Best Hi Hat Mic: A Detailed Observation Of The Top Mic Options Of The Year

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I remember how complicated was my search for the very first hi-hat mic I have purchased myself. Using a separate microphone for your hi hat will seriously improve the overall drums sound quality, make it more appealing, rich and harmonious. For both experienced musicians and those who just start working with the drum set sound, implementing microphones is essential to enrich the sound, underline hi hat rhythm and energy. For sure, hi hat adds its colors to the sound even without the mic, but to take full control over the sound tempo and quality, it is essential to use hi hat that will seriously improve the overall sound.

There are plenty of various types of mics depending on your budget, sound requirements, how often and where you play the drums. While a lot of drummers prefer to use common overhead drum mic configurations, expecting them to transmit the sound of hi hat along with the snare, cymbals, bass, etc. as a unified sound, they lose the individuality of each component and clarity of its sound effect. To identify the key features of the most popular mic models, let’s review the top 6 hi hat’s list I have created based on my experience and the general online trends.

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Looking For The Perfect Hi Hat Sound: Top 6 Hi Hat Mic List

1. Rockville Pro MIc Kit 1: Best Hi Hat Mic For Recording With Full Metal Mic Body

This mic is made by Rockville Audio, an experienced manufacturer of professional audio products that are used by professional musicians, implemented in car stereo systems, marine, and home audio systems. I can identify this company as middle-class audio gear manufacturers that produce decent and affordable items.

Rockville Mic Pro Kit is a great universal soldier that will help you reach the new level of drums sounding. It is a full metal microphone that goes with a mic stand, making it easier to find the best mic position for your hi hat. The bottom part of the stand has plastic coverage to prevent unexpected sliding. The best feature of this mic is that the bottom part of the base is made of 20mm sick iron, while the top part – of 15.2 mm sick iron, which guarantees its durability and protects the mic from any damage.

This microphone is a great variant for those looking for an all-in-one kit, including hi hat mic placement, high-quality bag, and original cable that perfectly fits the mic. Having an M-56 cartridge with a neodymium magnet, this microphone is much more sensitive compared to other brands in the same price segment. There is almost no background noise and an excellent tone! The cable is made without aluminum, which makes it much more durable and supports the original sound.

Main Characteristics:

  • Microphone has pro-level 56 cartridge;
  • Optimal frequency response that varies from 80 to 13Khz;
  • Light microphone — it weights only 2.4 lbs that makes it easily-portable;
  • High level of sound sensitivity: -72 ± 3dB;
  • Impedance 600 Ohms ± 30%;
  • High-quality 100 % OFC copper cable.
Rockville Pro MIc Kit 1 - High-End Metal Microphone+Mic Stand+Carry Bag+Cable
  • Rockville Pro MIc Kit 1 - High-End Metal Microphone+Mic Stand+Carry Bag+Cable. Mic Features: M-56 Cartridge. Full metal mic body. Type: dynamic. Neodymium magnet. Polar Pattern: uni-directional.
  • Frequency Response: 80 - 13Khz. Impedance: 600 Ohms ± 30%. Sensitivity: -72 ± 3dB. Mic Stand Features: High quality metal mic stand. Made of strong iron tubes! Black Painted Finish.

PROS:
  • Full-metal mic coverage
  • Great sound quality for its price
  • Goes with the cable, stand, and bag
  • Easy to transport
CONS:
  • Not specifically designed for hi hat
  • It cannot compete in quality with more experienced pro brands

2. Audio-Technica ATR-1100 Hi Hat Mic: Unidirectional Instrumental and Vocal Microphone

Audio-Technica is a well-known brand that has representatives all over the world, producing professional-quality equipment for the best sound, including microphones, headphones, gaming headsets and turntables. Their products have been chosen for Grammy and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opening ceremonies. Creating several legendary models, they proceed in developing great microphone models for great price.

Audio-Technica ATR-1100 is the best hi hat mic model to start your acquaintance with the brand and instrument mics in general. This microphone can be used for both instrumental and vocal recording with its unidirectional polar pattern that allows to effectively focus the mic pickup. Thus, you don’t have to worry about your hi hat mic placement — it will enrich your sound and protect it from the feedback.

