Sign In
$0.00 0 items

No products in the cart.

$0.00 0 items

No products in the cart.

best hi-hat microphones

Best Mics For Hi-Hats: Choosing The Right One For Your Kit

April 1, 2024 
Last Updated on April 1, 2024

The hi-hat is an integral part of any drum set, providing a rhythmic backbone that can vary from subtle nuances to a driving force. Capturing it accurately is paramount for both live performances and studio recordings. This brings us to the quest for the perfect hi-hat mic. Read on to learn about our top 5 picks!

Included in this guide:

Best Overall
Neumann KM 184 Cardioid Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Neumann KM 184 Cardioid Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Small diaphragm design
  • Wide frequency response range
Check Price
Shure SM81 Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Shure SM81 Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

  • -10dB pad for recording loud sources
  • Low self-noise and distortion
  • Sturdy and durable steel construction
Check Price
Top Pick
Beyerdynamic M 201 Hypercardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone

Beyerdynamic M 201 Hypercardioid Dynamic Instrument Microphone

  • Hypercardioid polar pattern
  • Onboard hum compensation coil
  • 40Hz to 18,000Hz frequency response
Check Price
Top Pick
Audio-Technica AT4041 Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Audio-Technica AT4041 Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

  • Cardioid polar pattern for focused sound capture
  • Low self-noise and high SPL capability
  • Switchable high-pass filter and sturdy turned-brass housing
Check Price
Lowest Price
Sennheiser e 614 Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Sennheiser e 614 Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

  • Super-cardioid polar pattern
  • High SPL handling for loud sources
  • Microphone pouch and MZQ 100 microphone clip included
Check Price

Related Article: The Best Drum Sticks Of 2024: Find Your Perfect Match

The Top 5 Best Mics For Hi-Hats

The Neumann KM 184 cardioid small-diaphragm condenser microphone is our top recommendation for miking hi-hats. It’s a fantastic microphone that has gained popularity for its exceptional audio quality and versatility.

Despite being one of the smallest mics out there, the KM 184 provides outstanding sound clarity with the lowest self-noise. Moreover, it has quite the durable build that Neumann products are known for.

With a wide frequency response, the KM 184 mic is capable of capturing both high and low frequencies accurately. Plus, it can handle high sound pressures (up to 138 dB SPL). As such, the loudest hi-hats are a breeze for it.

  • The mic’s low self-noise ensures clear recordings, even in quiet situations.
  • It’s a highly versatile mic that can excel in many applications, from hi-hats to acoustic guitars and percussions.
  • It features a robust build quality, withstanding the demands of professional settings.
  • It’s a bit expensive compared to some other decent mic options.

The Shure SM81 small-diaphragm condenser is a versatile and reliable mic designed to capture the tiniest sound details. With its cardioid polar pattern, this mic is precise in isolating the source and minimizing unwanted background noise coming from the rest of your drum set.

Primarily, the mic’s frequency response spans from 20Hz to 20kHz. This guarantees accurate reproduction and stunning clarity when recording hi-hats. Moreover, its durability (despite being a condenser type) allows it to withstand use in both live performances and recording studios.

On top of that, the Shure SM81 mic has a switchable low-frequency response. Such a feature allows you to adjust the microphone settings according to different recording situations. Giving you a choice of flat, six, or 18 dB roll-off, this mic makes a perfect tool for working with hi-hats.

  • It’s a highly versatile mic suitable for recording hi-hats with superb clarity.
  • It has a rugged steel build that maximizes its durability.
  • It features low self-noise and high overdrive protection.
  • It can be a little too pricey for those on a tight budget (not for the features it offers though).

Designed with a hypercardioid polar pattern, the Beyerdynamic M 201 mic features precise sound capture. Using it, you can record your hi-hat with exceptional clarity while rejecting unwanted noise from the sides and rear.

As such, it guarantees a crisp representation of every hi-hat hit without interference from surrounding instruments.

Furthermore, its compact design and durable construction allow for versatility in placements as well as use. This makes it a reliable choice for drummers who need a mic that can keep up with their beats.

