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  #1  
Old 09-16-2010, 06:43 PM
JEJ
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Default Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

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.

Last edited by JEJ; 09-16-2010 at 07:02 PM. Reason: Correcting typos, adding text.
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Old 09-16-2010, 06:50 PM
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Default 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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Last edited by JEJ; 09-16-2010 at 06:54 PM. Reason: Add text.
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Old 09-16-2010, 07:49 PM
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Default 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)?
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:00 PM
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Default 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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Last edited by Secrets; 08-01-2015 at 11:39 PM. Reason: Adding text.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:27 PM
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Default PAISTE 17" SIGNATURE FAST CRASH CYMBAL

When I tried the Paiste Signature line, it was love at first crash. This particular one is a 17" Fast Crash, so it responds quickly.

The frequencies are pretty level out to almost 20 kHz, with a significant amount of frequency material out to about 50 kHz.

The sound is much different than your average crash. I would say actually that it is unique among all the crash cymbals I have listened to at the local music store. Although it is thin, it is quite stiff, and I consider the sound to be on the bright side.

You can see from the spectrum that the sound decays quite a bit after 2 seconds. Most of the energy goes into that first 0.4 second.

The Level vs. Time graph illustrates that the peak of the crash is at 0.1 second. This thing is really fast.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Last edited by Secrets; 08-01-2015 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:31 PM
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Default PHOTOS OF CYMBALS

Some of the photographs of the cymbals were taken from the manufacturer's websites and are copyright with the respective manufacturers. The other cymbal photographs, spectrum graphs, and review text are copyright John E. Johnson, Jr., and may not be published elsewhere, including other websites, without written permission from the author.

Last edited by Secrets; 11-20-2010 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Adding text.
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

Ahh hahh, frequencies out to 80K... wear your ear plugs kids.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:22 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

no human can possibly hear 80KHz. you'd be hard pressed to find anyone be able to hear 20KHz+.

what an awesome thread! i will be paying close attention!
keep up the great analysis, JEJjr/Secrets!
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

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Originally Posted by chathamight View Post
no human can possibly hear 80KHz. you'd be hard pressed to find anyone be able to hear 20KHz+.

Ear plugs are about 'not' hearing those frequencies. 20K @ 100+ db with some 80K @ 20 db sprinkled on top all night can easily cause hearing loss over time, just ask Alex Van Halen and others.
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

I'm just wondering, am I incorrect in saying that the M30 series of Earthwork microphone's frequency response is typically flat (-3 db down) up to about 30 kHz. I believe you are seeing some artifacts above 30 or 40 K that might not be coming from the microphone or at least it's definitely down from what a flat response should look like. At those upper frequencies there are two way radio harmonics, and who knows what else these days, that pose serious problems unless you're located in a shielded building doing these tests. Even the test equipment itself can cause false readings because of internal oscillations at the upper frequency plots. I appreciate your involvement in these projects and they do visually show what most people are hearing, at least up to about 18,000 cycles for people with good hearing, but I really doubt that there is any electrical energy coming through the reference microphone at 80 kHz.

Thanks and don't stop your evaluations,
Dennis
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Old 09-17-2010, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

All of the signal shown in the spectra is from the microphone. It is calibrated out to 30 kHz but there is a version of the mic that is calibrated out to 50 kHz. So, the data are accurate out to 30 kHz, and the information beyond that is sound, but it is just not calibrated.

Look, for example, at the Paiste 17" Signature Fast Crash. The magenta line (the peak initial crash signal) is at 30 to 40 dB at 40 kHz and above, then drops to 10 dB after 2 seconds (10 dB is the background level in the room). This is not electrical noise behavior. It is the sound. If the high frequency content were electrical noise, it would remain at a constant level. I know all of this is surprising. It surprised the heck out of me too.

For those of you who are producing CDs of your band, you might request that a high resolution version of your album be uploaded to one of the websites that are now offering high resolution versions of music albums for download (such as hdtracks.com). SACD and DVD-A have not been successful, and it is expensive for studios to release high resolution discs only to have just a few albums sold. But it does not cost them anything to put the two-channel master that is still in its original high sampling rate (usually 88.2 kHz, 24 bit) on one of these websites. The consumer selects an album, pays by credit card, downloads the album, and plays it on his computer or burns it to a DVD-A and plays it on a universal Blu-ray player. The bottom line is that only about 1/3 of our cymbal sound is ending up on the CD. We can't really "hear" those ultra-high frequencies, but there is research that indicates we can sense them by other means, including bone conduction.
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:23 PM
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Default SABIAN 22" APX RIDE CYMBAL

One of Sabian's more economical lines of cymbals (mid-priced) is called APX. They are made from sheet metal rather than cast, but they still use a bronze alloy (not brass).