This microphone can be plugged into the preamp, mixer or any type of audio interface in case you need to improve the sound quality – it has a plug adapter to connect with the input jack of any device you need. This is a great option for those who start their work with hi hat sound and want to get a simple and functional item for a reasonable price.

Main Characteristics:

  • This microphone is super lightweight with only 5.3 ounces — great for those who need something portable and easy to fix;
  • Good frequency response from 800 to 12000 Hz;
  • 59 dB mic sensitivity – more than acceptable for first concerts and recordings;
  • Extra-long cable (3 meters) that is permanently attached to the mic.
Audio-Technica ATR-1100 Unidirectional Dynamic Handheld Vocal/Instrument Microphone
  • A great introduction to Audio-Technica's quality and durability
  • Ideal for vocal and instrument miking in performance and practice

PROS:
  • Simple and easy to work with microphone
  • Reasonable price
  • Super lightweight
  • Can be used for instrumental and vocal miking
CONS:
  • Only one size and color model
  • Goes without mic stand
  • Not the top-quality option

3. Olympus ME-52W Noise Cancellation Microphone: Best Hi Hat Mic WIth Noise Protection System

One of the most well-known producers of various optical, musical, video, medical and other technical items, Olympus Corporation is also one of the oldest market players: the company was founded in 1919 in Japan, and now it has spread its impact on all regions of the planet, with big representatives in the EU and United States.

Olympus ME-52W microphone is the best hi hat mic for recording in case you want to record at home, in your garage or directly at the concert. It has a windscreen cover high-quality hi hat mic clamp for dynamic live performance recordings, protecting your sound from unnecessary noises. This model can be plugged into a digital recorder with 3.5mm jack, which makes it the perfect variant for unidirectional recordings in noisy areas or those that aren’t professionally equipped for noise isolation.

This microphone can be easily placed nearby with the help of an extension cord that goes with the microphone. It allows fixing the mic on the required height in an optimal position for recording. Thanks to flexible sensitivity settings, it is possible to choose an optimal mode for more distanced or quiet music.

Main Characteristics:

  • Lightweight model — only 0.1 ounces;
  • Goes with 3.3-foot extension cord — increased mobility of the mic that can be placed in the required position;
  • Has a clamp for quick and easy hi hat mic placement;
  • 3.5mm jack will help you to connect the mic with your recording item or PC.
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Olympus ME-52W Noise Canceling Microphone
  • Noise canceling microphone for Olympus digital voice recorders
  • Ideal for use in high-noise environments

PROS:
  • Effectively cancels unnecessary noises
  • Super small and lightweight
  • Has a tie-up clip, extension cord and windscreen protection
CONS:
  • Cannot be used with iPhone or other mobile phones
  • PA-1 plug adapter not included – in case you need to connect the mic to 2.5mm jack, you have to purchase it separately

4. AKG P170 High Performance Instrument Microphone: The Best Hi Hat Mic Studio Model

About The Brand: AKG is one of the most experienced mic producers that is focused on creating professional-level musical tools, including microphones, headphones and accessories. It was founded in 1947 in Vienna, Austria and quickly became the brand recognized by the music industry.

AKG P170 hi-hat mic is a high-quality tool for the clear sound of your recordings that will help you improve your sound, and it can also be applied to all kinds of percussions, acoustic guitars and various strings and woodwinds. It is a great option in case you plan to work with other instruments or to use it for the band music recordings and performances. Being a budget version of AKG C451 B, this microphone will help you create a pro-level sound for an affordable price

The mic is pretty lightweight and has a great design, optimal for hi hat recordings. It is possible to set up the mic in any position and be sure it will remain still during your performances and recordings. It has a ½-inch diagram that provides the high level of sound clarity and transient response.

