Cymbals In Modern Rock Mixes

Tornado

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I've noticed something that's starting to bother me on modern records, especially harder rock, the cymbals are being mixed almost entirely out of the recording. Take the new Alter Bridge album. It's hard to tell when he's even hitting a crash, or if he's riding a crash or open hats. But then the kick and snare are super loud, obviously samples layered on top, or even fully replaced. It's so unnatural compared to how a kit would sound in the room.

I know this has been going on for a while, but it's recently starting to irritate me. Anyone else feel the same way?
 

TheMattJones88

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I've noticed it, but having engineered records in the past cymbals do get in the way in the mix. They're generally a big high frequency wash at the top of the mix, and it's competing for space with guitars and vocals. With the way songs are being mixed these days all people really want in the mix is kick and snare, so then you can hear all the other "important" pieces of the song.

Personally, I like a big open drum sound, think Steve Albini's drum sounds, but trends are trends.
 

DrummerJustLikeDad

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...the cymbals are being mixed almost entirely out of the recording.
...trends are trends.
Think of it this way. If they got it right the first time, where would that leave room to make money off the “re-released remixes“ 20 years from now?

“Finally, hear the album the way it was always supposed to sound! You’ll pick out instrumentation previously buried in the mix that you never heard before!”
 

Tornado

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For an old recording to compare, these sound like actual real drums, and they are in such great balance. You can hear everything he's playing in great definition. Nothing is competing for space with guitars or vocals, yet they are audible.

 

Beatnik

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For an old recording to compare, these sound like actual real drums, and they are in such great balance. You can hear everything he's playing in great definition. Nothing is competing for space with guitars or vocals, yet they are audible.

This was before the brick wall.
 

Tornado

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This. When everything is cranked to the max things tend to get lost. When you have dynamics you have more space for things to breathe, but if it's compressed to within an inch of its life then you lose space.
I hate this so much. Everything sounds the same to me now. Just this artificial thick wall of sound.
 

PaulD

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I'm no expert, but I have to wonder if this isn't part of the "loudness wars" and mixing for people listening to MP3s on bluetooth earbuds.
 

Pounder

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This has been going on for a long time. As Bun E. Carlos mentioned, it's like Peter Gabriel did on his dripping face album.. If the music is dull it makes it even worse (PG's album wasn't dull!).

So about my opinion about it: There are trends out there, and much of the modern pop is done without even live drums. Consider that there was no drum set in the first place to remove the cymbal sound from. Point being, if I were producing music and the band had a live drummer and the music had "old-school" cymbal crashes and ride/hihat sounds, then the end result on the recording would reflect that. So I feel the technology effect is just making a greater imprint on what music sounds like, and those pesky acoustic instruments--the cymbals--are sitting in the corner of the room un-noticed.

I sincerely believe they'll be picked back up sometime. We haven't seen the last of them!
 

stuart s

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Guys, most popular music today is geared to the lame brain twerking cell phone streaming addicted generation, they dont have a clue about real instruments and how they sound. :toothy4:
 

Vistalite Black

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Just did a quick check on some of my favorite newer records:

Rival Sons (Feral Roots), Opeth (In Cauda Venenum) and Mutoid Man (War Moans).

They all feature the normal amount of cymbals.

Maybe Alter Bridge is the problem.
 

Tornado

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Maybe Alter Bridge is the problem.
You are kind of right about that. I actually do like them, but their production is the epitome of what I'm complaining about, and it just seems to be getting worse. I wonder how many new bands I would end up liking if my ears weren't assaulted by the brick wall of sound the minute I hear them.
 

PaulD

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As far as Peter Gabriel, he certainly went full cymbal with So.
 


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