This particular one is the 22" APX ride cymbal, and I have to say that the ping from this cymbal cuts through like a razor. It has a very sharp and lightning fast attack, with very little wash. So, all the energy goes into the ping. You can ride the heck out of it without developing a wash that buries the ping. So, don't overlook this moderately inexpensive series. It might have what you need.

Spectral analysis shows a level response out to 10 kHz, then dropping off by 40 dB at 12 kHz, with a gradual decline out to 60 kHz. After 2 seconds (yellow graph line) the energy up to 10 kHz is mostly still there, but above 10 kHz, the energy has completely dissipated.

The Level vs. Time graph illustrates the very fast attack.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Last edited by Secrets; 08-01-2015 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 09-17-2010, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Ismore View Post
Ear plugs are about 'not' hearing those frequencies. 20K @ 100+ db with some 80K @ 20 db sprinkled on top all night can easily cause hearing loss over time, just ask Alex Van Halen and others.
any frequency at 100dB for an extended amount of time can cause hearing loss. alex van halen played thousands of concerts at about 2-3 hours each. even if there were no 80K sprinkles, he'd still be deaf.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

As a fellow audio dweeb, I applaud your efforts.

If we're evaluating things that make cymbals sound different from each other, there's no need to go out beyond 20k--in fact, 20k is pushing it for most folks. (It's not like amps, where response beyond the audio band indicates greater linearity within the audio band.)

Some nits to pick:

No doubt you selected a nylon tip stick for consistency. But it remains true that most professional drummers use wood tips, of varying shapes, because they prefer the sound. That makes your graphs comparable, but not indicative of "how it sounds."

Being a drummer you no doubt know that where you strike a cymbal (either riding or crashing) makes a difference in how it sounds--or should. One reason I like the K Custom Hybrid ride is the variety of sounds you can get from the bow. I think it was Elvin who said "never buy a cymbal you can't get 20 different sounds from." It's good advice, and unfortunately a huge complicating factor in comparisons such as this.

It's also true that how hard you strike a cymbal has an effect on the sound. Another complicating factor.

Nonetheless, it's a great start!

Now, if you really want to do the world of drumming a service, get somebody to make 10 identical 12" toms from maple, birch, oak, bubinga, ash, beech, poplar, cherry, walnut, and mahogany, all with identical construction, number of plies, shell thickness, glue, joinery, bearing edges, inside and outside finish, hardware, hoops, heads, and tuning--and apply spectrum analysis to them. It will finally answer the drum question of the ages! ;-)
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Old 09-18-2010, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

You forgot alder, basswood, blackwood, acrylic, and stainless steel. I do plan to get some spectra from drums down the road. Cymbals are all I can handle at the moment. However, your point about the stick tip is well taken. For a future cymbal test, I will gather a spectrum using a nylon tip as well as a spectrum using a stick with a wooden tip. That will be very interesting. By the way, I also discovered that if you wrap tape around the stick where your hands grip the stick, that results in a different sound from the cymbal. It must have something to do with the resonance of the stick as it strikes the cymbal. I will show some graphs after I get around to performing that particular test.

John E. Johnson, Jr.

Last edited by Secrets; 10-01-2010 at 09:10 PM. Reason: Editing text
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Old 09-18-2010, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

No doubt you selected a nylon tip stick for consistency. But it remains true that most professional drummers use wood tips, of varying shapes, because they prefer the sound. That makes your graphs comparable, but not indicative of "how it sounds."

Although it'll be mildly interesting to see the differences between the same wood and nylon tip stick, adding different tip shapes and stick materials will turn this into a stick comparison. Nylon tip being harder transfers the most energy, brings the most out of a cymbal and 'it is' the most consistent control.



any frequency at 100dB for an extended amount of time can cause hearing loss. alex van halen played thousands of concerts at about 2-3 hours each. even if there were no 80K sprinkles, he'd still be deaf.



Since the concern is hearing loss and most drummers won't play thousands of concert level gigs, its clear they will be exposed to 20K and beyond from hitting cymbals.

It didn't take Alex Van Halen and others that long to become deaf. High frequencies do the most damage the quickest, even at low volumes. Wear ear protection.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

Here is a little more information about me (John E. Johnson, Jr.), why I am obsessed with cymbals, and why I started this thread.

I have been a drummer for a very long time. I just turned 65 (August 21, 2010), and I started drumming in college when I was 20. At first, it was just four of us, one of my fraternity brothers played bass, I was on the drums, a singer, and a lead guitarist who had happened to live a few blocks from Jimi Hendrix. He was heavily influenced by Hendrix Ė of course Ė and he was only 15 when he joined our band. Thatís him on the far right in the first photo. I think this photo was somewhere around early 1968.

