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how can you make the hihat not too loud in mix
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12th November 2010
Old 12th November 2010
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how can you make the hihat not too loud in mix

i have problem when the drummer play open hihat at the chorus part
even i mute the hihat track, only from the overhead tracks can make my mix
very brutal
can anyone share the cure of this problem??
thank you
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12th November 2010
Old 12th November 2010
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Automation.
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12th November 2010
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how can you make the hihat not too loud in mix

The simplest fixes are trying different hats and mic placements. I also get a lot of mileage out of low passing cymbal and oh mics when they sound too loud/harsh....crazy as it may sound, I've gotten some really nice smooth cymbal sounds from low passing as far down as 12 or 13 k! Never even thought to try it till I read that reaper thread by Yep that keeps coming up around here.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uylink View Post
i have problem when the drummer play open hihat at the chorus part
even i mute the hihat track, only from the overhead tracks can make my mix
very brutal
can anyone share the cure of this problem??
thank you
Tell him to back off. Seriously.
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12th November 2010
Old 12th November 2010
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Don't spot mic the hat. Let the OH and snare mic do the work, and spend a few extra minutes on placement before going red.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Tell him to back off. Seriously
Hmm- As a drummer myself I wouldn't recommend this. You can really lose inspiration and groove when you have to play soft on a song you're used to banging on. plus- chances are his Kick and snare hit will also suffer in strength and/or consistency.

Quote:
Don't spot mic the hat. Let the OH and snare mic do the work
I agree that spot mic'ing the hat Is unnecessary sometimes. But- I ALWAYS try to keep hihat out of the snare. After brighting and compressing a snare the hihat tends to sound like doodoo through a Off axis 57. I suppose this is a matter of preference?


There are plenty of ways to deal with this. Once its on tape, as in your case, automation, Or use Cymbal samples and lower the OH mics volume. Next time, record the kit properly. I like the OH mics 2 or 3 feet above the Cymbals. Ask the drummer to move his Hihat as far from the snare as he feels comfortable. Just that will drastically improve the snare mic bleed.
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12th November 2010
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Hire Kenny Powers as your producer.
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12th November 2010
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As Steven mentioned, automating the OH's down and using cymbal samples would be one way to deal with it. Also, using Drumagog to replace the snare will eliminate hi-hat bleed in the snare mic, assuming you have the "blend" knob at 100%.

Steven's advice to record the kit properly is fine unless the drummer is unable to balance the sound of his kit. If that's the case, you have to question the presence of that particular drummer in a recording studio. Studio drummers have the right cymbals and hats for recording, and they have good playing technique. Live drummers have the right cymbals and hats for gigging live, and they have a tendency to "bang" rather than "play". Bring that gear and technique into a recording studio and you end up with questions like "how can you make the hi-hat not too loud in the mix?"
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12th November 2010
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why not use a de-esser? tune it in to the harsh freq. of the hi-hat and let it work.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steven mc. View Post
Hmm- As a drummer myself I wouldn't recommend this. You can really lose inspiration and groove when you have to play soft on a song you're used to banging on. plus- chances are his Kick and snare hit will also suffer in strength and/or consistency.
I`m not a drummer but I do work with them. This has never been an issue. The truth is, really good drummers mix themselves.
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You don`t need any more gear, you need to re-write the chorus.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle duncan View Post
Steven's advice to record the kit properly is fine unless the drummer is unable to balance the sound of his kit. If that's the case, you have to question the presence of that particular drummer in a recording studio. Studio drummers have the right cymbals and hats for recording, and they have good playing technique. Live drummers have the right cymbals and hats for gigging live, and they have a tendency to "bang" rather than "play". Bring that gear and technique into a recording studio and you end up with questions like "how can you make the hi-hat not too loud in the mix?"
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12th November 2010
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"Hmm- As a drummer myself I wouldn't recommend this. You can really lose inspiration and groove when you have to play soft on a song you're used to banging on. plus- chances are his Kick and snare hit will also suffer in strength and/or consistency."

Then the "banging" is the sound of this drummer playing that song.
However, if it sounds bad on the recording, it's up to the drummer to play something that doesn't sound bad.
If he refuses, or as was quoted, can't do it, then it is what it is.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Buckley View Post
I`m not a drummer but I do work with them. This has never been an issue. The truth is, really good drummers mix themselves.
This. thumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
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12th November 2010
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All true. What I meant to say, was rather then asking the drummer to play the Hihat softer (which is what someone suggested) I'd prefer something else.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steven mc. View Post
All true. What I meant to say, was rather then asking the drummer to play the Hihat softer (which is what someone suggested) I'd prefer something else.
What would you prefer? A piece of gear?

I`m trying to save you some time.
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12th November 2010
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If the tracks already recorded, then sweep a narrow eq, find the most obnoxious frequency, and cut it or compress it.

