Sweetwater Ride Cymbal shootout

shnootre

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This is a nice shootout - 20+ ride cymbals, all top brands, played by the same drummer w the same backing track.

In the end - I was struck by how consistent the sound and feel were to me from clip to clip, making me think the drummer was far more important than the cymbal (crazy thought!). I also think it’s interesting that how a ride sounds recorded isn’t necessarily reflective of how it feels or sounds to play it live.

Anyway - curious to hear what people think. https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/ride-cymbal-shootout-with-sound-samples/?utm_content=article1-button&utm_source=insync&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190810-b
 

zenstat

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Nice. I tried to do this in 2010 with 8 of my ride cymbals (not one of which appear in their 24) and the result I got from listeners was that specific brands/models weren't recognizable in the context of the music when listening blind. Yes some were a bit brighter or darker, but only the flat ride stood out as different. But then I had much more primitive recording and studio software for production.

 

Old Drummer

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I agree with the OP. After listening to all 24 rides (too many) my main takeaway is that there's not a heck of a lot of difference among them. To my ears, there were maybe 3-4 (if that many) different types of rides, and once you zero in on the type you want, the specific cymbal doesn't make much of a difference. More than this, I think the main task is excluding the type of ride you don't want. Most of the cymbals in this test seemed to me to work fine, though I would exclude some. But then this is only one small part of one song. Other parts and other songs may make other rides more appealing. Truthfully, I think there's an overabundance of similar cymbals these days (kind of like all the cereals in the grocery stores) and listening tests like this one don't provide enough information.

But since it was a taste test, I chose the Paiste 20" Masters Thin as best suited to this part of this song.
 

shnootre

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I liked the 20” Masters thin a lot too, maybe because it seemed to have the most unique profile of these cymbals to my ears. Bottom line, though, to me, is that the differences in ride cymbal are way less important than differences in drummer.

I tend to think that way even more when it comes to hihats. I’ve had hats I didn’t like before, but among the ones that I do like (currently I have a pair of New beat 14” and Mehmet dark origin 15”) the difference is never as huge as you think it’s gonna be. But then you get it in your head that you HAVE to have those Zildjian K light 15s and...
 

Old Drummer

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Nice. I tried to do this in 2010 with 8 of my ride cymbals (not one of which appear in their 24) and the result I got from listeners was that specific brands/models weren't recognizable in the context of the music when listening blind. Yes some were a bit brighter or darker, but only the flat ride stood out as different. But then I had much more primitive recording and studio software for production.

I think you're correct that in general people can't distinguish cymbals when listening blind. In all honestly, I don't trust my ability to do this. I can make an educated guess, but when I hear a drummer playing a cymbal I like, I walk up close enough to read the logo.

However, I do think that the recording makes a huge difference--and your recording is too primitive to provide a fair test. I have listened to a lot of cymbals online, and have heard a lot of recordings like yours. They all sound the same to me (and I feel sorry for sellers trying to sell cymbals with these recordings). I need to listen to cymbals at the Memphis Drum Shop or similar sites with quality recordings to get a sense of the cymbals. Often the same cymbals I like in quality recordings I won't like in the primitive recordings--which again all sound the same to me.
 

GeeDeeEmm

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. . . the result I got from listeners was that specific brands/models weren't recognizable in the context of the music when listening blind.
This. I think that if I hadn't been listening specifically for the cymbal's sound, I would have noticed nothing that stood out. The only possible exception to this was the one brand that I've had no yearning for - the Paistes. They caught my attention in this test only because they were brighter with a more present ping. Again, had I not targeted my attention, I wouldn't have noticed even them.

I think my takeaway was that in a "dense" studio situation (and just as likely in a live performance), the cymbal's subtlety and overtones are simply obscured by the similar frequencies of other instruments. Jazz and similar sparse styles probably present a much better opportunity for the cymbal's richness to be heard.

GeeDeeEmm
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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I have to say, I could tell the ones that were really light. Some of the bells I could barely hear on them.
 
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gbow

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Yes and in a recording, even when you can tell the difference, I rarely hear one that I dislike. To me pretty much any good quality ride works in a recording.

One difference there is in the studio is with volume. A lower volume ride (and other cymbals) affords the ability to mix in more overheads, which also changes the sounds you can get from the rest of your kit. That volume difference can be achieved with a skilled player, but it can also to some degree be changed by the cymbal choice.

But none of it precludes a good sound in the studio. A good engineer and producer can coax a good sound out of any professional set up.

gabo
 

Topsy Turvy

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To me, all of them were too washy, which probably has more to do with the way they are being played than anything else. It sounds like the guy is shanking the cymbal or is really laying into it which is causing a ton of wash. I don't like the song, but I definitely don't like how any of the ride sit in the song- which probably has to do with the way it was mixed, played, recorded, etc.. more than any of the cymbals. There are hardly any rides in this mix where I can clearly hear the stick AND the wash.

Couple of observations: 1.) I don't like ANY of the bells on the Meinl rides. 2.) The cymbals I typically like - darker things like Constantinoples are mostly lost in this mix. 3.) Many of these cymbals sound really similar to each other in this context. 4.) For the most part, nearly all of these cymbals would work for this song.
 

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