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brilliant hihats - making them dull...
Old 7th August 2003
  #1
brilliant hihats - making them dull...

Kind of an odd thread heading... but here goes.

I'm looking at getting a pair of 13" Zildjian Mastersound hihats for some studio work, predominantly rock stuff... so they will often be played hard, and often in a live-ish room.

I want the traditional/dull finish, but the problem I have is that I can only get them in brilliant finish (here in NZ) without a very long wait to get them shipped from overseas.

These particular hats (in traditional/dull finish) were used on (amongst others) Shihad's "The General Electric" album. It's not often that I hear an album and think "what a great hihat sound" but this album was one of them. The drummer said that one of the assistants brought these in and they were great... and the tradiotional finish prevented the hihat splatter that they were getting.

So... if I can only get them in brilliant, my question is: has anyone got any proven suggestions for ways of 'dulling' hi-hats that are overly bright?

I love the character of these particular hihats, but if they are going to be too splattery I'll have to think of something else.

Any thoughts appreciated,
Thanks, Dylan

[Studio Generica]
Old 7th August 2003
  #2
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Re: brilliant hihats - making them dull...

Quote:
Originally posted by dylanr

So... if I can only get them in brilliant, my question is: has anyone got any proven suggestions for ways of 'dulling' hi-hats that are overly bright?

I love the character of these particular hihats, but if they are going to be too splattery I'll have to think of something else.

Any thoughts appreciated,
Thanks, Dylan

[Studio Generica]
I'm a big fan of using an LA2A to darken up hats. Most people would never consider an LA2A on a hi hat, but I usually only use the LA2A for the extra tone I get out of it. If you are looking for something less suble and more controled, try a deeser. I usually sidechain channels on an SSL so I can pick the specific frequencies that are over the top. I've even used DBX 902's sucessfully in a pinch.
Old 7th August 2003
  #3
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Use a darker mic? How about sticks with wood tips instead of nylon? Maybe throw a gobo or create a wall of packing blankets to the side of the hat's if the room is really bright. Sometimes that helps. I never put a mic on the hats sooo... Anyway, 95% of the hat sound comes from the player.
Old 7th August 2003
  #4
Here for the gear
 
prayerfurnace's Avatar
 

When I recorded w/steve at electrical, he was fairly insistent about not using a hi hat mic. In fact he said something like they should make an anti hi hat mic. Anyway, I was real happy with the results.
Old 8th August 2003
  #5
Gear Guru
 

Leave them out in the rain and sun for a week.
Old 8th August 2003
  #6
I am seriously interested in recording SOME projcts with a HiHat TRIGGER PAD / Brain / pedal (I suppose like hitting a rubberised lamp shade) and OVERDUBBING the hats afterwards....

1) I once did all wooden drums kik toms sn
2) Then cymbals
3) Then hi hats

All in seperate passes - to get a close HH but roomy kick snare & toms... It drove the drummer NUTZ!!!! But worked a f**ing TREAT!

PURE Deaftones sound!!!!!! It was awesome working on the (solo) hi hat sound without other drums playing next to it!!!


Old 8th August 2003
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally posted by joeq
Leave them out in the rain and sun for a week.

Burying cymbals apparently is pretty common. I've also heard of some kind of salt water treatment.
Old 8th August 2003
  #8
Gear Guru
 

Salt water would do it, but it might overdo it too- be careful

the idea is to have them get a patina- a little bit of corrosion- some "green" as it were...

this will help mute the higher overtones. I had a student once who cleaned my cymbals for me as a spontaneous gesture of appreciation. He meant well, but I was horrified at how bright they sounded. (even when I closed my eyes!)

It took a long time to get them back to "normal" .

I also favor wood tips for most recording. And I hear a lot of variation from one stick model to the next or even from new sticks vs worn sticks. ( though try and get a drummer to play with a pair of stick that aren't "his" sticks... tutt )
Old 8th August 2003
  #9
Gear Head
 
tmix's Avatar
 

You can use a dynamic mic like a sm57 to record, but I have heard of some people spray painting a light coat on the inside or a limited area on top.
Old 8th August 2003
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
The Brilliant finish on cymbals is referring to the visual effect. They have a light coating and thus will a bit darker/muted form the factory. Another thing to think about is the 13" size. They will be higher in pitch and sound splattier. If you want a darker tone, get bigger hats. I have a set of 15" light Zildjians for the 70s that are very cool. The Sweet Hats are 15" modeled after a set the Armanda Zildjian had. I heard a set at the NAMM show a few years ago and I really liked them. I was at the other side of the booth and somebody started playing them, I had to go find out what they were.


Also basing a cymbal purchase off a record is a bad idea. Cymbals are made by craftsmen and each is unique. Bring your cymbals to a shop and put them on a drum-set. Get a few pair of hats from their selection and listen and play, in context. Also have someone from the store play while you walk around. Pick the set that is farthest from any walls. Those cymbal displays look great, but they make every cymbal (even the good ones) sound like ****.
Old 9th August 2003
  #11
Lives for gear
 
cashewcupcake's Avatar
 

I HATE that deftones sound! WTF I thought I was listening to a ROCK record, not a frikken pop production!


Anyways,

to fix it in the mix I just smoosh the transients and high shelf it off.
Old 9th August 2003
  #12
I lust after some dull 'old saxaphone' colored 1970's Zildgen New Beats...

Old 9th August 2003
  #13
Re: brilliant hihats - making them dull...

Quote:
Originally posted by dylanr

So... if I can only get them in brilliant, my question is: has anyone got any proven suggestions for ways of 'dulling' hi-hats that are overly bright?

Any thoughts appreciated,
Thanks, Dylan

[Studio Generica]
A Neve 2254E compressor works great for this purpose.

If you want something a little more "hi-fi" sounding, an Avalon 2044 compressor works also.
Old 9th August 2003
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 

"Also basing a cymbal purchase off a record is a bad idea. Cymbals are made by craftsmen and each is unique. Bring your cymbals to a shop and put them on a drum-set. Get a few pair of hats from their selection and listen and play, in context. Also have someone from the store play while you walk around. Pick the set that is farthest from any walls. Those cymbal displays look great, but they make every cymbal (even the good ones) sound like ****."

It's true! You want the specific cymbals, not just some from that line, especially for recording work...

You can use the off-axis properties of the mic(s) to shape the tone of the hi-hat, or whatever else.
Old 9th August 2003
  #15
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I agree, cymbals are all over the map, especially high hats. This is why most drummers always bring their own and never trust the ones with a rental kit to be any good. For a studio kit, you need exceptional cymbals and the only way to find them is listening and choosing from lots more cymbals than the average drummer has ever had the chance to.
Old 12th August 2003
  #16
thanks for all the comments and suggestions guys. as I've just bought a pair, I will get a chance to put some of this into practice.

I would agree that buying almost any piece of gear just because you heard it on an album is a bad idea because of all of the variances involved, I happen to have heard these particular ones on several projects now, and the album I was referring to was just the clincher.

I know any old pair of these particular hi-hats won't sound like the albums that have inspired me to buy them, but I know that the fundamental character and sonic qualities of these hihats are (to me) really musical and fit into a song in a way that works well for the type of music I enjoy and produce...

I might try some physical tratment of the cymbals, as the post processing will probably be far too late. I typically don't use a hihat mic, so my options are really going to be focussed on the cymbals themselves, and the manner in which they are played to 'dull' the sound.... or perhaps the brilliant ones will sound even better that the dull ones...

thanks again all,
Dylan

[studio generica]
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