Main Characteristics:

  • Lightweight 130g mic model that has 160mm height;
  • Great sensitivity: it is 15 mV/Pa mic that can enrich all types of recordings;
  • Can be used for studio and live recordings;
  • Great audio frequency; from 20 to 20000 Hz.
AKG PERCEPTION 170 Professional Instrumental , 7.40 x 3.50 x 11.30 inches, Sliver Blue - 3101H00410
  • 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

PROS:
  • Great alternative for more expensive pro-level mics
  • Can be used for different types of instruments
  • Small and lightweight model with ergonomic design
  • Great for both studio and live performance recordings
CONS:
  • Doesn’t have additional jacks or extension cords included in the set
  • Not the cheapest option on the list

5. Best Budget Hi Hat Mic For Recordings: CAD CM217 Microphone

CAD Audio is a great producer of professional microphones for live sound and recording markets based in the US. It also has a number of sub-brands that help them extend the segment of the audio market in such spheres as recording, broadcast, consumer electronics, and other.

CAD CM217 microphone is one of the most popular mic models of CAD Audio that has highly useful lightweight design with hi hat clamp included in the set. It also has hi pass filter and pro-quality attenuator that will help you receive the best possible sound. The best offer for its price, this microphone can also be used with acoustic guitars and drum kits.

Being easy to use, this mic will immediately show the difference of your sound, making an accent on the required instrument and producing a clear and powerful sound. The mic is easy to fix, set up and turn on using the buttons on its body. A great option for percussion that will help you improve your sound in the studio and during live performances.

Main Characteristics:

  • The mic weights only 0.352 ounces — a great model to fix it anywhere you need;
  • Designed specifically for drum overheads, hi hat and ride cymbals;
  • It can also be used with strings;
  • All metal-body for higher mic protection;
CAD CM217 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  • The CAD CM217 is a small diaphragm condenser microphone that was designed for acoustic guitars
  • Stringed instruments, cymbals, hi-hats, and more.

PROS:
  • Specifically designed for hi hat performances and recordings
  • Goes with the mic clamp
  • Easy to fix and set up
  • Great quality for such price
CONS:
  • No extension cord or jack adapter included
  • Cannot be used for vocal recordings

6. Shure SM48S-LC Microphone: Best Hi Hat Mic For Performance Recordings

Shure is one of the most recognized brands that produce pro-level microphones and audio electronics. Founded in 1925 in Chicago, Shure created microphones used by military representatives during the Second World War, was awarded by Technical Grammy and became the leader on the wireless microphone market.

Shure SM48S-LC is a combination of classic cardioid dynamic SM48 mic that is used for instrument and vocal recordings. This mic has a brightened mid-range accompanied by the bass roll-off for effective management of the proximity effect. Thus unidirectional microphone is perfect for live performances, having high gain before feedback. It rejects any types of off-axis sounds and produces clear, rich and explicit music.

To reduce even the most intense ruggedness and any handling, wind or breathing noises, the mic has shock-mounted cartridge and built-in pop filter. The mic goes with a special bed that protects it from dust and damages. Personally, I really like the mic’s design: it has a lockable on/off switch that makes it much easier to work with the mic during concerts. It also has a supplied stand adaptor that allows using it almost anywhere you need.

Main Characteristics:

  • The mic weight 1.25 pounds – heavy enough not to lose it;
  • Has a cardioid pickup pattern that excludes any off-axis sound;
  • Built-in pop filter improves the clarity of the sound;
  • Useful on-off lockable switch for easy usage;
  • It has a shock-mounted cartridge that fight against any ruggedness or other external sounds.
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Shure SM48S-LC - Microphone with on/off switch
  • Cardioid pattern rejects off-axis sound
  • This version of the SM48 has a lockable on/off switch

PROS:
  • High-quality mic that can be used for instrument and vocal recordings
  • Helps to receive extra-clear sound without any undesired noises
  • Goes with supplied stand adaptor
  • Has an on/off switch
CONS:
  • It has a vocal-oriented frequency response
  • Cable not included

To get the best experience from your work with your hi hat, it is essential to choose the right mic holder that will help you fix the mic in the right position and keep it standing still during your performance. To help you choose an optimal mic stand, I want to get you acquainted with some of my favorites.