If you are still tracking, put something like a cloth or foam etc. on the hi hat to muffle it.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Buckley View Post
What would you prefer? A piece of gear?

e.
LOL. No a plug in, "hi hat remover II".
Could probably sell a lot of them, apparently it is impossible not to bang that hi hat!
#18
12th November 2010
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I mean there's plenty of things you can do to help you out. I personally would say fix it before it's on tape. Meaning mic placement and or communication with the drummer. If you feel like you need to get him to back off of the hat just be careful with your wording. Perhaps he's not the best drummer so you don't want to screw up his groove. Again Mic placement! Maybe try a different overhead technique.

If you are already past the recording process you can try replacing the snare. Um I would first look at automation (which you may have to anyways) as well as gating the snare. You have to be careful with the gates though. You don't want to kill any ghost notes.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uylink View Post
i have problem when the drummer play open hihat at the chorus part
even i mute the hihat track, only from the overhead tracks can make my mix
very brutal
can anyone share the cure of this problem??
thank you
Hire a better drummer. Seriously, it's the drummer's fault, no excuses.

I worked with the same drummer over a 9 year period. Somewhere in the middle there we hooked up with a producer who really helped him be more sensitive to the finer points of drumming and that COMPLETELY SOLVED the "hihat too loud" problem we had with him before.

If you can't get your drummer to solve the problem by improving his technique and can't get a better drummer then you're stuck with what will invariably be suboptimal results.

Sorry to the drummers out there, but in my opinion and experience, the responsibility lies with YOU, not the engineer.
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12th November 2010
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I have had MAJOR problems with this in the past, and I agree with Ernest...it is down to the drummer, and not much else.

I was hired to "produce" and engineer an album two summers back. This band was a punk / pop band, and the drummer has little control over dynamics and the relationship of volume between pieces of his kit.

To compound this, he was not used to playing to a metronome, so when the take would start, he would be concentrating so hard on staying on time, that his dynamics would further go out the window.

This band had just come from working at a "well known" Chicago studio, and the way they dealt with it there, was to place mics on the floor basically, along with the overheads, and apparently he also de-essed the oh's at mix time. I guess they used mostly the floor mics, I dunno.

They obviously had the same problem I was about to have.

One of the complaints from the band when they contacted me to book time, was that their hi hat and cymbals were too loud in the other studio'sl mixes. To this, I tried to stress the fact that it wasn't anything that the other studio did, but rather all on the drummer and his technique.

I was told the drummer understood this, and would try and correct the problem when he came in by playing the cymbals and hat with more restraint, and softer. Also, I suggested keeping the volume of the drums UP relative to the cymbals, as this really helps in this kind of music, and most others as well.

Beat the crap outta the drums, play the cymbals and hat, soft, to medium velocity etc. Makes an easy Rock mix.

Well, long story short, there was a HUGE blow up that night, merely from the fact that I mentioned he was hitting the hat too damn hard. He was bashing this thing so freaking hard, that he had his headphone amp basically cranked, and could not hear himself from the bleed of ambient hat into the cans.

He kept saying "I can't hear." I go out, put the phones on, and sure enough, the hat was so loud in the room, I couldn't hear anything else in the phones. I took the phones off, and it nearly blew my head off. This was one of those big vented Zildjian hats. I had never seen / heard anything this bad before. I checked all my gain staging to the monitor mix etc., all normal. Just an UNGODLY loud hi hat from the abyss.

It was so loud, I couldn't get the phones over the ambient noise without ditortion. Wasn't happening.

I pointed out that he should maybe not play the hat so hard, and the guy just flew off the handle, locked up, and played even worse IMO.
I mean literally got ANGRY as hell. Some nasty things were said, and I was kinda taken aback honestly.

Worked a few more sessions with them, and now they are "doing it themselves". I actually was relieved, because I had no idea what I was going to do this crap at mix time. We just did not see eye to eye on much of anything regarding production at all.

I would say in a situation like this, the drummer needs to absolutely know how to mix themselves, and on top of that, working on a record is a "team event". Sounds cheesy, but whatever.

If the drummer cannot take criticism, and cannot adjust his playing to what's best for the record, it is a lost cause. They certainly have no reason to hire someone to produce them, if they are not going to listen to any comments regarding performance.

I have only run into this scenario once in almost 20 years...at least to this degree. Dude just went batsh*t nuts attitude wise. I found out later there were other compounding factors I was unaware of, but still, it was ugly.

This kind of stuff should never be an issue in a studio, but sadly it happens every once in a while.

FWIW, most times this happens (it happens a lot with younger drummers), I tell the drummer to maybe "baby" the hat a bit, and not hit it so hard, and problem solved. I try to explain that the hat played open is louder in the OH's than most everything else, and you cannot seperate parts of the kit in the OH mics at mix time, and this does the trick.

I breathe a sigh of relief every time a great drummer comes in, because mixing them is flat out EASY.

IMHO, all of the tips, tricks, band aids etc. will never be as good as the instrument played correctly. I feel like I have tried everything that has been mentioned so far over the years, with better results from some than others. Nothing is "right" to me however, unless the instrument is just plain played "right".

Sorry for the long post, partly venting to people who might understand what I went though as well giving my opinion.
Peace,
J

Last edited by NEWTON IN ORBIT; 12th November 2010 at 10:16 AM.. Reason: names edited to not "throw them under the bus"
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12th November 2010
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I guess one thing I might suggest if for the drummer to close the hihat a bit (not all the way).

Also, there is such a thing as hitting cymbals (and drums) too hard. There is much more power in control than in muscle.
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12th November 2010
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By the way what overhead technique are you using?

Perhaps have the ride side mic (right drummer perspective) pointed at the HH. ?
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12th November 2010
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tough to make a valid recommendation without hearing clips
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12th November 2010
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Sorry, one more thing I want to add, is that the poster that said it will screw up the kick and snare sound as well is exactly right.

Beyond that, I find it screws the whole mix up though. All that hat becomes essentially "white noise" that sucks out the attack of most all the instruments in the mix, obscures ambient detal and reverb tails, and generally is like adding a "half tuned in radio" at low level to your mix.

That is--- if the hat is played over the top like that I mean. IMO, cymbals like every other instrument have a "sweet spot". Hit them too hard, and they don't sound sweet and musical any longer. They just sound nasty, like hitting an acoustic guitar so hard it loses it's musicality.

It just becomes freaking noise.

Sorry, wanted to get that out there FWIW. It is one of my biggest nightmares when recording a band when this happens.

Gotta fix it at the musician IMHO.
J
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12th November 2010
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While I was going through my "drum phase" I found a set of 13" Zildjian K hats from the 90's. They're light weight, concise, solid - perfect for recording. While it's not the studio's job to provide gear for crappy drummers, having a set of "mild" hats laying around can save a lot of headaches. Spending $200 on a set of used hi-hats will get you a lot farther than using $1000 worth of plugins to try (unsuccessfully) to fix a bad set of hi-hats.

Before I got the 13" K's, I found a set of 14" K Mastersound hats on Craig's List, tried them in the studio, and then promptly gave them to my drummer with the stipulation that he never, EVER bring them into the studio again. I wonder if that's what the OP's drummer was playing? (The 14" K Mastersounds do sound quite marvelous at an outdoor gig, especially when I'm 30 feet away on the other side of the stage and there's no back wall to amplify the sound.)
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steven mc. View Post
Hmm- As a drummer myself I wouldn't recommend this. You can really lose inspiration and groove when you have to play soft on a song you're used to banging on.
As a drummer myself, I think it is preposterous a real musician could blame a lack of inspiration and groove on such a simple request. You are not even really asking him to "play soft" you are only asking him to stop bashing.

I would definitely make the request and at least give the drummer a CHANCE to prove that he isn't a stick-wielding Neanderthal. Many are, but why start with the assumption that the drummer is a big baby who can't take a suggestion?

By now, nearly Everyone knows that hi-hat bashing is a problem in the studio and on stage. Any drummer who hasn't learned how to control this has a problem, and you might have to be the one to let him know it. Send him to Gearslutz and ask him to search "hi hat" and "bash" if he thinks it is only you who feels this way. Ask his bandmates!

The overheads reflect the entire kit. All automation, compression, EQ, "solutions" for excessive hi-hat are going to be unsatisfactory because the balance of the kit will have to change drastically every time the hi-hat comes in and these effects are applied. The ONLY real solution is fix it at the source.

My partial solution for those who will not respond to suggestion is to CRANK the hi-hat volume in the cans. Just keep turning it up until the guy plays it softer. As the I Ching says:

Quote:
He who will not heed will be made to feel.
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#27
12th November 2010
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HPF the HHs, mic the HHs farther away OR don’t mic them at all (let the OHS do the work.) You may also automate them to sit in the mix well. Try hiding it with panning as well. If the guitars are set to -45, set the HHs to -45.
Experiment, Experiment, Experiment!

Use different mics, polar patterns, mic placement, and techniques. I usually angle the mic away from the drum set towards the open air. The worst thing you can record is the HH bell YUCK!
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrichner View Post
HPF the HHs, mic the HHs farther away OR don’t mic them at all (let the OHS do the work.)
OP has already said he muted the HH mic and there is too much hat in the overheads.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Buckley View Post
Tell him to back off. Seriously.
Thing number 1 to sort out - self mixing.
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12th November 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
OP has already said he muted the HH mic and there is too much hat in the overheads.
Oh, right : P
Ignore that then.
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