At that age, I certainly did not have the money to invest in a big kit, not even a new kit. I had to rent one. I finally saved enough money to buy one cymbal, as seen in the photo. I continued to rent used drum kits for the two remaining years I was an undergraduate at the University of Washington, in Seattle. After about a year, an organist joined us, with his Hammond B3 and Leslie speaker, as well as a 12 string rhythm guitarist. He was skilled enough to play lead solo as well as rhythm backup, so we got to be pretty good. We played night clubs and bars, and if you wanted to know if we classified ourselves as a garage band, well, letís put it this way. One weekend, we had to use Friday nightís wages to bail the rhythm guitarist out of jail so we could play on Saturday night.

Obviously, we didnít make a lot of money at this, but it was fun. Because I had enough money to rent the used drums, but never seemed to acquire enough funds to get a few more cymbals, that lack of having a full cymbal set stuck with me over the years in the back of my brain. I graduated in 1968, got married, and moved to New Orleans for graduate school. That was the end of the band, for the time being.

During graduate school and for years afterward, I didnít have the time to play drums with a group, and didnít have enough room to set them up in our apartment, so active playing just wasnít in the cards for me at that time.

I ended up in Baltimore, Maryland, doing research at NIH. I became disenchanted with bench science, left NIH, and started my own company, focusing on editing medical journals for John Wiley & Sons. Now, all of a sudden, I did have the space because we had purchased a house, and I had the time.

However, I still didnít have a lot of money, so I bought (a step up from renting) a used set of Rogers drums for $150. I starting taking lessons, and bit by bit, I satisfied that old thing in the back of my head about never having a full set of cymbals.

There was a local music store that had all their cymbals on a 30 foot long rack, and you could swing a cymbal out, use a stick to play a ride pattern, or crash it, swing it back in and try another one.

This was like a candy store for me. I found that I had a craving for cymbals. As you can see in the second photo, taken in 1987, I ended up in a short time with all the cymbals that I could handle.

Then we moved to California, and ding dang it, I didnít have the room for a drum kit. So, I sold the drums, but kept the cymbals.

Jump forward to 2002. By then, I not only was editing the medical journals, but I had started a hi-fi magazine called Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity on the Internet. I converted the garage to a test lab where I could test CD players, amplifiers, speakers, etc. I purchased a snare drum to practice rudiments, but that was about it.

Then, in 2009, during a visit to our local music store, which happened to have a huge drum department, I sat down at a Roland electronic drum kit, and it was love at first sight (and sound). Here was something that I could fit in the lab. So, I purchased it piece by piece and ended up with four drum pads for toms, and a pad for the kick, paired with a double bass pedal. The drum module is a Roland TD-4, which stores numerous drum as well as cymbal sounds in digital sample format. The third photo, shown below, was taken in May, 2010.

I had originally used three pads for toms and one for the snare, but I found that I could not get the dynamics from snare drum samples that I could with an acoustic snare, so I moved that fourth pad to being tom number 4 and purchased an acoustic snare (Tama, Stewart Copeland model). As you see in the photo, I also got five cymbal pads. Why five? I realized and accepted the fact that I was obsessed with cymbals, dating back to when I couldnít afford to purchase them, and I decided to just let my obsession express itself. I bought Roland CY-8 cymbal pads because they were small and I could fit all five in a close arrangement to my sitting position. The kick pad is a Roland KD-8, again, small so it would not take up much space.

I ended up with a high hat stand (DW 9000) and three cymbal stands, and I tied everything together with Gibraltar clamps and chrome tubing, forming a U-shaped setup. To move the kit when I am just listening to music, using those big ribbon speakers you see in the background, all I have to do is loosen the clamps that attach each stand, and move the stands to the rear of the room, as all of the drums and cymbals are attached to the three cymbal stands.

Besides being obsessed with buying cymbals, I was also obsessed with the sound of the cymbals, and for a few months, I was happy with the sound from the cymbal pads (which are electronic triggers for the cymbal digital sound samples). I not only used the samples in the Roland TD-4 drum module, I also recorded my own cymbal samples using laboratory grade calibrated microphones, and triggered them through BFD version 2 drum software. You can see the computer in the background of the photo, where I boot BFD. The computer is connected to the Roland TD-4 drum module via a MIDI/USB cable. (MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface.)

I used real ride cymbals and hi hat cymbals because I didnít like the feel of ride cymbal pads or hi hat pads, but I was also beginning to notice something, and now we are coming to the point of this dissertation. The sounds of the crash cymbals seemed incomplete. They didnít have the brightness or clarity that real cymbals have. There was a distinct difference between the real crash cymbals that I had and the samples of those exact same cymbals that I was triggering from the cymbal pads.