  • The wide frequency response and noise sensitivity enhance the mic’s sound reproduction capabilities.
  • The inclusion of an internal hum compensation coil minimizes electromagnetic interference (EMI), making it adaptable for any recording scenario.
  • It provides a fantastic transient response due to its Hostaphan diaphragm.
  • As with most dynamic mics, capturing quieter sources may require the help of a decent preamp.

For an outstanding dynamic range when recording hi-hats, the Audio-Technica AT4041 small-diaphragm condenser mic is the perfect choice. It captures the crispiest sounds while minimizing ambient noise thanks to its cardioid polar pattern.

The small diaphragm design is what makes this mic work excellently with hi-hats, offering an unmatched transient response. In addition, its wide frequency response ensures clear sound-capturing capabilities.

So, whether you’re a drummer or a recording engineer, the Audio-Technica AT4041 is what you need. Not only does it perform greatly inside the studio, but it also excels in other settings.

  • The switchable high pass filter provides additional flexibility in adjusting the mic’s response for maximum adaptability.
  • It has high sound pressure level (SPL) capabilities to capture the most dynamic hi-hat performances precisely.
  • The turned-brass housing ensures durability, making the mic suitable for all the different applications.
  • No significant drawbacks to mention here.

Sennheiser is a company famous for crafting quality products at affordable price points. As for the e 614 small-diaphragm condenser microphone, it’s no exception. For a cymbal mic on the lower end of the price range, this is the real deal.

Specifically built for overhead applications, its super cardioid pattern ensures precise sound capture from the hi-hats while eliminating ambient noise. Moreover, the small-diaphragm condenser allows for accurately reproducing transient details.

On top of that, the mic’s high SPL handling capabilities allow it to capture the dynamic range of hi-hats. From the subtle taps to the more dynamic crashes, it does this without introducing distortion. Overall, it’s a versatile mic, whether in a studio or on the stage.

  • It offers excellent value for its price.
  • The compact design makes the mic easy to position around hi-hats, allowing for optimal sound capture.
  • Suitable for both overhead and hi-hat applications, making it a highly flexible choice.
  • It may have limited additional features compared to other mics in the same price range.

Related Article: The Top 5 Best Drum Mic Kits Of 2024

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the ideal number of hi-hat mics I should use?

In most setups, one hi-hat mic works well. Yet, you can use two mics for more detailed emphasis on the sound of your hi-hats (preferably one above and one underneath).

What type of mic is best for hi-hats?

A mic with a small diaphragm condenser is often a better choice. That’s due to its ability to capture transient details and provide clarity. That said, dynamic mics with a suitable frequency response also work well.

How should I position the hi-hat mic?

To capture the best balance of brightness and details, try to place your mic near the edge of your hi-hats (five to ten centimeters above the top cymbal). Additionally, ensure that the mic is facing away from the snare drum to avoid unwanted noises.

What features should I look for in a hi-hat mic?

Look for mics with high SPL handling, fast transient response, and a decent frequency response. Furthermore, versatility, durability, and ease of positioning are also important.

How does the polar pattern affect hi-hat miking?

A cardioid or supercardioid polar pattern mic allows for focused sound capture from the front. At the same time, it minimizes interference from sounds of other drum components coming from the sides or rear.

Product Recap

Concluding the best mics for hi-hats, the Neumann KM 184 delivers unmatched precision, making it our top choice. As a solid runner-up, the Shure SM81 combines durability with amazing sounds. That said, if you’re looking for value without compromise, the Sennheiser e 614 should be your go-to choice.

If you found this guide helpful, please consider subscribing to our blog for more music production tips, product reviews, and buying guides. Also, you can support new content by contributing to our tip jar.

"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

Don't forget to share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Support New Content

We love creating and sharing content that supports you in your musical journey. Thanks for being here along the way and making it possible.
We always value and welcome your support. This can be done by sharing an article with a friend, signing up for our newsletter, or contributing to our tip jar.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram