The hi-hat is the most vital part of your drum kit, whether it’s electronic, rock, or jazz. It’s always there to keep the beat. Along with your bass and snare, of course! 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. This has the advantage of allowing you to hear the entire spectrum of sound. Not only will your hi-hat sounds be better, but you can also limit the snare mic’s range to make everything seem sharper.
Cardioid condenser microphones are preferable for hi-hats, however omnidirectional mics can also be used. Hi-hats have a rich sound, quick transients, and are an important aspect of your drum kit, so you’ll need a microphone that can handle them.
Table of Contents
Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
- This microphone requires phantom power and performs best with a 48 Vdc supply (IEC-61938). However, it will operate with slightly decreased headroom...
- The SM81 is ruggedly constructed. It operates on phantom power and performs over a wide range of temperatures and humidity conditions. It is furnished...
- 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response. Flat response curve for accurate reproduction of sound sources.
The Shure SM81-LC is a cardioid condenser microphone that provides an excellent recording experience in the studio. It’s amazing for recording acoustic guitars and pianos, but it’s also fantastic for hi-hats.
The cardioid polar pattern of the Shure SM81-LC has a consistent frequency. Its frequency response is large, spanning from 20 to 20,00 Hz. It also detects low-noise and low-distortion signals. Its strong output and smooth response curve also provide a genuine reproduction of the sounds you want to make. A phantom cable is required, and the mic works best with a 48 VDC supply. As a result, make sure you pay attention to the power needs.
The SM81-LC is made of metal and has a sturdy design. It can tolerate dampness and hard environments, so you can rest assured that it will last you a long time. It’s light in weight and comes with a clip, box, and windscreen, among other things. As a result, you can keep it safe and take it with you almost anyplace. This is the Best Hi-Hat Mic in 2023.
AKG Perception 170 Professional Instrumental Microphone
- 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, percussion, acoustic guitars and other strings
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 Versatile End-Address Instrument Condenser Microphone
- Small-diaphragm Permanently Polarized Cardioid Condenser Microphone with Pad
The Rode M3 is an excellent condenser microphone, 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 second reason it’s such a terrific live mic model is that it features an adjustable roll-off bass and pad, which are great for suppressing pops, clicks, and feedback. As a result, it’s a reliable microphone that’ll perform admirably in most scenarios.
The 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 Gold-Sputtered Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Silver
- Medium-diaphragm Condenser Microphone with Interchangeable Cardioid/Omni Capsules
- Low-cut Filter
- Ultra low-noise transformerless FET input eliminates low-frequency distortion
The Behringer B-5 Condenser Microphone is a great low-cost hi-hat mic. Behringer is known for producing economical, high-quality products, and the B-5 microphone is no exception. It produces clear audio interface and is well-built.
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 greatest 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 Super-Cardioid Condenser Microphone
- Nearly flat response from 40 Hz to 20 kHz and a supercardioid pattern
- Designed for demanding applications where extended frequency range, high SPL handling, fast transient response and small size are required
- 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.
Neumann KM 184 Small Diaphragm Cardioid Microphone
- Cardioid Polar Pattern
- Transformerless circuitry
- Trouble-free operation even with unbalanced equipment
You can’t go wrong with the Neumann KM184 if you want a true high-end studio mic that will give your hi-hats the respect they deserve. If you’ve been looking for or buying drum microphones for a while, you’ve almost certainly come across a few Neumann mics. The company is solely recognized for producing high-end mics that are highly costly. It’s a high-end microphone company with incredible goods.
One of their more cheap mics is the Neumann KM184. While it is reasonably priced when compared to other Neumann microphones, it is prohibitively pricey when compared to other available solutions. We’ll examine if the hefty price is justified in this review. We’ll also test how well this microphone performs when recording drums. The Neumann KM184 is a small-diaphragm condenser microphone. It has a little body, yet it feels heavy and secure, indicating that it will last a long time. It also includes a cardioid pickup pattern, making it perfect for usage as a close-up hi-hat mic or an overhead drum mic.
