View Single Post
Old 06-18-2012, 04:48 PM
Arky's Avatar
Arky Arky is offline
Platinum Member
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Germany
Posts: 3,062
Default Arky's DIY cymbal modification stuff

Hi people.
This thread isn't actually about me playing something but I've did some cymbal recordings in my homestudio.

A few months ago I started buying cracked cymbals to make bells out of them - inspired by those bells Gavin Harrison is using. I have 10 of those DIY bells now and have recorded some sound samples. I call this modding "straight to bell" modification ;-)

It's 10 bells with 3 samples each - 3 different ways of hitting them but applying the same ways of hitting across all bells, for better comparison. Using 2 different mics in different positions turned out as I expected/hoped: The Oktava MK-319 (large condenser) has way more treble/clearness while the Oktava ML-52 (ribbon mic) is much smoother/mellower.

Here's the links to my Dropbox Public folder where those bell samples can be retreived from:

(If you don't want to register with Dropbox (which is a cool way of sharing stuff with people) - tell me some alternative websites I could upload those samples.)

You'll find the following files there:
bells_samples (unpacked size is around 80MB)
bells_samples (unpackped size is 7MB)

The WAV files are 44.1kHz/24 bit resolution, the MP3 files are 192.
A PDF chart provides additional info on the bells (make, size, pitch), plus I've packed a pic with all bells into those ZIP files.

As for the file names:
01 through 10 = # of bells in order of modification.
a through c = the different ways I hit those bells.
a = Hitting them towards the edge (at 3 o'clock position), with a sweep motion -> full harmonics and level.
b = Hitting them half-way on the bow (3 o'clock), and with the shoulder of the stick, w/ stick parallel to the floor.
c = Hitting them with the tip of the stick (6 o'clock), stick parallel to the ground.
Both the WAV and MP3 folder contain the PDF info chart and gallery pic of all 10 bells (see next post) to round up the listening experience.

(Stick used was a Pro Mark Todd Sucherman signature, SD330W - yes, sticks make a sound difference with cymbals, too.
I chose those hitting variations as they all result in different sounds, although b and c can be subtle depending on the bell.)

So if you like, say, sample "04_a.wav" and want to know which bell that actually is and how it was hit - it's the bell #4 in order of modification, listed in the PDF as that Stagg 15'' Crash bell, hit towards the edge.

My homestudio has no sound treatment whatsoever, and when I stood there with the headphones on I also heard my heart beating, a TV system and other vibrations from downstairs, plus some traffic noise. Seems this didn't make it on the samples but the noise level is significantly higher than in real pro studios of course.

As for the mics... The ML-52 has close to non-existing noise. I had to amplify this mic by around 55 dB, the MK-319 needed about 45 dB (varying amplification level depending on the bells). Blending those mics (shifting the pan from stereo mid to the left or right) provides an eq-like effect.

In the recordings/panning, the mic placement is the opposite as in the pic - the MK-319 is panned to the left, with the ML-52 panned to the right. Preamp was a Mindprint DTC (Dual Tube Channel) - but no EQ/compression used.

It was great fun recording the samples and it was interesting to see that sample recording calls for a consistent approach of positioning, hitting (dynamics) etc. I'm happy with the results and I hope you'll have some benefit from listening to those samples (or using them), too. I listened to some bell sound samples on the website of a music megastore and I like my bells in comparison to them.

For more infos on those bells - here's the link to a thread on the Derek Roddy forum. I was just too lazy to post all that stuff on Drummerworld, too. If you have questions etc - ask away.
Cymbal modification

I must say that originally I thought that I'd make enough bells for a bell setup like Gavin has (5 bells) and build a custom bell holder. But now it has turned into an addiction - I will collect/make more of them! It's interesting and fun to utilize cracked cymbals and you never know how the bells turn out, every time is like giving birth to something new. And then, those aren't bought from stock but it was _your_ work (cutting them, polishing the edges, and polishing the bells).
Attached Images
Reply With Quote