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Author Topic: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic  (Read 7726 times)

Wes Garland

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Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« on: January 26, 2018, 10:24:35 am »

Hey, folks!

I have a singing drummer (mostly BV but the odd lead).  He uses a Beta 58 or an ATM41 on a boom stand to his left.

I am trying to figure out if I can reduce the stick noise from when he hits his (closed) high-hat.   It's REALLY loud.

I tried EQing it out, expecting the transient to be around 5k, but I couldn't find out.

This is for live performance, but I have some tracks recorded from my mixer (X32 Producer) to illustrate.  Here is a recording from the last rehearsal - https://soundcloud.com/wesgarland/banditos-dr-bombay .... his vocals come in at 0:55, but the noise I'm talking about is omnipresent.  Drum kit only has three mics in this recording, they all sound great soloed, the problem is the vocal mic.

Processing on his vocal is minimal here - high pass, compression and reverb.  I used to put slap on him, but the stick noise sounded *really* awful with slap.

It occurs to me that I could probably gate it out most of the time, but when he starts to sing, it would come back.   I don't think I want a tighter pickup pattern than a Beta 58A, worried about him staying on-mic.  A headworn mic is currently off the table, but if I cant find a way to improve this with processing, that is probably what I will investigate.

I'd appreciate any other suggestions.  I think shaving 5dB of click click click click off would be a real and succifient improvement.

I'm using an X32, and don't want any outboard.

Thanks,
Wes
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2018, 10:41:59 am »

You cannot solve an acoustic problem with electricity.

Either you need a drummer who doesn't hit like Bam Bam, a microphone that is much closer to his mouth or that has a much tighter pattern, or a high hat that isn't as "pingy".

The Crown (now AKG) CM-311 has been the standard for singing drummers for as long as I can remember.  There are anecdotal comments about them "not built like they used to be" but there isn't anything else out there that works as well.
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

John L Nobile

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2018, 10:57:36 am »


The Crown (now AKG) CM-311 has been the standard for singing drummers for as long as I can remember.  There are anecdotal comments about them "not built like they used to be" but there isn't anything else out there that works as well.

I've always muted the drummer's mic when he's not singing and tell him to eat the mic and to try not to sing quietly. Kinda tough when you've never worked with the band but it sounds like you are their BE so you should know when he sings.

Try a regular 58 as the beta seems to have more hi end which will bring out the hat. Aren't the snare and cymbals a problem as well?

I'll second what Tim says. Perfect mic for a drummer and they sound great. But be very careful with them.

We had a drummer that sang for a year who didn't want the Crown mic as he didn't sing much and it wasn't comfortable for him. He wasn't a heavy hitter and his mic was only on when he sang.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2018, 11:02:59 am »

I have found the Audix OM7 works great for drummers - excellent rejection.  Gain has to be increased and the singer has to stay on the mic but this is my go to mic for drummers.
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Glen Kelley

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2018, 11:34:47 am »

I've always muted the drummer's mic when he's not singing and tell him to eat the mic and to try not to sing quietly. Kinda tough when you've never worked with the band but it sounds like you are their BE so you should know when he sings.

I worked a one-off with a drummer who had a mute switch for his vocal microphone next to the hi-hat pedal. He could mute or unmute himself as needed by stomping it, and the tech du jour needn't worry about missing mute cues, etc. He was also the FOH mixer for a well known Nashville artist, so it makes sense that he would have a simple solution to help things sound better.  8)
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Alec Spence

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2018, 11:48:42 am »

All the stuff Tim said...

Plus mic positioning.  Your two mics are super-cardoid and hyper-cardoid, and so will both have a "tail" of HF response behind the mic.  Is the rear of the mic by any chance pointing at the hat?  Ideally, you want the mic positioned so that the unwanted sources are in the nulls of the polar response.

Another possibility - there isn't a hard reflective wall behind the drummer, is there?
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2018, 11:49:16 am »

I worked a one-off with a drummer who had a mute switch for his vocal microphone next to the hi-hat pedal. He could mute or unmute himself as needed by stomping it, and the tech du jour needn't worry about missing mute cues, etc. He was also the FOH mixer for a well known Nashville artist, so it makes sense that he would have a simple solution to help things sound better.  8)

Beta 56 is my go to mic in this situation.  You need to have a set list the identifies which songs the drummer sings on.  Especially if the artist swings the mic out of the way when not singing.  If you don't work with the band all the time you need to ask if the drummer participates in inter-song banter.

If the drummer can stay on the mic gating with slow release and the waves vocal rider plug in are your friends.

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Wes Garland

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2018, 11:50:44 am »

Tim - good comment re. solving acoustic problems with electricity.  Sometimes I get this fantasy..........have yet to have it come true. ;)

I am this group's BE.  Unfortunately, I am also playing keyboards.  While this does offer me the opportunity to wander out front more often than most guys stuck doing sound from stage, I can't really count on making mid-song changes reliably (although I do use some snippets loaded on my preset buttons to tweak things for certain tunes).

Thanks for the note re. the Crown CM-311.  For some reason I had this mic and the Countryman confused in my head. The Countryman I was considering is the Isomax MHHP6HH05B.   I wonder how hard it will be to convince the drummer to try one...

As for the snare and other cymbals - strangely, the aren't a problem!  I get fair bit of ride when he's on the bell, but the rest of the cymbals and the snare are low enough that they don't damage the overall mix.  It's just that damn high hat. And not even the wash part of the sound, just the stick smack. The guy's not even that hard a hard hitter, either.  We got rid of the last guy and stage volume went way down.

Debbie - thanks for the note re. the OM-7.  I have been meaning to acquire one of these anyway, maybe now is the time.

Tim: you said, 'or a high hat that isn't as "pingy"' - drums are what I know the least about.   Thanks for this, the word "pingy" is yielding helpful google results.

Glen: interesting idea....Radial DM-1 or something would do the trick.
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Wes Garland

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2018, 12:03:12 pm »

Alec...thanks.   Your input got me wanting to review how he positions his mic.  In doing so I realized that every single venue we play at has him right up against a hard wall. HMM.  I had not even considered reflections as a possible problem, but they are almost certainly contributing. I'll experiment in the rehearsal space.......he's stuck against a hard wall there, too.

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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2018, 12:04:37 pm »

Tim - good comment re. solving acoustic problems with electricity.  Sometimes I get this fantasy..........have yet to have it come true. ;)

I am this group's BE.  Unfortunately, I am also playing keyboards.  While this does offer me the opportunity to wander out front more often than most guys stuck doing sound from stage, I can't really count on making mid-song changes reliably (although I do use some snippets loaded on my preset buttons to tweak things for certain tunes).

Thanks for the note re. the Crown CM-311.  For some reason I had this mic and the Countryman confused in my head. The Countryman I was considering is the Isomax MHHP6HH05B.   I wonder how hard it will be to convince the drummer to try one...

As for the snare and other cymbals - strangely, the aren't a problem!  I get fair bit of ride when he's on the bell, but the rest of the cymbals and the snare are low enough that they don't damage the overall mix.  It's just that damn high hat. And not even the wash part of the sound, just the stick smack. The guy's not even that hard a hard hitter, either.  We got rid of the last guy and stage volume went way down.

Debbie - thanks for the note re. the OM-7.  I have been meaning to acquire one of these anyway, maybe now is the time.

Tim: you said, 'or a high hat that isn't as "pingy"' - drums are what I know the least about.   Thanks for this, the word "pingy" is yielding helpful google results.

Glen: interesting idea....Radial DM-1 or something would do the trick.

With this data I would get the drummer a mic with a switch to start with.

Second, a multiband compressor would really help.  Find the offending cymbal frequencies and deeply compress that band.  Hopefully the drummer isn't a falsetto.


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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Re: Reducing high-hat stick noise in vocal mic
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2018, 12:04:37 pm »


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