Now, keep in mind that I was (and still am) using my reference audio system to play the drum samples through. This consists of a Pure Class A tube preamplifier, two 1,200 watt McIntosh monoblock power amplifiers, and the those two ribbon speakers, each of which has a 60Ē ribbon and four 12Ē woofers. So, I could not only hear everything in the samples, but also, what was missing (not to mention that I can blow the walls out with all that power).

The cymbal samples were recorded at 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, which is the same quality as found on a CD, and is the sample rate supported by the drum triggering module.

So, I expanded my horizons and began recording cymbal sounds at higher sampling frequencies, and discovered that cymbals produce frequencies well above 20 kHz (the limit on a CD is 22 kHz), and in fact, above 30 kHz all the way out to 60 kHz, maybe even a bit further. The samples recorded at 44.1 kHz also sounded mushy, and when I looked at the spectrum of the recorded samples, I realized why. Cymbals produce what is probably the most complex sound of any musical instrument. When you hit a crash cymbal, the frequencies it is making all at the same time span 30 Hz up to well beyond 30 kHz. That is very tough to reproduce with basic CD quality sampling.

I began recording and analyzing the spectra of all kinds of cymbals and noted that each one has its own distinct ďfingerprintĒ that one could use to characterize the sound. I decided to share that information, because there is nothing like it out there anywhere that I can find, and so, here we are.

Now, I purchase about one new cymbal per month (I really am trying to satisfy that cymbal lust buried in my brain 40 years ago), so I have a nice array to test, for the time being. I hope to obtain additional cymbals directly from all the manufacturers to add to this database of spectra. Feel free to make suggestions as to cymbals you would like to have tested by spectral analysis, in a post in this thread, if you wish. I also have set up a directory so that you can download the high resolution samples and play them for yourself - http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/image...ews-index.html. The spectra can only convey only so much information. The final analysis is in the listening. The only thing you will need is a sound card that can play digital audio files (*.wav) recorded at 176.4 kHz and 24 bits. They are the highest resolution cymbal audio sample files ever offered as downloads. I would hope that someday, drum control modules will be able to store and trigger samples at high sampling frequencies and 24 bit depth.

My late 2010 setup is shown in the fourth photo. I rotate the crash cymbals through my collection about once every three months. I still have one cymbal pad that I use for special effects, but have taken it out for awhile. The fifth photo is current at February, 2011, and it has cymbals from Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, Bosphorus, and Meinl. The last photo was taken in 1968, in one of the night clubs we played in, called "The Door". Like many bands, we changed our name several times. I used matched grip, and I placed my left leg such that I could bring my left hand down with the drumstick so that every stroke was a rimshot. I placed a single strip of tape along the middle of the bottom of the drum, crosswise, to hold the snares against the drum. This made the snare drum sound like a 12 gauge shotgun when we were cranking some Hendrix or Cream. It was about that time that I noticed my ears would ring all night long after a gig, so I began placing a small wad of toilet paper in each ear before we played. I suggest that for those of you playing venues where you have the volume up, definitely wear ear plugs. I get them in a jar from a QVC drugstore containing several hundred ear plugs for about $10.

There was one night at The Door where I was shredding so hard - and I didn't have a drum rug - that the bass drum with its attached tom fell off the front of the stage onto the back of our lead guitarist. We kept on playing, and I kept the bass drum pedal going even with no bass drum, while the club staff put the bass drum back on the stage in front of me, and they nailed a 2x4 in front of the bass drum to keep it from moving. Ah, those were the days!


John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Last edited by Secrets; 02-06-2011 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Editing text, adding photos.
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Old 09-19-2010, 12:20 AM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

Most interesting thread indeed.
As a cymbal bug I am intrigued by all of this info about cymbals.
I can't wait to see future reviews of some of my fav pies.
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:56 AM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

It's interesting that you have the Roland cymbals installed backwards.
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

Yes, the Roland cymbal pads are backwards from their normal position. I found that the soft part of the pad where you normally hit the cymbal pad was less sensitive than the hard part on the other side, not to mention that it does not feel anything like a cymbal. So, all I had to do was just tap the hard part to get it to trigger instead of having to strike the cymbal pad rather hard as you would with a normal cymbal. This produces less stress in the arm joints, which at my age, is a concern. It also gives me increased speed, as I can crash several cymbals within 1 second, because I only have to move the stick sideways, tap the cymbal, and move to the next one, rather than having to raise my arm each time I crash the cymbal. This is the beauty of electronic drums. You can set the sensitivity to whatever you like, and play effortlessly. Too bad the cymbal samples didn't sound as good as the real thing. The electronic toms sound fantastic on the other hand. No extreme high frequencies to worry about, and I can tune the set of four toms to different keys with the different kits that are stored in the module, so that they are in tune with the key that the music is being played, such as G or B-flat major, etc. Then, the toms compliment the soloist and melody rather than clash with it. When the next song on the disc (I only play along with classic jazz LPs and CDs these days - no more bands) is in a different key, I just push a button on the Roland TD-4 to set it on a kit with the toms tuned in that key. You can't do that with an acoustic set of toms.

