I’d like to say that I’m not calling out any one business in particular. These are just some observations I have made and I have some existential/ethical questions.
Should cymbal retailers that provide sound files be using any EQ/ Compression/plug ins or other forms of sound manipulation? I can hear the compression (and I get it) but how honest of a representation of the cymbal am I getting? At what point is it a disservice to the consumer? How true to life are the sounds we are getting? Yes, there are a lot of other factors at play for that last one but you get my point.
At what point does production value and content creation supersede what this service was originally intended for? Should there be a disclaimer if the sound was edited/manipulated?
If I use Photoshop to edit a a picture of the sparkle wrap on my Gretsch so there is more saturation of color for a sale on Reverb that wouldn’t go over very well. Right?
I’ve ordered a few new cymbals online since Covid and they are not even close to the sound files. Now, by no means are They bad sounding cymbals, but for me to attempt to recreate the soundfile from in the video there would (without a doubt) have to be certain frequencies boosted and others eliminated in post.
I am genuinely curious what you think. Should retailers pull the curtain back a bit on their audio editing process? Maybe offer up the unedited dry file too? Do any retailers state on their websites that they don’t edit their files? Heck, a lot of sound files listed here on DFO will even state that no compression or eq was used.
Am I way off base here with my $0.02?
Excellent post! Now you know why I love my dad's home-turned laminated 18-inch 7B hickory sticks on my improv jazz cymbals! Got some white ash 7A too. Outstanding post, dude. The room is everything. I've gone through tons of different microphones from AKG to Sennheiser's and many in between of all budgets. Acoustic treatment mods galore. I made my bones with two decades in the TV and film-audio industry, half in the foley studio. In MY living room where I do all my recording, Audix and Rode give me closest to what I hear on my YMCAs. They reproduce the entire tuning range without going south. My final selection will suck in your place. The room decides what recipe will be used. My living room is on two complete different circuits from the rest of the house and the budget for clean juice was massive. The two Rode ribbons were a Godsend as room-mics. Added a third above the Audix ADX51 overheads, WOW!! Rode NT-5's on the snare and hats and Audix D-2 series on the rack-toms with D-4's on the floor-tom bottoms. For the non-ported bass a D-6 with a Rode NTG-4 shotgun with hi cut up front and an Audix D-4 on the reso side. You pointed on a very ignored aspect. Drum on!
But phones use automatic gain control, which is the worst kind of compression.It's very ironic, but I've concluded the same thing. Cellphone recordings are usually far more accurate and true-to-life than close-miked drums. (As long as the room acoustics are good, that is.)
But it also raises the level if the signal falls below a given threshold. These two actions are exactly what constitutes dynamics compression.That's not compression as far as I know. The gain control is just to lower the volume so the audio isn't blown out. Once the audio is lowered, I hear no evidence of compression.
Well said. A recording can get you in the ballpark. The rest is trust.I have an online cymbal shop and recording cymbals faithfully is not easy without high quality gear, which arguably I don’t have. I’ve gone the route of keeping it simple and not trying to go beyond mic placement, a flat EQ and type of mic. My thinking is that an experienced drummer can extrapolate from a flat recording the general sound of the cymbal. Those that ask the what and how of my recording process seem to appreciate the fact that it’s a simple flat recording. So I base my process on that feedback.
My recordings are, I feel, adequate but definitely not at studio quality. I view the video or sound file as an invitation for an inquiry, rather than a direct attempt at an online sale. Usually someone will inquire about a cymbal(s) with questions and I’ll give my personal assessment after some discussion. I ask about their playing style and needs, what cymbals they currently play, what drummer’s they like, what’s lacking in their current cymbals etc. this way we establish some reference points. Then I’ll do further recordings if they would like them, close mic, room mic, A B several cymbals together, play harder or softer. Whatever they need to feel confident about their purchase. It can take a lot of time, but definitely far less hassle and vibe kill than returns, or another poke at a different cymbal choice. Multiple shippings totally eat up my already narrow margin and everybody’s time. Its absolutely the last thing I want. So, ultimately I rely on getting to know the buyer and let customer service clinch the deal, not my recording equipment. I haven’t had any returns once I started doing the above.
I have purchased online and it’s hit or miss. The best or truest recording was from Matt Bettis 10 years ago. I compared when it arrived.
Thanks much Bronzepie. On the older files (Matt Bettis) I used two Shure KSM27's. I've since upgraded to two Shure KSM44's overhead. More better.Your recording sounds great, what mic are you using on solo cymbals?