This is a great microphone that you can use anyplace you want to record. It improves the clarity, clarity, and crispness of your hi-hats. It generates a warm tone that has a lot of depth. There’s a good chance you won’t need any EQ for this. These mics have the best sound range quality out of anything of the market. It is, without a doubt, an investment, but one that will pay off in the long run due to its utility and longevity.
In a studio setting, the KM184 shines. It’s such a clean and articulate microphone, and when you listen back to the recordings you made with it, it makes you feel like you’re in the room with the drumming. That is one of the most important characteristics to look for in a microphone for studio recording. This is the Best Hi-Hat Mics in 2023.
Audio-Technica PRO 37 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
- 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. The item is around $200, which is a great deal for such a long list of features in the best hi hat mic.
BEHRINGER B-5 Gold-Sputtered
- Medium-diaphragm Condenser Microphone with Interchangeable Cardioid/Omni Capsules
- Low-cut Filter
- Ultra low-noise transformerless FET input eliminates low-frequency distortion
Even though Behringer is a contentious manufacturer of audio equipment, the B-5 cheap condenser microphone was a complete success. This friend, which costs less than $100, includes a pair of cardioid and omnidirectional pickups, input attenuation, low-frequency roll-off, and noise cancellation to the greatest extent practical given the expense.
Naturally, you don’t need an omnidirectional mic to record cymbals, but if your budget is tight and you need to be as flexible as possible in your home studio, having one is a terrific choice. If the lows don’t matter to you, you can use this one to record almost anything with the best mic for hi hat.
Heimu Professional Condenser Microphone
- UNIDIRECTIONAL-captures source signal such as guitar amplifier or vocalist, while shunning off-axis sound minimizing background noise & feedback...
- DYNAMIC - For optimal clarity and punch, robust & resistant to moisture, achieving high gain before feedback, makes this microphone ideal for live...
- ULTRA-WIDE FREQUENCY RESPONSE - for brilliant and transparent sound with integrated pop filter and windscreen to minimize breath and pop noises you...
It may sound absurd, but this microphone costs about $15 to $45 and, when used on cymbals, can actually produce sound of passable quality. Naturally, it lacks the “noble” sound of Sure or MXL, and the sensitivity is really low, but could you really not hope for something at least?
When you position the microphone close to a cymbal, the unidirectional pickup works perfectly. Given that it doesn’t even register noises, I wager you won’t hear anything. Although the Chinese manufacturer keeps a lot of information to themselves, I believe the frequency response ranges from 30Hz to 15kHz. This mic will definitely surprise you if you’re looking for one that works well and costs the least amount of money. Expect nothing too spectacular, and you’ll be happy with the rather crisp cymbal recordings.
Hi-Hat Microphone Buyer’s Guide
Although hi-hat microphones are not typically included in microphone packs, they are an essential component of any professional live or recording setup. A excellent hi-hat mic will enable you to hear your hi-hat clearly in the background of a mix. In order to prevent sound from the rest of the set from leaking into the mic, some drummers and engineers prefer to place the mike beneath the lower hat.
The range of frequencies that a microphone can pick up is known as frequency response. Due to the various sizes and tones of a drum kit, it’s crucial for a microphone used to record it to have a wide frequency response.
It’s acceptable—and occasionally even preferable—to use a mic whose frequency response is skewed more toward mid- and high frequencies while recording hi-hats. All of the aforementioned microphones are ideal choices for hi-hat mics because their frequency response ranges are between 40 and 20 000 Hz.
Instead of dynamic microphones, you’ll typically find ranges like this with condenser ones. Because of this and several other factors, condensers are often more expensive.
Most of the time, lower-priced microphones sound fairly nice, but it takes a lot more work in the post-production stage to get them there. To get your hi-hats to sound like they’re in a recording studio, you’ll need to perform a lot of mixing.
The more expensive microphones are far simpler to use. They are a better choice if you don’t want to sit down and adjust the EQ because you hear a fantastic sound as soon as you plug them in.
