High frequency overtones?

marc3k

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Hi all

I was recording different ride cymbals for a comparison and noticed some annoying high frequency overtones. It seems that these overtones occur most prominently if the cymbal is played with the tip of the stick, close to the bell. They are there in different cymbals, but I found them more pronounced in drier / darker cymbals. It could be that brighter cymbals anyway contain a lot of high frequency overtones, which may "mask" the effect I noticed in my cymbals.

Here is a sound file with 4 short parts:
1) 22" Agop Turk Jazz Ride (Vater Sugar Maple Teardrop)
2) 22" Agop Turk Jazz Ride (Vic Firth 5A)
3) 22" Agop Signature Ride (Vic Firth 5A)
4) 22" Agop 30th Anniversary Ride (Vic Firth 5A)

https://soundcloud.com/user-711762370%2Fhigh-freq-issue
First I thought it may be caused by a crack. But since it happens in different cymbals, that's not the explanation. I tried different cymbal stands, different sleeves, different arrangement of felts, different angles of the cymbal on the stand. It can occur in all situations.

Now I would like to know: 1) Do you hear it in the recorded file? 2) Does it bother you? 3) If you noticed this with your own cymbals, what did you do?

Any insight appreciated!
 

michaeldangelo

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What you're hearing are just the natural overtones and frequency spectrum of the cymbal. Similar to harmonics on a string, higher frequencies can be more pronounced if you play on different parts of the cymbal, especially towards the bell. You get the opposite effect when you play towards the edge: the lower, fundamental frequencies are excited more. You are correct in that this effect is produced in drier and darker cymbals, especially unlathed cymbals like your Turks.

Here's when it becomes an issue: if you are riding on the cymbal normally about halfway between the edge and the bell and you start to hear a specific pitch emerge and take over the sound of the cymbal, that's no good. (They call these cymbals "hummers.") You can also mitigate some of the higher frequencies by using tape near the bell.

Here's an example of a "hummer:" this was a custom Agop 20" 30th around 1700g. You can hear the pronounced pitch of F#. If you hear any kind of strong, defined pitch, it would be best to find another cymbal.

 

Sinclair

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I hear it in samples 2 & 4 with the Firth 5A. Seems very normal to me. Personally I don't use the area right off the bell as a playing area so it wouldn't bother me. If I like the bell, edge crash and the stick sound from the sweet spot I'm good to go. I wouldn't worry about it.
 

Matched Gripper

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What you're hearing are just the natural overtones and frequency spectrum of the cymbal. Similar to harmonics on a string, higher frequencies can be more pronounced if you play on different parts of the cymbal, especially towards the bell. You get the opposite effect when you play towards the edge: the lower, fundamental frequencies are excited more. You are correct in that this effect is produced in drier and darker cymbals, especially unlathed cymbals like your Turks.

Here's when it becomes an issue: if you are riding on the cymbal normally about halfway between the edge and the bell and you start to hear a specific pitch emerge and take over the sound of the cymbal, that's no good. (They call these cymbals "hummers.") You can also mitigate some of the higher frequencies by using tape near the bell.

Here's an example of a "hummer:" this was a custom Agop 20" 30th around 1700g. You can hear the pronounced pitch of F#. If you hear any kind of strong, defined pitch, it would be best to find another cymbal.

Thanks for the explanation. Perhaps you are more discriminating than I am, but, I’m not hearing anything particularly unusual in that recording. The wash does seem to have a narrower spread than what I would expect from such a thin cymbal, but, it doesn’t seem unpleasant compared to the “roar” that heavier cymbals produce that overwhelms the attack when played aggressively.
 

marc3k

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Here's an example of a "hummer:" this was a custom Agop 20" 30th around 1700g. You can hear the pronounced pitch of F#. If you hear any kind of strong, defined pitch, it would be best to find another cymbal.

Woah, awesome playing! With all that comping going on, I wouldn't even listen to the cymbal :)
 

marc3k

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Thanks for the explanation. Perhaps you are more discriminating than I am, but, I’m not hearing anything particularly unusual in that recording. The wash does seem to have a narrower spread than what I would expect from such a thin cymbal, but, it doesn’t seem unpleasant compared to the “roar” that heavier cymbals produce that overwhelms the attack when played aggressively.
I'm referring to a very high pitched tone which becomes louder / more pronounced after the initial attack. I'm not sure if everybody would hear / notice it.
 

