Enlighten Me on Cymbal Design

zenstat

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Here is another conceptual map somebody posted in 2017. I can't say who because the link back to it doesn't work because of bugs in DFO software back then. Anybody have the link or want to take credit?

wash-dry.jpg


This shows a simple conceptual model which is fit for purpose: shelf storage for one person. I'm showing it to underscore what some have already said: there are no right or wrong answers in terminology nor in how you hear a particular cymbals. There are no right or wrong terms, and no right or wrong analysis. The only "wrong" from my perspective is vague, incoherent, or inconsistent definitions of terms. That brings on the fog of uncertainty rather than clarity. But that's just my personal perspective.
 
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dboomer

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Maybe a more familiar version of your X-Y example can be found in a mixer I designed for Line 6. We were challenged to provide a method of control for musicians who know what they want when they hear it but as in the case of this example (at 1:50) they don’t know the technical properties to control a parametric eq with respect to center frequency, Q and dB of boost or cut. So as shown in the video you just drag your finger across an X-Y controller until the sound you hear matches the sound you desire.

As similar to the graph above with bright in the upper right and dark to the lower left the eq became bright in the upper right and dark in the lower left. But the path from here to there could be moving 6 parameters simultaneously.

 
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So I think I know the basics of cymbal design - bells, bows, taper, and weight, hammering and lathing. What I'm not sure about is how each individual part plays a role in the cymbal sound, or at least I think that I don't. I'm sure there are other aspects that I don't know hence why I'm asking for enlightenment.

I am mainly asking because, like others, I am in a position where I can only hear demos online before buying (then searched used). I don't know how often online demos hold up to the in person sound. Like any instrument, it will just sound different recorded. I have an Epiphone acoustic that does just that. The in person sound isn't the greatest but when recorded it sounds like some early Pink Floyd acoustic tones.

I think if I have a deeper understanding of the construction then I may know what to look for if I have a sound in my head.

I only have some Zildjian A's. I guess what I notice a out them is that they don't have heavy hammering (computer aided or otherwise), lathed (but I'm not sure if it is semi-fine or what levels of lathing there are).

I have recently acquired a Ziljian A Avedis (reissue) 18" ride/crash and compared it to my 20" A medium thin crash (2013+) and 18" inch A medium thin crash (80s/90s). I'd say it sounds my like my 20" crash. I don't have the weights in front of me but I have weighed all my cymbals out of curiosity. I found that the 18" A Avedis could probably take the place of either cymbal overall, even though I think the sound leaned closer to my 20" crash.

- Does hammering just darken the tone and shorten the sustain?
- Does the taper effect just the crashability?
- What role does weight play?
- Is pitch determined by diameter and weight? Or one or the other?
- What are the different types of lathing?
- Do you think patina plays that much of a role in the sound?
Go to a Guitar Center- head for the cymbal room- bring the sticks you will use- maple, hickory, oak, nylon tip? and play the cymbals- strike the cymbal- put your ear close to it as listen to the tones as the volume fades- you get the over tones then, then do multiple strikes and listen, then smack it on the edge with the shoulder like a crash cymbal- listen. generally what you like or dislike will show up as the volume fades and you hear the over tones. Note the make model and weight.- especially try the USED cymbals. Keep one thing in mind... they sound different to the audience than they do to you. also- rivets make a GOOD sounding cymbal sound good. They wont help a bad sounding cymbal
 

chillybase

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Go to a Guitar Center- head for the cymbal room- bring the sticks you will use- maple, hickory, oak, nylon tip? and play the cymbals- strike the cymbal- put your ear close to it as listen to the tones as the volume fades- you get the over tones then, then do multiple strikes and listen, then smack it on the edge with the shoulder like a crash cymbal- listen. generally what you like or dislike will show up as the volume fades and you hear the over tones. Note the make model and weight.- especially try the USED cymbals. Keep one thing in mind... they sound different to the audience than they do to you. also- rivets make a GOOD sounding cymbal sound good. They wont help a bad sounding cymbal
Thanks for the advice, Corbin. I wish I had a store with a wide array of cymbals close by or within a reasonable distance. I end up having to take my chances by relying on online demos.

Part of the original question was to figure out what each part of the cymbal did for the sound. The thread has morphed into relating words and sounds and how that translates to shape and sounds. There have been some other tangents as well but I think it is a great discussion.
 

chillybase

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I've been reading The Cymbal Book. Thanks for the suggestion. I've also been re-reading some of the posts in this thread.

The funny thing about enlightenment is that it always leads to more questions.
 


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