Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

Secrets

Senior Member
PAISTE 24" RUDE MEGA POWER RIDE CYMBAL

For those of you who need a ride cymbal for big venues where the other instruments are playing so loud, you have a hard time cutting through, this ride cymbal will have them turning their volume control dials up to compete with you.

It is a massive cymbal, whose basic metallurgy goes back several decades when the RUDE line was introduced. Manufacture was stopped for awhile, and then Paiste re-introduced it. The RUDE line is made for the power drummer. Its burnished unique looks will have other drummers staring. The sound will drop their jaws.

The ping is loud, crystal clear, and very intense.

You can see from the spectrum that the frequencies are pretty level out to about 9 kHz, followed by a sharp drop-off by about 30 dB, where the level stays the same out to 40 kHz, with some material out to 60 kHz. Even after 2 seconds, the main ping frequencies up to 8 kHz are almost at the original level, but above 8 kHz, the frequencies have decayed, so you can ride it hard without worrying about the ping getting lost in the cymbal's wash.

Level vs. Time shows the very short intense attack.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
 

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MikeM

Platinum Member
Re: Cymbal Reviews

That is awesome stuff. Can you do that with a similar Sabian and a Paiste (and some Turks and Meinls if you can)?
 
J

JEJ

Guest
ZILDJIAN 20" A CUSTOM REZO CRASH CYMBAL

The ReZo line for Zildjian is relatively new, and there are about a half dozen models ranging from a 12" Splash up to a 21" Ride. They are beautiful cymbals to look at, and in my opinion, one of the best sounding models they have ever created. The ReZo has a combination of hammering and lathing, but the lathing is spaced with regions of non-lathed surface and lathed, with the 20" version having a non-lathed edge near the bell, followed by lathed, then non-lathed, lathed, lathed, and a final non-lathed ring at the outer edge.

The sound is bright, but with a tinge of trashiness that gives it a totally unique sound. Spectral analysis shows that the frequencies are highest in the 6 kHz range, but extend out to 60 kHz. The magenta spectral line is the peak volume at the initial crash, and the yellow line is the sound level 2 seconds afterward, so the yellow line shows the decay. As you can see, this cymbal produces sound as low as 30 Hz, and you can watch the cymbal shimmy after striking it. And, even after 2 seconds, it is still producing those low frequencies at almost the same volume as it did when it was initially crashed. Notice that the frequencies produced by this cymbal extend out to 60 kHz.

The third graph shows the recording level vs. time, in 10ths of a second. The peak level of sound is reached at 0.15 - 0.2 seconds, followed by the decay.
 

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J

JEJ

Guest
Hi - I am new to this forum. I am Editor-in-Chief of Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity at http://www.hometheaterhifi.com. In the course of reviewing products, I was measuring the frequency spectrum of cymbals (I am also a drummer) using laboratory-grade microphones calibrated to plus or minus 0.5 dB, 20 Hz - 30 kHz. I discovered that cymbals produce frequencies out to 60 kHz in some cases, far beyond what is recorded on CDs. It was also very interesting to see the differences in the spectra for various cymbal types and their rates of decay. So, I decided to start reviewing cymbals, but in far greater detail than you will find in any drum magazine. The reviews will have my overall impression of the sound, accompanied by a full spectrum analysis and a loudness vs time spectrum which shows the decay over time.

I record the cymbals in my test lab, which has absorption panels on the walls and ceiling. There is also wall-to-wall carpet. I have to use a computer to record the samples, so I bought some sound damping panels to place in front of the computer. I place a cymbal stand at the other end of the room as far away from the computer as possible. I use two microphone stands, one on either side of the test cymbal, with the two microphones (Earthworks M30BX) pointed down at a 45 degree angle, at about 40% in from the edge of the cymbal, and about 5 inches distance from the surface of the cymbal. The microphones are highly directional, so their major sensitivity is to sound in front of them, on-axis.

I record the cymbal sounds, either crash or ride, using a 5B hickory drumstick with a nylon tip. For crash cymbals, I strike the cymbal from the front, at a 45 degree angle to the cymbal, perpendicular to the direction that the microphones are pointing in towards the cymbal. I strike it at a strength that one would use when performing (relatively hard). For ride cymbals, I strike the front of the cymbal (one strike) using the nylon tip, with the strength that one would use when riding the cymbal during a performance, again perpendicular to the microphones, at about 40% in from the edge.

I record the cymbal sounds at 176.4 kHz sampling frequency (CDs use 44.1 kHz) and 24 bit depth (CDs have a 16 bit depth). I normalize each sample to 0 dB, which is the upper limit of digital recording. Then, I edit the sample so that the beginning of the sample is at the front edge of the sound (when the stick struck the cymbal) and trim it so that the length of the sample is 2 seconds.

I play the samples in SpectraPlus software, which uses FFT analysis to produce the spectra. The sound card is a Lynx L22, which records and plays digital samples up to 200 kHz sampling frequency and 24 bit depth. In analog audio terms, this means it will record sounds as high as 100 kHz. The microphones are connected to the Lynx card input via XLR so they are balanced, which helps to eliminate any noise picked up by the microphone cable.

In the spectra for the cymbal, you will see two graph lines. The magenta one is the peak sound, i.e., right at the beginning of the cymbal sound. The yellow line is the sound at the end of the sample, i.e., 2 seconds, and it illustrates the decay.

You will also see a graph that shows the sound level over a 1 second time period, from the initial contact of the stick with the cymbal.

I will be loading the reviews one at a time as individual posts in the thread. Feel free to comment and to request reviews of any cymbal you would like to see reviewed here.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
 
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