In this guide, we’ll take a look at the best hi-hat microphones for capturing beautifully detailed and crisp sounds. These hi-hat microphones are all small-diaphragm condenser microphones that are rugged and suitable for live and studio applications. I’ve compared sound, performance, durability, and cost to give you my top recommendations.

What Is The Best Hi Hat Mic?

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone
  • Beautifully detailed sound reproduction
  • Linear frequency response for precise sounds
  • 3-Step switchable high-pass filter
Rode M3 Mic
  • Excellent value and well-balanced sound reproduction
  • Designed and made in Australia with 10 year warranty
  • Internally shock mounted 1/2 inch condenser capsule
AKG P170 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone
  • Lightweight 1/2 inch condenser transducer diaphragm
  • Affordable and professional quality microphone
  • Small, rugged and versatile
Behringer B-5 Condenser Microphone
  • Gold-sputtered diaphragm condenser microphone
  • Pressure-gradient transducer with shock-mount
  • Noise-free transmission
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The Best Hi Hat Mics Reviewed

Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Beautifully detailed sound reproduction
  • Linear frequency response for precise sounds
  • 3-Step switchable high-pass filter
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Shure SM81-LC Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone Review

The Shure SM81-LC Condenser Microphone is an excellent sounding microphone that represents the gold standard in acoustic recording. It has a wide frequency range and beautifully detailed sound reproduction.

It’s a popular choice amongst engineers and drummers because it has a superb frequency response and a smooth directional pickup pattern. This versatile microphone is also suitable for overheads as well as for use on all acoustic instruments.

This hi-hat mic features a low inherent noise and high overdrive protection, enabling it to deliver consistent distortion-free recordings even at high sound pressures. Condenser microphones are not known to be the most durable pieces of equipment, but this mic is indeed robust and durable.

Another excellent feature this microphone has is a selectable three-step low-frequency response, with a choice of flat, 6 or 18 dB roll-off. This allows greater flexibility when recording and makes it a perfect choice for working with drums.

Overall the Shure SM81 captures shimmering high frequencies with clarity, and this makes it perfect for recording the nuances of hi-hats and cymbals. It also has very low noise and it offers superb value for money.

Specifications:

  • Pickup pattern: cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20 – 20000 Hz
  • Max SPL: 131 dB
  • Sensitivity: -45 dB
  • Output Impedance: 85 Ohm
  • Includes: windshield, adapter and carry case

Pros

  • Low inherent noise and a high overdrive protection
  • The best hi hat mic with a smooth directional pattern
  • Excellent for capturing hi hats and cymbal overheads

Cons

  • Very few negatives, especially for the price point

Rode M3 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Excellent value and well-balanced sound reproduction
  • Designed and made in Australia with 10 year warranty
  • Internally shock mounted 1/2 inch condenser capsule
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Rode M3 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review

The Rode M3 Condenser Microphone offers excellent value is highly versatile for hi-hats and cymbals. Each Rode M3 microphone is designed and made in Australia to a high standard and includes an industry-leading 10-year warranty.

This microphone delivers crystal clear mids and high-end frequencies, making it perfect for cymbals and overheads. It really captures subtle tones and accentuates differences in how the hi-hats are played with each stroke. The sound is balanced and not too sharp.

This microphone delivers professional results at an affordable price, and it is very robust and well-constructed. It is a substantial piece of kit and it feels weighty due to its rock solid build quality.

The Rode M3 performs very well both in the studio and on stage. It’s a true workhorse that sounds great for all recording applications. It performs exceedingly well, on par with microphones that are far more expensive.

Specifications:

  • Pickup pattern: cardioid
  • Frequency response: 40 – 20000 Hz
  • Max SPL: 130 dB
  • Sensitivity: -40 dB
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohm
  • Includes: windshield, clamp and bag

Pros

  • Very high quality build construction
  • On par with microphones that far exceed this price point
  • Industry-leading 10 year warranty

Cons

  • Position switch is a little bit tricky to use

AKG P170 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Lightweight 1/2 inch condenser transducer diaphragm
  • Affordable and professional quality microphone
  • Small, rugged and versatile
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AKG P170 Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone Review

The AKG P170 is a small yet rugged and robust microphone- perfect for drum overheads and hi-hats. It’s a well-built and versatile microphone that makes it suitable for all acoustic instruments, such as acoustic guitars.

This microphone features a lightweight half-inch true condenser transducer diaphragm that delivers great clarity and transient response. This microphone has very low noise and does an excellent job at rejecting sound away from its directional pattern.

This microphone offers great value for money, and it’ll be sure to deliver professional results, no matter whether it is used in the studio or on stage.

AKG’s perception line consists of affordable but professional quality microphones built to last and are ideal for all manners of sound recording. This versatile mic has a balanced, clean sound that is perfect for hi-hats, and it’s an excellent investment for your studio toolkit.

Specifications:

  • Pickup pattern: cardioid
  • Frequency response: 20 – 20000 Hz
  • Max SPL: 155 dB
  • Sensitivity: -40 dB
  • Output Impedance: 200 Ohm
  • Includes: clamp and box

Pros

  • Reacts well to fast transients at high sound pressure levels
  • High quality, dynamic sounds with a smooth directional pattern
  • Rugged, durable, and excellent value for money

Cons

  • Very few negatives for the price

Behringer B-5 Condenser Microphone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Gold-sputtered diaphragm condenser microphone
  • Pressure-gradient transducer with shock-mount
  • Noise-free transmission
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PRICE
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Behringer B-5 Condenser Microphone Review

Next up is the affordable Behringer B-5 Condenser Microphone – an excellent hi-hat mic to buy on a budget. Behringer is well known for its affordable and high-quality products, and this B-5 microphone delivers clear sounds and is well constructed.

This Behringer hi-hat mic features a gold-sputtered diaphragm and gold-plated XLR connectors for maximum signal integrity. It features a pressure-gradient transducer with a shock-mounted diaphragm capsule for smooth performance.

This microphone is one of the best hi-hat mics because it is able to capture the nuances of hi-hat cymbals with a good level of detail and realism.

For the money, this is the best hi-hat mic because it has excellent clarity and delivers a noise-free transmission. Included with this microphone are two interchangeable capsules, but the cardioid capsule is the choice when using this for hi-hats.

This is a fantastic microphone for the money, and despite its affordable price tag, it offers beautifully smooth sounds and boasts a rugged and durable construction that will allow it to serve you for years.

Specifications:

  • Pickup pattern: cardioid or omnidirectional
  • Frequency response: 20 – 20000 Hz
  • Max SPL: 150 dB
  • Sensitivity: -38 dB
  • Output Impedance: 70 Ohm
  • Includes: Suspension mount, windscreen and carry case

Pros

  • Excellent sounding microphone especially for the price
  • Neutral sounding, noise-free transmission
  • Two interchangeable capsules

Cons

  • 3-position slide switch feels cheap
  • Buying two does not create a stereo pair as each model sounds slightly different
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