Tama CW

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I can't hear any obvious or distracting "humming" above. And I'd love to own that Type III "hummer" that Jeff was playing. Sounded wonderful.
Personally, I think nearly all K, A and Turkish-style rides come with a "humm" of sorts. It's the natural overtones. Some are more obvious than others. A small percentage are sort of annoying. And even these will find a happy home somewhere.
 

Pibroch

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I find it unmusical in the second sound file. The sounds in the other recordings sound great! I would love to own each of the cymbals played on the first, third, and fourth files.

Regards what I did with cymbals producing unwanted sounds: I kept trying different sticks until I got them to sound good.

Remember in a sense a cymbal is not a musical instrument until it is combined with a sound activation device, even if it's your knuckle. Different sticks combined with a particular cymbal give you different instruments.

What are the main purposes for you of the cymbals:
1. Listening enjoyment just for yourself as you play single cymbals.
2. Live playing just cymbal sounds for an audience at a normal listening distance.
3. Playing them live with drums / other cymbals / other instruments.
4. Recording various combinations of the above?
 
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Markkuliini

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Hi all

I was recording different ride cymbals for a comparison and noticed some annoying high frequency overtones. It seems that these overtones occur most prominently if the cymbal is played with the tip of the stick, close to the bell. They are there in different cymbals, but I found them more pronounced in drier / darker cymbals. It could be that brighter cymbals anyway contain a lot of high frequency overtones, which may "mask" the effect I noticed in my cymbals.

Here is a sound file with 4 short parts:
1) 22" Agop Turk Jazz Ride (Vater Sugar Maple Teardrop)
2) 22" Agop Turk Jazz Ride (Vic Firth 5A)
3) 22" Agop Signature Ride (Vic Firth 5A)
4) 22" Agop 30th Anniversary Ride (Vic Firth 5A)

https://soundcloud.com/user-711762370%2Fhigh-freq-issue
First I thought it may be caused by a crack. But since it happens in different cymbals, that's not the explanation. I tried different cymbal stands, different sleeves, different arrangement of felts, different angles of the cymbal on the stand. It can occur in all situations.

Now I would like to know: 1) Do you hear it in the recorded file? 2) Does it bother you? 3) If you noticed this with your own cymbals, what did you do?

Any insight appreciated!
What did you record these with?
 

JimmySticks

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Rick Dior talks about this in one of his videos.

He doesn't hit his ride cymbal in the same spot twice in a row, especially on the fast stuff, which is really where a cymbal can start humming. He alternates, one hit to the right, the next to the left, back to the right, then left again and so on, always alternating. He says that way, the cymbal never builds up the overtones or humming that you are hearing.
 

michaeldangelo

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Rick Dior talks about this in one of his videos.

He doesn't hit his ride cymbal in the same spot twice in a row, especially on the fast stuff, which is really where a cymbal can start humming. He alternates, one hit to the right, the next to the left, back to the right, then left again and so on, always alternating. He says that way, the cymbal never builds up the overtones or humming that you are hearing.
I studied with Rick for a number of years. (He’s one of the only people I’ve heard talk about humming and also confirmed that 20” 30th was a hummer!) The technique you mention is also very good for controlling the wash of the cymbal as well.

Remember, it’s only an issue if the hum makes such a pronounced, defined frequency that interferes with other frequencies going on in the music. For example the 20” 30th had such a strong F# that it stuck out like a sore thumb on an F blues!

Pitches and overtones on a cymbal are a good thing, which makes them the musical instruments they are.
 

JimmySticks

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Lucky guy to have studied with Rick!

I think he's one of the best on Youtube. He has a very relaxing manner and goes into a lot of detail. You can tell he's been around the block a few times! You do need a lot of time for Rick though, because his vids can pretty long!
 

marc3k

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What are the main purposes for you of the cymbals:
1. Listening enjoyment just for yourself as you play single cymbals.
2. Live playing just cymbal sounds for an audience at a normal listening distance.
3. Playing them live with drums / other cymbals / other instruments.
4. Recording various combinations of the above?
Nr. 3 is the answer. But know with actually listening very closely to them while recording I started noticing this.
 

marc3k

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Just to clarify - the hum is not the issue. It's the very high frequency tones right after the attack. I could imagine that not everyone of you longtime drummers would even hear it :)
 

Evdoggydog15

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Coincidence, I just posted this thread.


I am having a terrible overtone issue with my 30th anniversary ride. I'm a producer and engineer as well so these are all very obvious to hear. Your 30th isn't as bad as mine, but that Turk ride sounds nasty. That ringing is unusable in a recording. I've reached out to Agop for warranty purposes, so we'll see.
 


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