A microphone’s base sound improves as the price increases.
A microphone’s case determines how long it will last. A thicker, more durable microphone case has a much longer lifespan. You’ll discover that more expensive microphones are almost usually better made and can be used for a long time.
Although many cheap mics sound wonderful when used for recording or live performances, they don’t last as long. Either their casing ages or the wiring within malfunctions.
Therefore, it is typically preferable to spend a little extra money on a premium microphone that is made to last.
The two primary pickup patterns for hi hat microphone are omnidirectional and cardioid. The best hi-hat microphones to look for are cardioid microphones.
A cardioid microphone does a good job of rejecting undesirable side noises, thus one positioned next to a hi-hat won’t pick up the sound of your snare drum.
A cardioid mic can be placed quite close to the hi-hats and still capture all of their tonal range.
The cost of cardioid microphones varies, with some being more affordable and others costing more. One of the elements of a microphone that doesn’t significantly effect price is the pickup pattern.
How easily you can hang a microphone from your hi-hats depends on its size. This won’t be a major deciding factor if you have a sufficient room to put your drum equipment in.
If you want to use it for live performances, it’s wise to purchase a smaller hi-hat mic. Just be aware that premium sound reproduction tends to be more expensive with smaller mics.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to set up a Hi-Hat Mic?
When setting up a hi-hat mic, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, the microphone should be 2″-4″ above the top of the hi-hat. The distance is determined by your personal preference. If you’re a big hitter who doesn’t care about dynamic patterns, you should set the mic to 3″-4″. If you’re playing jazz, for example, and you need to catch those delicate tones, move the mic closer. The amplification of low and mid frequencies is similarly affected by distance. The richer the hi-hat lows on the tape, the closer the mic is placed.
You must tilt the microphone design such that the snare is not visible. This manner, the pickup of the snare sound and the bleed of the rest of your kit will be minimized. Small diaphragm microphones should not be placed too close to the edge of the hi-hat, as the airwave produced by the closing hi-hat can overpower the input sound and cause the recording to be messed up. Furthermore, the hi-hat airflow can harm the diaphragm of even a high-quality microphone. To get an evenly controlled tone, you must place it above or below the instrument. However, keep in mind that placing a mic below the hi-hat drastically reduces the stick strike and dampens the tone of the higher cymbal.
How many hi-hat mics should you use?
While employing only one hi-hat mic may appear to be the simple solution, I’ve played in enough situations with an absurd amount of mics to wonder if you really need any more. A single hi-hat mic will provide you with a clear view of how your hi-hats sound. Depending on the mic you’re using, it’ll also have a typical mixing technique.
You may use two mics to get even more out of your hi-hats. One would go on top, while the other would go underneath. Because your top and bottom hi-hats always have various sound properties, this strategy makes sense in the best microphone for hi hats.
You’ll have more control over how your hi-hats sound in the mix if you have two dedicated mics for them. I’ve never seen this happen at a live show, but it happens a lot in the studio. You might acquire a second mic for your hi-hats to aid in the mixing process if you want as much control over the drum sound as possible.
Why does the diaphragm size of a hi-hat mic matter?
There were two sizes of diaphragms at first: large and small. However, there has been a recent advancement in the shape of medium diaphragm microphones. Condenser microphones with a large diaphragm are the most versatile. They have a variety of pickup pads and designs.
Large-diaphragm microphones are also good for picking up loud sounds with a lot of bottom energy. Medium diaphragms are a relatively recent and contentious topic. These, on the other hand, are best for high-frequency content. They’re also quite clear and have a good transient response. Even more astounding, they accomplish all of this while producing a round, pleasant sound. In basic terms, they combine the benefits of a small and large diaphragm.
Finally, small diaphragm condenser microphones are incredibly sensitive. Because of their diaphragms’ modest weight and tiny size. They’re ideal for hi-hats, harps, and other instruments with prolonged overtones and harsh transients.