Phil Collins announced a few months ago that he can no longer play the drums because of all the intense arm movements he has made over the years. It caused deterioration of the discs in his spine. Just as we musicians have to be careful with our ears, we have to take care of the joints that we stress so much when we play hard. I played hard when I was young. Now, at age 65, I am a lot more careful. Since I had to go back to real crash cymbals, I select ones that crash easily (thin to medium thin, and no larger than 18"). That way, I don't have to use a lot of force to crash the cymbal. Zildjian ReZo's are an exception, as they are rather thin at the outer 30% and crash easily. If I find some others like that, I will make additional exceptions. Maybe I should change my user name on this forum to Cymbal-Quest.

John E. Johnson, Jr.

Last edited by Secrets; 10-01-2010 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Adding text.
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:46 PM
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Default ZILDJIAN 16" K CONSTANTINOPLE CRASH CYMBAL

The K Zildjian series, of which the Constantinople is a member, goes back to the roots of K. Zildjian in the 1800's, with a dry tone and even decay.

The spectrum shows that the main frequency range goes out to about 6 kHz, which gives it the dark sound, as other crashes, whose main spectrum extends to 10 kHz or so, would be classified as bright. The initial crash spectrum slopes downward from 6 kHz to 50 kHz.

The decay over 2 seconds is about the same across the entire spectrum, just as the K Series is supposed to do. The frequency response of the decayed sound then appears to flatten out at about 15 kHz, but this is due to the 10 dB SPL background noise floor. The peak of the crash is at 0.15 seconds (the green graph).

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Old 09-27-2010, 12:17 AM
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Default ZILDJIAN 18" K CUSTOM DARK CRASH CYMBAL

The Zildjian K Custom Dark Crash is a favorite among many drummers. This particular one is 18". The spectrum shows that it has high energy in the 3 kHz - 4 kHz range, then slowly drops off. In particular, it attenuates above 10 kHz, and this preponderance of the energy in the 3-4 kHz range rather than higher frequencies gives it the "Dark" classification. The initial crash frequencies extend to 50 kHz, and most of the spectrum decays evenly after 2 seconds.

Level vs. Time indicates that the maximum level is reached between 0.2 and 0.25 seconds, which is a little slower than some other crashes we have tested. In other words, we would not classify this as a "Fast" crash.

It has a great sound, and I think it would be terrific in a jazz kit.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Old 09-29-2010, 08:51 PM
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Default PAISTE 22' SIGNATURE MELLOW RIDE CYMBAL

Although this particular model is not in Paiste's catalog right now, there are some of them floating around, and it is one of the best jazz ride cymbals I have ever used. It sounds much like their 20" Signature Full Ride, so you could get pretty close to what the 22" Mellow Ride sounds like by purchasing the 20" Full Ride.

It has a crystal clear ping that is flat out to about 10 kHz, then drops off 30 dB and slowly rolls off to 50 kHz.

Even after 2 seconds, the sound up to 10 kHz remains almost at the same loudness, so the wash is intense. You will find that riding it hard will give you a ping that is heard just above the wash, which I feel is ideal for classic jazz.

The Level vs. Time graph shows the slower decay than some other ride cymbals, such as the Paiste 24" RUDE cymbal also reviewed in this thread.

If you are lucky, you might find one on the used market. It's one of my favorites.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Last edited by Secrets; 08-01-2015 at 11:37 PM. Reason: Adding text.
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:54 AM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

I'd love to see how entry level cymbals compare to the high end ones. Great thread!
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

Yes, I plan to test some entry level cymbals. Right now, I am just establishing a baseline of tests from various types and brands. Then I will test a complete set in a single line, with several sizes for comparison, say, a 16", 18", and 20" medium crash, or 18" thin, medium thin, medium, and heavy crash, or a 20", 21", and 22" ride, etc. Should be quite interesting. I am going to put in some links for the 2 second sound files so that you can download them and listen for yourself. You will need a soundcard that is capable of playing 24 bit 176.4 kHz samples though.

John E. Johnson, Jr.