7. Hi Hat Mic Mount: High-Quality Mic Holder For Live Performances and Studio Recordings

Hi Hat Mic Mount is the best mic holder that will make any live drumming performance more comfortable. It has a set of tuning keys and is also equipped with a wrench and affixed wing nut to make your microphone fixing easy and solid. With this mic holder, you will reduce your on-stage footprint and focus on the music more than on technical background of the sound.

This mic holder is easily portable and lightweight, and it is possible to apply it nearly anywhere. Securely holding your microphone, Hi Hat Mount can be used not only at home or for studio recordings, but also on live performances. It is possible to choose the exact mic position and the distance between the mic and hi hat to receive the best sound.

In case you have several microphones of different sizes, Mic Mount is a perfect match for your performances, as it has adjustable keys to perfectly fit up to 15’ hi hats. To regulate the distance between the hi hat and the microphone, you can use clips that will help keep it stable during your performances. I have tried it for my 13”, 14” and 15” mics and standard mic clips — it fits all of them, so there is no need to seek for several mic holder models.

Main Characteristics:

  • This mic holder has tuning keys, affixed wing nut and is equipped with a special wrench;
  • Is super lightweight – 1.15 pounds;
  • Portable design;
  • Made of solid high-quality materials;
  • Can be used with all types of drums.
Mic Holders Big Bang Distribution Hi-Hat Mic Mount
  • Hi-Hat Mic Mount
  • This Hi-Hat Mic Mount reduces your onstage footprint and will not impede your live drumming performance

PROS:
  • Made of solid and lightweight materials that make this mic holder easy to set up and fix the mic
  • Can be used for studio and live recordings
  • Easy to set up
  • Doesn’t disturb you during the performance
CONS:
  • Doesn’t have a mic clip
  • No developed height adjustment

8. Best Hi Hat Mic Placement: Mic Holder For Hi-Hats

Mic holder for hi-hats is one of the best options for those who want to start their acquaintance with mics and learn how to properly fix them when setting up the drum set. This mic holder has one fixing slot and can hold any type of microphone. Being super small, this mic holder will help your microphone remain stable, and it is shock-mounted to protect your sound from vibrations, wind or any other disturbances.

The design of this mic holder allows you to quickly set up and dismantle it, which is great for live performances. It is easy to semi-permanently mount this mic on your hardware and remove it at any time. This is great when you are just trying to find your perfect sound or need to use it for live performances.

The quality of your sound heavily depends on both the microphone you use and its position. To make your mic as stable and possible, precisely determining an optimal mic position and that will be different for live and studio recordings. Thus, this microphone holder is an important part of your drums set in case you want to produce better sound even during dynamic performances.

Main Characteristics:

  • Shock-mounted to escape vibration;
  • It has a durable chrome over steel design — high-quality and stylish item;
  • Easy to set up and removed the holder;
  • Rubber isolator under the microphone clip helps to reduce vibration.
Mic Holder For Hi-Hats
  • 1 Mic Holder
  • Microphone is NOT included

PROS:
  • Works with all types of microphones
  • Can be adjusted for the optimal sound
  • High-quality item for the affordable price
  • Has a one-year warranty from the manufacturer
CONS:
  • Doesn’t have a mic clip
  • Can set up only one mic

How to Choose The Best Hi Hat Mic for Your Recordings

Being able to work with various models of hi hats, I can say that all of them have their specific advantages, and it is essential to define the exact characteristics you require from your microphone. It depends on the performance location, the level of isolation, budget and many other aspects.

To choose the best microphone that will get your sound to the next level, take into account the characteristics of your drum set, type of music, recordings frequency and location. In case you are looking for a better sound during your live performances, I highly recommend to choose more expensive options, because the quality of microphone, its sensitivity and protection from noises will impact the quality of your drum sessions. For those who are only getting acquainted with hi hats and want to improve the quality of their sound while playing at home or in the studio, more affordable models can be a great option to start working in this direction.

Moreover, pay attention to those mics that can be used for vocal recordings in case you know you might need this option for your performances. But keep in mind these mics aren’t specifically created for mic recording thus the sound will be slightly different. In case you have already worked with this type of mics for your hi hat, please share your experience with me. Whether it was good or bad, I am interested in any real feedback on the issue.

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