It operates on phantom power and performs...
  • 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response. Flat response curve for accurate...

The Shure SM81-LC is a well-established microphone in the music industry, particularly favored for its balanced sound with hi-hat cymbals. As a small-diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone, it is designed to capture the subtle nuances and high-frequency details that are characteristic of hi-hats.

One of the standout features of the SM81-LC is its wide frequency response, which ensures that the full tonal range of the hi-hat is accurately reproduced. This is crucial for hi-hats, as they can produce a wide spectrum of sounds, from sharp, cutting “chicks” to shimmering “sizzles.” The microphone’s ability to handle these sounds with clarity makes it a preferred choice for both live performances and studio recordings. It also boasts a low self-noise, which is essential when recording hi-hats, as it allows the microphone to pick up the cymbals’ sounds without introducing unwanted noise into the mix.

Whether you’re a performing drummer or a recording engineer, the SM81-LC is a reliable choice that promises to deliver natural-sounding, detailed recordings of hi-hats and other acoustic instruments. This is the Best Hi-Hat Mic in 2023.

AKG Perception 170

AKG Perception 170 Professional Instrumental...
  • Rugged all-metal body and robust design - Withstands tough day-to-day use
  • Switchable attenuation pad - For high SPL applications up to 155 db SPL
  • Small-diaphragm condenser microphone for recording of overheads,...

The AKG P170 is another excellent studio microphone that is also reasonably priced. It’s a condenser mic with a tiny diaphragm that weighs slightly over a pound. As a result, it’s ideal for putting around your hi-hats. Despite its small size, the mic is extremely durable. After all, its entire body is made of metal. It can readily withstand daily use while also joining you everywhere you go on the road without showing signs of wear and tear.

It features a polar pattern that is omnidirectional. It can handle high SPL applications of up to 155 dB thanks to its switchable attenuation pad. Along with your hi-hats, the mic may be utilized for a variety of other instruments, delivering clear and high-quality sounds. The AKG P170 was designed with years of experience in mind and delivers excellent sound quality at a low price point for home studios. This is the Best Budget Hi-Hat Mic in 2023.

Rode M3

Rode M3 Versatile End-Address Instrument Condenser...
  • Heavy duty metal body
  • Internal capsule shock mount
  • High level of RF rejection

The Rode M3 is an high end hi hat mic, particularly for live performances with drum overheads. It’s fantastic for performing live because it’s powered by a built-in battery, so you don’t need a phantom power mixer. The good sound mic itself has a pretty contemporary appearance. It’s long and black, so it blends in nicely with your drums. It’s a strong and sturdy permanently polarized condenser that’s suitable to be employed in high-intensity settings.


Behringer B-5 Small-diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  • Medium-diaphragm Condenser Microphone with Interchangeable Cardioid/Omni...
  • Low-cut Filter
  • Ultra low-noise transformerless FET input eliminates low-frequency...

For optimal signal integrity, this Behringer hi-hat mic has a gold-sputtered diaphragm and gold-plated XLR connections. For smooth performance, it has a pressure-gradient transducer with a shock-mounted diaphragm capsule. Because of its ability to catch the intricacies of hi-hat cymbals with a high level of depth and realism, this microphone is one of the greatest hi-hat mics available.

This is the best hi-hat mic for the money because it has exceptional clarity and transmits without noise. There are two interchangeable capsules included with this microphone, although the cardioid capsule is recommended for hi-hats. This is an excellent microphone for the money, and despite its low price range, it produces incredibly smooth sounds and has a tough and strong design that will last for years.

Sennheiser E614

Sennheiser E614 Super-Cardioid Condenser...
  • Nearly flat response from 40 Hz to 20 kHz and a supercardioid pattern
  • Designed for demanding applications where extended frequency range, high...
  • Captures the shimmer and the contact of sticks, mallets and hands

The Senheiser e 614 is a tank of a microphone. It’s a strong, long-lasting microphone with excellent sound. The majority of people will utilize it as an overhead or hi-hat microphone. When it comes to hi-hats, it gives them a lot of clarity.

When utilizing the e 614, very little EQ is required. However, with a few tweaks, your hi-hats will sound punchy and effective. It’s suitable for a wide range of hi-hat qualities, from dry to brilliant. You won’t have to worry about distortion because of the high SPL.

The e 614 features a sleek black appearance in terms of design. It’s small for a pencil condenser, but it’s thick enough to feel sturdy. It’s a fantastic mic that falls midway between the others on our list. However, for the price, it could absolutely have more functionality.

Audio-Technica PRO 37

Audio-Technica PRO 37 Small Diaphragm Condenser...
  • Professional performance for studio recording and live sound reinforcement
  • Low-mass element for superb transient response
  • Excels in high-SPL applications

This mic from a well-known Japanese manufacturer features no radio-frequency interference and a distinct sound reproduction. The frequency response of the hardware falls off dramatically at roughly 15-17 kHz, indicating that the engineers developed this model with digital recording in mind, but it captures both lows and airy highs remarkably effectively. This one may be used to record any cymbal without having to worry about glassy noises. The mic’s tone is loud and easily discernible in the mix at the same time.

Its 112dB dynamic range makes it adaptable, allowing you to capture all of those small dynamic shifts. Furthermore, PRO 37 has a maximum input SPL of 141dB, making it suitable for any style. It accepts 11-52V phantom power, allowing it to be used with low-cost mixers.

Buying Guide for Hi-Hat Mic

Sound Quality

The primary function of a hi-hat mic is to capture the intricate sounds of the hi-hat cymbals, which include high-frequency tones and rapid transients. Look for a microphone that can accurately reproduce these characteristics without causing “bleeding” over from other instruments. Small diaphragm condenser microphones are often recommended for their detailed and high-fidelity sound, especially in higher frequencies.

Polar Pattern

Cardioid condenser microphones are commonly recommended for hi-hats because they focus on the sound in front of the microphone and reject noise from the sides and rear. However, depending on the setup and desired sound, omnidirectional mics can also be suitable.

Frequency Response

The microphone should have a frequency response that captures the full range of the hi-hat’s sound. Since hi-hats produce high-pitched sounds, a mic with a high frequency response range is ideal.

Mounting and Positioning

Consider how the microphone will be mounted and positioned around the hi-hat. Some mics come with clips or mounting systems that make setup easier and more flexible. The positioning of the mic can greatly affect the captured sound, so a mic that allows for easy adjustment is advantageous.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of microphone for hi-hats?

Small-diaphragm condenser mics are often recommended for hi-hats.

What is the best position for a hi-hat mic?

The best position depends on the specific sound you’re trying to achieve. However, a separate, dedicated microphone will allow you to make hi-hats sound more persistent and closer.

Can I use a dynamic mic for hi-hats?

Yes, dynamic mics can also work for hi-hats, but small-diaphragm condenser mics are often recommended.

How does a hi-hat mic affect the overall sound of a drum set?

A hi-hat mic can add presence to the drum set in the mix by providing a crisp, distinct channel of just hi-hats.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when using a hi-hat mic?

One common mistake is placing the mic too close to the hi-hat, which can result in a heavy sound that may not be desirable.