Last edited by Secrets; 10-01-2010 at 09:11 PM. Reason: Adding text.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:17 PM
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Default Cymbal Samples for Download

I have a page set up now where you can download cymbal samples from the cymbals I review. These are 24 bit 176.4 kHz samples, so you should make certain your sound card is capable of playing samples at such a high bit depth and sampling frequency. Otherwise, you can damage your sound card.

These are the highest quality cymbal samples you will find anywhere. They were recorded in stereo using calibrated (10 Hz - 30 kHz + or - 0.5 dB) laboratory microphones, and the recorded sound extends out to 60 kHz (although the signal is not calibrated beyond 30 kHz).

Here is the link to the page with the samples. I will update this page as I add cymbal reviews.

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/image...ews-index.html

John E. Johnson, Jr.

Last edited by Secrets; 10-01-2010 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Adding text.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

I love this thread.

I've always been a fan of scientifically breaking down the aspects of everything, especially music and other arts.

Seeing the character of cymbals like this is interesting. You should archive these samples, maybe make an engine for comparing the graphs, like transparents.
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:39 PM
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Default PAISTE 22' RUDE RIDE/CRASH CYMBAL

This is another cymbal that is not in the catalog (the photo shows the 20" version that is in the catalog), but I have seen them around, and it is a beautiful ride cymbal. I think it is not in the catalog because it is really heavy for a crash. So, the graphs represent the ping as a ride cymbal.

The frequency response shows a rise between 2 kHz and 12 kHz, then a 30 dB drop, and a steady response out to 30 kHz, followed by attenuation out to 60 kHz. Its 12 kHz initial response is somewhat higher than the 24" RUDE Mega Power Ride reviewed here, so the ping is brighter. However, the Mega Power Ride has a ping that is very loud.

Level vs. Time indicates a modest decay speed.

My opinion on this cymbal is that it could be used for jazz in a larger venue and also metal rock in larger venues. You could crash it, but you will have to give it a very hard whack with your stick because it is so heavy.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

You might also be interested in this thread on my website, which discusses what may be lost in the audible spectrum when recording at 44.1 kHz vs. higher sampling rates. In other words, there may be more to the story than simply not getting the frequencies above 22 kHz with a CD. Here is the link: http://cave.hometheaterhifi.com/prof...ource=activity Lots of controversy about this subject, and more experimentation needs to be done.

John E. Johnson, Jr.

Last edited by Secrets; 10-01-2010 at 09:13 PM. Reason: Adding text.
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Old 10-03-2010, 01:12 AM
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Default ZILDJIAN 19" A CUSTOM REZO CRASH CYMBAL

In this review, we look at the Zildjian 19" A Custom ReZo crash spectra to accompany the 20" ReZo crash review published earlier in this thread.

Compared to the 20" ReZo crash, the 19" starts rolling off sooner (at 6 kHz instead of 9 kHz for the 20") and reaches 45 kHz instead of 60 kHz response that the 20" has. The 19" has the same lathing pattern as the 20".

The attack is very sharp and reaches a maximum at about 0.2 seconds.

The ReZo series is superb, and the 19" and 20" crashes work very well together. The noticeably thicker region near the bell is more pronounced than other cymbals, with the edged being rather thin. This gives the ReZo a very distinct sound; I would call it bright and trashy, i.e., tons of wash. That's why the cymbal line is not offered in thin, medium thin, heavy, etc. They are simply offered in different diameters, with the 10" and 12" versions being called a splash rather than a crash.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Last edited by Secrets; 08-01-2015 at 11:37 PM. Reason: Adding text.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:31 PM
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Default ZILDJIAN 21" A CUSTOM REZO RIDE CYMBAL

Besides several sizes of ReZo crash cymbals, Zildjian also offers a 21" ride cymbal, reviewed here. The spectrum represents a single ping as in riding the cymbal. Notice that the frequency response goes to 14 kHz before dropping sharply 30 dB to 16 kHz and then slowly declining from there. The ReZo crashes, on the other hand, have a main frequency response out to 6 kHz (19") or 9 kHz (20") before dropping off. The 21" ride having a main response to 14 kHz gives it a very bright ping that will cut through other instruments in the band. It is not a heavy ping, so would be perfect as a jazz ride. However, its excellent brightness would also make it a good choice for rock music in a medium venue.

The Level vs. Time graph indicates that the decay is a bit slower than other ride cymbals reviewed here so far, except for the Sabian 22" APX ride.

A combo of the Rezo 19" Crash, 20" Crash, and 21" Ride cymbals would be a killer kit.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:48 PM
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Default PAISTE 18" GIANT BEAT CRASH CYMBAL

Paiste's Giant Beat line is quite different than their other cymbals. The Giant Beat's color for one thing. I thought at first they look like they have quite a bit of silver in them, at least the 18" version that I tested, but over a few months, the silvery finish began to turn into a patina, with the more expected coppery color showing through. So, I suspect there may be a thin nickel coating. This possibly gives the cymbal a bright sound, almost bell-like, but without making you want to cover your ears. They are in the medium-thin category and vary by diameter.

The frequency response is reasonably flat out to 14 kHz, which is more like the ride cymbal pings I have reported. Then the response begins a gentle slope down to 50 kHz.

Level vs. Time shows that it peaks at 0.13 seconds with a slow decay. Notice that in the spectrum, the decay (the magenta line is the initial crash, and the yellow line is the sound after 2 seconds) is pretty much even across the spectrum from 300 Hz to 20 kHz. If you compare this spectrum to some of the others reviewed here, you can see why cymbals all sound so different. If they didn't there wouldn't be so many brands and so many different lines in those brands.

The Giant Beat is a very nice line of cymbals. They are musical and powerful, but won't overpower. The 18" reviewed model would be good in a medium sized venue for jazz or rock.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Old 10-08-2010, 08:29 PM
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Default PAISTE 16" SIGNATURE FAST CRASH CYMBAL

I reviewed the 17" crash version of this Paiste line a few weeks ago, and this review covers the 16".

The frequency response at the initial crash rolls off a bit lower in frequency than the 17" crash (compare the region between 10 kHz and 20 kHz, and between 90 dB and 100 dB), but decays more slowly (see the Level vs. Time spectrum). The peak of the crash occurs at 0.12 seconds.

The sound of the 16" vs. the 17" is very different, but the overall tone is similar because they are of the same alloy, lathing, and hammering process. However, they are also somewhat darker than other crashes of the same size, but different model. They don't have a trashy wash, but, rather, the wash is very clean and bright. In my opinion, the Signature line is one of Paiste's best.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:46 PM
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Default BOSPHORUS 18" TRADITIONAL JAZZ CRASH RIDE CYMBAL

Bosphorus cymbals are a little hard to find, mostly because they make up part of the 10% of cymbal sales that are not Zildjian and Sabian. But, they are out there, you just have to look. I got this one from MyCymbal.com.

It is classified as a jazz crash ride in the Bosphorus Traditional series, meaning that you can use it as a crash cymbal as well as a ride cymbal. So, I measured the response both ways.

When crashed, it produces a spectrum out to 10 kHz, peaking at 4 kHz, and then slowly declines to about 45 kHz. The crash peaks at 0.23 seconds.

When used as a ride, the ping has a slightly flatter response, and all the way out to 15 kHz before it declines sharply. So, the ping of the ride has higher frequencies initially than the crash. I suspect this is because I used the wooden side of the stick to crash it, but the nylon tip to ride it. The ride has a shimmering wash that is quite musical and nearly as loud as the ping. That is why it is classified as a jazz cymbal, rather than a cymbal where you have to ride it hard and the ping has to cut through loud guitar amplifiers.

This is one of the most beautiful sounding cymbals I have yet heard. I am sure that Bosphorus will say this is because it is totally hand hammered, and the person who does the hammering listens to the sound of the crash as he progresses with each set of hammer strokes, and stops when he is satisfied.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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  #35  
Old 10-19-2010, 06:52 PM
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Default PAISTE 18" 2002 MEDIUM CRASH CYMBAL

On Paiste's website, they describe the 2002 medium crash cymbals as all-purpose. The 18" 2002 medium crash cymbal that I tested here has been in my cymbal arsenal for a number of years, and I agree with Paiste's assessment of its use. I will try to get a new one direct from Paiste to compare with my old one to see if it has mellowed with time.

The spectrum shows the crash to have peaks at 400 Hz and 5 kHz, with a general response out to 10 kHz, and then rolling off to 50 kHz. Its sound is not piercingly bright, again, supporting its use as a general crash cymbal. It has a great, overall tone quallty, is thin enough that you could crash it easily in a small venue, but is powerful enough for large venues as well.

The crash level peaks at about 0.25 seconds, so it is not a "fast" crash by any means.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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  #36  
Old 10-31-2010, 05:54 PM
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Default PAISTE 18" SIGNATURE REFLECTOR HEAVY FULL CRASH CYMBAL

Paiste sent five cymbals to me for review, and this is the first one, an 18" heavy full crash in their Signature line. I imagine it is called "Reflector" rather than "Brilliant" in terms of the finish because the lathing lines are very fine and very evenly spaced (see the second photo), indicating that the lathing was done by CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machining which results in more of a mirror (reflection) surface than simply being shiny (brilliant). However, the cymbal was also polished (this involves an abrasive) that gives it the "Brilliant" name. You can see this fine lathing on the bell as well. The hammering is also very evenly spaced, suggesting that it is done by machine. I want to make it clear that whether the lathing and hammering are performed by hand or CNC machining, this does not imply that one is better than the other. It is simply the style that a particular cymbal is produced. Machine hammering usually produces a brighter sound, while hand hammering results in more of a dark tonality. Hand hammering also results in more variation in sound between cymbals of the exact same model and size. The purpose of hammering is to make the tension between the hammered locations and un-hammered locations uneven, which gives the cymbal its distinct sound. Lathing is used to remove oxidation and other impurities from the surface, but also to create a desired thickness from bell to edge, usually tapered. Obviously, lathing will affect the sound because the thickness is altered.

Using the words "heavy" and "full" are a bit confusing, especially since they also have a "power" crash. There needs to be more explanation of the differences on their website. Of course, they have sound clips of each type, so perhaps that is sufficient.

But, the bottom line is not in the wording, it is in the sound, and this cymbal has a beautiful sustained crash that has peaks at 500 Hz and 4 kHz, and extends to 12 kHz before declining to 50 kHz. The sound level peaks at 0.2 seconds and does not decay as quickly as some other crashes.

It is not as physically heavy as the name would imply, but it has a bright sound that is typical of heavy cymbals. It's a smooth sounding crash too without loud overtones that mask the wash. This smooth sound rather than a piercingly bright sound would make the cymbal suitable for general use in rock bands. It is a bit too heavy for jazz, and I would say, a bit too light for metal. I would use it for playing conventional rock in any size venue. It crashes very easily, compared to "Rock" or "Metal" cymbals that require a hard strike with the drumstick to get them to deliver their full crash sound. It would pair nicely with the Paiste 18" 2002 crash.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Last edited by Secrets; 08-01-2015 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Add text
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:03 PM
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Default PAISTE 18" ALPHA BRILLIANT METAL CRASH CYMBAL

For you metal drummers out there, Paiste makes this one in the Alpha line, which includes 17", 18", 19", and 20" sizes, all in a Brilliant finish (shined with an abrasive). There is also a 20" Alpha Metal Ride available. Alphas are made from a B8 alloy (92% copper, 8% tin), and this can be seen in its very coppery color. It's thick, heavy, and delivers a bright punch that will cut through any stack of guitar amplifiers. It will take a beating, for sure. In fact, when I ran the test, it overloaded my microphones, so I had to back them off a few more inches. My microphones will handle up to 130 dB!

The frequency spectrum starts rising at about 200 Hz, peaks at 6 kHz, then declines slowly to about 55 kHz. The intensity peaks at 0.28 seconds, which is what one would expect from a heavy cymbal like this.

The closeup photo shows the evenly spaced lathing that includes the bell, and the deep hammering. There is a circle of hammer spots around the edge of the bell, but the rest are irregularly placed, indicating hand hammering (it was probably done on a machine, but the machinist chose the locations rather than having a CNC type of hammering that is preset).

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/image...ews-index.html

John E. Johnson, Jr.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

dude this thread is seriously amazing. if you could do some of the lesser known brands too then that would be awesome.
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: Cymbal Reviews with Spectral Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddy View Post
dude this thread is seriously amazing. if you could do some of the lesser known brands too then that would be awesome.
I am working on it.

JJ
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:52 PM
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Default PAISTE 18" 2002 CRASH CYMBAL

I obtained this particular cymbal because I wanted to see how it compared to my own 18" 2002 crash cymbal that I purchased more than 20 years ago, and which has been reviewed in this thread.

I was amazed at how similar they sounded in tonality (compare the sound samples in the link shown below), which indicates that (1) Paiste's manufacturing processes are extremely precise, and (2) the cymbal didn't "mellow with age". Of course, the test cymbal is labeled "Crash" while my own version is the "Medium Crash", but the test cymbal appeared to be close to a medium. By tonality, I am referring to the balance in high frequencies vs. low frequencies. My own cymbal has a slightly higher pitch than the one reviewed here. But "Pitch" is different than "Tonality". In any case, they both sound marvelous, which is why I bought mine in the first place.

The spectrum shows peak levels between 3 kHz and 8 kHz, then a decline to about 55 kHz. The peak volume is at 0.2 seconds, with a moderate rate of decay. Overall, it is a very balanced sound, not dark or bright, and I often see this cymbal described as being one for "general purposes".

From the closeup photo, it appears to have been hand hammered and hand lathed. In my opinion, a full set of 2002's would make most drummers very satisfied with their kit sound.

Click here to go to the cymbal sounds page.
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